I apologize in advance and if you don’t want to hear a little complaining you should just stop reading now. This post is half about German culture, but more about general pet peeve of mine. You see, since being here in Berlin we have been taking public transportation a lot. Whenever we have to take a train it requires taking an elevator up or down to the platform because we always have a stroller. There have only been a handful of times when no elevator was available, or at least I couldn’t find it. What I have encountered regularly is an inability to get on the elevator because it is full of seemingly able bodied people.
I have no other option than to take the elevator. You are not supposed to put a stroller on an escalator for safety reasons and while I have done it, taking the stroller up or down stairs alone is no easy feat. I need the elevator and unless you truly have to take it due to a a medical issue, age, or a lot of baggage please kindly take the stairs or escalator because I can’t. Now I realize that one cannot always tell by appearance if someone is able to take the stairs, so we have to operate on the honor system. If you really need to take the elevator too that’s totally cool, but otherwise don’t. At the very least let those that have to take the elevator on first and then wait for the next one if there is no room. Most of the time the alternative to the elevator is an escalator and in this situation I really don’t get the desire to take the elevator. You have to wait for it and it is often cramped. Plus it really requires no more effort to ride the escalator. You can even set your bag down on the stair while you ride. I wish I could take the escalator.
Now here is the part that is more about German culture. Even if you need to take the elevator if there is a line you get in line and wait your turn. Despite the Germans’ apparent love of rules and order they don’t really do lines, unless it is a clearly marked off one. It’s a free for all. Even if a line is formed people have no problem going in front of others and getting on an elevator or placing an order at the butcher stand. It drives me crazy. In the US we respect the line. Line cutting is considered rude.
This afternoon the elevator at the train station was unusually busy, so an informal line of mostly people with strollers was formed at the entrance. Everyone was respecting the line until one woman came up and tried to push her stroller in front of everyone. The line was about 5 strollers deep. I really had enough so I positioned my self in such a way that it prevented her from cutting everyone else off. When the elevator arrived I motioned the woman who had been waiting the longest to enter and almost everyone in the line made it on the elevator and the other woman had to wait. I wasn’t trying to be mean, but it just seemed so inconsiderate and I didn’t like the idea of this person pushing everyone around. I don’t understand why Germans don’t respect the line and in some situations it doesn’t bother me as much, but in this case it was really not alright.
Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest. In closing please remember that some people have to take the elevator and thank you America for respecting the line!
Tomorrow we are heading to Dresden for the day. Asha is super excited to ride the train. I’m sure we’ll get some great photos 🙂