“Sleep debt snatches”

Join me this month for stories of our time here in a small German village where we’re visiting with my mom. I’m experimenting with straight journal-style blogging as a ‘post-a-day’ challenge. Thanks for reading, Bill 

Some time around 3 Charlotte came into our room and said she couldn’t sleep, then ratted out Lily for being on her phone. And that made me angry, the phone part, because I told them around 2 to go to bed. I was just having a dream about Michael Jackson, alive but older, somewhat fat (they say everyone in your dreams is really you): and from 3 on I counted backwards from 100, then started counting the number of “sets” until I got bored. I thought about Eberhard’s hair, which hasn’t been cut since he retired from the police force in 2014. It would look a lot better, cut. He’s balding more up top and there’s just hair on the sides and back now. He took it all out last night for us to see, then looked up the train times to Colmar on his phone for us, wrote them down. We had some of the bourbon I brought back from Seattle but he had to drive in the morning so we didn’t get carried away. There was the St. Nicholas party at the neighbor’s they do every 6th of December, to be followed by the three kings party January 6th, before they all go back to work. They had a couple washing machine drums as fire pits that made a nice crackle and threw embers like sparks. We brought our own sausages and mugs, and mom made dessert (coconut macaroons). Soon it became clear there wasn’t too much to talk about, not knowing German. Mom and Dawn left with the kids but I was to stay behind with Eberhard to be polite. There were two guys named Wolfgang and two named Bernhard, and a golden retriever someone brought with a red collar lit up like Christmas lights. I learned the German command for “drop it” (aus) and killed a lot of time playing fetch with the dog until it started humping my leg. There was the inevitable small talk about our president I wasn’t looking forward to but I had to let them get it off their chest, it was the least I could do.

In the mornings I take long walks to tire myself out or wake up but can’t do either. Yesterday, it was the walk down to the fields where they’ve since put in the refugee housing off to the side. They were just starting that when we left two years ago and now there’s maybe 10 gray units stacked at the far end, a couple square miles of farmland with walkways where people jog, bike, walk their dogs. It’s sad walking there now without a dog and feels lonesome, with all the crops reduced down to mud and the refugee housing, which I can’t help stare at the way you would an accident. A handful of them emerged as Dawn and I walked past and then they walked the same direction as us, four young men, and then more at the bus stop speaking a language I couldn’t name. I thought about Trump again and the nature of fear, and wasn’t sure how I felt about it, it just felt bad.

This morning the moon was out for the first time since we got here, since it’s been either snowing or cloudy for four days. I got about three hours of solid sleep and three just lying there—mom says rest at least, if you can’t sleep. There isn’t anything I need to do anyway. Mom and I want to go to the brewery in Bietigheim but don’t want to drive; Eberhard wrote down instructions for what to do. It’s almost close enough we could walk but that seems like too much work.

Post title from a song by The Fall.


Categories: Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Like your description of the party, Bill. f that feeling on the edge of things, but hanging about, playing with the dog, listening to the fire crackle. Hope Germany is treating you well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Today I wrote a Weihnachtskarte to my German ex-. First attempt at contact in twenty years.
    Enjoy your Christmas and have a Glühwein for me.


  3. You could teach your daughters to waltz in the snow, to “Sugar Hiccup”. I love that band.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice! Glad to hear we have that in common Robert, cool! I might say they are my all time favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s wonderful music to just wash over you, I rarely have any idea what the lyrics were about, and dont’ care.
        I kind of keep a mental list of 3/4 time songs, in case waltzing comes back into vogue.
        I’ve got some friends in Germany, that I met in college, but the only one who’s into music, is a death metal fan, which I’m not a fan. So I don’t know anything about what’s playing in Germany

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same boat with you re: the lyrics, “letting it wash over you.” Amen to that.


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