Germany ~ Baden-Württemberg (The Black Forest) – 2000
We encountered some pretty strange kids when we were on our summer holidays, in fact it often seemed that every other family we ran into across Europe were…odd. Or maybe we were the weirdos? Nah, surely not…that’s not…possible…
The Black Forest in Germany is an amazing place, it looks straight out of a fairy tale, full of ancient natural history and a mysterious beauty. The campsites on the outskirts however, are anything but. I suppose there is still a certain kind of mystery to it…but rather than “wow, I had no idea there were trees of that colour!” it’s all “wow, I didn’t expect there to be so much pubic hair in the communal showers!” So yeah, as always – pros and cons guys, pros and cons!
My siblings and I were often sent off by our parents to explore the grounds, aka – PLEASE GOD, FUCKING LEAVE US ALONE, AN WE PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE HAVE A MOMENT OF PEACE?! – this was something that we loved, in fact we were actually disappointed when they wanted to tag along…I mean there was certainly a lot less mischief when they did, and most definitely a lot less foul language! Anyway, during these times we would wander about and people watch…which is a synonym for spy on strangers, (if we’re perfectly honest); as it went on we would form rich (and perfectly illogical) biographies of their whole lives to date…based solely on first impressions, irrational judgments, and whatever they happened to be wearing at the time.
Which was usually flip flops and socks…so…you know…they had it coming.
Whenever we got bored of that, we would try and find a place to buy a heinous amount of junk food for the cheapest price possible…after all we didn’t ever care for the healthy food my yoga instructor Mother would serve up. Nowadays I find myself fancying an apple,and dedicating chunks of time to making soup…it’s fucking crazy how that just happens to you…it’s a disease and it’s called maturity I guess. Let this be a warning to all of the kids out there…
So yeah anyway, it was on one of these meanders that we found a busted up looking play park, it was well past its former glory but looked in full working order – actually there were a bunch of slightly older kids hanging out there, attempting to look menacing probably, but coming off as plain confused instead…in fact they looked…peculiar, actually thinking back they looked like they could have been featured in Deliverance at some point…there was no crazy banjo playing, but their empty eyes hinted at the fact that their moral compass might be somewhat different to mine and yours…unfortunately, I hadn’t watched that film yet, so we trampled in anyway, disregarding their weird stares and creepy smirks…
That was when we heard it first:
“CHEEEZ ND UN-EEEE-UN!”
Our heads darted around instantly to see who had said this rather random sentence – all we were met with were more blank stares and very toothy grins…they barely blinked…it was unsettling to say the least…so we decided to get back to the swing, and to simply ignore that strange outburst –
“CHEEEZ ND UN-EEEE-UN!”
Huh? Again with that…we were not really sure how a person should respond to this kind of thing…is it an insult? Is it a question? Is it just a strange statement…I mean, how do you answer this? We stared back at them, which forced some; “HUHHH-HUHHH-HUHHH!” guffaw sounds out of them – they clearly thought it was hilarious, I mean…I wanted to get the joke, but I just didn’t understand it at all!
“Sorry, you want some cheese and onion?”
“NOE – YOU ARE CHEEZ AND UN-EEE-UN!”
“YOU ARE CHEEZ AND UN-EEE-UN!”
“Yeah…I don’t…I don’t get what you mean by that, at all.”
“YOU GUYZ ARE CHEE-“
“Yeah, whatever. Let’s get out of here.”
We mutually decided it was best to just leave, for fear that they may skin us alive and use our remains as lampshades, or whatever the people do for recreation around here…I mean, these morons were probably exactly what the fairy tales were attempting to warn us about…it’d be silly if we didn’t listen to the age-old advice…better safe than sorry and all that.
As soon as we had slipped away out of sight, we were met with another strange character…
“Well hi there, were are you off to then?”
He was pretty animated for a total stranger (early warning sign!), and we weren’t used to this kind of thing, but whether we liked it or not, this odd little English boy was forcing himself into our private space and attempting to squeeze friendly inane chat from us…
“QUESTION! Duzz…Harry…Potter…LIVE in a CAAAAA-SUL?”
This was a riddle intended to out-fox us, but as die-hard fans it didn’t quite turn out the way he had planned…so to make himself feel better he provided us with riddle after riddle…like some sort of freakish Gollum character…until we made our excuses and left…he promised he’d have more riddles for us tomorrow, OH JOY!
We spent the rest of our stay there in the pool, pretending to be Pokemon characters (water type only of course!), and fighting amongst ourselves for those coveted gym badges. Moral of the story, if there is one, is that everyone is weird in their own way; but at least your close family members are weird in a way you can truly understand and appreciate.
I know I’m lucky to have those four Squirtles, and I’m looking forward to visiting home next month to reunite with them!
Like this story? Then why not like the Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE!