I don’t like the Autobahn. I see it strictly as a means to an end - that of transport to the office or what I ultimately predict, an early grave. My first time on the German Autobahn was approximately 4 months prior to moving to Germany, as V thought it prudent I get a small taste of the country before living there. In hindsight, I suppose most people would have opted to get a taste for the country before actually DECIDING to move there.
Minor details I say.
Now, as far as these travel plans were concerned, they included a meet-up with V’s BF’s in Hamburg and then a road trip up the coast to the gem of Germany – an island known as Sylt. For the trip, V and I were to follow behind in a loaned car, as the BF’s had their teenage daughter and her bestie also in tow. From the minute we left the city and entered the Autobahn, I knew from that moment forward that my life would be irrevocably changed. I am not a religious woman but my spiritual conversion at that very moment was so profound that I suddenly started speaking in tongues (some might refer to it as uncontrollable sobbing) throughout the harrowing ride.
"Slow down," I screamed.
"Honey…I don’t know where we are going so I have to keep up with them."
"Keep up? Are you insane? We are going to die. Do you have a helmet? I need a helmet?! Pleeeassse give me a helmet!"
Now when I look back at this moment, it was clear to me that I had gone temporarily insane. My need to encase my head in a helmet was of no value when I knew the end would come with us enveloped in a metallic fireball of death and destruction. As this terrifying scenario continued to play out with me as its unwilling participant, I took equally horrifying note that as fast as we were going, there were a multitude of cars just simply flying past us.
"What’s wrong with these people? Where are the police? Where ARE the police?"
"Honey, we are Germans – we make best cars and we are best drivers." Please imagine this sentence being delivered with Terminator-like affectation.
"No you are a menace and this statement is of little consolation to this non-German who is a big fan of a 75 miles-an-hour legally-enforced speed limit."
I silently prayed for police intervention and his swift arrest.
I remember when I first heard of the Autobahn and in my ignorance, I actually thought it was a supped-up, super-secret roadway (I envisioned something with access gates and armed guards) that only the elitist of drivers were allowed entry. Big ole wake-up call when I learned it was just Germany’s version of your run-of-the-mill highway. The Autobahn does thankfully have areas where speed restrictions apply however regrettably, this leaves the remainder in my eyes a truly rag-tag Mad Max road adventure.
How I long for my own troupe of War Boys in their souped-up autos and assorted weaponry to help pave my way safely to the office.