Dangers of being a child: When it comes to cars, everything stays the same

Dangers of being a child: When it comes to cars, everything stays the same

Some fears are irrational. It’s not about your own child in Berlin traffic. Because in Berlin the car rules, change is not in sight.

Red roses on the traffic light pole on the street

One of countless places in Berlin that commemorate road deaths Photo: dpa

Just before dinner, when we ask our eight-year-old daughter to hop over to the supermarket, it’s always an important moment for all of us. Our daughter drops everything, demands precise information about the things to be bought while she slips on her jacket and shoes and asks for a shopping bag and money.

Then she’s gone and we cook and set the table and talk and make the porridge for our baby and feed the porridge and fold the napkins again – but I’m probably just doing all this until the doorbell finally rings and I’m cool and walking to the door and press the opener.

I have fears, vague, irrational. They are determined, rational and based on experience when it comes to deciding whether my daughter can walk her half-hour walk to school, including a 15-minute subway ride, on her own. Unfortunately she can’t, not because of the poor young Syrian junkies who smoke their Brett at our station and kill themselves with it; but because the car rules in Berlin, on the streets, at the traffic lights, on the tiny traffic islands surrounded by traffic.

In this respect, it doesn’t matter to me whether it stays with the current coalition or Kai, who strays into the cameras like a fear biter – what a first name by the way – Wegner chairs another car lobby. I only voted green because there has been minimal progress, at least for adult cyclists – and because the oh so fragrant Berlin left is too cowardly to throw out the fans of Putin fascism.

Unchallenged Violence

Let’s close this unpleasant construction site. I’ve been sick the last few days, I tried to write a column, it didn’t work. I was too drugged, there was no connection to the subconscious. Then I got well, I dreamed again, I saw myself as a boy, fetching beer for my parents.

We actually still did that when we were children, gladly too, just as gladly as my daughter goes to the supermarket. You were sent to the bar of the neighborhood economy, there was a Dolomiti ice cream as a reward, the money was counted out and if it wasn’t right, then “come back tomorrow.”

But no: It wasn’t that harmless. As children of the 1970s, we never knew what would happen to us when we encountered the adults. We were prepared for anything, no longer necessarily for a baseless slap, but for being spoken to rudely if something didn’t suit the grown-ups and we got in their way. And no help could be expected from other adults.

The violence, even brutality, was omnipresent and I’m damn glad that this being at the mercy, if not a thing of the past, at least no longer goes unchallenged. Except, of course, when it comes to driving: children have just as little rights there as they did forty years ago.

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