Arne, Tam, Tini & The Varmint Do Palm Springs

I don't know what the deal is with my family, but we seem to have a certain affection for European folks and Germans in particular.

My dad's first wife was German.

The 'rents best friends for more than 40 years were The Kaschs - German imports who'd spent time in concentration camps and fled a beleaguered post-war Germany.

I spent a good bit of time in Berlin, studying snowboarding and German and spending time with a crew of artists and designers including my friend Mona and Arne The Photographer.

My brother traveled to Germany for soccer.

I married a guy whose mom is half-German.Fuzzies.jpg

Currently we've got loads of imported German pals living in San Diego and a whole other crew that lives in Berlin. My brother likes to call this circle of Germans "The Fuzzies." I think it has something to do with certain Euro-style grooming proclivities, but with my brother, one can never be sure. 

Sunday, we left for Palm Springs to meet my closest Fuzzy friend Arne who, sadly for my brother, is closer to Shiny than Fuzzy (unless you count the "fur pants" he's famous for wearing).

By sheer luck, he was assigned to fly over to the California desert from Berlin in order to photograph Charlize Theron. Such opportunities come rarely, so Shannon (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I hopped aboard The Road Trip bandwagon for a jetset Palm Springs meeting at the Best Western.

We weren't about to miss seeing Arne after seeing him for the first time in 10 years in Hamburg last summer.  Sunday and Monday were spent educating Arne and his killer assistant Tini about the difference between a fine tequila such as Herra Dura and the rank ass-water known as Jose Cuervo. We ate a fancy dinner, took crazy pictures (Arne's into 3-D photography right now with a dual-Hasselblad setup) and clowned. We rode the Palm Springs tram from the baking desert floor to the top of San Jacinto mountain, hiked the forest and threw snowballs at each other. It was a blast.

It came to me, watching The Varmint and Captain Fur Pants clowning at every opportunity they could, that there are distinct reasons why we really like hanging out with Fuzzies.

Tini.jpgThe Top 5 Reasons Fuzzies are Fun to Hang Out With

1. Humor. Fuzzies like humor the way we like humor: Big. There is a lot of physical humor - pratfalls, fake-fighting, props and a distinct lack of ego. We appreciate anyone willing to make an ass of his or herself for a laugh. Thems our kinds of people.

2. Poop, Sex and Death. While related to reason #1, this deserves a category all its own. Germans will talk about anything and not bat an eyelash. Poop. Sex. Death. Nothing is taboo and everything is fair game - especially if it works for a laugh.

3. Curiosity without Judgment. Unlike comparatively narcissicistic Americans, the Eurosquad always asks questions: About politics. Religion. Personal preferences. Life. Even how things function. It makes for stimulating conversation - a precious commodity when it comes to company.

4. Stilted English. First, it must be said, that every German friend I have speaks English - and their worst English is better than my best German. Personally, I enjoy the extra work it takes to say and understand something with people whose mother language is something other than English. There is a lot of pantomime, searching for alternative ways to say something, cutting to the quick of an idea. It eliminates foo-foo language bullshit; there are no double-meanings or insinuation. Sarcasm doesn't always translate well, either. You have to say what you mean, and mean what you say. Because (see #3) you will be asked about what you just said. In detail.

5. Boozing. And eating. And socializing in general. Germans think nothing of staying up until 4am, conversing, dancing, drinking and living large. They can hold their liquor, and they never forget that People Are the Party. They make every meeting a lifeworthy event - and, it should be noted that they always, always show up, usually on time - and ready (consider this a warning) to give you a truckful of shit if you don't.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >