After I leave here in a couple weeks, there are going to be a lot of things I will miss about Germany. Sunday isn’t one of them.
Finally. I had been waiting days for the weather to break. Rain, cold, snow, wind–almost every day this week has been the same. About two hours ago, while I was cleaning out my bedroom, I saw a strange glimmer on the wall—the sheen of natural light peaking through the window. There was a gap of blue between the clouds. I raced out to the car, hooked up the bike rack and put my bike on it. Off I went to the self-service car wash to powerwash away the grime so that the bike would be clean enough to ship back to the States. After that I was going to return with the car and do the same.
So I got there and plugged some change into the machine. Nothing. Put the coin in again. Nothing. The machine wouldn’t accept any coins. Broken, I thought. Or maybe it was full and couldn’t hold any more money. I moved the car to another bay. Again, nothing. It takes credit cards, so I tried that. Nothing! Again! I tried a third and gave up.
No signs. No explanation. Just the shared German expectation, apparently, that washing your car on Sundays is verboten. It doesn’t matter that the exercise in vehicular cleanliness bothers not a soul and requires no one to work on their “day of rest.” Never mind the fact that in this post-religious society there is no scriptural basis for closing—which wouldn’t be justification anyway. It is simply that YOU WILL NOT DO ANY WORK ON SUNDAY!
I wanted to scream. But that’s one of the problems with the tyranny of bureacracy: at whom would I curse? Rules that are made for everyone are made by no-one. Complaining is like punching the wind.
Unfortunately, America is playing catch up with ther Germans. Whether it’s a sex shop in Missouri or incandescent light bulbs in your home, American government of both the left and the right is increasingly comfortable telling you how you must live your life. It wasn’t always like this. But unfortunately it’s one of the perils of big government. When government is responsible for 40% of a nation’s spending, government will necessarily involve itself in 40% of its countrymen’s decisions.
Sad. Sad too is the fact that my narrow window of opportunity is now closed; it’s raining again.
I’ve received a few emails. Some with similar stories. Others expressing support for the idea of a mandated day of rest.
Here’s the thing about the soft tyranny of bureaucracy: if you stimulate soft tyranny enough, it will grow hard.