Monday, January 28, 2013

Penguins rule!


When I was much, much younger I didn't think overmuch about how to walk on slippery surfaces. I could always flail about in a quasi-athletic manner to keep my balance. But those of us who are over seventy find the thought of a fall quite daunting, now that flailing about is not a viable option.

Thus it makes a lot of sense to adopt the gait of the penguin on Munich's currently treacherously icy and patchily gritted pavements.Okay, sidewalks as the Yanks would say.

And in French it's trottoir, which I find rather silly. Even when there is no ice I do not trot, I progress with as much dignity as possible, often with my hands clasped behind my back.

B├╝rgersteig is the German word. Interesting! Steig is 'pathway' which is fair enough. But B├╝rger defines the 'common citizen', as opposed to his betters... the aristocracy for whom the roadway was reserved for the passage of their horses, their coaches and carriages and later their automobiles. I think I prefer Gehweg or 'walkway', since like the noble penguin I do not feel in any way common!

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