Descending Fog

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.

 

As a child, October 31st was always shrouded in mystique. Scenes from Nightmare on Elm Street replayed in my head. I was positive, Freddy was close by! Now at the best part of 24 years old, I’ve taken control of the irrational fear but something lingers around this night. I’m no longer petrified by ghouls or monsters but walking down a dark, silent street late at night. I can’t shake the feeling that someone is watching me. Especially on Halloween, all the properly scary stuff happens on Halloween, right?!

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Coming to Regensburg in the middle of a glorious summer with afternoons by the Donau and two meals per day from Stenz, I could not envisage the depression inducing swathe of mist that is now enveloping the city. I was told recently that Regensburg is third on the list of German University suicides and to be honest: it doesn’t surprise me. On a daily basis I listen to egoFM at breakfast and the radio host Anna tells me how hot it is in Munich and that in Nürnberg there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Yet the view out of my window is the polar opposite. I can wake up in a great mood and after taking a look outside become sombre and melancholic within minutes. I assumed that growing up on the drizzly North East coast of England, I would have a strong tolerance to shit weather but the fog is attritional.

I finished work late this Halloween and as I turned onto the road which leads to the back of my flat there was a guy walking about ten metres in front. Without the combined tapping of our footsteps, there wasn’t another sound. “Come on Ross, you’re an adult!” Self-talk didn’t provide any comfort. Something about this guy was freaking me out. We continued down the path for about five minutes. I was sure he glanced round at me at least four times. (Not that I was counting …) He walked briskly; the collar of his jacket was raised up around his neck, shielding him from the freezing fog. I realised that his stride had quickened when he stopped dead in his tracks and spun around, looking straight through me; an empty, wide-eyed stare, emotionless.

I did what any idiot in a cheap horror movie would do: I ran. I ran around the block of buildings, onto the well-lit, well-travelled street and into the safety of my flat. Slamming the door behind me, I took a moment to compose myself. A double scoop of pistachio ice cream would have been a perfect nerve cooler.

For at least the next three months, the city will be occupied by grisly weather and those dark, quiet streets are to be avoided. And one thing is certain: I’ll eat ice cream all winter, even when its freezing and I can’t see the other side of the street!

 

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