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Do as I say, not as I do

Miriam & I have had a week — the good, the bad, & even a little ugly in a few choice moments.

The progeny, on the other hand, has done swimmingly. She’s already walking, albeit full toddle most of the time, and her talking makes sense, but only to other babies.

This time of year is really amazing, if you pay attention, because some people are ready for the holidays while others? Not so much.

Look around you while others are rushing round to & fro. Watch how people behave when they’re stressed.

If I’m candid, I’m exactly the same. I was furious at the Mahag guy (that’s our local VW dealer) today, & Miriam was there to try putting Humpty Dumpty back together again after he fell from the wall.

I went full tantrum, because they reminded us repeatedly of ‘our appointment’ via text. When I arrived, they suddenly acted as if they knew nothing of us & our new Autoschlüssel (key change). Oh well.

I tried rolling with the punches, so I just did some work while sitting next to a burbling brook of a baby playing next to me.

There was another 1/2 hour before it appeared anyone was interested in helping, but when they did? It was excellent service. Really.

Good job, Mahag. Thanks.

I got home, made lunch for all of us, as Miriam was in the office all morning & we NEEDED sustenance. After that, I announced that the new key didn’t even work.

I’d figured out on my way home that although the key itself was right, the remote control function that opens & closes/locks the car was non functioning. Huh…ok.

Turns out that I had a typical expat-related misunderstanding, where I told the guy I knew our spare key didn’t work, & he said to me that there was something wrong with the electrical system – that the new key wouldn’t work.

My German is good when I’m not stressed out. It’s also good when I’m not talking to Bavarians. Sometimes I think northern Germany would be easier speaking/comprehending-wise.

So here we are. We had an appointment for after Epiphany, but they heard me cursing & spitting in the background, so apparently we’ll be dealt with first thing Monday morning.

Ok, I was a jerk. To the Mahag guy & to my wife. I was nice to the baby, but if that’s the low bar I set? Being nice to babies.

Even Jeff Goldblum’s nice to babies, & he’s the worst person I know. Sara knows what he did.

Be nicer to people while they’re Xmas shopping – whether alongside you or if you’re a Spätshopper (late shopper) & you still need just a few more gifts.

Do as I say, not as I do.

you might even have more to offer when you eventually find a willing partner in crime

 

stolen kisses
 
These two certainly seem to like one another. Can’t last, I hear you saying. 

Each year this day rolls around, and as happy as I might be in my private life, I still find myself drawn to the most  bitter posts and articles about Valentine’s Day. It’s simply easier to be a cynic when it comes to this sort of thing. 

Yet last year we went to Verona & saw Juliet’s balcony, which apparently they had to build after the fact because tourists kept showing up asking where her balcony was. Great food, which is to be expected, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had (if you’re ever there, try the ginger flavour), but of course while meandering round Verona, you can’t help but be drawn to thoughts of love. Eros. The big delusion. 

Plenty of people I know genuinely loath this day, though. A reminder that they’re just not measuring up when it comes to the model of romantic love that we’re fed from every direction. Love yourself? Treasure your solitude? 

Actually, those are fantastic goals. Undoubtedly many of my best moments were when I eventually stopped trying to live up to others’ picture of how things should be. Don’t like being alone? So what? Try it anyway. Not only might you be glad you did, but you might even have more to offer when you eventually find a willing partner in crime

The most undeniable thing I’ve learned from my experiences with the above? Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to be paired up with the likes of me. There’s always that, isn’t there?

Shadow of a Doubt

An offer on twitter of a free ticket to see a Hitchcock film that I was sure I’d already seen. Little did I know – it was one of the middle period Hitchcock movies, and I was in for a treat. I had not only not seen it, but it has one of my all-time favourite actors in it.

Cotten. This guy’s a dream.

Apparently, he was in three world class directors best-known masterpieces. This one was dear Alfred‘s, The Third Man was Carol Reed‘s, and Citizen Kane was Orson Welles’. Not too shabby, eh?

Actually, lemme let Wikipedia explain what this film is:

 is a 1943 American / directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. Written by Thornton WilderSally Benson, and Alma Reville, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story for Gordon McDonell. In 1991, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.’

What an evening.

The day had started with a visit to The Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment and then a trip with one of my closest friends and his 9 year-old to The British Museum, which we sailed through in record time. Not that I’m proud of that. The whole point was to spend time with them. What we did was irrelevant. The British Museum was as nice a place as any for us to go, and she’d never been.

To imagine seeing all of those things through her eyes, I walked through the exhibits covering the ancient world. Saw the Rosetta Stone and the dude from Easter Island. What must it be like to be nine and wander through those rooms.

My goal?

To try seeing all this – this life I’m knee-deep in – from a nine year-old’s perspective. Certainly can’t hurt.

What would you do if you had a million dollars?

look of excitement

Wanted to do something special here for my hundredth blogpost, and little did I know that the subject would be chosen so perfectly for me. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that one of my blogging compadres is the blog lady over at Lucy’s Football.  Well, her life in general and her job in particular has been getting to her lately. Just last week, she wrote If I had a training company, you know I’d call it “Pulling a Train”, right?

While I was reading that, part of me considered, ‘Hm…I hope Lucy’s Football‘s superiors at her J.O.B. don’t read this blog. Or if they do, that they have a sense of humour.‘ Well, the answer to the first one is that they did. And the second? Apparently they don’t.

Earlier in the day, this appeared out of the blue over on twitter:

And my response? I think it’s great. Truly one of the best pieces of news I’ve heard in a long time, and my life is full of good things happening right now.

So in honour of the unceremonious sacking of one of the good guys, I’m dedicating this hundredth blogpost to the people over at Lucy’s Football. By people, I mean that wild-eyed, unruly-haired wonder. The first thing that came to mind when I sat down to fashion her a response was the scene in Office Space where they talk about what you would do if you had a million dollars. For those of you who haven’t seen this Mike Judge movie from 1999, go fire up your Netflix account or however you access media and watch the damned thing. Really.

For the rest of you, here’s a little reminder:

Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you’d do if you had a million dollars and you didn’t have to work. And invariably what you’d say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you’re supposed to be an auto mechanic. 
Samir: So what did you say? 
Peter Gibbons: I never had an answer. I guess that’s why I’m working at Initech. 
Michael Bolton: No, you’re working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there’d be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars. 
Samir: You know what I would do if I had a million dollars? I would invest half of it in low risk mutual funds and then take the other half over to my friend Asadulah who works in securities… 
Michael Bolton: Samir, you’re missing the point. The point of the exercise is that you’re supposed to figure out what you would want to do if… 
[printer starts beeping] 
Michael Bolton: “PC Load Letter”? What the fuck does that mean? 

For the more sensitive among you, I should go ahead and apologise for that foul-mouthed language. Wait a minute: you’re accustomed to accounts of sneaky fuckery and you’ve got stool. No need for walking on egg shells with you lot.

Now that she’s going to have all of this free time, I’d like to give ol’ Lucy’s Football a task. There’s a story behind it, and I aim to tell it to you in all of its glory.

When I was a younger man, I went through a bit of a rough patch employment-wise. There came a point where I decided that working was for chumps, and I resolved to cease even searching for gainful employment. It was a courageous decision for which I was not fêted to the degree I was expecting.

The way my friends would rub it in that I was in such an unfortunate predicament was that they’d simply ask me questions about the daytime television schedule. They assumed, and were quite right, that my leisurely day allowed me to become rather well acquainted with what was on offer while they were slaving away at their 9-to-5 positions.

When do they replay the Daily Show on Comedy Central?‘ they’d query. And I knew. I knew all too well.

Now, let me be quite clear here. I’m sure Lucy’s Football will find something better rather quickly. According to her  telling, almost anything she finds will be more fulfilling than what she was doing. My hope is that she’ll hold out for something that really utilises her..ahem..unique charms.

But in the meantime, ‘Hey Lucy’s Football…what’s the best thing on television at 11 am on a weekday?

not just for leaplings

Although it’s not a holiday, Leap Day is one of my favourite days of the year. Call it scarcity. Point your accusatory finger at me and remind me that it’s just another day of drudgery…nothing to get excited about.

Go ahead. You won’t temper my exuberance. It’s not that easy to do so anyway.

First let’s talk about why we even have Leap Day, and I’m going to let The Straight Dope do the honours when it comes to explaining this one in Why do we have leap years? The simplest explanation I can offer? A year isn’t actually 365 days, but roughly 365 1/4 days. If you didn’t add that day every four years, Christmas would inch earlier toward the solstice…in 200 or so years Yuletide would be in the middle of autumn, which come to think of it is when retail establishments already start celebrating it.

My friend Denise sent me a link about Leap Day traditions. Though I knew about the tradition of women asking men to marry them on this day, I didn’t know the history. And I quote:

‘According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.’

Doubt that one day’s going to balance anything much less traditional gender roles, but I suppose this isn’t hurting anyone. Well, except the poor schmucks who get cornered by their ladies. Here’s what I think about all of this (that is why you come here, after all):

If you really need to rely on such a convoluted tradition to get up the nerve to ask your man, you might be much more clueless than even you realised. Look, I know gender roles aren’t always easy to manoeuvre. And some women would never dream of asking a man out on a date – much less to ‘do me the honour’ and all that.

But if that’s your position, why does this one day every four years suspend the normal rules? That’s illogical.

Nevertheless, there is something alluring about one day somehow suspended outside of convention. And to go back to how I started all of this, maybe it’s the scarcity. The fact that this day only comes every four years. It does feel like something extraordinary. Even without the perfunctory marriage proposals.

What about people born on this day? What’s to be done with them? They have a name, you know? They’re called Leaplings. Nice, eh? Sounds so celebratory.

I knew a girl in school who was born on 29 February. We were all 20, while she was celebrating her fifth birthday. You’d think the jokes about liquoring up a minor would get old that night. You’d be absolutely right. The jokes were dreadful. But make them we did. Had she known about the tradition of proposing marriage on Leap Day, I’m sure she would’ve had her revenge then and there.

I know what I would’ve said.

‘I don’t care how well she holds her liquor, I’m not marrying a five-year old.’