Our German teacher has us saying the words Cherry, Church and Kitchen in German. They all sound the same, she asks if we can hear the difference — it’s how you clasp the vowels. We can’t. It’s a “ch” sound that starts but never terminates, just hangs there.

Our German teacher is Polish, no bullshit. There’s no time or patience for students who haven’t done their homework, who don’t want to learn. Either you do or you don’t. You’re too busy? Don’t want to hear about it.

There is a glint in her eye when we talk about special verbs, the irregularities. These are the small things we covet, the exceptions.

I get paired with the high school girl with the bouncy-leg-syndrome who’s taking German because the languages in her high school are too easy; she’s downloaded an app that gives her the Perfekt case on her phone.

There is Vince, also a teacher, who often wears a tie and I swear, he’s laughing at things he’s thinking to himself, muttering half-Deutsch phrases, doing cartwheels in his mind.

We fall over, time and again. When I was trying to learn handstands, we did it against the wall in an Iyengar studio in North Seattle. I kept bouncing off the wall and falling over on myself for about two weeks. Then one day I just did it, I balanced on my head, and held it. I dreamt about it the night before, experienced the sensation before I did it for real, it had gotten that bad, that obsessive. You have to let go sometimes to make things happen.

I go through the whole animal-behaviorist thing: that which I’d mocked and made fun of, I’m now part of the system. We paid $500 for an initial consultation of two hours for me to sit there in a small room and talk about my dog’s semi-inverted vulva and how that might have something to do with her peeing on the carpet. I wrote about this and parodied it but didn’t publish it because it’s too fucking stupid to even parody, and gets my gall up that I’m now wrapped up in my pets’ psychologies, as if they had one, and now I’m some neanderthal because I’m not in touch with my cats the way I should: I’m having to lie about how often I clean their litter box and cop to the fact that I’m responsible for their disorders, for how many times they paw at their waste after they eliminate, for how much time I spend playing with them, or don’t.

I finish the 850-page love letter to Germany, written by an English journalist. It’s an academic book that doesn’t read academic, which is good by me, it just makes me want to learn more. The guy takes stories and ties them together in a non-sensical pattern which is interesting, because that’s how life works: it’s not a Point A to Point B, it skips.

I’ve injected some liquids into the carpet to rid the bad enzymes from the animal urine, in our dining room. I’m experimenting with drugs for the animals, and hiding them in their food. It’s to test how they’ll react when I drug them for an overseas flight in two weeks, where they’ll sit in the cargo hold for like 12 hours and land in Frankfurt am Main with me, +9 hours, GMT.

I’ve gotten funny the past few days, not in a good way: a pushing-away of other people, an inwardness that feels toxic. You could call it narcissistic attachment if you like, Vergangenheitsbewältigung, overcoming (or coming to terms with) the past.


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15 replies

  1. A lot going on in that mind and life of yours. Hike?


  2. “You have to let go sometimes to make things happen.” One of the most inspirational sentences I think I’ve ever read. Thank you.


    • Oh well thank you! A friend of mine wrote a book called Let it Go he released this year, it’s a nod to his premise that if we want something bad, we have to be prepared to not have it (he says it better than I). Thanks for your sharing your thoughts and stopping by! – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really like the logic behind that. There’s so much truth behind it. You’re welcome! And thank you for telling me about his book. I might have to read an excerpt from it sometime.


      • I love the logic and truth behind that statement though. It’s so true. Thank you for replying back, and thank you for telling me about your friend’s book. I might have to read it or an excerpt from it sometime. You’re welcome!

        Also, if you get two comments from me, I’m sorry but I lost connection and had to repost the comment again.


      • No problem on the double-comments, thanks for going back and resending it. Yes, I think there’s a lot more (for me at least) to tease out from that logic, about letting go of something you really want in order to kind of make space for it, refute its value and your attachment to it. “Neediness” is never an attractive quality. I haven’t pieced it together yet but like you, I like the logic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for this conversation. I enjoy people I can have logical conversations with.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your language class started to remind me of the David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day. I have tried to learn German phrases but my mouth just doesn’t seem to like them there funny words.
    Two weeks? Yikes, will you continue blogging?


    • I have to go back and read more Sedaris; I eat him up like potato chips. I know what you mean about the German words, I sometimes sound like I’ve got a fur-ball in class. Yes, I’m going over there for just one week to convey our pets, come back to the PNW for another 6 weeks or so, then we move for good, and yes, I’ll surely continue blogging — thanks for asking Jon. The posts should get less abstract and more ‘travel bloggy’ for a bit.


  4. i also thought of the sedaris book when reading this and it sounds a bit ‘mad scientist’ with the experimenting going on )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Every now and again I come across one of those Distractify articles about words we don’t have in English but should. Lots of them are German (I can’t remember any off the top of my head, but there was one that roughly translated to ‘cable salad’ describing the mess of cables that resides behind your furniture). One would think that since English and German (and Danish) are related, it wouldn’t be so hard–but it is. Good for you for taking the time to learn the language. I’m ashamed to say that I have learned neither Greek nor Danish, and have relied on the fact that 99% of the world seems to speak better English than a lot of native English speakers these days. Looking forward to reading the musings of a guy abroad. Good luck with the next few weeks! Oh! And we have a neurotic guinea pig. Any advice appreciated ;-).


  6. Neediness? I am learning a lot about that in my own life.. When shit happens, it is amazing how long it may take to get over it or maybe we never do. I have finally found my place (for now) in a new way. Happier, brighter, and enjoying life again with an occasional date to help a long the way… : )


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