Wednesday, January 28, 2009

cello scrotum

I haven't written a while! Sorry. The most exciting reportable thing that happened to me today is that my co-worker noticed that the Wikipedia entry for the Northern District of Illinois listed an anime character among the district court judges. Also, I got a new pair of "Bordeaux"-colored glasses that makes the world look unpleasantly hazy when viewed through any part of the lens except the dead center. There's a lot I'd like to say about what is preoccupying me - the Bavarian, of course - but since he is vehemently opposed to all forms of surveillance and traceability, I'd feel bad writing anything more in my blog. (Not that he'd ever know, since he doesn't have Internet at home and only steals fifteen minutes online here and there at work, and he still types with two fingers in hunt-and-peck style, and has no MP3s, and will never "poke" me on Facebook, and doesn't wear fast-drying plastic clothes when hiking or comprehend what a water bladder is, and uses one light fluorescent bulb at a time in his apartment, and has VHS tapes stacked up on his floor, and falls asleep with powdered sugar-coated lozenges in his mouth...among other primitive, technophobic habits, which would mos def never include reading my shiny, 21st century blog.)

There is one thing I will say, though, about how dissatisfying it is to be interested in a non-native English speaker. Even though Bavarian Boyfriend's English vocabulary is startlingly good (e.g. referring to a rained out camera as having been "capsized," or using words like "melancholy," "whereas," and "precondition" deftly), there's a big difference between saying "It is very hot in this old bus!" and "IT IS HOT AS BALLS IN THIS RUN-DOWN SHITWAGON." There is a difference between getting in a friend's car (on the way to buy single-ply toilet paper in 24-roll packs at Target) and saying, "I'm so excited for our errand!" versus screaming, "SPRING BREAK!!" and throwing up devil horns. Die difference ist Nacht und Tag. (Also that is something unpleasant about German, the capitalized nouns and the absence of possessive apostrophes. Compare "donkey's balls" and "Donkeys Balls" e.g.)

Okay that is all I have to say.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

fun moments

I had finished cooking myself a shapeless dinner last night and was preparing to eat it when I got a phone call on my land line. I answered. The woman on the other end said, "Hi, good evening, my name is Gina. How are you?"

Now many people, when receiving obvious telemarketer phone calls, just hang up the phone. It seems kind of impolite to me, and I don't see any reason to be rude to people doing their horrible jobs, so I try to be a little more human. So I said, "Hi, I'm doing fine, but I'm just about to sit down to my dinner, and I'm not interested in any commercial services, so thanks for calling." A perfectly polite and firm way to dodge an unsolicited pitch.

Gina pauses. Gina then says. "Woooow. . . you're retarded." Like that, with the accent on the "you're" and not the "retarded."

I said, "Excuse me? Who are you, and where are you calling from?"

Gina responds, "Who are you? Who are you?"

I am in shock because a stranger has just interrupted my dinner to sell me something, and has just insulted me with an incredibly juvenile and nasty insult, so I say, "Wait a minute, honey, you called me, and you're asking me who I am? Who are you?"

Gina says, "Oh, now I'm a honey, I see."

I start to give some response along the lines of "What the hell is going on here??" but get to "What the...?" before coming to my senses and just hanging up on the bizza.

WTF!? How do I get insulted by random strangers in my house?! BARACK OBAMA I THOUGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO MAKE AMERICA A BETTER PLACE WAHAHHHHH!!!

Anyway, that was totally awesome, and it ruined my mood for a few minutes, to the point where I really wanted to be high or drunk so that I could just forget it. I don't think I've had that feeling before! But now I just think it's really funny.

Also, I fell off my bike yesterday whilst trying to ride my bike home in a snow storm. It was a silly, slow-motion fall on a snowy sidewalk, so all the injury I suffered was some light bruising on my left shin. But I had left work early to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, to see Jenny Holzer's installations of large arrays of electronic tickers spelling out statements about the war in Iraq, which uses a medium reserved usually for journalism or advertising for discomfiting second person addresses ("I watch you / I breath you / I touch you") to recreate the experience of standing in Times Square and reading the impersonal news but this time implicating you in the events announced. But God does not care for people who choose art over work, and he punished my sloth by causing my wheels to slide out from under me. I also saw an interesting exhibit by a deaf-mute artist, Joseph Grigely, whose art consists of the post-it notes he uses to banter in writing with people in bars. I also read the opening and closing sections of "Song of Myself" yesterday, and cried lightly thinking about this homosexual romantic dying a hundred and twenty years ago: "I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love / If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles." Can you tell I was having my period?

Let us not be capsized by our loneliness, R! It is sunny here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

du hast mich

Hier ist das Ende der welt. 

In this outpost at the end of the world, you see only frozen untilled land and this one lonely tree on the horizon. There is a bench under the tree that you can sit on and face the heavy old sun as it traces its winter afternoon path in the far tired north of the northern hemisphere. Then you walk further, and you realize that you are in some sort of recreational area for old German couples wearing matching 3-in-1 technical jackets, speedwalking with hiking poles. But for a long minute, you can believe yourself to be alone on this frontier at the end of the world.

Here is the Bayerische Wald, which is an entirely different story. It is secret and safe and quiet and soft. You can walk all day on a wide, combed path and find yourself still on the backside of a small Alpine foothill.  You sit in the snow off the path and drink a Winter Traum beer with your lover, who puts the unfinished bottle into his coat for sipping during the rest of the walk, have some caraway seed bread and chocolate, and watch the shadows move left to right in the slow hour you spend sitting almost perfectly still. Just across a political boundary you will find the Bohemian forest, but the trees don't know the difference. 

These are two landscapes I saw during my nine days and eight nights in Bavaria. You can probably find in them some metaphor for emotional terrain or landscapes of the heart, etc., but it's 5:44 a.m. on a Tuesday and I will let you draw those illiterate sentimentalist comparisons yourself. 

I'm in a way, folks. My time in Germany was phenomenal, but it was secret, safe, quiet, soft, frozen, untilled, and lonely. I left Harry's house before dawn on Friday to start the arduous trip back to Cleaver Street, thinking I was in love with him. I still think I am in love with him. I'm almost sure I've lost my mind. 

Friday, January 02, 2009

ein gutes neues jahr

I am back in Chicago. I slept eight hours upon my return and now it's 2 a.m. and I'm about to walk to the supermarket to buy groceries. The last blog entry was written during a nadir in my trip so it is not representative of what happened. There were excursions and adventures to document, but documenting seems pointless, and there was a romance to comprehend, but I'm having a hard time finding the words. I will try to find them and post them later. Right now, it's time to make Irish soda bread.