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Friday, 19 October 2012

#7: Locating my Inner Shizzle Bizzle

Germany hadn’t played a massive part in my life up to the 17th of September, 2009.

I’d been to Frankfurt, visiting friends I met during a fall, 2003 foreign exchange to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP); I’d been to Munich airport, bouncing through with friends and family on the way to Scheffau, Austria for a skiing trip to celebrate Yuletide 1996; and I’d been gutted when Pearce and Waddle, then Southgate fluffed their penalty shootout lines as they (the West Germans in 1990; then the unified Germans in 1996) inflicted World Cup Italia ’90 and Euro ’96 heartache on England.

So about 99.9% of the country – a whisker smaller than the U.S. state of Montana – was still a mystery to me. As far as I knew, we’d forgiven the Germans for starting World War II (I think), and they’d forgiven us for finishing it (I think). Either way, the 35th Berlin Marathon was going to be an adventure… or a war of attrition/investigation/exploration.

As my mum kindly drove me to Bristol airport, I felt a mixture of excitement and trepidation as to what lay in store in less than three days' time. Lining up (or should that be wedged in?) with 39,999 others was set to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life; completing Leg Four of the marathon world’s ‘Big Five’ (with London, Chicago and Boston already in the bag).

Well, that was the theory. I hadn't got there yet – and the rush-hour traffic in Ashton (a central district of Bristol) was none too forgiving, as Mum and I (in my dad's Mini Cooper) inched our way past Ashton Gate – home to Bristol City Football Club (that’s real football, where you actually use your feet) – with all the speed of a male snail (not to be confused with snail-mail) stoned out of his shell.

There was no need to really worry, though. That's because we were armed with Dad's trusty Sat-Nav (Satellite Navigation) system. Oh, yes. One of the 21st Century's truly great technological discoveries – and quite possibly the most annoying.

For as little as $100 or as much as $1000+, you can have Snoop Dogg (or Lion as he now calls himself), Simon Cowell or Ozzy Osborne barking/whining out instructions as to where you should be going.

And if you make any mistakes (the pressure not to is enormous), you’ll have Snoop ('in his soothing West Coast shizzle bizzle') telling you to: “Rewind that move and fly to the left ya’ll.” Cowell smugly declaring: “That is...

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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