I get so confused about the word "integration". I didn't even know how to spell it properly until, like, two months ago (thanks, Thilo), I always thought it was "intergration", like international. And I've never understood what it actually means.
I have a friend called Jürgen, for example. He is 39, a part-time tour guide, the dole pays his rent. He is severely addicted to Thai green curries and always jaunting off for meditation retreats. How is he more or less integrated than some German-Turk who drives a taxi and goes to the mosque once or twice a year? How? It's meaningless. It's a meaningless word.
An American told me recently – at an English-language comedy night, mind – that he didn't blame the Germans for wanting to protect their culture from foreign influences. Like, what the fuck? How is Starbucks less of a foreign influence than a couple of greengrocer's where you can buy slightly deformed aubergines? And how can it be so "good" for my son to grow up bilingual, and so "bad" for the kids next door?
I don't get it. I genuinely do not understand. Sometimes I think integration doesn't really exist at all, but is just an invisible Riesenwerkzeug which is being used to rape me in the throat again and again and again and again, until I vomit on the bathroom floor.
But, still. If integration does exist, Thilo says the Immigranten are much better at doing it in England than over here. And, seeing as how I always want to be helpful, I've thought up a few reasons why:
1) The English are all a bunch of slags anyway:
One time, when I went home to Ilford, me and my mum took my son out for a day at an artificial lake. Look, when you come from Ilford, you have to make do with artificial lakes, you know. You can't be lording it up at Müggelsee or whatever. We had to use the loos at the local yacht club, and as I walked in I saw two girls, done up to the NINES, or the ninety-nines to be more accurate: a blob of tangled blonde curls, too much eyeliner and very jangling earrings. I walked past them and went into the cubicle with Rico, and I remember, just before I shut the cubicle door, thinking: "Typical Essex girls." And then suddenly they started talking to each other, Schnitscky, Schnotschky, Trotschnky, and I realized: they were bloody Russians.
2) Ugliness is a factor:
Come on. Of course there's gonna be a bit more interracial mingling going on if the indigenous population all look like disabled-alien-lobster-trolls.
I think the people who came to England came from countries that were crap at football, hence avoiding any kind of Özil-type dilemmas. Incidentally, didn't Özil look fit as fuck after he scored Friday night? I fancy him anyway, but that grimace/grin/wink thing made me imagine what he'd look like if a condom got lost or similar.
4) The Germans are a bunch of miserable bastards:
One time, when I'd been living here for, ooooh, about five years, I was at the till at Plus when a granny started shouting at the cashier. The cashier kind of bristled and then shouted back at her. I watched them giving each other shit and I had this moment of Erleuchtung: half the time they're having a go at you, they're not being racist, they're just being miserable bastards. Coz it's what they do best.
"There's Russians moved in next door," says my mother, sniffing almost disapprovingly. "To the top flat, there's a lot of them living up there, five or six, I'd say, only it's hard to tell, really, coz they're always having parties. I don't get an invite, mind. Well, I don't blame them, really, they probably think I'm an old fart, I don't suppose they even thought of inviting that old fart next door.
"But you know what, Jacinta, they had a barbecue in the summer and they didn't invite any neighbours? I mean. I know for a fact that Joe and Christine at Number Seven didn't get one, I said to Christine, I said to her, like, 'maybe in Russia you don't invite your neighbours round when you have a garden party?' But we did think it was a bit odd.
"And, you know that Michelle from over the road, the Christian thingamabob one, she's ever so nice, actually, for a while I was thinking she was just looking to convert me, but no, she's actually just being nice for the sake of it, well, she didn't get an invite even though she's in their age bracket!
"So, I didn't like to sit in the garden while their barbecue was in full-swing, you know. It was a bit embarrassing, really, I could hear them all talking and laughing in Russian and that, and trying to get the barbecue sorted. So I had to go inside. I mean, probably, if I'd've stayed out there, they would've called over the fence: 'Would you like a sausage?' That's probably what would've happened.
"But I didn't like to think of them thinking I was prowling around outside, hoping for a sneaky invite, so I just went inside and sat in the kitchen. It was a nice day, too. If they'd've invited me, I would've brought my own sausages, like, my own packet of sausages. Oh, well.
"You know what I'm going to do? Come Christmas. I'm going to invite them round for a mince pie and a cup of tea. Just the Tesco ones, not the homemade ones, they probably won't know the difference, they probably don't have mince pies in Russia. And then, next summer, when they're planning their barbecue, they'll say to each other: 'I know! Why don't we invite that nice little old lady next door? She did give us a mince pie and a cup of tea at Christmas.' And then I'll just sit in the corner. I won't be in anyone's way."
No German person in the history of Germany has ever complained about a bunch of Russian Gastarbeiter next door not inviting them to a barbecue. Germans. They're not racist, they're just miserable bastards.
5) General shittiness of the oven gloves