Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back Link Subcultures II

My bicycle route to and from work takes me through the strange and wonderful world of allotment gardening.
These days, with everything blossoming and the first bits of the various vegetables sticking up above the ground, it is a veritable delight to pedal through the garden plots and look at all the manmade and nature-driven developments. Not a day goes by without noticeable changes.
It appears as though the owners of these gardens fall into three general categories: the aging couples who have been caring for their plots for generations, the “foreigners” who tend to grow more vegetables than cultivate flower or rock garden landscapes (and who also tend to throw a lot of barbeques parties for friends and families), and the New Generation of young people with children who live in apartments in the city and want a place for their children can run and play in (and who have a distinct disregard about adhering to the garden co-op’s rules and guidelines).
A few of my friends, who belong to the later two categories, love their garden plots. Admittedly, they say that, as in all subcultures, they have to bear with certain tensions, broken commitments, pet peeves, and a thorny competitiveness for the benefit of the masses. But finding a balance between personal freedom and civic compliance is always possible.
Unlike other subcultures, these garden co-ops can be seen as a microcosm of what it is like to live in Germany.

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