Urban density — lots of people living stacked on top of and right next to each other in lively little neighborhoods. You don’t get much of it in most U.S. cities, but you do in Germany.
Urban density means there are hundreds of people from all income levels and walks of life living within, say, 300 metres of your home. When you live in a nice, dense neighborhood, excitement comes to you; every time you leave your front door, something fun has happened. In my neighborhood, the "German-Iranian Cultural Center" just inserted a marble plaque into the sidewalk commemorating Goethe’s praise of the Persian poet Hafiz.
Another recent addition to the neighborhood is a "store" called diesistkeineuebung.de (=thisisnotadrill.com). The cardboard man in the window is smiling and holding a sign saying "I’ve got a good feeling!"
What can you buy here? Hard to say. The website offers no products (or if it does, they’re well concealed), and describes its "motivation" thus:
This is not an drill, but instead an attempt to lead a more exciting, genuine, braver, better, life. We want to feel more joy, thoughtfulness, honesty, and courageous behavior again.
This is not a drill, becuase we are striving to do exactly what it is we always wanted to do. We’re trying, by thinking about what we do, to create new patterns of thought and achieve our own real, positive experiences.
This is not a drill, because we want to live this life actively and without fear. We are not a religious community and we don’t pretend to know the correct way forward. In the best case, we want to give others the courage to find their own lives.
The website offers advice on jazzing up your life, movies of art happenings by the "This is not a Drill" collective, and various odd, life-affirming texts.
They even offer "orgies", although you’re advised that sexual contact will only take place "with mutual consent" and isn’t really a "part of the happening." To sign up, you have to pay them 30 euro and tell them "what makes you sad" and "what you always wanted to do once in life", among other things.
Just across the street from their store, they’ve created a huge graffito (r) on the rear wall of a shuttered used-car dealership (nice symbolism). It reads "You’ll achieve exactly that which other people don’t believe you can achieve."
The icing on the cake is the warning sign (l) near the shop’s front door. It reads
"There’s no point in breaking in. If we’re not here, then neither are the computers. The guy who rents this place crashes next door, has nothing to lose, and will bite you in the balls! Don’t even think about it…"