The past two weeks haven’t been much different from most of my weeks this year.
There have been many good things: I spent time with a lot of great human beings, I listened to some good music, ate delicious food, I sat in the sun – I even had time to read one or two inspiring lines most days.
Of course, there have been a couple bad things as well: a heart attack, miscommunication and arguing, the usual fight with ghosts (sometimes they just surprise you with their great left hook), every-day trifles that stress you out like the water heater leaking all of a sudden.
Life is what it is: a mix of good and bad moments – dark and light, like a marble cake (and who doesn’t love a nice piece of marble cake? Who doesn’t love cake, really? That’s what I thought). So I’ve decided to cherish all the moments. Moments like these, for example …
Deep, I know. I didn’t come up with this myself, obviously; it was one of the inspiring lines I’ve read lately. Here’s the entire quote:
“Cherish all your moments.
Embrace the beauty and
The importance of each one.”
~ Melody Beattie
I’ve decided to make this my philosophy (as much as possible) – which brings me to one very important, very cherishable moment in terms of German-American relations, at least for me. Don’t be afraid: I’m not talking politics. I’m talking – who’d have thought – sports (yes, I’m a sports fan, who knew, right?).
It’s NFL draft season and I’m proud to report the Indianapolis Colts drafted a fellow countryman of mine: Björn (you know it’s German when there’s an umlaut) Werner (my last name too! Maybe we’re even related!?). That means now there are TWO Germans on the NFL (the other one being the Patriots’ Sebastian Vollmer, of course) and I am SO EXCITED (that’s right, capital-letter-excited!).
Hold your horses, though, and don’t get out the case of (German) beer and party hats just yet – there’s more news. German-American baseball player Donald Lutz (who’s already on the German national baseball team … yes, there is such a thing) made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds last week – and he isn’t doing too badly. Okay, now get out the Augustiner, folks.
Of course, you may ask yourself: why is this German chick so excited about all of this? Well, it’s very simple: I’d prefer a football/baseball game over a soccer match any day. Because even a boring football/baseball game is more exciting than most of the soccer matches I’ve seen lately. Besides, the outfits are better, too.
More to the point, though: there’s a lot of diving and whining and blaming the referee for everything that went wrong for your team in the end (although that may be a problem with all kinds of sports). To be fair: I’m talking German soccer. UK soccer, for example, is still a different thing – but that’s not going to change my mind, either.
So that’s that. Call me crazy or call me maybe, I don’t care. I’m just going to cherish this moment – I’ll enjoy the baseball season while it lasts and I can’t wait for the football season to start. I’m so excited, I’ll even care a minute which one of the German soccer teams is going win the Champions League in a couple of weeks (Go, Dortmund!).
I) January, 8 – in prose…
The New Year (capitalized, to show it’s genuine importance!) is already a week old by now and therefore slowly taking off all the holiday make-up and fancy clothing – a very un-magical moment. It’s always a moment that leaves me missing things: all the Christmas lights, the smell of cinnamon and the anticipation in the air. Because, of course, by that time I’ve already pushed aside the rush and grumpiness of the few days before Christmas, along with the exhaustion of the let’s-visit-the-entire-family-and-all-of-our-friends-in-less-than-24-hours-marathon (while, year after year, thinking: how sweet it would be to catch a ride on Santa’s sleigh). However, what is even worse is the feeling when there’s someone you can’t visit, for whatever reason. Then, the missing hits in early – an even less magical feeling. The least magical I can imagine.
This Christmas season, the missing did hit me quite early, it just snuck up on me behind my back and suddenly there it was, rearing its ugly head out of a pile of Christmas wrappings. It’s been living with me ever since. I don’t mean to complain, I’ve been wanting a roommate since I moved into a new apartment last summer (but I’d really prefer someone less sneaky, Santa must have gotten me wrong there…) leaving behind three roommates (a school, a city, a country) in the process – coming back to what I’d left behind a year earlier to find that I couldn’t have it all back, not the way it was. Of course, you never can – but, of course, you always hope.
I think, it might have been already then, that this idiotic thing moved in with me, hiding in my luggage – the little parasite. Or maybe, I brought it with me from my holiday visit to one of my beloved roommates a few days ago. Anyhow, I’m planning to kick it out soon. I think, it has to go with the decorations and the last bits of candy (ha! I ate the last cookie this morning!). It’s really a poor replacement for all I’ve left behind.
II) January, 8 – in poetry…
I know: it comes like breathing – unconsciously and delicate.
An inflating and deflating, rhythmical, in four-four time almost:
Say, is it dancing, can you feel your heart dancing?
You know, it’s the dance of death, or at least
the dance of coma – a deep delusional sleep:
you’re only imagining things, always.
It’s tiring, truly exhausting – and there’s nothing that can be done.
I’m afraid it’s not a mood, it doesn’t come and go like seasons do.
It’s a state, it’s something chronic – the diagnosis?
Well, it’s not yearning, it’s less dramatic; nothing emotional, I think.
It’s quiet like falling snow and just as cold and it
also muffles all the noise coming in from the world outside:
You must be missing
III), January, 8 – in song (thank you, Miss Madeline Ava)…
Cheers, we say –
to the New Year, and
let’s hope it will be better
than the last one,
crying tears (all in vain, always)
gritting our eyes
with ashes –
No more, we say
as the old year miserably
drowns at the bottom of
our wine glasses –
we don’t even try to save it.
We shoot the New Year
into the stars and say
that’s where we want to be:
Walking through the ashes
collecting our tears in a box
hiding it in a secret corner of the closet
(a secret corner of the heart).
Let’s build new bridges, we say.
But old acquaintances, they forget and
new year’s resolutions hit
the ground just one minute
after midnight, along with
the last of
Cheers, I say –
to an old acquaintance
that forgot, and I
wonder why (after all)
collected the ashes in a box
legs knee-deep in tears
walked right back onto
your last burning bridge
Cheers, I say
drinking the old year
from my glass of $3 wine.
Cheers, I say
looking for you
among the stars.
Time flies. I would even argue – without touching at any scientific data, just indulging in the plain metaphor here – at the speed of light. Maybe it’s got rocket propulsion. Maybe it’s got a fancy back-to-the-future-like rocket propulsion backpack. In neon colors.
This is not my Monday blues speaking. I don’t mean time flies in a simple didn’t-the-weekend-pass-too-quickly-sort-of-way (although, that too, of course). And I don’t even really mean it in a oh-gosh-it’s-already-Thanksgiving-sort-of-way. I mean it in a I-grab-my-food-to-go-and-I-wish-I-didn’t-even-have-to-chew-it-because-I-really-don’t-have-time-for-this-sort-of-way. In a no-one-has-time-for-anything-anymore-sort-of-way.
No one has time for anything anymore. Let alone time to wait for anything.
I remember when I was little, I used to wait all the time. I was waiting for a friend to come over in the afternoon. Year round, I was waiting for holidays – Easters, Christmases, birthdays. I was waiting for my Mom to read me a bedtime story in the evenings. All the time, I was waiting for my Dad to come visit and take me to the movie’s. But really, I would have waited for anything. For the grass to grow taller. For something, anything to happen.
Today, who is still waiting for anything?
You don’t wait for a friend to come over – you just quickly check whether they’re on facebook and then you send them an instant message. Not just a message. It’s got to be instant.
You don’t wait for holidays – there’s no chance, because they blend into one another. There’s a Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-fair going on in most of the shopping places (and the advertisement and and and…). Santa Clause’s already been working since (at least) August this year and is pretty overworked by now. If only he could join a union or whatever. But he’s the only one and he wouldn’t really wanna go on strike anyways. Think of all the children.
You don’t wait for a bedtime story – you can look one up. Youtube it.
I think, I want my waiting back.
Or at least, I want some time to take a breath. I want to be anticipating things rather than just rushing through them. I want to think now – not tomorrow, next week, or come next spring. It shouldn’t be that hard. But even now, as I’m writing this, I’m finding myself thinking of things I have to do later or tomorrow – my mind is just drifting and I can’t even really make it stop.
I think, I’d like to be waiting for – what? Maybe Godot. Because no one else is waiting for him anyways. I’d like to be waiting (maybe for a while). Not for Godot to actually show his (possibly) beautiful face, just for the sake of waiting. I just might do that.
What are you waiting for? (Not as in, what are you waiting for – get moving! More as in, is there anything that makes you stop and actually – patiently – wait for it?)
PS: Or I might start sitting, WAITING, wishing instead…
I. Leaving, pt. 1
I wasn’t sure where exactly I was. I felt a bit lost, to be honest. After all, I’d thought I had found my place –
But, about 5 minutes earlier, it had turned out that I was wrong. I was sitting in the wrong seat of the train. After a confusing journey through several cars – always carefully (neurotically) checking the car number to find out where in this train I actually was – I seemed to be running out of them: I was in car 32 and I needed number 24. Looking ahead, there didn’t seem to be an awful lot left. I was, in fact, being short of train. My reservation (car no. 24, seat 41) – that had cost me almost 5 euros extra – seemed quite useless.
Then, I decided to just opt for seat 41 of the car I was standing in. I thought, that was my best option. At least, until a girl at the next train stop claimed to be the actual owner of the seat I had grown fairly attached to within the last hour or so. So I got up and went (again) looking for the seat that belonged to me and that I belonged to.
First, I decided to find out how much train there was actually left and whether, possibly, someone might just have made a mistake when they assigned the numbers to the cars – something like, here goes 33, 32, 31 and last but not least: 24! 24 does come after 31, right? Well, in reality and my train, it sure didn’t. After 31…came nothing.
I headed back in the other direction, slightly grumpy, a little disoriented and very confused.
Then (in beautiful car no. 31) I spotted a seat that didn’t seem to be reserved to anyone yet. It was completely and utterly free and didn’t belong to anyone. So, I decided right then that it would belong to me. Or maybe, that I belonged there. I sat down and that was that.
Sometimes the places we think are calling us, they’re not actually where we belong. And sometimes, while trying to find them, we end up somewhere else and it’s unexpected, but it feels right nevertheless.
“There’s no place like a home”, a friend told me a day ago over lunch. I smiled and tapped my heels together three times as I usually do upon hearing just that. She smiled back at me (we’re both hopelessly in love with Dorothy and Toto, always looking for the yellow brick road). But, she insisted: “I mean, there’s no place like home – there’s no such thing!” She was all red in the face and excited as she said this. She told me that she was writing a paper that talks about how there is no place like home –
That home wasn’t really a place.
As I was sitting (finally sitting) in my lovely train seat, I was again thinking about that: There’s no place like home? And what was that anyways: home – the place we (think we) belong to? So in my case at that very moment, it would have been my seat. It felt comfortable enough.
A bit of background: I was taking the train to visit another friend – it’s safe to say one of my very best friends. We’ve known each other for close to ten years (wow, I’ve never done the math here) and she knows me better than most people. She’s someone I can tell all my dark and/or silly secrets knowing she won’t judge me. I can get drunk or smoke too many cigarettes or get up in the morning looking how you do when you get up in the morning knowing she won’t judge me. She just lets me be. She gets me to stand still. She gets me. So going to see her: it, in fact, felt like going home in a way.
III. Leaving, pt. 2
As if someone or something was reading my restlessness from my train ticket or whatever: When I was heading home, my train was late due to some construction work on the tracks – I missed my connecting train, the last one to leave the station for the night. By then, it was about 11 pm. To say I was a bit angry about that is a huge understatement. I steered towards the service point (to the big dismay of the lady sitting inside the booth) and told her the story. I would have liked to do some yelling, really, but I didn’t, because I knew the people who deserved the yelling in the first place were lying in their cozy beds right then – unlike the lady here and me, involuntarily night owling in the train station. She placed me in a hotel nearby for the night and handed me the information for possible trains I could take the next morning. So I was staying on the road for a bit longer. And although I was angry, because my plans for the next morning were being messed up (like going to university – things you’d do on a Monday morning unless you miss your train), I didn’t really mind not sleeping in my own bed for another night.
Now, it’s 6:30 am and (finally), I’ve been sitting in my (next to last) train home for about an hour. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch my connecting train for once (I do have the generous amount of 7 minutes to do so, which I’m absolutely thrilled about). If I had more time on my hands, I wouldn’t mind doing the extra traveling, in fact. I find it soothing – the very act of moving (on a train, bus, plane) gives me a comforting feeling. Like it’s okay to be a little restless. While being on the road, there’s no need for any attachments after all. It’s normal not to feel at home. Because you’re not. And yet, I feel more at home on a train, bus, plane at times, than anywhere else. Whoever finds some irony in any of the statements above – well, keep it.
This is not going to be great literature – Shakespeare, Goethe, Proust. Nothing like that. This might turn out to be confusing, lacking coherence, the thread that teachers are always looking for in students’ essays. But I don’t care, really. As long as, at the end of this, a couple of words will have found their way out of my mind or my mouth or whatever is keeping them in, I’ll be content.
Because there are so many of them. They are fluttering around in my head and heart like tiny moths and they’re gnawing on anything they can find. They’re keeping me awake, while at the same time, they’re having me daydreaming. They usually come in groups, they’re no lonesome travelers. They travel in stories or theories – things I remember, things I don’t talk about, things I want to talk about. I could fill a notebook from cover to cover. And then another one. I would like to be shouting all these things at the top of my lung. I would like to be shouting right now.
But nothing comes out.
I’m staring at computer screens and keyboards and nothing, except for worn phrases, clichés, ramblings: Once upon a time, there was an ugly duckling that dreamed of being a beautiful swan and of being allowed to eat nothing but cake day-in and day-out and drink chocolate milk, but it was lactose-intolerant, the poor little chick and this and that and some more and blah and blah blah and the end. I’m staring at a white piece of paper and still nothing, except for some scribblings: a nice house with a lawn, and oh so beautiful flowers, and apple trees and clouds and rain and I’m afraid a thunderstorm is coming up in the back of the picture. I have a few beginnings, a few sentences for maybe some middle parts, but that’s about it. No endings. I get stuck all the time and I don’t know why.
And I really love to write.
I always did write. I’ve written since I knew how to properly hold a crayon – all I did write then, of course, was my name followed by a couple of letter-like hieroglyphs. Still. And a lot of the time, writing was my home. I lived in my writing. I spilled my deepest darknesses onto paper when I couldn’t take them anywhere else. I made up silky sweetnesses to hide in when I couldn’t turn anywhere else. It’s my home. It’s the one friend that knows me entirely, because with people, I find it even harder to get the words out. I don’t know how to talk about things – so I write about them. Now, I don’t even do that. I’m stuck. I’m stuck with this thing that I love and that seems to be all there is. And maybe, that’s the problem.
There’s too much at stake, there’s too much pressure, too much tension. Things don’t come easy anymore when the pressure builds up too high.
Then you can do one of two things: You can try and try and try to make it work again – or turn your back on them.
There are some odd couples in the history of human relationships: Harold & Maude, Kurt & Courtney, Milli & Vanilli, Chico & Groucho & Harpo (although they’re actually a triple, of course) – the list is endless, really. And not only do they seem odd but at odds, completely and thoroughly. Still, there are some magical, supposedly pink-sugar-iced ties holding them together. I’m guessing they’re pink-sugar-iced, they must be sticky at least. What else would keep them from falling apart? Common interests, common values, common aspirations, a common sense of humour maybe? It’s not common sense, that’s for sure.
Ok, I’m not opening a new frontier here, I could probably do some tie-research in century (or millenium) old literature. But even then, I wouldn’t find the answer – there’s no consensus. It wouldn’t be of any help, because I really want the answer or at least, something that comes close. First, because a writer (even if it’s just blog-writing) always needs the answer. Second, because I’ve been picking and pulling at my very own ties lately. They’ve started to itch. So I’ve been pulling them very close to my smart-looking glasses, trying to examine the material which causes the trouble (Am I allergic? Is it something chronical?). I couldn’t find out.
Your voice dances in my ears, it’s a slow waltz. Your features, they’re painted across my eyes. I’ve collected your fingerprints in my palm: little pieces of velvet, shimmering poppie seeds. And my heart? (Echos: Silence)
PS: Some oddity to watch and enjoy.