Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ask Junior if he wants a hit

Man do I love a summertime barbecue. Back home, barbecues would be in someone's backyard or on their patio. It would start in the afternoon and go on well after the coals had cooled. Potluck style, everyone would bring something to throw on the grill and/or a side dish, plus alcohol or some other mixer-type beverage. One thing not usually brought was children.

But then again, I'm talking about the barbecues of my "youth"--those years between the ages of 16 and 24. Now that people my age are settling down and having kids, it's evidently supposed to be a given that sometimes small people will accompany the guests.

Yesterday I co-hosted a barbecue in Görlitzer Park, arguably the dirtiest, shoddiest, grungiest, crummiest, junkie-est patch of grass in Berlin. It is also reknowned for its after-dark party scene, which adds to its daytime popularity. Gypsies begging and Africans slangin weed are not uncommon sights along the park's expansive corridor. Broken glass, empty drug baggies, shattered beer bottles, spent coals from previous barbecues, and copious amounts of garbage are underfoot. Add sixteen drunken adults into the mix and you have an environment that is anything but suitable for a 2.5 year old child.

But maaaaaan, was that kid cute. Oh man. Seriously. I was ready right then and there to grab the turkey baster and make sure I have one by this time next year. Watching the tow-headed toddler chase the brightly colored ball wherever his father kicked it, his long curls bouncing as he ran, listening to his joyful laughter and simple observations, I was moved. Touched by his exploratory spirit as he spun the wheels on Laura's bike, entreating his father to watch. "Look! Look! It goes faster! Look! It's doing it!" I was fascinated by his fascination, oh MAN what a fucking cute kid.

I remarked to Cookie, "But come on dude... what's he thinking bringing his kid to a barbecue full of drunken grownups, hot coals, baby-snatchers, rapists, Gypsies... not exactly a kid-friendly environment. I mean it's great that the kid gets to run around in the sunshine, but really."

Cookie just sort of nodded and said, "Well, we're getting to that age, aren't we? It'll happen more and more that people will show up with kids."

To which I replied, "Not at my party."

There's this theory that when you get married or have children, that your life changes, and you get different friends from the friends you had when you were single and childless. I personally think that's a load of bull, but there will always be assholes like me who like to hang out with grownups during grownup parties.

To be sure, when my friends started "dropping like flies", I truly did not make an effort to hang around them. We're talking about unmarried women living in small apartments with babies and sometimes baby daddies, the shit is depressing. All the girl's party clothes and paraphrenalia laying alongside toys, onesies and baby wipes. A girl in a woman's body, attempting to raise a child while refusing to leave her carefree youth behind.

I don't, of course, believe that when you have a kid you have to stop having fun. If you can afford it and you have the time, by all means, go seek adult company and entertainment. What I would kind of request though, is that you don't bring the kid with you.

I remember parties when I was all of 18 where there were infants in playpens weaving among the reefer-smoke, seemingly unfazed by the bass-heavy rap rattling the picture frames. Many's the mom I've seen kickin it downtown, pushing a stroller, smoking a blunt, and lining up her next baby daddy. To me, bringing a 2.5 year-old to an outdoor party where grownups are imbibing, smoking and cursing, as they were in the park yesterday, seems unwise. Yes, it is outdoors. No, it's not really a family event.

To the father's credit however, the rest of us at the barbecue might as well have not even existed. While my eyebrow raised upon seeing the child wading amongst the filth, Dad spent 100% of the time he spent there with his son, completely engrossed in kicking the ball for him, listening and talking to him, watching him spin the wheels on Laura's bike, hugging and kissing him, and monitoring him while he ran around a bit exploring the grass and the bushes and the bugs and the trees.

I concluded that it must be an American thing--where we work so hard to shelter our children from the realities of grownup life that they enter adulthood with zero tolerance for, and therefore heightened vulnerability to, its vices and pleasures. My parents were teetotallers and I am DEFINITELY not the better for it.

Damn Europe. So backwards, yet still so right. Sometimes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Social Drinking is For Grammas

I caught up with some friends the other day and three out of three of them were already drunk. Besides the fact that I'd sort of promised myself to stay dry that evening, it was basically too late to start. Laura was five beers down, Cookie and Graham were down a litre of cheap 13% wine EACH, it was simply too late. I would never catch up. I sat there sober, then later had to hear that there was a "weird vibe" and that it was "awkward" because of... me. Due to my "extreme" sobriety during which I still managed to crack jokes and fake sumo-wrestle the 'Stoph.

Telling this story to Andrea a couple of days later, she agreed that it's kind of shitty to hold someone responsible for not being wasted at seven o'clock in the afternoon, but she had a solution for next time: just drink two beers, and then go home.

I want to illustrate for you now another scenario. You walk into a bar, sit down. The place is full of regulars, half of them are friends. Now you're not particularly thirsty and you don't really find the burn of vodka down your throat theee most pleasant sensation. Beer doesn't burn but you're not especially hungry, and you know that after you drink one, you'll feel as full as if you had eaten a meal. Wine is nice if it's nice, but as you're in your favorite dive bar, it's probably not that nice. So what do you do? Order a coke? Why on earth would you go to a bar, sit down and order a coke? Go to the store, buy a coke, go sit on the beach and enjoy. The (sober) end.

No, no, no. If you're like me then everything you drink serves a purpose. In the regular course of my life I drink a very limited number of beverages, but all of them have their functions. To get high, jittery and talkative, I drink coffee or large amounts of black tea. To chill out in the evenings I drink green tea. To quench thirst/not die I drink water. To get drunk, giggle a lot and do, with relative impunity, things that I oughtn't, I drink wine/beer/spirits.

I've never really understood the concept of "social" drinking, when used in the context of drinking alcohol to be social, and not to get drunk. Social cooking, social eating, social camping, social canoeing, social shopping, these are all things you were going to do anyway so why not share them with a friend? But "social drinking"? Well no actually I wasn't planning on drinking this beer until the evening because then I am free to get drunk, in the meantime, would you like to drink some social water with me?

I mean, of course, you don't have to get disgustingly, asshole-bent-over-a-public-toilet-and-crying wasted every time you drink. Andrea is a tiny little girl so maybe two beers makes her tipsy. I myself don't really see the point in drinking two beers. For the calories wasted in two large German beers I could eat a portion of french fries or a two slices of pizza. I would WAY rather have some pizza than drink two big bloaty beers and feel a little fuzzy in my brain.

When you're in your twenties, drinking is for adventures! Drink a few and ride the train! Knock back a couple and play pool! Swig a bit then trespass on government property! Sip some sizzurp and talk to strangers! Get a li'l dreezy and play kick the can for miles! Steal shopping carts and push your friends around in them! Tear around a playground! Dance! Wrestle! Argue! Cook! Explore, run, jump, skip! Use it to celebrate, use it to commiserate! The possibilities are endless! Get drunk and do all the shit you usually do, except with poorer judgment (and way more fun)!

"Having a glass of sherry with dinner" is for boring old motherfuckers who get laid once a month. I say, let your inner drunk out. Don't pretend that you like the taste of six-year-old grape juice. I call bullshit. There is a reason you drink the first glass to the bottom, and why you accept the second glass, and the third, and so on. And it has nothing to do with the frooty bookay.

I hope I am drinking and yukking it up way past the age that that kind of behavior looks cute. There's nothing so heartwarming as a tableful of middle-aged biddies drinking and cursing and swaying out of rhythm to the jukebox. I'm not even being sarcastic. Those broads are doing it, not pretending that they're not doing it.

In conclusion: if you use alcohol in order to be social... does that mean maybe that you weren't all that social to begin with? Social is social, drunk is drunk. There is a difference.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chatty-Chatty Bang Bang: All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

[Laura is my good good friend who is German by birth but lived in Canada from the ages of 12 to 20 and came back to Berlin a couple of years ago.]





is your hair done?

and why does yr heart feel squished*


[*her current facebook status]


yahhhh, my hair is all done...

it was fun and I might not have to give up my apartment cuz' katy will take it, that makes me very happy

just in case everything changes and i want it back sometime



well that is good

fuuuuuucccccccckkkkkkkkkk there is some arsehole singing next to me in the interet cafe, he is middle-aged, smelly and drunk

good combo


um, heart is squished cuz' its all a long story...I had a fucking long night last night lets just say that...i will tell you about it maybe some other time...





horrible combo

those guys love it at the internet cafes...they talk to their 3 wifes simultanously




yes they do

i wonder if they all know about each other... too funny

ewwwwwwww he has raised his arm now and the breeze is blowing his BO right into my nostril, time to get drunk

and he is HUMMING oh jesus help me

anyhow what are you doing for the rest of the day?


how are you?

um, nothing planned I will go to the gym

and then nothing


how am i? ok i guess


I am restless though...I was kind of debating a nightwalk through somewhere newish


how are you? i assumed pretty good since you were kickin it in the boxi*


what do you consider newish?

[*Boxhagener Platz, a dirty park for drunken hoboes in Friedrichshain]


uh, I am okay, there have been better days but its okay...hmmmm, dont know....ernst thaelmann park nahhh, hmmmm...let me think about that one

gawd, that guy seems worse than some other ones

I hate the angry young guys that happen to always sit beside me

haha, 'Ullrich broetchen'*

[*Ullrich is a grocery store in the center of the city, brötchen means "buns" or "rolls", this is in response to my own Facebook status praising the merits thereof]


yeah this place in particular is a haven for gamers, so they will all play against each other in these RPGs and scream and curse and shit good times

yeehaw for ullrich brötchen!!


yeehaw is right!!

hey, are u drinking?


haha i was just about to write "now i am drinking a beer" lol

um yes

i am BAD

but fuck it man everyone was drinking down by the canal, im like, why can't I drink? other ppl have the right then dammit so do i.


oh that would be cool to chill by the canal somehwere tonight


canally goodness


well, I am debating on cracking open that little vodka cuteness


i had to leave cos it was too windy, my anti-feminism book kept flying around, and the dust from the botscha players kept getting in my face/coffee so i was like "time to bounce"

haha "little vodka cuteness" what a euphorism

is katy still with you? no eh




nevermind thats a dumb question


no, no she is obsessivley cutting hair to save up for her leaving to work in greece, I am jealous somehow...u get to drink for free very night legally



yes going to greece for a summer sounds good/hot/noisy/fun/hot/noisy

mostly hot and noisy though




haha im old


I just like the part that she gets to drink for 3 Euros or nothing almost every day

not that that helps with cutting down drinking



nööö it does not

bah who cares when youre 21 so what

drink evrey fucking day i did when i was 21

sometimes at noon. who cares


yahhhh, I might pour myself a drink to that actually



wait are you having a drink THEN going to the gym?



uh, yah maaybe after or I will just drink the beer and then other things




would u want to join on the night walk?


so wait you are or you are not going to the gym? what is this about beer and other things?

huuuuhhhhhhhhh i dunno

i gotta get up semi-early tomorrow and go see these fools about english teaching

or something like that

i was thinking of being in bed by midnight for once haha

but i would join you on the canal if you went


yeah, me too actually...I would consume a beer and then other things is my point

and maybe go for a nice evening walk around 8 ish

and then I need to get some sleep as well since I didnt hardly get any


so you were talking to canada last night or what


nah, just man shit...more Uk doesnt matter....




will ask no further questions

shit did i tell you that hittop* injured himself last night?

[*hittop is the nickname of "Christoph", my boyfriend, the backstory is for another blog]


what no


he sprained his ankle (i think) but he's being actually (haha) a HUGE fucking baby about it


arent they always?


he's like "i think i should go to the doctor" im like why do you want to waste time and money on a sprain

yes! they are always!


well, he has healthcare no...he doesnt really need to pay for the doctor


well but his poijnt is that maybe its not a sprain, my point is that if he goes to the doc the doc will poke around a bit and ask him if he can move the ankle this way and that. i was like "do you think the doctor is going to do an xray or something" and he was like "yeah well that or an ultrasound" LOLOLOL

um right. i have been to the doctors here, unless you are visibly dying of AIDS or have cancer sticking out of your eyeballs theyre like "rest up a bit and drink more water" blah blah b lah


haha, lol

'drink more water' thats awesome


it is a complete fuckign waste of time and money. erika (his mom) has good money, good doctor, they do the same thing to her. as a result she just stays home and yeah haha drinks more water.


oh my

waste time, I agree with

but german boys are whiny

especially our generations


well and anyway its just a sprain. he would not listen to the logic that if he really had had a severed tendon or something he would not have been able to make it home in anything other than a wheelchair, that sprains feel better and then feel worse, and then better and then worse, depending on how much pressure/weight you put on them over time, blah blah. i am the sprain queen i know what i am talkign about but will he listen? no. he just sits around and moans, haha it is almost cute. almost.


yeah, moaning is always alomst cute




well, now u have a moaning man around you and he is not even moaning for the right reasons



damn is right

not that he moans much anyway


man i should always come to internet cafe when the sun is shining cos most people are too smart to sit around smoky internet cafes fucking around on the computer, therefore it is reasonably quiet in here. ahhh.



and u still get to semi people watch



or in this case "people-smell"


[*genau: "exactly"]



is he still whsitling


erm no now he is cursing at the computer and breathing loudly

i think he's playing online poker or some other comparably pathetic pasttime

haha my mom plays internet poker. saaaaaaad

its not even real money come on now get yr capitalism right

yr making money for the website and taking home none yrself. wtf.



I had a dream one night of me playing poker


i think im going to write a blog about drinking


or something


do you know how to play?


can I read ur latest blogs? Where are they?


poker is one of those games like chess, a supposed classic that bores. me. to. tears.


um, semi


ack! a request!


no not yet. 1. i want to have an archive before i get readers and i only have 18 posts now. 2. i want to figure out the direction of the blog before i let people read it. 3. It is still shit and I'm not really ready for everyone to read my scrambled mess. On myspace i had a good idea of what i was writing and who i was writing to, now ive got to figure that out, giving you the link would be like letting you in my house when it is a mess times ten.

i want to tidy it up a bit, when i am proud of it you will be the first to know.


kay', fair enough...I know what you mean


i have literally one official reader, and i am also her only official reader. so we don't care if our shit is shitty, we have been reading each others bullshit for years now, not that i trust/like/love her more than you, but yeah ok you get it so i will stop now haha


so, what do u think of David Sedaris?


um well i actually liked the book

the one i bought cookie

i could see why she didnt like it though, and why graham could not get through it


why is that?

is it funny?


cos i think that deep down or maybe not even that deep down they are american haters for reasons that are unreversable i.e. americans will probably always be one way, and they will probabaly always think it obnoxious

yes it is fucking hilarious. but then again i am an american so i dont hate on him for his americanness. actually most of the things that cookie and graham find repulsive about him are traits that i myself have.

he is obnoxious it is true. i love it. i can also see why someone/they would not



I want to read it now

sounds good



it is good.


graham especially, he is so reserved, and dislikes overt displays of anything, and sedaris is very overt in his writing, remember how i told you i like art to slap me in the face, he is a face-slapper, although he does it with finesse. so i "get" it, it doesn't take an abundance of intelligence to understand, but you have to be tolerant of people who are in love with themselves.


People are so funny that way with the inner american hate, I definantly think cookie/gram dont like obnoxciousness too much or loudness really in sober state haha...I still remember when I had all this arguments with stephanie about canadians/americans and their ways...god, just shut the fuck uip


sedaris however does not deny that he wants people to think he is great, in the next sentence he will tell you how not-great he is, and he owns that shit. very in touch with his vices.

ach yeah it is bullshit





that is annoying to be sure

but stephanie, she is a bit old for the ami-hate, for sure it is time to get over it

its not like she lives there and is tortured by them or something

[*ami: "American"]


she is just too proud to be a fucking european and asshole about it which annoys me cuz' she is exaclty the same as the other way around...yeah THOSE PEOPLE ARE REALLY ANNOYING....I sat beside these 3 teenage girls one day and they were down-talking each other of how they all knew the u bahnstations* in berlin

[U-bahnstation: "Subway Station"]


they were american by the way

new yourk city I believe


haha yeah not really from ny either though id guess

99% of ppl with the money to go to europe, who come from ny, are perpetual tourists i.e. mummy and daddy paid their way through NYU (see: renee) then they settled in ny to live, but they are really from the sticks

no one is actually from ny. they move there to be cool. so it makes sense that kids from there who visit here are dicks hah



although i mean, it is cool to be proud of where you are from... stephanies pride is not a crime... what sucks is when you are proud of where you are from in comparison to somewhere else. on the west coast of canada it was a big problem, ppl would be like "its so much better here than the states" im like, surely you have some more worthwhile measure of your country's greatness than "at least its not america"? come on now

canada and europe are both rad places that are rad independent of the fact that they are "not america"


yeah, that majorly annoys me


like for instance, i didnt want to live in america anymore, but i didnt move to canada because it was "not america". i moved there because i liked it, cos it was pretty and ppl were laid back and ok yes because george bush was not their president. but i like germany cos of the food, and the way ppl spend their free time, and that its cheap, and you can look at naked boobies on the tv, etc


naked boooooooooobbbbies


oh man dude the internet guy is hitting on me again

that is dangerous becaue i totally like him and think he is hot

the only thing that sucks is that he waxes his eyebrows but as he is a turk maybe that is for the best... they can be some hairy mothafuckaz



hot turk, eh?


haha, u are having springy feelings

babies and men




shut up!

erm... i guess they could be springy feelings

probably they are just stuck-in-a-rut feelings

although i do love hittop but yes life is pretty standard at our house

actually we were talking about having babies today. i was like "if the world is still around in 2012 we can talk about it again, I'm not bringing a child in this world just for it to perish in a mayan-predicted meteor shower or something " haha



well, but little turk shop internet guy would not make life less ordinary






yes thats probably right

haha then i would have to wear a headscarf and forget how to drive



haha, erhg

who wants that

I was thinking about babies today too and having one for some odd reason


seriously half the time someone almost runs me over in a car due to their extreeeeeme, egregious lack of knowing-how-to-drive it is a bitch in a hajib


it shifts all the time, gawd


or hijab or whatever the headscarf thingy is called



get a husband first. or even better, a wife.


noooooo, I cant make any babies in my brain anyhow




the immaculate conception and that

im sure your hoo-ha will see a ding-dong again in life youre young yet


it was just a thought like u finding kids cute and squshable all of a sudden



yes some of them are squish- and edible

but i think id be better off with a kitten if i want to squish and eat somethign smaller than me that i have to take care of

its cheaper


haha, too funny

uh, hoohaw



hey there is a new hipster cafe on weichselplatz, maybe we will have to work it into the Kreuzkölln pub crawl*

[Kreuzkölln is the tourist name for the neighborhood which lies on either side of the border to Kreuzberg and Neukölln. Both are Turkish neighborhoods, Neukölln moreso, and Kreuzberg has become hipstery in the last few years, has been punkrock and Turkish for decades.]




its next to the mommy cafe, its like theyre protesting the mommies, by sitting around looking dykey and non-procreative-y and drinking beer and smoking in the afternoon and that


All hipster places will be for us to conquer




Oh, that sounds perfect

I like this place already


i wonder how long it will take the mommies to complain about beign downwind of organic shade-grown free trade tobacco smoke

actually yeah it doesnt look too bad. tiny though.

im 99.999% sure it was just someone's apartment before it was converted into a cafe

as in, like, a few weeks ago. why cant i make MY house a hipster cafe, damn everything


lets open a hipster cafe together and make zines about um presidentialship(?) and kiez* education

[*Kiez: colloquialism for "neighborhood"]


haha and what exactly will be taught during kiez education?

how to rob späties* and steal bikes? pee pee corners of schöneberg?** etc etc

[*Spätie: short for Spätkauf, literally translated to "late buy", essentially, "independently owned mini-mart that is open later than grocery stores, which are only open until 8pm". **pee-pee corner is our name for any place where people typically urinate outdoors, Schöneberg is a very nice family neighborhood where people ought not to do such things]


YES, its important shit

good idea, no?

the cafe idea is brillaint thogh


its not bad


we would be rockin hosts


i would make ZE COOLEST cafe owner ever

totally a supamolly* concept, cheap beer, old tables, i would sell snacks though and pasta cos drunk people love pasta. and pizza. two super cheap things to make that you can sell for cheap and still make a profit from

[*Supamolly: cool East German punkrock bar]


we would attract about 30 blackies and tuerkies a day or more like 130 and could take their money, what a deal!


im into taking ppls money as long as they re watching while i do it


well, take their money as in they buy coffee, cake beer, and we make profit while they drool over us

yes, yes

not steal shit out of their pockets


ew i think i will wear a burka i dont want to be drooled over barf

why not i think stealing shit out of their pockets is probably covered in kiez education



aehhhh, well I wanna have a cafe with you now




the best part to have in is neukoelln of course

attract all of those cute dykey girls


stare at them and take their money






now mr b.o. man is moaning ew ew ew come on man its just poker. plus he is tonedeafly singhumming along to some live rock show video from like 1979 wow





my "wow" photos came out pretty good i'll have to post those


oh man, I still have to post some new shit as well

good, EXCELLENT!!!


ew why does burning filter smell like heroin, does that mean that there are opiates in filters? would explain why i cant seem to quit


now he's singing "pants, pants, pants" in a german accent so its like "päntz, päntz, päntz" somehow i am sure the band is not singing about trousers, i wonder how bad he is butchering the lyrics


this sounds like a ridiculous skit


what? the guy or our chat


the guy


he holds his beer the way a baby holds a bottle

i mean beer is nice but its not necessary to the division of cells or anything


haha, u should try to get a pic of this guy

saturday katy said there might be vodka night at tacheles* with brigid/lucy could be fun

[*Tacheles: Art co-op/bar which almost single-handedly forms the heart of Berlin's soul]


coooooooollllllll i am super into it

although fuck cookie wants to have a bbq

uh wow i am a dick i guess the obvious solution would just be to invite her haha


ohhh, well this isnt set yet...

she will message me tomorrow or something

I also want to hang w/ katy a bit more before she takes off, i like her vibe

BBQ sounds good too though


yes, she has right decent vibe. cool chick.


yeah, she gave me a good haircut, that speaks for her


BO man is like "na ja.* mmhmm." and nodding at the computer, now he is doing gun-fingers at the screen, now he is staring at it with his head cocked, i think besides holding beer like a baby bottle he also believes that the ppl in the TV can see and hear him, i think i was divested of that belief at age 7

i cant wait to see this haircut. are you going to the opening** tomorrow?

[*Na ja: "mmhmm" or "ok then". **art opening at Strychnine gallery where Laura used to intern, and the managers of which are the aforementioned Cookie and Graham.]


haha, this guy is too much

yeah, fer sure...i want to see hot graffiti boys

and um cool graffiti


i know eh? i should take video of him not a picture but besides being a stinky schizo he is also nosy and checking me out, i think he would notice taking a video dammit.

why cant he be like postbank guy* and earn having pics taken of him? i actually feel bad for him. Now he is head-bopping and whispering at the screen, LOLLLLLLLLL he is tooooo effing funny

[*dude with stupid hair who had a staring problem yesterday which facilitated my taking extremely unflattering photos of him.]


oh try it, try it


fuck man

i need another beer first, i dont have the balls yet.

maybe i can just set up the camera in such a way that it looks like it is conveniently sitting on its end on my table


fuck now he is listening to german music. "gar nicht schlecht...*"

no man i cant do it. i cant tape this guy. its like kicking a blindfolded retard

with one hand tied behind his back

[*gar nicht schlect: "not at all bad"]


oh god

I think I am gonna die laughing


i need some of what he is drinking... i guess pilsator* is putting peyote in their beer these days

[*pilsator: the cheapest beer around, comfort to welfare-collecting alcoholics across the land]


LOL now here is something to laugh at... a new customer must be one of these dudes with five internet wives... first he told her that he had just arrived here at Media Markt*, now he says "aber weißt du was Problem ist wann ich zu dir komme, du hast doch immer keine Zeit"** haha stop screaming dude we get it you have hoes in different area codes

[*Media Markt: a Best-Buy type store which is across the street in the mall and decidedly NOT HERE. **aber weißt du...:"But you know what the problem is when I come to your house, it's that you never have any time"]


maybe i should make it clear that he came in yelling on his cell phone


haha, why is ur internet cafes more entertainting than mine, in mine they are all boring and actually civilized and do real shit like research for school, apartment hunting, normal good stuff



haha the perks of living in Kreuzkölln...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Own That Shit When You Look Like Shit

I live in a nice, quiet little corner of a filthy, noisy city--along a lush, green canal, surrounded by trees and lawn, on a street whose primary commercial hub is a tiny Turkish-owned mini-mart that sells overpriced beer and Costco-style packaged foods. About four blocks away--far enough to be seen but not heard, from my apartment-- is a subway station and a huge, thriving mall. In the mall are a bunch of stores I can't stand, I don't know their names, only that they sell shit I don't need and dislike looking at. There is a store that sells coffee beans and nursing bras (coffee beans always, some weird non-related Other Product rotating). There are a few stores that are what I call Amy Winehouse Shops, overpriced "boutiques" that sell the tackiest, glitziest, most disposable fashion imaginable for astronomical prices. There is a Forever 18 (puke) and a few shoe stores. Remember when you were a kid and your mom couldn't afford to get you real Nike Airs or L.A. Gears or British Knights or whatever, so you spent a day at the Volume Shoe Source trying on whatever knock-offs they made to fit your big-ass boat feet, that sparkled and shone just enough to draw attention to the fact that they cost $12.99? Yeah, me too. There are a couple of stores like this in our mall, except they are cleverly named in order to conceal the level of cheap-shitness they are selling. "Uncle Sally's Trendy Hipstore Outlet" and that.

There's a movie theater, and a McPaper (yes they call a stationery store McfuckingPaper) and a couple of banks and most importantly, a big huge grocery store that I love love love. Going to the mall is always interesting because it is overrun with Turks old and young, big and small, and teeny-boppers of all stripes, and dirty refugee looking people dragging around cartloads of children, and normal non-brown non-non-German people doing their shopping, and at all times, a huge fucking number of spectators looking you up and down. The inspiration to write this entry was born out of my procrastinating going to the mall to take back some deposit bottles and picking up some pre-made schnitzel and sauerkraut, because I know I will have to exchange my sweats and crocs for something a little more presentable, which sucks, because who am I, Uma Thurman? Why should anyone give a fuck what I wear while shopping for Wiener Schnitzel? Back home I would go to the grocery store in my PJs (tacky, but no joke) or with my hair all wild, cocaine dribbling down my lip, undies sticking out, barefoot, naked, who cares, it's just the damn store. But I know that as soon as I get about three blocks away from my calm little paradise it is going to be a zoo, a zoo full of old and small and young and fat and big and pretty and ugly and dumb and smart and wholly unimportant people scrutinizing my every move. So I have to at least comb my hair and put on actual, you know, clothes.

A friend of mine lives on a fancy, busy street in Friedrichshain, which is like the big gay hipster paradise of Berlin. It's maybe the LES of Berlin, or the Broadway (in Seattle) of Berlin, or say, the St. Denis (Montreal) of Berlin, or even the Granville/Davie/Robson (Vancouver) of Berlin. The point of course is that it is in Berlin and not in any of these other posh cities, everyone here looks like shit, but they are convinced otherwise, and expect you to be the same. You can't just own looking like shit here. You're supposed to pretend to yourself that you really do look like people on the MTV or in magazines. But you don't. You look like a blind person who went shopping in American Apparel and couldn't tell your hundred-dollar bills from your tens. You look like you spent way too much money on not being able to realize that you look like shit.

So my girl lives on Simon-Dach Straße, full of cafés, bars and upscale indy boutiques and record stores. Morning, noon and night, her street is crawling with try-hard hipsters. She walks out her door and BAM! there is a wall of people waiting to size her up. (As a result, I hate spending the night there.) She loooooves it. It is a rare occasion that she evacuates the premesis in anything less than full makeup, stockings, scarves, hair-dos, perfume, nails done, heels on.

I would die. To me it's bad enough that I have to put on a bra to take out the garbage. If I had to put on eyeliner and deodorant every time I wanted to buy a pack of smokes or pick up some milk and bread I would just quit smoking and stop eating. I would starve in my apartment, covered in a three-day old crust and barely able to stand from the rickets. On "fat" days I would probably just cut myself and cry, then write a poem about it, then leave the house full of the confidence that comes from knowing that one is artistically tortured enough to walk among the hip--and 4 liters lighter to boot.

A lot of people here hate on the Turks, but if there's one thing I can say about living among them, it's that they know what poor looks and smells like. They don't like looking at my toes or my lip ring, but I can leave the house reeking of garbage with tits down to here and no one bats an eye.

I think I will just live here until I get so old that no one expects me to care about what I look like anyway.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So... Tell Me About Yourself

They really do want to know "about yourself". I find it so weird.

I mean, have you ever walked up to someone, for example a person of your desired sex, and gone, "So. Tell me about yourself"?

I had a roommate when I lived in the Big Gay House who said that guys would walk up to him in clubs and go, "So. What's your story?"

I guess when you're gay, you... have a story? Or maybe Germans have stories? Or maybe there is some sort of Known Thing here where everyone has a story that they tell about themselves, same as the Known Things of keeping all your bank printouts, recycling glass bottles by color, buying Bio, and haggling. For some reason that I can never comprehend, all of these Things are Known by everyone who lives here, sort of like how your mom ALWAYS knows which Sunday is Daylight Savings Sunday. Some people just know, and you don't.

Since my last job interview blog I have been on two more interviews. One was for a "beach bar" and my good friend Laura and I had back-to-back interviews, which was random and convenient. We left the place together and crossed our fingers that the other one would not be hired (or that if she were, that we would be too). Frau Krause was a bleach-blonde, chain-smoking lady in her 40s with a gravelly voice and an open demeanor. We both liked her, she claimed to like both of us, but neither of us got the job. Woe for Laura, but I had another interview on Friday.

Fancy secured building in a desirable neighborhood, I was impressed/intimidated. I mean, there's me, in my best outfit, which includes €1,25 stockings and some leather loafers my gramma gave me nearly three years ago, and there's these guys, with a damn intercom and glass doors and a foyer. I get in the elevator, smooth my hair, and enter the office. First thing I see is an open door--good sign, and a long hallway--not-so-good sign. Luckily, the very first office on the right belonged to Herr Diers, with whom I had the appointment. A young man in jeans, a ball cap, and a swollen eye shakes my hand and asks me what I'm doing here. I tell him. He says that Herr Diers is not there and looks at me skeptically. I go, "Today is Friday?" He says yes. "And it's 12:00?" I confirm, looking at my wrist, tattooed where the watch should be--a bad habit of mine when exasperated or impatient--he nods. He leads me to an austere waiting room that looks more like one found in a Planned Parenthood than in a corporate office. I pick up People magazine.

Mr Ballcap Rowdy-In-The-Club comes back and tells me that Herr Diers won't be back for 45 minutes and maybe I should fuck off until then. I leave, drink a beer (for the nerves!) and come back, to be greeted by another young man in jeans. It feels weird to call this 29-year-old guy Mr. So-and-So, but so be it, it's Germany. He asks if I mind if he smokes. What is this, an episode of Perry Mason? Or some other 50s workplace where people still smoke in their offices? Obviously I didn't mind if he smokes, I just want a job.

"So. Tell me about yourself."


So I told him whatever I thought he wanted to hear in order to insure that he offered me the job.

And he did.

Pay is good, hours are fantastic, I just have to do about 274642748509873 hours of curriculum planning, but at least I'll be a teacher again, and not some grunt washing dishes or polishing shoes or driving Miss Daisy and having to invent an actual personality and qualifications in order to convince an employer that mine are the best hands for the job.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nunya Bidness

When I was about 18 I lived with my cousin and my retarded homicidal nihilist uncle. Here is a description of my cousin: just like me--a mouthy, opinionated laughter junkie--except smaller and darker. Here is a description of my uncle: just like me--tall, fat and light-skinded, smart but not smarter than Really Smart People, selfish--except batshit crazy.

Uncle Ricky mostly ignored us in favor of reading Barely Legal magazine and searching the internet for tips on how to blow shit up without leaving any evidence. But every once in a while he would drop some knowledge on us and I can say with all sincerity that on occasion, his widsom really did serve to edify our soft, malleable little teenage characters:

1. He taught me the word 'pragmatic' while referring to himself, leading to my erroneous use of the word as a description for any delusional lunatic who believed that he was smarter than everyone else for about six years afterward.

2. He believes that the government knows that aliens are real and claims that they keep this knowledge to themselves because every Christian on the planet would shoot himself tomorrow if he became privy to the fact that God did not create the earth alone for His children, and did not form them all in His image.

3. Sometimes you would ask him a question, and he would answer, "Nunya." You'd go, "Nunya? Nunya what?" and once fallen into his trap, he would smugly reply, "Nunya Bidness."

As an inquisitive (read: nosy) teenager I felt personally assaulted any time someone would answer one of my many many personal and invasive questions with some pithy remark about how that information was classified. What do you have to hide? I would wonder. My life is an open book, I have nothing to be ashamed of. Go on. Ask me anything. ....Please?

Everyone in the world doesn't have to know about every single facet of your life. Which is why I find it so irritating when someone whines about being "left out".

Recently, while drunk, I blabbered on to a girlfriend about an event which took place not long ago among other friends, of which I was not proud. Later on she confronted me, telling me that she "prefers honesty" and was hurt that the other friends knew about the shameful event while she was left in the dark.

Another friend of mine went away last weekend to visit a man she's dating. She's 22 and he's 34 (but looks 40). She has a history of dating older men--usually in the late 40s to early 50s range--and while none of us are big fans of it, she's a big girl and can do whatever the hell she wants. A mutual friend of ours was chuffed that she needed to keep it a secret, claiming that she thought we were better friends than that and that good friends don't hide things from one another.

In both scenarios, the person with the "secret" is, in actuality, just keeping to themselves a bit of information that is neither relevant nor beneficial to the friendship. So I partied a little hard the other night. Big deal. So my friend sits on saggy grey penis. Who cares?

Is it really necessary to know everything about our friends' lives? The older I get, the less I think so. I used to get all bent out of shape when it became apparent that everyone knew about some event or other before I did, but now it's like, obviously if I had been invited to that (metaphorical) party I would have known about it. If I hadn't, then I must not have needed to know about it.

*leans out window* *checks to see if sky has fallen* *nope still there*

Only grammas and other assorted old/lonely/boring people need to regularly issue reports on every single bowel movement they had, every meal eaten by their cat, every pill popped, every anal thermometer reading, every double-coupon sale at the grocery store. Some stuff, no one else really needs to know, if for no other reason than that my life is not nearly as interesting to others as it is to me. Trust me... some stuff is nunya bidness for a good reason.