Roland Dürre
Tuesday July 30th, 2019

Frankfurt in Nauders

 

How I became the victim of violence that I cannot understand.

 

Norbertshöhe – Postcard Idyll in the Alps.

This year in July, I spent some time in Schlanders in beautiful southern Tyrolia, where I joined the soccer players of SpVgg Unterhaching – who were in a training camp – for a few days. We (Barbara, Maresa and yours truly) took the EC from Munich East to Innsbruck and from there we rode our bikes along the Inn cyclist’s path to Martina. Then we continued upwards to the Norbertshöhe.

The cyclist’s path from Innsbruck to Norbertshöhe is really beautiful and you can easily manage it with one overnight stay (we spent the night in Zams). The second day is topped by eleven switchbacks that wind their way to Norbertshöhe over a few hundred metres of altitude. There is an Alpine Restaurant , also called Norbertshöhe, where you can very well rest overnight. After that, it is only a leisurely and quick day to Schlanders.

The only damper on this route is the fact that some of the way on this nice road to Martina, even though it is a cyclist’s path and separate from the street, it goes right alongside the highway.

After a nice and very comfortable night on the Norbertshöhe, we continued in the morning of July, 5th, 2019 on the cyclist’s path to Nauders.

On this day, in Nauders, between 9:03 a.m. and 9:09 a.m., I fell victim to a crime of violence that hit me totally unexpectedly. I remember the exact time very well because I had been using the google maps function “my time axis”.
Today, I heard a lot on the radio about the Frankfurt crime of violence. Consequently, I also remembered what happened to me in Nauders. Let me relate to you what an unthinkable thing happened to me.

The cyclist’s path runs right through the very touristy place Nauders. There are many shops. The street through Nauders is used by pedestrians, cyclists and cars. We stopped in front of a sports shop with a big open space in front. Barbara and Maresa went shopping and I remained outside with the bikes.

According to google, I spent around five minutes in front of the shop. Then my ladies exited the shop, mounted their bikes and continued riding them.

I also wanted to mount my bike and ride after them. That was exactly the moment when I felt a really strong, totally unexpected push into my back. Only with a lot of luck and dexterity, I managed to avoid a fall on my face.

And I saw how a tall and huge gentleman who looked totally normal moved away from me with very quick steps and an extraordinarily upright posture.

I was at a loss. My companions had already left. I really did not feel like following the man and asking him what this had been all about. So I followed my two ladies and told them what had happened.

The general opinion was that something like going to the police would probably not make sense, on top of causing a lot of trouble and wasting time. I would probably have had to see a doctor, too. We already had lost a lot of time and wanted to be on our way.

Consequently, we tried not to let our good mood be dampened and continued. And we really enjoyed the nice way down to Southern Tyrolia. Which was well: the body part where I had been injured still hurt for a few days whenever I made a wrong move, but after about three days, all was well again.

During the rest of the journey, I kept wondering what had happened. For me, the most plausible explanation was that some kind of village fool had been angry about something and consequently let out steam on me. Was it my eBike (they say that some people get angry when they see bikes, especially eBikes)? Had I actively annoyed him (as a bike rider)? Perhaps not, because I had been standing in front of the shop for some minutes already and I make it my rule to always be extremely considerate in these mixed zones, especially when it comes to pedestrians. But can I really be sure? Or was it only my clothes or my nose that he did not like? Perhaps he envied me because I had two beautiful female companions? Or was he mistaking me for an Austrian politician? How am I supposed to know what went on in the brains of my attacker?

Later that day, when we were taking a break in Glurns I had a shocking idea.

Somehow or other, my brains had processed the question: 
”What would have happened if the attacker had used a knife as his weapon“? 
I had a mental concept of myself lying in a puddle of blood, then fighting for my last bit of life in a hospital and having to spend the rest of my miserable life in a wheelchair because of the lasting damage.

But it is probably statistically quite normal that, if you are soon seventy years old, you will also know the experience of anonymous violence. I remember that one of my sons at one time was beaten by public school classmates in an Ottobrunn school without any imaginable reason. Just because he was strolling over the railway station plaza at the wrong time of day. And because he was a student at grammar school.

Except I must not continue with this train of thought. Because if I do, I might get the idea that the probability of an SUV taking me down from my bike is a lot higher and that the consequences of such an event will usually be a lot worse than those of what I experienced in Nauders. Except that it is socially tolerated and happening on a daily basis that someone takes down a person who rides a bike (or, nowadays, an e-scooter). It happens all the time. And then it is considered unfortunate or, at best, treated as a minor breach of law.

But if we have pointless violence by someone who is probably in some way mentally unfit, then this is communicated as a national catastrophe. And all of Germany is concerned and everybody cries and even the Mister Federal Minister of the Interior interrupts his vacation.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday June 19th, 2019

(Deutsch) Von Moskau nach Peking mit der Bahn! #6 Kirchen.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday June 18th, 2019

(Deutsch) Von Moskau nach Peking mit der Bahn #5 Lektüre.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Monday June 17th, 2019

(Deutsch) Von Moskau nach Peking mit der Bahn #4 WICHTIG!

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Saturday June 15th, 2019

(Deutsch) Von Moskau nach Peking mit der Bahn #2 Der Zug.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

I enjoy time on the lake and on the ocean, because the air there is good for my throat. Ever since, when I was a child, they removed my tonsils, l have been suffering from chronic throat aches more or less all the time. However, after a few days on the water, they are gone.

The Joy of Seeing the Ocean (Foto © Luc Bosma, Bonaire)

Whenever Barbara and I go places by ship, we try to get a cabin with a patio. Then we dream through the ocean nights with our patio door open, we breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy the sound of the water. That was also what we did during our latest Caribbean trip.

At night, our ship travels from one island to the next. Since, more often than not, the islands are not far apart, the ship mostly travels at low speed. Regardless, it will dock in the morning before sunrise at the harbour of our destination, because the nights are long in December in the Caribbean.

Then comes the shock every morning. The air starts to smell foul and artificial light will penetrate the cabin. It is the less than pleasant trio of civilization characteristics as it welcomes us.

At home in Neubiberg, the smell is a constant throughout the day and the night. You will not find any place where it gets really dark. Wherever you are, a street lamp or some advertising glamour will illuminate your house. And you can hardly see any stars in the sky any more.

Even though I live in a rather privileged area, this is also true for my home. Keeping the windows open at night is not possible, if only because of the constant round-the-clock noise of the not-too-far city.

I refuse to take sleeping pills, especially if they become part of your normal life. Consequently, we use closed noise-proof windows and darkened bedrooms. By now, I am used to it, but that does not mean I find it nice.

If I leave my house on foot or by bike and turn towards Ottobrunn, I will quickly find myself on such roads as the Putzbrunner Strasse or the Rosenheimer Landstrasse. It is hard to breathe and it is a true adventure to cross the road. And you also find waste on the shoulders of the Bavarian streets – as probably everywhere else on the world.

After returning home, questions about the purpose of life come up again:
Do we really need motorized individual traffic? Does all this consumption really make us happy? Would a life that is less determined by efficiency and profit be more to our liking? How can we free ourselves from the permanent manipulation? Would it not be better to live a simple life and not let life become a hectic hunt for material properties?

Let me forestall possible criticism:
If you fly to the Caribbean and travel around nine islands by ship and enjoy the nice climate and the ocean, then you certainly have no right to criticize the MIV driver who takes his pre-heated SUV in the morning to go and fetch his breakfast. I am well aware of this.

So here is what I think:
Mobility is probably a central need of human nature. Consequently, I find it hard to individually abstain. But if we act collectively – for instance by high taxes on kerosene and a fair distribution of the external costs for those who cause them – we could at least reduce the volume of individual mobility and its terrible consequences on this planet.

If you argue that such measures would, again mainly be detrimental for the poor, then I think this is not totally true. Even the ancient Greeks knew that demanding an Arithmetic Justice is utopian and probably stupid.

I think such a thing has never existed and will never exist. Because life is as it is. And I would actually be quite happy with a geometric justice  (geometrische Gerechtigkeit following the Nikomachische Ethik by Aristoteles).

Attention, cannon (Foto © Luc Bosma, Bonaire)

RMD
(Translated by EG)