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Published: February 2nd 2015
In the hospital
The face is meant to be a smile, not pain.
Since I have been back in Germany since being in England for Christmas, I have been doing quite a lot more than I did before. I go out with friends at least two or three times a week, and it's cool. However, last week was a stressful one. I had run-ins with the police, and someone ran-into me (in the literal sense), meaning I ended up at a hospital. It's a delightful little tale, so sit back and enjoy. It starts with a (not so terrible) crime, leads into a nail-biting dramatic crash, but has a pleasant to end it. I'll let you into a secret; I make it into the sequel.
OK, well I have my car with me here in Germany. When I came in September, I drove down through France and into Germany; so that I would be able to drive around and see Germany. So I have now been here for five months, and everything has been fine with the car. I display my little GB sticker to show them I am a "bloody foreigner", I have the light deflectors on my headlamps to avoid dazzling the German Autofahrers, and I have winter tyres on my
car (which is legally necessary in Germany). I was driving back home from seeing a friend of mine who lives about 45 minutes away, when I noticed something in my rear-view mirror. "STOP. POLIZEI". I immediately checked my speed (which was belong the speed limit) and pulled over. The policeman approached my car and stood next to the window. This was the first time I have ever been stopped by the police in my four years of driving, so I think I was a bit confused. He stood next to my window, and I just stared at him haha. I don't know what I was thinking, really, but my mind was going into panic I think. He gestured for me to wind down the window, so I did. I gave him a big smile and said "Guten Abend". I am surprised I didn't get breathalysed, cos he must have thought I was acting odd. Anyway, the policeman was friendly enough (as friendly as a German police officer can be), and he explained that I needed to pay car tax for my car in Germany. I had no idea that this was the case, and I had to give him this in a statement. The way he was talking about it though was quite worrying. He said "I don't think that there will be any punishment for this
", which made my mind immediately think, "I am going to be in prison for the rest of my year abroad." He then had to take my name, address and driving licence, and he went back to his car with this information. The week previously, I had also been schwarzfahren
ing (fare-dodging) on the U-Bahn in Stuttgart, and had been given a ticket. I hadn't paid for it at this point, and my mind was racing with things like, "Oh man, I haven't paid for car tax here in Germany, and I have a fare-dodging fine. I'll be in Shawshank hiding from the sisters before the week is out." He came back and said that I was able to go, but I would be contacted soon about the car tax situation. For the rest of the journey home I had this intense paranoia that they were following me. Looking back on it now, I was thinking along the lines that I was a criminal on the run from the police or something, when it was really a small, I wouldn't even call it a crime.... mistake. I was still convinced that as soon as I sped up a bit, there would be a SWAT team of Germans shooting at my car.
Saturday arrived, and I went back to Stuttgart to see my mates. We had all been Go-Karting in Decemeber last year and really enjoyed it, so we decided to go back. I really enjoy it, and I am actually quite good at it. Last time we went, I came second place out of seven. I was beaten by this German guy who was insanely good. This time, I was determined to win. After the warm-up/position determining laps, I was placed in first place. When the race began, I kept my lead and was zooming and drifting round the course like it was nobody's business. Extra fast laps, lapping some of the other twelve karters as I went round. About five or ten minutes before the end, I was attempting to swerve around and lap one of the slower racers. They suddenly braked, as to not go too fast round a corner, but I was already too close to them. I then had to brake too, to avoid smashing them in the back. Just as I was about to set off again, I was suddenly smashed into on the right-hand side of my kart. Both my legs crashed together and my left leg cracked against the inside of the kart, as I got knocked into the wall. The immediate pain was quite bad. My knee had like a burning sensation in it, and having it bent was painful. This happened about a quarter of the way around the track, so I had to drive round the rest of the track and leave my kart abandoned as a hopped out. The staff weren't particularly helpful as all. One guy got me an ice pack and then left me again. This was the extent of the help I received. I sat on a chair in the waiting room thinking, "I am sure it is broken." I tried to bend it once, and a nasty crack filled me with dread. Whilst I waited for the others to finish, a man who was waiting to go into the track said something to me and gave a little laugh. I was really angry, as my knee was hurting and he was laughing at me. I shouted at him "Findest du das witzig? Es tut weh." He looked a bit taken aback, and said that he only asked if I needed help. I guess the laugh afterwards may have been a nervous once, or maybe he was some kind of Dr. Hibbert character. I felt really guilty after this, and apologised for my outburst. My friends finally finished, and I explained to them that I couldn't walk, and that I would have to go to hospital. I got a taxi there (which cost twenty-one Euros... remind me never to take a taxi to a hospital again), and was put in a wheelchair when I arrived. The hospital was really smart. It looked more like a fashionable library than a hospital, and it was really empty. I went in to see the doctor after being there less than five minutes, and was then taken for X-Rays. Everyone was really great there and I felt a lot more at ease than I would have done in a hospital in the UK. When I later got the receipt for my treatment, which was six hundred Euros, I realised why it was so nice. It's crazy for me to think that I would have (or my insurance) would have to pay six hundred Euros, when all that happened was the doctor looked at my knee and I had some X-Rays. The short of it was that the knee wasn't broken, just badly bruised. I got it all wrapped up and had some pain-killer gel stuff put on there, and all was well. As my mate was pushing me out of the room in the wheelchair, my leg got caught under a chair next to the door, and I started getting pulled off haha. My pained screams surely attracted some attention. Another embarrassing James Reed episode (which I know you all crave) was when I was having my X-Rays done. The woman who was doing them asked me where I was from. I said that I was from England, and she told me she didn't like English people (typical German racists lol). I asked her why, and she said "because my husband had a run-in with some football hooligans in Manchester". I laughed a lot at this and said "haha, the hooligans are fine", to which she told me it wasn't funny, as they had called her husband a Nazi and had smashed his face in. I then had to sit in the awkward silence that followed this news. What was I meant to do? Apologise for what someone in my home country had done to her husband? Instead I just said that Manchester is a dump, and you shouldn't trust the people up there.
I was dealt with quickly and calmly in the hospital, and I could not have asked for better service. The pain-killer gel really helped on my knee, and I was then able to get up and walk back to the train station with my friends. We then went and had our dinner in the Weinstube Kachelofen in Stuttgart. Whilst we were in there, the French guy who was the one who had crashed into me in the first place, shoved a chair into my knee whilst making his way to the toilet.
So, as I mentioned, the story ends nicely. Well, I ended it with me having a chair pushed into my damaged knee... so it's not particularly a happy ending, but it could be worse. I also want to share the chalk drawing that one of the students at the school drew of me on the board during my lunchtime club. I find it startlingly realistic.
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