Monday, February 1, 2010

Picking My Battles

Have I mentioned recently what an awesome fiance I have (Oh yes, in case you didn't know yet, we got engaged a couple of weeks ago!)? Well, in case I haven't, I just wanted to let you know that he is AWESOME... Taking care of me a lot.

This morning for example while I was in the bathroom, he took my assorted crap (purse, snacks, external hard drive that a co-worker lent me) that I haul to the office on a regular basis, started the engine and worked on getting the ice of my windshields. AWESOME, RIGHT? YES! And since I know he does this with the best intentions, I didn't start up our age old discussion about letting the engine run while the car is just sitting there. You know, sometimes you just have to pick your battles in a relationship and this one wasn't worth discussing one more time because there are just some basic cultural differences that creep to the surface sometimes and we both won't waiver from our position.

Even though I think of myself as mostly aware of these intercultural differences, sometimes stuff just slips out way too harsh (... in my Germany military tone ;-). But I don't seem to be the only one overreaching in this matter. I think it was in the February 2010 issue of Runner's World were Bernard Lagat described an incident while at the training camp in Germany. He returned from a trail run and started his car and let it warm up while stretching. According to his description a German was yelling at him and because of the language barrier he didn't know what happened until he told the story to some Germans that explained it to him. A co-worker on a business trip in Germany once told me a similar story.

You see... It's actually against the law to do that in Germany out of noise pollution and environmental considerations. So if you get up in the morning and your windows are covered with ice, you scratch the ice of your windshields and then you start the car. If you have to wait at a railroad track for longer than 30 seconds, you are required to cut off your engine.

Did you know, that letting the car run on neutral for 5 minutes uses up as much gas as if you had driven for one mile? Just sayin'.

Well, people here are complaining about gas prices night and day, but let me tell you something... you'll never hear me complaining about gas prices in SC - EVER!!! Why?? According to this web page the lowest gas price in the Spartanburg of the last 72 hours has been 2.37 USD/gallon for regular gas. If I compare the gas price around my parent's house to that with 1.379 EUR/ liter ( 7.86 USD/ gallon with a 1.5 exchange rate) you might see why I am pretty relaxed about gas prices in SC. Besides, I don't think it's a basic human right to drive an V8 and if you hear yourself complaining to much about gas prices, you might wanna think about getting a more fuel efficient car.

This aside, there are just some things ingrained in our brains, based on where we grew up and how we have been brought up that won't ever change. For my (awesome) Terry, it is convenient to warm up a car and he thinks it's better for the engine to do so especially in cold temps. For me, it's just a whole lot of waste of gas and money plus it harms the environment.

People have a lot of opinions all the time and for that you must not even have grown up on different continents. Some things will always remain a hot topic and other things we just have to agree to be different... Not better or worse, just different.

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