Of course I wish you all the best for the new year, but I guess you could get tired to read it as a headline in the most first posts of the year all over the world. That’s why I want to start this blogging year with the a short experience I had with the German police on the evening of December 27:
On the “third” Christmas day I had to go home by train from Heemskerk (what’s in the north of the Netherlands, I think) to Heerlen (that’s where I live). Simone and I were in Heemskerk during the Christmas days at her parents place and because I had work to do, I decided to go home earlier. The trip home went well. When I arrived in the evening I noticed that I was completely forgotten to eat. Yes, this happens on a regular base, but I don’t ignore my belly when it makes weird noises.
I don’t know exactly how late it was, but it was dark and because it was cold as well and I was to lazy to go by feet to the next fastfood restaurant in my neighborhood, I decided to get my ’91 Jaguar XJ40 out of the garage. Just to combine these things:
- Getting rid of this noisy stomach
- Drive this old Jag more than just a couple of kilometers
- Don’t get cold feed whilst walking to a food temple
As we live near the German borders it seemed a good idea to go to a Turkish restaurant in Germany where I knew that the food was tasty. The engine of my XJ40 started immediately after 3 weeks of standing still. As we have traffic cams all over the highway I used my cruise control to slowley move the cat to my destination. The highway was pretty empty and I enjoyed the night ride. I love driving at night. It’s kind of romantic.
When I crossed the German border I saw a couple of big BMW’s in front of the police station and it didn’t took long that I saw this vehicles first in my mirror and seconds later in front of me, just before I took the first exit that would led me to the restaurant. When I drove in the direction of the exit, the BMW in front of me suddenly decided to take this exit as well. ‘Duh’, I thought, ‘Think I’m stupid? I know you are police men.’ For a second I also thought that it could be criminals, but that thought ended abrupt when they made clear that they where police officers and I had to follow them to a save spot between the traffic lights. I did what they wanted and was pretty annoyed as I was hungry and wasn’t motivated to leave the warm car.
A blond female police officer shone in my face with a torch whilst leaving her bully car and I took my papers and handed them to her immediately after opening the door of my car. Just to make this as short as possible. As always I kept friendly and calm, but I noticed right away that there was no sense of humor on the side of the German Autobahnpolizei (Highway Patrol). When the police woman said: ‘Guten Abend, Autobahnpolizei’ the first thing I had in mind was to refer to a (even in Holland) populair tv-show about this department, called Cobra 11 – Die Autobahnpolizei. As they semingly thought that I was a criminal, crossing the borders in a sougth after car as a camouflage, to bring great amounts of drugs into Germany, I did not make that joke about the tv-show as I first intented.
In fact it was no more than a normal traffic control as they said, but I got cold feeds by standing all the time behind my car. I had to come outside because they thought I could kill them when they investigate the content of my trunk.
The interesting thing of this all was the psychological portion. They asked me where I was going that late and I couldn’t resist the tension to ask a little provoking if it was forbidden to come to Germany in the dark. I did not tell what I was up to and said that I was doing a test ride instead. They told me that they never have heard that before and they where repeating it over and over again during the conversation. Just because it did not fit into their mindset that someone has the idea to do a test ride with his car, that stood a long time still, in the dark, they where convinced that I was up to something unusual or illegal. Funny.
At some point the woman officer tried to give me the order to get all the tools and bottles with fluids out of my trunk. I have a bunch of it in the trunk and I could imagine what was next: they let me put all the stuff out of the trunk, find nothing what they suspected and leave while I stand in the cold putting it all back on my own in the cold and the dark. This was the moment when a tip from Derren Brown (you read about him on Monday) came into my mind. I did not follow this part of the conversation but began with her college a conversation about living in the Netherlands, writing books, handing him my card, asked him to visit my website when they are at their office and so on. Everything was fine as long as I did not follow in the unwanted part of the conversation. The result was that I did not had to empty my trunk, they left me alone two minutes later and I made the decision not to have my meal in Germany.
Instead this was what I did:
- Driving home and put my car back into the garage
- Walking through the cold to the food temple in my neighborhood
- Getting rid of my noisy stomach after all
No bad feelings, but I am really happy not to live in Germany.
Bless you all (even the Autobahnpolizei)