If a radio station in Uganda were to warn drivers because ducks were crossing the road, the listeners would accuse the radio announcer of something. LSD, alcohol or maybe both? is he crazy now This feeling came to mind two weeks ago as I was driving my car and a warning message blared through the radio: “Warning drivers, family of ducks on the road, please drive carefully”. Ironically, on the road that I was planning to drive as quickly as possible to save time. A radio duck? Isn’t that reserved for us newspaper people? No, apparently the announcer was serious.
The Germans are still people who tend to be crazy. Or is it more the Ugandans? For the moment, I took myself back to when I was a young girl of six. In Uganda, the school holidays were at Pentecost and I drove from the city to the village with my uncle. On the dusty grass overgrown streets we encountered all sorts of local residents: deer, pigs, guinea fowl and of course wild ducks, mostly crossing the streets during our encounter or just enjoying their precious free spirited stroll.
My uncle interpreted this treasure in his very own way: Every time he saw a feathered creature, he said to me and my siblings: Hold on tight! Then he sped full throttle towards the birds to run them over head on. If successful, and this happened, he would stop the car with an emergency brake (that’s how I learned to appreciate the value of a seat belt) and asked us to collect the “accidentally knocked over” birds. Accidentally knocked over. My uncle was simply delicious. And the roast chicken even more. To our delight, we lived off these “mistakes” for several days. Sometimes for the entire Pentecost holidays.
When I heard the duck warning in the middle of Munich, I found myself interested in this information for base reasons. Forgive my thought, but I imagined the little animals fried in the finest marinade. Nevertheless, I discarded this admittedly very delicious idea. Or let them be suppressed by words like morality, animal protection or poaching. Bird protectors would certainly not have spared me if I had run over this possibly quite happy family of ducks. The justification for the food procurement measure will hardly convince a Munich judge.
As stuffy as that sounds, at the end of the day – or the road – it is in most cases an advantage to stick to the strict local rules. As much as I was rushing – and hungry at that – to an appointment, I pulled up in the middle of the road and let the whole really, really, really big and really slow duck family waddle majestically and peacefully across the road. I had a clear conscience – but only almost. What would my uncle think of me?