Unser Autor Ross kommt aus dem verregneten Norden Englands. Letzten Herbst verliebte er sich in eine Regensburger Erasmus-Studentin. Nach zwei Semestern war ihr Auslandsaufenthalt vorbei. Sie ging zurück nach Regensburg – und er kam mit. Doch die Stadt und ihre Einwohner bescheren dem Zuagroastn seitdem den ein oder anderen “what the fuck?!”-Moment. In seiner wöchentlichen Kolumne „Ratisbonisms” erzählt Ross mit seinem dry english wit von Regensburgs Eigenheiten.
A brown bottle of fine German Helles was dry and my oh so British impulse to mindlessly bin it had been suppressed. When I arrived in Germany and discovered Flaschenpfand, it instantly occurred to me that this recycling reward is exactly what the English system is lacking. In England we’re simply told “recycle!” and expected to obey. Here, however, you are encouraged to recycle your used bottles and cans. For some it offers a small amount in return for used receptacles but for others it is their source of income.
Like any city of the world, Regensburg has its urban campers, the dark door way guardians who we walk past everyday without a second look at their matted hair and empty coffee cup. With bottle in hand I saw a chance to offer it to a crouched, weary looking guy. I stood my bike against the wall and approached him. This was a good deed, I thought. By simply giving him my bottle it meant that he wouldn’t be reduced to rummaging through a bin or approaching a person to ask for their empties. No human wants to be seen as desperate or reliant on another.
He raised his head and looked straight at me. Weird. He was sitting in the entrance of a closed shop but at a second glance he didn’t actually appear to be destitute. He had clean, receding hair and there was no sign of a make-shift bed.
Donating an empty bottle to an impoverished soul is a reasonable act – but offering it to a regular, working and probably drunken man is guaranteed to land you in seriously hot water … “So you think I look homeless huh!?” The last thing I needed was a swollen face; I had a job interview the next day.
I crumbled and placed it discretely on a nearby table. Avoiding any more eye contact I returned to my bike juggling with the answer to the question: tired or homeless?