March 2013


Ask Adam: Awesome Answers Assured.

Today was an odd day.

This past fall I bought myself a Jack Wolfskin jacket, thus completing a critical step in the process of becoming fully assimilated into Things German®. When I wear it, I become virtually indistinguishable from the thousands of Germans who wear their jackets every single day.

It’s a nice jacket, perfect for weather that overs just above freezing to just under freezing – which describes much of Berlin’s weather last month.

Now that it’s March, things are warming up – reaching the double digits (Celsius, mind you) – and this morning I had the sudden, awkward, urge to not wear my German assimilating jacket.

Instead I wore my Wyoming Cowboys (Est. 1886) hoodie – something that is definitely not German.

Maybe it was because I now stood out from the crowd, but I found it strange that the very day that I wore something obviously not local, strangers asked me directions three times.

Seriously, I felt like I must have been wearing a sign that said “INFORMATION HERE.”

The first came while I was waiting to catch my bus early this morning. There were two of us standing there, one guy (behaving oddly) wearing a Jack Wolfskin jacket, and me with earbuds in my ear and a Wyoming hoodie. I was the one asked a question: Wo kann ich finden ein bäckerei? (Fortunately an easy question to answer.)

The second came while I was walking down the still-dark Friedrichstrasse, still with earbuds in my ears. A woman walking the other way stopped me with a question: Wo ist Bus 157? (A relatively easy question to answer.)

Random aside: Why is that when you have earbuds in your ear, people ask you questions without waiting for you to take them out? I was visibly fumbling to take them out of my ears when both of these people asked me their questions. I ended up having to ask them to repeat their questions.

Reflecting on my day, while seated on the bus heading toward home, I was asked a third question – this one by a pair of young women tourists: Where is the Wall?

That was a much more difficult question to answer given that despite the fact that we were in East Berlin, at that precise moment I could have pointed in any random direction and been correct maybe 80% of the time – it was south of us, it was west of us, and it was north of us. The only place it really wasn’t, was behind us.

I told them to get off the bus at Potsdammer Platz – there’s a shitty piece of the wall there, along with some guy who will stamp your passport if you’re willing to fork over a few Euro.

Tomorrow I’ll be back wearing Jack Wolfskin.

5 comments to Ask Adam: Awesome Answers Assured.

  • PseudoWifey

    I cannot believe you have been Wolfskinned! I still remember their add on the mall in Jena–a guy electronically “scaling” the mall. You are officially a rugged, outdoorsy Deutscher!


  • Haha – awesome. I have definitely noticed the Jack Wolfskin thing, too. Very, VERY German.

  • Prashanth

    Why do you think its called a “Wolfskin” 😛
    A master disguise for everyone in Germany, except people without white skin, yours truly 🙂

  • Martin Wisser 😀

    PseudoWifey – I will try to get a picture of that hard working man next time I am in Jena… Hard to not see.

    Sarah – What I love is how Germans are convinced it is a global brand that everybody knows. Even well traveled Germans — I talked with one recently and he was shocked to find out that it was a mainly German thing.

    Prashanth – you might blend in better if you had a Jack Wolfskin jacket. 😀 When are you coming to visit?