Some technological advances make me shake my head with incredulity.
After I have painfully learnt that some people talk about their computer when they talk about an “Apple”, they could now be referring to the real fruit after all:
A German website, www.mundraub.org, allows users to post information about fruit-bearing trees that they have spotted in their neighbourhood the ownership for which is either not claimed by anyone or the owner of which has consented to passers-by picking the fruits for themselves for free.
The service comes just in time for the season and the map, which is already full of entries, even specifies what kind of fruits you can expect to find, from apples and pears to mirabelles and plumes. The service has meanwhile been extended to nuts, herbs and berries.
It’s probably a nice and friendly service, but to someone like me who remembers a time before the internet and mobile phones, it seems like these inventions have deprived people of any taste for spontaneity. Does everything really need to be planned in advance?
I still prefer to go for a walk across the fields or through the forest without any advance planning. If I find mushrooms, I’ll pick mushrooms. If I find grapes, I’ll eat grapes. If I find nothing, I’ll still enjoy the sun and the air and the birds. – I guess I am too romantic for the 21st century; or at least too old-fashioned.
(I have to concede though that the name of the website is well chosen and of some interest to lawyers and legal historians: “Mundraub” used to be a lesser form of theft, especially of food or drinks for personal use, until this specific offence was removed from the German Criminal Code in 1975. It carried a lesser sentence – and no sentence at all if the victim of the theft was a child or spouse.)