i first visited the town of lübeck 19 years ago. karla and i stayed with margot lange, whose relation to karla was never satisfactorily deciphered. margot’s husband had died three weeks earlier and we had spoken with her 3 1/2 weeks earlier… so… that was a surprise… even more surprising, she still wanted us to stay. she was in her mid-sixties, but had the walking pace of an ADD pre-schooler on a binge of red M&Ms. she ran us ragged around town, occasionally looking back to see if we were still with her, only slowing down for an occasional moment of sadness, “my man is dead” and then just as quickly, “we go, ja?”
lübeck at the time was bordered with east germany, and margot took us to the wall to taunt the east german soldiers… she hated them and pitied them at the same time. our long day of competitive walking ended here at the holstein gate. two giant round brick towers sagging into the earth in a perpetual bow toward each other. this in contrast to the artistically renovated image of it in perfect vertical form depicted on the 50 deutschmark note.
so almost 20 years later, even though the deutchmark is history, the germans are finally performing architectural orthedontia on one of it’s most famous landmarks. and just to be sure the tourists get what they came for, have printed an exact image of the completed, fully-aligned towers on the scaffolding drapes. funny to watch people take photos of it none-the-less. except me taking this photo… because… um… the other tourists are just stupid, where as i have an appreciation for cleverness. see?
it’s an inexplicable truth. i can’t imagine anything threatening about a little stuffed bunny with one missing ear… eyes covered with black electrical tape… harnessed to the back of a motorbike… but as i pulled up to a cafe in oldenburg, an elderly couple seemed damn near pre-occupied with the thing. their dirty looks confirmed that they clearly didn’t have a sense of humor and, since they are german, no sense of irony either. a smiling “guten tag” did little to convince them that i was a not menace to be avoided… then again, they may have simply been offended by the dutch license plate… germans of that era are still a bit bitter about how it all ended…