What is less known is that there are exceptions. Germans have figured out many ways around their own rules, and they’re quite clever at finding loopholes when they really want to do something. I think the key is for enough people to implicitly agree that they prefer to do things in a different way, and then they join forces and find a solution, and also agree to act as though everything they are doing is perfectly compliant with the rules, should anyone question it.
So, I have begun making some special observations on which rules are breakable, and how and when to break those rules. I am sure this will be a life-long study, but here's a start:
1. No bonfires. Being an avid camper, this is a really difficult one for me. However, grilling IS allowed. And no one ever specified that only coals belong in grills. So what Germans do is just pile their firewood straight into a large standing grill, and make a beautiful campfire in the grill. Genius.
2. No speeding. Well the Autobahn is the obvious solution to this one- just take the freeway as much as possible! Also, Germans have built in a 10% “grace” zone into the speed limit – you only start getting ticketed when you are driving more than 10% over the speed limit. In general, I think that because Germans love driving and fast cars so so much, anything involving a car thus has the potential to lead to "bendy" rules.
3. Do not be late. Ever. There is one excuse for being late that is always acceptable- Deutsche Bahn (e.g. the train was late/delayed/derailed/didn’t show up). All Germans unite in their annoyance with the national train system, and as long as you can work Deutsche Bahn into your excuse, you will be forgiven.
4. Public disorder or recklessness is not allowed. Well, this one is clearly ignored at certain times: i.e. New Year’s Eve, Karneval, World Cup, anything soccer-related... At those times, Germans quite happily launch fireworks into the middle of crowded squares, and generally practice public drunkenness and disorderliness. Though it somehow never ends up being that bad - i.e. not like us Americans who use a World Series Championship as an excuse to loot shops, overturn and burn cars, etc. Nope, it's a much friendlier form of public disorder.
5. No cutting in line. Ever been to a ski resort in Germany or Austria? I didn’t think so. Well, there is no such thing as a line… it’s a free-for-all and a race to shove people over to get to the front of the lift line.
6. Oktoberfest. This is an alternate universe where there are no rules.