You might think that on a sunny day like this, the beginning of a new month, I would be in a super good mood. But for many different reasons I am not, today, what you might call a happy camper. The main thing that’s bugging me is the hullabaloo there seems to be in Germany on this 1st day of May – or the whole month, for that matter.
First of all, it’s ascension day. Big whoop you might think – just as much as I – and furthermore, aren’t church and state supposed to be separated? Did they get a divorce counselor and are trying to patch things up or what? Now from a religious point of view, which I frankly can’t share, you might be happy that this glorious occasion has been given its own day. Hooray for acknowledging the importance of … whatever the hell it stands for (I have no idea and I don’t care, I am a full-blown atheist, so shoot me). From everybody else’s point of view it’s more like: hooray, a day off. And it’s Thursday, so why don’t we take the Friday along with us! And yeah, sure, days off are totally the salvation of some people, and I’m happy for them. But to me it doesn’t mean squat. Not only am I working today like every other day, but I am also impaired through these circumstances. See the thing is, that I work at home. I work on my own time, kinda, which is pretty much all the time. The only way I notice that today is a holiday, is that everything is closed. Just like on Sundays I’m thinking: what the hell? Why does the whole country have to shut down? Not only can you not run errands, go shopping or do anything else that requires stores to be open, but even cafés and bars and restaurants close. The whole city is dead. And I feel trapped.
That could explain the name this holiday has abroad, for instance in France: work holiday. In Germany they call it: may holiday. Now that’s just a dumb name if you ask me. Of course there are those that call it ascension, I’ll be calling it mayday. MAYDAY! is also what they seem to be yelling in the streets, for those who do feel active enough to get out today. It may not be called work holiday here, but the spirit is there. Today is the day the working class gets to demonstrate (yay!). Not like in France, when people barricade the streets every time they’re not happy (like, all the time) and go on strike for about, oh, let’s say a month. No, here it has to be organised! So, dear working people, if you’re not satisfied with your working conditions, please wait until May 1st to hit the streets. That way, the responsibles won’t give a crap if you’re chanting: “wir sind auf den straßen statt in der fabrik, das ist unsere antwort auf eure politik” – ’cause you wouldn’t be in the factories today anyway. It’s a day off.
Speeking of politics, what a nice day to combine all of this with a little rumble between the angry mobs, don’t you think? It’s tradition! We do it every year! It might lose it’s point that way, but what the hell! Let’s rejoin all the lefties and the righties and let them loose on each other – what fun! (Btw: I am not referring to which hand is dominant, but what political side you’re on. Conservative or liberal, republican or extreme democrat). So tonight on the news: a bunch of colored-haired, pierced punks run toward a ranting bunch of no-haired, booted skins. And in the middle: little green men, also known as the armed forces. And the result? Ziltch. Nada. Nothing. Or as I like to put it: bubkes.
You’d think that would be enough for one day, but it doesn’t stop there. Not only is today ascension, mayday, report your unsatisfiedness day and name your political direction day, it’s also fathers day. Now isn’t that a wonderful combination? Hey dads, we’d like to celebrate you – here you go, a nice aggression-ladded, already taken holiday. Enjoy. Because where I come from, father’s day is an actual parallel to mother’s day. It’s there to show your dads that you care, give them a present, spend some time with them. Here, in this wonderful patriarchal society, it is strategically placed on a holiday, because when else are the breadwinners supposed to have time to do something else? And that something else would not be actually celebrating family values, no, it is to do what “real men” do – get drunk. Apparently, that is the whole purpose of dads day in Germany, let the men drink their beer and zonk out.
A propos getting shit-faced drunk, you know what else is tradition on the 1st of may? Hangovers. Because apparently, may is not just some month you can begin like the others. No, may is a month to be danced into. The night before, all over town, there are special events regarding this. It is an obligation to go out, drink, dance and party till you drop – right into may. So on this bright and perky day of spring the kids are hungover, the dads are drunk and the wives? can just be happy the weather is nice. Hey, wouldn’t this call for a spring cleaning? Come on women, you know you want to. And at the end of the day, when all might come back to their senses, you could reward them with the official drink: a may punch. Ooh and I almost forgot: there are also may trees! But don’t ask me the story behind those, I really don’t know. All I remember is driving through Germany as a kid and yelling “Maibaum!” anytime we’d see one. From my point of view, the goal was to say it first.
Now frankly I must ask: what is so special about this month in this country that it gets it’s own named holiday, it’s own named alcoholic beverage, it’s own named trees and a bunch of amped up people? Is it the hope that April showers really do bring May flowers? That the grey and cold times are over? Is the world a better place now? Someone please tell me, for the sake of integration: what the f is the big deal?