October 22, 2013 by fatcai
If you are an Irish person in Germany it is very easy to get in trouble with the police.
Germans love rules and laws you see and unlike Irish policemen who mostly don’t know any of the laws and spend a great deal of time bringing drunk people home from the pub in the back of their cars, German policemen really do know all the tiny little pointless pernickety little laws that presumably help Germany stay in such fine shape that it can keep all of Europe afloat, off by heart. And they aren’t afraid to use them. Oh no.
Fortunately for me though, being Irish in Germany will also get you right back out of trouble again fairly easily. The best investment I ever made was the 60€ I paid for my Irish passport back in 2008. That beautiful little ‘Get out of jail free’ card has saved me literally thousands in fines and legal fees.
So it all started a week after moving to Leipzig. French roommate and I decided to get ourselves some snazzy second-hand East German communist bicycles. And to celebrate our embracement of East German commy culture went to the pub, to the fabulous “Montagskneipe” where all sorts of foreign students and vagabonds gather to get ridiculously wasted on a Monday evening. On the way back at about 3am, cycling along Leipzig’s wide and wonderful streets, shit drunk and the wind in our hair we decided to race, whizzing along just about as fast as you can on a 40 year old bicycle. Upon taking a tight corner, French roommate was very unceremoniously flung from his bicycle and cut his finger in the process and the slight of blood sent him into a very typically French sort of panic.
Cue the German Polizisten who very nicely stopped their car to join the hysteria and get French roommate’s finger bandaged up. They asked to see our passports and innocently asked us if we had been drinking and we of course said ‘Yes.’ Then they smiled smugly and fetched a breathalyzer from the car. This was very confusing to me as bicycles are essentially just really fun toys that will actually get you places too. Drunk people play with toys!! This is just a simple fact of life! Anyhoo, French roommate was within the limits which was very surprising to all considering the hissy fit he had just thrown about his finger. Then they moved on to me.
Polizist: “Ve are wery sorry, Frau McCoy, but you have admitted to being drinking so you must blow here please.”
First blow. Confused look at reading.
Polizist: “Ve are wery sorry, Frau McCoy, but ze machine is not working. Please try again.”
Second blow. Confused look at reading.
Polizist: “Ve are wery sorry, Frau McCoy, but zees machine is completely kaput. Ve vill fetch another one.”
Third blow. Second machine. Bewildered look at reading.
Polizist: “Ve are wery sorry, Frau McCoy but you appear to be totally sloshed. We will now be taking you to the police station.”
What the fuck??
So yeah apparently driving a bicycle drunk is the same as driving a car drunk, and apparently this is the case in Ireland too. The difference is Germans actually enforce it and I have since met a lot of Germans who have got a DUI in this way but not one Irish policeman who said they would ever enforce this law.
So I got taken to the police station, told I could lose my driving license, told I would have to pay around €3000 in fines, told I needed a lawyer and then told we would have to wait quite a while for a doctor to come and take a blood sample to confirm the breathalyzer reading. So I used this time constructively to make friends and word spread slowly round the police station that they had caught a real life leprechaun, a drunken red haired Irish girl speaking almost fluent German. By the time the doctor came I had about 9 policemen in the room with me chatting and laughing about French people and France in general and them marveling at my magical Irish ability to appear sober and sensible whilst science said I was completely schwasted. Obviously there is no actual crime in Leipzig.
After the policemen dropped me back to a sleeping French roommate guarding our commie bikes, I asked what would happen next. He laughed, patted me on the back and told me not to worry. German roommates saw this differently though. They began freaking me out with tales of friends and relations having to pay upwards of €2000 for such an offence. I began to shit bricks.
Two weeks later though, a letter came from Stadt Leipzig. Penalty of 30€. Thank you fucking awesome Irish charm.
So what is it about the Irish that lets them get away with anything? Is it because no one takes us seriously, just sees us as little kids that just need a wee slap on the wrist? Do they recognize they won’t change anything as Irish people were pretty much put on the Earth to disregard all rules and plod along merrily doing pretty much what they please? I feel like a good German would recognize the inefficiency of trying to perform such a futile exercise as get an Irish person to do what they are told.
So yeah, like I said, get an Irish passport. They seem to be pretty easy to get. All you have to do is be vaguely related to someone who may or may not have ever visited Ireland, pay 60€ and that golden ticket to doing whatever the fuck you want and getting loads of free drinks and things is yours.