Even though I have been living in Germany long enough to know just about everything useful, today I was confronted with something brand new. Even though I should have know it since it is the law. No vacuuming on a Sunday! True. The lady at the gas station told me. And she sounded very convincing, I assure you. No way I would have crossed her.
It all started because my car has a problem and needs to go to the garage tomorrow. Last time I brought it to the garage, it was so dirty and this was embarrassing because I am not that person. Normally, I am spic and span, all tidy and clean. This time, I wanted to make sure my car was cleaned up before bringing it in. The first time they may have thought it was dirty by chance, but a second time would not reflect upon me very well. My plan was to go to the gas station on Sunday afternoon when I would have loads of time to wash and clean my car, and fill up the tank.
When I went to pay and asked the cashier to give me small change for the vacuum cleaner, she said “Nein, das geht gar nicht!” (No, this doesn’t work!) At first, I thought their vacuum cleaning machine was broken, but her attitude towards me indicated a bit more than that. She told me the vacuum cleaner was too loud. Huh? “Yes, the neighbors complain when our vacuums are on.” Are you serious? “Yes, of course. Sunday is a Christian day of rest, I don’t vacuum at home either. It would make too much noise for the other apartment dwellers.” O.K……..um hm.
Now the fellows behind me in line were discussing whether car washes were allowed to be open or not. The consensus was that neither car washes, nor vacuum cleaners are allowed to be used on a Sunday at gas stations in Germany. I was so astounded that I was speechless, and kept saying intelligent thinks like “Really?” “Wow, interesting to learn.” In no way did I want to be offensive but I felt flabbergasted that I was prohibited from cleaning my car. I just couldn’t fathom it, and the cashier made it her duty to keep me from breaking the law, bless her. I thanked her very much and wished her a nice Sunday, and I couldn’t help but seeing the two fellows in line behind me chuckling.
Tomorrow, very early in the morning, I will take my car, not terribly clean to the dealer for repair. So much for worrying about my reputation as a clean person. I guess it’s better than being a law breaker.