A favoured, and borderline irritating, expression of the Germans is ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.’ Typisch Deutsch, na? Brisk, bracing, annoyingly logical, essentially inarguable. I type this from my couch, in my warmly lit living room, a piping hot Winterzeit tea cooling by my elbow, listening to icy rain tap almost playfully against my firmly closed windows. Just moments earlier, my eyes were narrowed to slits against cruel, needle-like rain that was, through some sheer will of its own, flying horizontally into my face. I was bundled in the most appropriate clothing I own – a bulky hooded jacket that repels rain (only to a point, if I am to be completely honest) a scarf, and rain proof boots. The pram was wearing its customary plastic rain jacket. And you know what? The weather was still shit.
I am arguing the inarguable; there is such a thing as shit weather, Germany, there is, there is, there is.
Most of the time, my dear Germans, your logic is infallible. It is part of the Deutsch Mentalität, to be praktisch and logisch. You see it in the economy of your language, in the day to day of German life. You solve problems with seemingly fewer steps than any other nationality (the perhaps notable exception being the Swiss). But I find there to be gaping, cold, rainy holes in the aforementioned claim. Sometimes shit weather is quite simply shit weather. And cold, grey, rainy weather, regardless of the sturdiness of your boot and the impregnability of your rain jacket, is a perfect example of this. Cold, grey, rainy weather is good for one thing; sitting inside with a hot drink, wearing maximum two layers (a tee shirt and a tracksuit for example). And, rain lovers, simply because such ghastly weather can be avoided by remaining inside and drinking copious amounts of tea, doesn’t make rain lovely weather. Don’t even.
Furthermore, I find the Germans are quite unable to apply this rule to a certain type of weather; hot weather. Once the mercury tiptoes above 25 degrees, the Germans find themselves in a bit of a tizz. And the warmer it gets, the larger the tizz grows until, come 30 degrees, they – or those not prone nude on the beach, or on their secreted balconies and they are a whole different kettle of fish – are all wilting and groaning and unwrapping their lightest pashminas from their throats, muttering ‘es ist viel zu warm’.
That is where I, in a cotton dress, with thongs on my feet, smugly say; there is no such thing as ‘too warm’, simply too many clothes.