Needless to say, I never again attempt to register my Buick in Germany and continue to renew my Illinois license plates during my years of living in Munich.


I am driving along the outer Mittelerring that encircles the greater Munich when I notice in my rear view mirror a grey Mercedes Benz Sedan following me precariously close. Sitting behind the wheel is the face of an attractive young blonde with a swirling mass of shoulder length hair. Probably noticing that I am looking at her in my rear view mirror, she flashes her headlights.

Oh dear!’ Another one of those arrogant German drivers. She wants me to get out of her way. I think. The traffic in the right lane is moving swiftly and there is no way I can just move over. What the fuck does she want me to do? Run over the moving cars? But in Germany when someone is so close to your butt and is flashing, that’s precisely what you do. Try to get the fuck out of their way, especially if you’re being flashed by a Merce or an almighty BMW – die haben immer vorfahrt – it’s an unwritten law that those two always have the right of way. You might as well throw in Porsche with the duo.  So I put on my right turn signal, still watching her in the rear view mirror.

Seeing my directional signal flashing she begins to move her hand sideways in back and forth fast motion, trying to communicate something. As if saying No, No, No! No, what? I raise my hand and flip it in semi-circle gesture, trying to communicate, I don’t know. I turn off my signal. Now I see her finger pointing at the back of my car. Even though my car is less than a year old, I don’t know why I get this funny feeling that it’s my fuel tank she is pointing at. Could it be overflowing? Did I forget to put the fuel cap back on? Should I pull over and check? But the way the traffic is moving, it doesn’t seem to be an option. We have hit the home going crowd and are boxed into the middle lane. Confused and curious, I keep my eyes on the rear view mirror and see her once again pointing at my bumper. Just for a split second, I think perhaps a plain clothed pretty TÜV officer, following up on my botched application after all. But I discard that notion as soon as it flashes in my mind.      

Her finger still pointed at the back of my car, I see her lips moving and I try to figure out what’s it  she is trying to say watching the mirror image of her lips. Nope, sorry! And once again I  gesture to her that I didn’t really know. Mittlerring is not an autobahn but the traffic still moves at about the speed of fifty and sixty miles – 80-96 kilometers. So I better be careful.

She continues to follow me at a steady speed as if in a friendly chase. I try to keep pace with the traffic and stay where I am to assure that neither of us loses the track of the other. Something is quite exciting about being followed by the beautiful stranger. I keep trying to decipher the movement of her lips as she tries again in vain to convey to me whatever it is.

Realizing that I still wasn’t getting it, I see her right turn signal begin to flash and somehow she manages to squeeze her Benz into the right lane, and suddenly she is parallel to me. I turn my face and see her lips moving along with her finger making a counter clock wise circular motion, trying to draw my attention to the back of the car, and perhaps repeating what she had said earlier. I can’t hear her of course, but suddenly I get it.

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