Wolf prepares the Käse Spaetzle by himself in the kitchen while his partner Bernd smokes handrolled cigarettes out by the barn, even though we insist he smoke where Eberhard does, in the dining area. Mom worries about their relationship, how it must be hard for them to not really be themselves here in Germany, that it’s not accepted outright, and Wolf sounds pissier than normal when he complains about Bernd taking holiday by himself in the camper, going off alone to a campground somewhere north.
They picked up two Schranks from my mom they’ll resell in their antique shop, one John got in England and the other that was in the house when they bought it, the size of a tank, filled with CDs, DVDs, old pictures — and now, the openness in their absence, newfound space.
We get tangled in an argument about Lou Reed, Bowie, Iggy Pop — whether it was the 70s or 80s Bowie made those three records in Berlin, with Wolf insisting it was the 80s and me not letting it go, bordering on impolite, muscling him a bit with my supposed knowledge, not giving in to look it up online because that would be flat-out rude: and we press Wolf for details on how/why he spent three years in a Thai prison in his early 20s, and finally he says Heroin, and we just leave it at that.
Their Shar Pei Emma has a long, sad face that never changes, and Wolf follows it around with a paper towel to gather the slobber.
We take the dogs out after 1 AM and stumble through the grass trying to collect their waste and I give up and mumble about being tired and Wolf insists I should go look for it so the kids don’t step on it in the morning, by the Spielplatz — maybe getting back at me for the spat about Bowie earlier.
Dawn tells the story about her friend Andy, opening night for a Mamet play he was directing in college, when Dawn and Erica popped in a couple hours before the show just to say hi and he handed them a Makita, gestured to the set and told them they needed to hang a door, which neither of them ever did before, and it was one of those French style comedy plays where the actors are constantly coming in and out of the door, slamming it, and the door is a crucial part of the comedy but it wasn’t hung right, it wouldn’t close, so Dawn had to crouch there in the dark and close it each time the actors stepped through otherwise it would open back up, and she never got to see the play but it wasn’t one of his best anyway, they were walking out of it at intermission when she saw it in New York.
And she made the observation maybe she doesn’t need a cell phone after all, now that it’s been four weeks to the day we went off our plan — and maybe we concoct reasons to warrant objects we own, we find reasons to justify them — like a possible lockdown at the elementary school necessitates the ability to text with our kids, or some would argue the teachers should have guns, just in case — and an ex-girlfriend of mine Shana, who said she’d never have a gun in the house because it attracts a kind of energy that loops you around to needing a gun, invites violence — and maybe this is no different than anything else we have in our lives, that we prop up reasons to justify them, to feel better about ourselves, to recommend a major purchase to someone else so we don’t doubt our own decisions. How every decision is a compromise, and no one person can give you everything you need, which is a lot to think about, and good to remind ourselves.