Staring at my mobile phone on Friday morning, I was shocked to find a majority of voters in the UK actually had voted to exit the European Union in Thursday's referendum. I had gone to bed quietly convinced that in this world, in the age of reason, outright stupidity didn't win.
The Brexit is a topic that's dear to me, as I'm half British, Welsh to be precise, and half German. Perhaps the vicious thunderstorm, with gale force winds and punishing rain, that woke me in the middle of the night, had been a sign.
The headlines I read in the morning made me question my naïve idealism. To me, the Brexit proves resentment can win over reason. I was dumbstruck at how a majority of UK voters were willing to step into the void.
Britain had many membership perks, more than other EU states. It got a chunky rebate for the money it paid into the EU budget, it didn't join the Euro, wasn't part of the Schengen Area etc. Yes, it was paying a membership fee, but for that money it got a privileged position within the union.
It's not hard to imagine how now the UK's political and economic influence might dwindle, not just within Europe but the world at large. Is this a slow fall from empire, to regional power, to powerless island Kingdom on the fringe?
In a somewhat tragic twist of misunderstanding the Brexiteers were shouting 'Put the Great back into Britain'. I think they're in for a rude awakening.
If I wasn't personally invested in this upcoming, possibly ugly, divorce, I'd be nothing but curiously intrigued to see what happens next. It surely will make for a good drama watching Britain weather the punishment dealt out by a block of disgruntled EU states.
If the longing for a divorce had been mutual, I would have understood. But strangely enough the EU stayed fond of the UK, even if it had been a pretty bitchy partner all along. Looking at it with the benefit of hindsight, maybe the EU was too lenient and not tough enough on the moody.
I feel sorry for the people who voted to stop this craziness (a full 48.1 percent) and now have to pick up the pieces of the vase the resentful threw out the window in a fit. You can rest assured, it won't be those who instigated the Brexit that will bear the consequences.
Neither Farage nor Johnson will pick up the bill when things start going downhill (Cameron will be gone by then). They'll tell you it's the disgruntled EU bureaucrats, the Germans and the French, with a post-Brexit grudge, trying to keep Britain from prospering and finding back to the good old glory days.
On the upside, being half German, I can switch to looking at it from a European perspective. Maybe, Europe stands a better chance of working properly, now it's most passive-aggressive member loses its vote.
The UK will however still have to pay for access to the European market, like Norway and Switzerland do already. This way, the EU gets the money but won't have to invest as much in calming its nerves.
All considered, it's like watching your eccentric cousin trying to row out into the rough seas of the Atlantic, because he might have gotten angry at not fitting in or cross at some rule he objected to but had to follow. On the one hand you know he won't get very far, but on the other you realise with dread he might still drown in the waves.
This is when you start getting very worried.
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