I have recently been in touch with an old boyfriend - a German fellow named Axel. We broke up 6 years ago when I left San Diego to move to DC. We parted as friends, and we have stayed friends, although we really never see each other and at this point rarely correspond. I suppose it's more accurate to say that we're friendly, rather than friends. He imported a German wife - which I thought was a great idea - and they now have a baby and I imagine them to be quite Teutonically happy.
In our last IM conversation, the topic of relationships came up - his: good, and mine: varied. I wound up sending him a link to my Talladega Nights post, to which he said, "very interesting, kind of depressing." Which is of course true.
I was instantly reminded of how incredibly ill-suited we were for each other. We were very good friends, and we laughed a lot. But our personalities could not be more different. Axel is relentlessly happy. Even on bad days, life is great and he insists that he's happy. He staunchly refuses to have a dark side. I totally judged him for that.
As I said, we were so ill-suited. He was fairly inflexible, and really well organized, and, well, stereotypically German. I know I generalize - anything Axel did is still, in my mind, what all Germans do. I have no idea what's just Axel and what's really a German thing.
He had to work with east coast stock market time, so he was at work before six every morning. Which meant he was in bed by ten. Every night. There was no staying up late to watch a movie. There was no sleeping in. I mean, I could do these things, but I was doing them alone.
I remember when we started dating, when we were spending a few nights a week together and just establishing some sort of routine. We were sitting in the living room reading, and he got up and said "Quarter to 10! We floss now!" I swear to God he said that. He would regularly say "Ten o'clock! We sleep now!" It sounds insane to want to date someone who said those things, but I thought it was funny. I got so much entertainment from the way he put things.
When we went to his hometown to visit his parents for two weeks, everything about him suddenly made a lot more sense. Now, his parents are people who are retired, who have nothing they have to do at any particularly early time. And still they set breakfast for 8 am. No sleeping in, no missing breakfast. And never, ever, hey, let's just wake up late this once and have breakfast at 10! No, that kind of craziness does not happen.
Breakfast in the Axel parent household consists of fresh rolls, cold cuts, cheeses, and tea or coffee. Axel's dad gets up at 6 am, when the bakery opens, to buy the rolls. You have to put in your order the night before. You have to specify the type - plain or with seeds - and how many you plan to eat the next morning.
Whatever you ordered the night before, you are obligated to eat. If you only want one roll, and you asked for two, someone else has to eat the extra so it doesn't go to waste. Or if you change your mind and you're more in the mood for seeds than plain, well, you could swap with someone else, but you couldn't just take a seeded one. The same with coffee and tea. If you're typically a two-cup coffee drinker, there's enough for you to get your two cups. There's no having a penchant for tea one morning, or needing that third cup of coffee.
This sounds like I didn't like them, but I did. I just get a great deal of enjoyment talking about them. I loved his mother, and I really missed her after Axel and I broke up. She and I stayed in contact, and I visited them several years ago. Axel had clearly told them about the stories I had propagated, because they laughed when asking, the night before, what kind of roll I wanted for breakfast. They meant it, though.