German streets

The first time she heard someone shouting after her, she did not notice immediately. She just kept on crossing the street, landing on the other side as the traffic light turned green. She thought that it must have been a lunatic, who could not stand someone doing something different than what he wished. But then a few later, again the same shout: “It’s red!” This time she turned back to better see who was so keen to shout to strangers crossing an empty street. It was a mother with a child, fuming and shouting louder and louder.

Strange, she thought. A few weeks later she called home and told her mother about it. “You give bad examples to children.”

She was surprised. “So you think it is better children learn how to shout to strangers and feel entitled to judge others for their actions?”

“Ah, children are not so articulate, they learn by watching others.”

“My point exactly. They learn to follow blindly without using their common sense.”

“If you were a mother, your common sense would tell you to teach your child not to cross with a red light.”

“I don´t recall you were so particular about crossing a street.”

“We lived in a small village with few cars, and I taught you to live with the consequences of your actions. You choose to cross, then expect the shouting. “

“I don’t believe in shouting to people or controlling them.”

“They are as free as you to think and do what they want.”

“Why would someone choose to use their freedom to give others trouble?”

“Why would somebody choose not to use it to make others happy?”

“Yeah, whatever. I heard you.”

“Oh, so now you are not crossing the streets with a red light anymore?”

“No. Now I wear one of those flashy reflecting jackets. On the back it says: ‘flexibility and tolerance are life skills too.‘”

Her mother stayed silent for a moment. “Ok, but if you wear such thing, I will have a t-shirt saying ‘I tried my best,‘” and hung up.

In the kitchen she took out a left over and while her teaspoon dug into the creamy chocolate cake, she thought that even miles away, there was no point in talking to her mother. Her mother was always right. She licked the last drop of chocolate and went to bed.

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