A Draft

November 28, 2010

Disclaimer: I hope that those of my German friends who are now reading my blog have read other parts of this blog and understand that everything I write about is tongue-in-cheek; that I only write about things and people that I actually really love deeply (well, unless I state otherwise in my post). So all my lovely cultural stories I share about your fair land are shared solely because they are things I find absolutely charming about your country.

Back to posting:
So next to personal packages of kleenexes, crossing the street only at the intersection (which now I learned something new about, which will be shared in another post) and putting on slippers – the next most important thing to Germans is the air in the room in which you are currently existing. I never knew that so many things could “be” with the air in a room. In my American life, air in a room is either hot, comfy or cold. Other than that, I’d never really thought about it. But then I came to Germany and discovered something – they don’t have machines that blow the air around the room – you know, like air conditioners and furnaces. There’s really no need for AC except for a couple weeks a year, and they rely on radiators for heat. So I have discovered the states of air “being” and will share the different states over the next few posts.

Today we will focus on – “Es zieht”

This has got to be one of my most favorite German combination of words, because it is said so often, and each time it is said, I snicker. Literally translated, it means “it’s pulling” but in reality means that there is a draft. I’m not sure if there is anything worse in the German state of air “being” than a draft. I mean, the instant someone feels a draft, you’d think the headless horseman was on his way and the only way to protect yourself is to shut the windows. I’m not kidding. Seriously.

I could share so many wonderful stories, because I have heard this phrase so often in my German life, but I will share my most memorable. It was 10 years ago, and I was singing with the Kammerchor in Dresden. I came into a rehearsal about an hour or so into it (don’t worry, I was excused!!!). It was the middle of Winter, so it was rather chilly outside so the church was shut up tight, snug as a bug against the grueling wind and snow. With great expectation and desire for warmth, I opened the door and was met with…the wonderful smell of stale human. I mean, I’m talking, serious stale human. You can imagine my disappointment. I thought I was gonna die. Both the lack of oxygen and the smell entering my nostils brought on an acute case of hyperventilation/suffocation. Fortunately, a break soon occurred and someone had the great idea to open a window. I was thanking the Lord profusely. I mean, these people were all about to suffocate, and they didn’t know it! So a couple windows were opened and the human aroma began to leave. I kid you not, within about 30 seconds of the windows being open, someone yelled, “Es zieht! Es zieht!” and I was like, “Yes!!! And that is a good thing!!!” But alas, the headless horseman was on his way – and all my hopes of stale human leaving and oxygen returning were dashed.


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