Anyone that’s been here in ze Deutschland for more than five minutes knows that the Germans have a lot of rules. One of the most perplexing for us foreigners seems to be the one regarding Ruhezeit, or, quiet time. Quiet time is serious business.
This isn’t the case in every part of Germany, but here in Bavaria, all day Sunday falls into the Ruhezeit category, which is why everything is closed. At this point, I really like it. But the first few times I forgot to pick something up on a Saturday, panic! Thankfully when I lived in Nürnberg, there was the train station. Here in the village, it’s a bit more tricky. We have a Shell station, but they don’t sell toilet paper. Luckily BV and I have done pretty well at Sunday preparedness (knock on wood, press thumbs, etc.) at least, so far.
But it’s not just Sundays in Bavaria. Supposedly in the past, there was also quiet time every day from 12-2 in the afternoon, but that’s thankfully no longer in practice. Nowadays, the usual time is from 10pm until 5 or 6am, depending on who you ask. During those times (and Sunday), you aren’t supposed to engage in any loud activities that might disturb your neighbors. That can be anything from mowing the lawn, to running a dishwasher, or putting up a picture in your house. Sound inconvenient? Yep, sometimes.
A lot of this of course, depends on your neighbors, and their level of asshattery. When I had my flat in Nbg, all the apartments around me were empty, and my washing machine was in the attic. I had exactly zero problems with noise from anyone else, and no-one ever scolded me about yelling during Packer games. However, I’ve heard from plenty of other people about neighbors who complain about nearly everything. Here in ze village, BV and I are in the upstairs of a house, with no one living below us. So again, we can do whatever we want, even operating a saw on a Sunday. Nobody judges us, except the cat of course.
Last fall, when I moved to the village, I thought I was leaving the loud city life behind me (for a while, at least). I said, “Tschüss, bitches,” to the screaming kids in the park…. the ones who were usually so loud that I questioned if they were playing or lighting each other on fire.
1) It was lovely.
2) It was the quietest moment this park ever saw.
I also said, “Tschüss, asshats,” to the people who treated the park as an all-night party spot. Because what says “good times” like drinking on a ping-pong table?
Preparing for the all-night party, I’m sure. I particularly enjoyed it when the groups of kids would gather, and listen to music. On their phones. Do you know what makes techno music even better? Listening to it on full volume from a cell phone. All night.
But the village. The village would be quiet. The village would be lovely. There would be no violation of the Ruhezeit rules in the village… because people smile at each other here and say hello in the streets. It’s all civilized and lacks the anonymous rule-flouting that comes in the city.
I’m a moron.
Every Monday, at 5:54 am, it starts.
Normally I love our convenient train station-adjacent location. But next to the train station, you find this…
Yes, our friendly neighborhood recycling station. Those first five green/white bins are for old clothes and shoes. No problems there. But the six white/green/brown bins? Those are for glass. All the glasses that you can’t take back for Pfand, need to go in there. I fully admit that I have contributed more than my share of wine bottles to those containers, so they are useful. But they are emptied every Monday morning, typically starting at yes, 5:54.
That’s right, six rounds of smashing glass, at an hour of the day that should not involve anyone doing anything. Ever.
Windows open, windows closed, it makes no difference. The smashing glass bores straight into my ears. And since it’s the government taking care of this, there isn’t much that can be done about it. I’ll assume that they are in the camp that Ruhezeit hours end at 5am. Grumble.
But they are not the only ones. Here is a short list of other Ruhezeit violators, both large and small.
1) Tomcats. As in many villages, we have quite a few cats roaming about. Their hobbies include killing mice and leaving them on my sidewalk, using our garden as a litterbox, creeping on me when I’m reading in the garden, and of course, trolling for dates at 2am. There’s a particularly fat Tabby, that has one eye and an ear on the side of his head. I like to think he’s the loudest one. And in true appreciation of their talents, Marry the Cat has slept through the show every time.
2) Construction trucks. Two kilometers down the road in the next village, there is a ton of new construction going up. Since our street connects that village to the main road (and thus the highway), we are on the main thoroughfare for allllllll the trucks. So again, starting about 5-6am, there are huge construction trucks rumbling and banging past the house. Quiet time aside, this goes on all day. And it scares the crap out of the cat almost every time. This road will be in dire need of resurfacing by the time they are done with all the new homes, and I told BV that we might want to think about moving before that happens.
3) Omas and Opas. BV disagrees with me on this one, saying that they are out and about at a reasonable hour, but I disagree. Our corner is often a meeting point for the old folks of the village while they’re out on their morning strolls. It may not be smashing glass, but their Kaffeeklatsch outside my window at 7:30 feels like a violation to me.
4) All-night train station party-ers. July and August were particularly bad on this front, due to the school holidays. To be clear, our train station consists of two glass shelters, and a building that is no longer used. But the kids still hang out there and party. Then they walk home, and have long-drawn out goodbyes on our corner, which often include stuffing beer bottles in our hedge. A few weeks ago, I went to catch the train and noticed that an entire wall of the glass shelter had been smashed. No idea when that happened, but hey, at least I didn’t hear it! Maybe that was one of the margarita nights… yes, I’m night-drinking to ensure solid sleep.
5) Martens. What’s a marten, you ask?
Cute, right? I do love a furry critter. I love them less though when they are having their own all-night parties in the forest across the street. There was one night when it sounded like there were at least 50 of them. They sound a bit like small dogs, which means that there is a lot of yapping and some squeaking involved. It seems to have tapered off in the last couple of weeks, but earlier this summer it was out of hand. If that was mating season, I shall be investing in some ear plugs for next year.
So, who’s the worse Ruhezeit violator in your neighborhood?