You can take off the black armbands and stop writing all those yearning emails. Konrad is back. The winter of your soul is over, even if the real one is closing in. And I've been trying to work out what's happened since I've been gone, locked away, floating in a steel box across the ocean.
Not very much it seems. Or in other words, all of Germany's miserable stories have crawled a little further forward, like tortoises towards a spot of shade in their brains. Instead of not allowing the Turkish ambassador into the NSU trial, they are now not allowing any Turkish journalists in. Sorry, forgetting that they might want to get in too and deciding it will look fine to give all the seats to German journalists.
Then the floundering dregs of the NPD, who last I saw were being fined by the Bundestag for administrative improprieties, have been forced to sack their Berlin workers and call off their party conference while elsewhere another Mediterranean country discovers the bitter hilarity of the Angela Merkel/Hitler parallel. Back in Germany everyone still loves her, and SPD candidate Peer Steinbrück is digging his own election grave and becoming Germany's version of Gordon Brown without even getting to be in charge for a bit first. It's like I was never away. It's all been mentioned before.
The only difference now is that there's a nuclear war about to break out, and so it all seems like we might be rearranging the furniture, looking for the sunniest spot on a giant ship about to kill us all. And it's still just as cold as it was when I left.