I live in a small university city in Bavaria, in southeast Germany. Our crime rate is embarrassingly low. Most crimes involve bicycles or students, or combinations of both: student-steals-bike, bike-stolen-from-student, student-run-over-by-bike, bike-run-over-by-student etc. The local police force seems to spend a lot of time cruising in their green-and-white police cars, desperately looking for crimes to solve. Sometimes, out of pity, I deliberately loiter and try to exude mischief and/or criminal intent, just to give them something to scowl at. Sadly, with my purple duffelcoat and satchel, I do not pose much of a threat. Occasionally a squad car might slow and I'll see a police officer peer hopefully out the window, but when they realise that I'm not about to spray graffiti or steal some child's pocket money, they keep going.
Things are changing in Gingerbreadtown, though. I feel we are veering into a full-scale crime bonanza. On Sunday afternoon, Mr G. and I meandered over to the Botanical Gardens. It was there that we noted with horror that some fiendish gang of horticultural bozos had had their wicked way in the greenhouses and had stolen not one, but three plants! The staff of the Botanical Gardens had decided to go with vigilante justice and marked the scene of the crime with reproachful little signs saying 'stolen!' (with an exclamation mark. Take that, you dirty scoundrels!)
|That showed you, you plant plucker. Return the cactus tout de suite!|
Guess what had happened? Brace yourselves, readers, because this next bit is going to be gruesome:
A tree had fallen over.
Or maybe - maybe it had been pushed.
A fence was very nearly damaged.
Five policemen and one policewomen had rushed to the scene of the crime to take notes and photos (with sirens blazing, I hope - but I missed that bit.)
WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO? At this point, I am seriously considering moving to a more stable environment, like Johannesburg or Mexico City. I fear for my life. Will my bike fall victim to thievery? Will someone stomp on the daffodils outside our front door? I quake at the thought.
Naturally, I have become more cautious and now I'm seeing the world in a different light:
Things will never be the same again.