The kids in Hamburg wear Rayban Wayfarers, just like the kids in Brooklyn. The servers in sit-down restaurants enter your order on a discreet touchscreen at the server’s station, just like they do in Chicago. The fusion restaurants are big into microgreens, just like they are in Austin. Not everything, however, is the same. Let’s play:
How to play: imagine that you are creating the world. In the following list of things that are different and/or availble in one country and not in the other, choose which you would include in your utopia, and which you would relegate to the very depths of hell.
• Paper at government offices is 1.5 centimetres longer in Germany than in the US, making it just barely long enough to dog-ear all of the documents sticking out of every folder I own. You’re God in this game, so which length would YOU choose? If you go with the longer size, that’s fine, but could you tell me why?
• Bed sizes are standardized in each country, but not to the same standard. Sheets, comforters, even pillows are not interchangeable. So, God, you tell me: 100x150cm or 60”x75”? YOU get to decide! Fun, no?
• Electrical outlets – 3 prong rectangular, 2-prong rectangular, or 2-prong round? Let us remember that the harnessing of electricity was invented in the US, and asking that the entire world convert to the US system is NOT like expecting everyone to speak English. Not at all.
• Swans that can fly. Yea or Nea?
• Assigned seating in the movie theatre. Please say yes. Please say yes. It’s awesome.
• Drive thrus. In Germany, even the drive-through car wash at the Shell station has you get out of your car. In the drive-through car wash! Ha!
• Nut butters (other than peanut,) corn tortillas, salsa.
• Very, very good coffee, surprisingly tasty milk, and a zillion delicious ways to eat cabbage.
• 75% Voting rate.
• Good Korean food.
• Kinder Eggs.
• Leash Laws.
All sorted? Have you created a magical land where you can have a ridiculously good espresso with an almond butter sandwich? And did you resist the temptation, in this utopia, to make the espresso available in a to-go cup from a drive-through? Good! Then try to figure out why, if in the US and in Germany we can all agree to use the same goddamn iPhone 4, we can’t get these other differences ironed out. Why all the cabbage but no Kimchi, Germany? Why the moratorium on fun bits of plastic inside children’s candy, USDA?