Let Szpylbert tell you about a “customer journey” with German national railway company Deutsche Bahn. Trying to purchase a ticket at Düsseldorf airport, no cash in pocket:
Attempt 1 – credit card plus ticket vending machine. Credit cards not accepted.
Attempt 2 – get cash from station ATM then use vending machine. Unsuccessful, the ATM dispenses only 50 euro notes and the ticket machine doesn’t accept 50 euro notes.
Attempt 3 – go to counter and ask to buy from idly sitting DB service agent. No can do, this particular counter is for information only.
Attempt 4 – get in line at other counter, wait to purchase by cash from grumpy guy. Success. A boiling mad cartoonist barely made it to the train on time.
Here’s a bizarre story for you: when Szpylbert was spending formative years in 1990s Bavaria (think lederhosen and tractors), gangster rap from Los Angeles was all the rage with the bullies at Szpylbert’s local school. They took the imitation rather seriously, including the slang (imagine the accent!), baggy trousers and, believe it or not, smoking crack cocaine. Needless to say that this was traumatising. Whenever Szpylbert hears rap music he still shudders a little bit.
As Gustav Heinemann, former president of Germany (no, not the chancellor) once noted, there are difficult countries to be from, and one of them is Germany. Your artist thinks: luckily, there is still the German language – which is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Phew.