Photo by Sigrid Malmgren
As Berlin's temperatures reach the high 90's (or for you Celsius folks: the high 30's), I'd like to say a few words from the perspective of the city's Texan community. But first:
A Texan dies and goes to Hell. The Devil, eager to torment the new arrivals, asks him with a sneer: "Is it hot enough for you?" But the Texan, a broad smile beneath his cowboy hat, replies: "This is just like Dallas in June!"
The Devil fumes and turns up the thermometer until the local demons start sweating. "Is it hot enough for you now?" he asks. "Why, this is just like July in San Antone!" the Texan answers and wipes his forehead with a bandana.
The Devil rages and raises the thermostat to its limit. Hell's already fiery landscape gets brighter as the infrastructure bursts into flame. But the Texan, still happy, explains: "This is just like Laredo in August!"
Then the devil has an idea: He turns the thermostat as low as it will go. And sure enough, the Texan is soon shivering and looking miserable. "How do you like it now?" the Devil asks. The Texan stutters: "But, but, but… Has Peer Steinbrück been elected German chancellor?"
It is hot. The air outside might soon be hotter than the inside of our bodies, and Berliners are scrambling for shade and water. It's so hot that the German federal elections – coming up in less than two months – have virtually disappeared from public consciousness.
We from Berlin's Texan community enjoy this time of year. During the roughly eleven months of winter, we are subject to ridicule for putting on two dozen layers, bunkering up inside and generally shivering. But at the height of summer, we feel tough: we might wear a jacket when it's 25 degrees, and short pants or sandals aren't really necessary for any day under 40. We can enjoy a laugh at the cost of Berliners who don't want to spend an afternoon in the sun at Tempelhofer Feld.
But I think we need to be honest. Sure, the temperatures at home might have broken the 40 degree mark a while ago, but are we really that tough? Every house, car, office and store in the Lone Star State is equipped with a gigantic air conditioning unit. On Berlin's hottest days, in contrast, people will be working in Döner Kebap shops that might be 10 degrees warmer than outside. So while we might have a lot to be proud of, we need to admit that we don't really have to deal with Texas heat either.
While all the locals are complaining, I'm going to finish this blog post while sitting on a sunny park bench and say: on September 22, when Germany votes, the good money is against Peer Streinbrück, chancellor candidate of the SPD. His loss is just about as certain as the return of Berlin's eleven-month winter. Until then, I'm going to be sitting out in the sun in a jacket and feeling tough.