two women, both late-thirties and dressed plain for cold weather, stopped mid-sidewalk, mid-conversation to scurry over to a shop window. one asked the other how much the object for sale cost like a schoolgirl picking out a dress on a lark.
in german, she said, “how much is that luger in the window?”
these two women had stopped suddenly to impulse buy a pistol.
they rushed inside like mallrats half their age.
i was listening to the radio and gently massaging the ache of a lonely heart. even on pleasent days, a lonely heart might sneak up on you. they are strange things, like broken cats that meander endlessly, aimlessly on silent feet in your day’s shadow. a tea pot hits one note or a hand reaches out to an apple in such and such a way and deja vu hits the gut because this broken cat is crawling into your chest from the navel.
i gently massaged the creature for just one small moment in time.
i wondered if a musician writes songs about his girlfriends and makes love to groupies with the songs in background and holds the image in his mind of a lover lost. thus abused, the groupy abandons the musician. the musician writes a song about the lover lost.
lather, rinse, repeat.
anyway, this post sounds like something depressing, but the day was joyful. one brief moment is all. happens to us all, sometimes.
at nine am sunday morning, the wiesbaden marketplace was as empty as an apocalyptic movie. wide-eyed pigeons scampered through empty streets, and all the shops were closed and dark and bits of trash and paper filled the sidewalks like standing in a stadium an hour after the home team lost.
i walked around a bit, went to church, found a starbucks open and serving coffee to the people that stumbled in from the empty streets and wouldn’t leave.
i took my coffee to the second floor so i could work in peace. i sat down. the only other people there were older americans talking about computers, massages, and the intricacies of their very personal medical conditions.
after they floated away into the empty streets – i looked out the window and didn’t see them walking away; they just disappeared like they had never been there at all – after that this young woman comes in with an emptiness in her eyes that can only be filled with caffiene.
we talk for a moment because she notices that i’m an american. she says she’s from dallas. so am i. she says she’s from bedford, a suburb. i’m from the town next door. she tells me her high school and i tell her mine and we both probably remember a football game somewhere on a sweltering early autumn where our marching bands stared each other down – i used to play tuba, and she’s a professional french horn player – and of all the cafes in all the world to wash ashore, we’ve both drifted into here.
an american cafe in germany, full of americans that appeared bleary-eyed and talkative from empty streets.
i figure we turned into pigeons when we stepped outside. big, scared eyes and hooked noses and scampering around this foreign city like fragile tourists.
anyway, that’s what happened yesterday.
we will pay a man to attack her. then, we will save her.
do you think it will work?
this is a trick that works among nations, among lover, and among cats.
sent off a final draft yesterday. i hope it’s the final draft. we’ll see what my editor says.
today, i spent two hours trying to find mass times for any German Catholic Church within twenty miles of my grateful behind.
oddly enough, german churches do not prominently feature their mass times on their websites, or their voicemail boxes.
to find mass times, i had to snoop the website of a larger church to find their altar server schedule. from this, i deduced the time of mass. i hope i did, anyway.
i’m going out today, but nothing will be open. i’m going to wander empty streets before and after mass. nothing is open on sunday
i walked to bakery for fresh bread and physical exertion.
i looked for berliners. in america, jelly doughnuts are disgusting, medium-sized things with cheap jelly inside of them and skin that wrinkles after only an hour or two. in deutschland, jelly doughnuts are called “berliners”, and they’re big, they’re full of very good jelly or creme filling, and they are still good after a day or two has passed.
they didn’t have any berliners that morning. they did have a pancake-like cookie/cake with golden frosting. twas labeled “amerikaner” (american).
since i am also an american, i figured i’d eat an american and snag an americano to drink.
two young men sat on my left. they talked with rapacious smiles at the two young women behind the counter.
german flirting is very different from american flirting, and it takes some conscious consideration until i can read the body language. it will be a few days before i know whether to shove myself in between the two guys and distract them for a while to help the staff, or if such a thing would bug the girls trying to talk to their boyfriends.
today, i ate an american. i drank an american. i walked home.
one of the greatest things about living with other people is that you can wake up, stagger into the kitchen, and discover that the coffee is already made.
it’s steaming, black, and fresh. you didn’t have to try to count spoonfuls and measure water without having first had a cup of fresh, delicious coffee.
this is so small, and so stupid, but it really makes a difference to start your day instantly with fresh coffee the moment you desire it.
my connecting flight to charlotte was held back a few hours, and i spent most of it chatting with a charming woman from a small southern town who had been visiting her grandchildren.
amazing things she said that i had never heard before:
“you live in a small town, you can’t change the toilet paper people don’t hear about it.”
“my granddaughter came up to me and told me i couldn’t leave because it was her birthday. she said, ‘gramma, why you leavin’? didn’t you hear it was my birthday. i’m six. yesterday i was five. today, i’m six. where you going on my birthday?’ and i told her that i had to go back home and get her a present. she said, ‘oh, okay. i guess that’s okay.'”
i won’t go into detail about her stories about how her husband really, really likes to watch golf games on television. apparently, at least one person genuinely enjoys watching the sport, and i’m willing to stop complaining about it if it keeps his wife happy. she was very charming.
normally my dreams areworks of art.
last night, i dreamed that i was eating a banana in my kitchen singing “you can’t alays get what you want” and thinking about this beautiful girl that left me once, a long time ago.
flotsam and jetsam washing ashore. nothing of meaning, just old wounds rising to the surface on the wings of… a banana.
i do not have pictures, alas. (purchase more of my books, world, and i will provide you with pictures from my lovely digital camera.)
i discovered the ugliest tie in the world when i was cleaning out my closet. i do not know if this tie was somehow mixed in with my clothes unknown to me, or if this tie was left behind by a previous tenant.
the tie was electric purple. it was some form of polyester. the pattern was of various smiling stick figures hidden inside the radical electric squiggly lines of mid-eighties awesomeness.
this tie belonged around the neck of donatello, the ninja turtle. firstly, the tie was purple. secondly, donatello was the woefully-misguided-about-cool ninja turtle, and this tie was woefully misguided about cool.
imagine the tie a graphic designer in his late forties would design in the mid-eighties for a “boy george” dress-a-like son.
god, it was so bad.
i showed it to my brother. he grimaced, got this haunted look in his eyes. he said, “that’s the kind of tie you wear to a wal mart interview”.
it was the ugliest tie in the world.
i’m leaving on a jet plane. i don’t know when i’ll be back again.
my sister is graciously opening her apartment to me for a little while. i do not know how long i will be in europe, but i’ll be back when i’m back.
i love traveling, but i hate travel. i love new people, new places, but i get so nervous before the trip. did i remember my passport? did i backup my files? did i bring enough socks? did i budget enough money? will i suddenly blank and forget all my german?
i get real scared, too. i get this knot in my gut before i get to the airport. i look out at the sea of people in the terminal. i sit down on the plane and fret about the luggage i checked. i sit in window seats because if the plane is going to crash, i want to see it. if a storm’s coming, i want to see it.
the night before, i pace and have this pit in my gut. i don’t know why i get so nervous. because i love traveling. i just hate the travel.