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Masked driver

Masked driver

Jesler in Freiburg

Like many of you (I assume), I feel like a criminal about to rob the cashier whenever I enter the supermarket for some cherry tomatoes. I've already looked into sticking Frozen stickers on my huge mask to demonstrate my goodwill. After all, no one could possibly be afraid of someone entering the store covered in Olaf's, am I right? Sadly, they keep falling off and I am back to being a semi-scary tomato shopper.

But, like everything, wearing a mask has its upside as well.

You see, I'm currently working on getting my drivers' licence over here in Freiburg. Last week was the first time that I sat in a car, today the first time I squeezed the car into a 'tight' parking spot. So much about my achievements. The rest of the story includes many stalled engines, giving the safety belt something to do and countless "sorry's" that I whisper to the traffic jam that gets longer and longer behind me.

In a city like Freiburg, which might as well be a town considering the number of people you bump into on your way to the store, the park or, like myself, the driving school, I'm constantly scared of someone watching me make a fool of myself. That is, I would be. Weren't it for the fact that I am perfectly hidden behind my all-encompassing mask. In Germany, driving schools are allowed to teach again if both the student and instructor wear masks and if the car is sufficiently ventilated and disinfected after every use. So now, the tip of the iceberg of people that recognise me despite my mask is so incredibly small that it's pretty much negligible.

Thus, I happily drive through the inner city of Freiburg, almost (almost!) knocking over a trashcan here and a friend there, with not a single ashamed cell in my body. And, interestingly, with this sense of comfort of being a masked driver comes calmness and confidence that makes the traffic jam behind me shorter and shorter. No Frozen stickers needed.

Jesler van Houdt

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