Sunny Side Up vs. Broken Eggs

My only lame joke in life is, that I refer to love as L’oeuf, aka the egg. And whilst this post is somewhat ‘scrambled’ in its articulation, I hope it will still provide clarity as to what constitutes the perfect egg, with that golden-orange yolk, all molten and viscous, running deliciously into the shining whiteness enclosing it, oh the beauty! Let’s get started.

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Good Reading if not Good Writing!

Last night, I read ‘The Gioconda Smile’ by Aldous Huxley and then for dessert ‘The Curfew Tolls’ Stephen Vincent Benét and felt ‘completely’ happy.

It has been years since I felt that from reading something. And then two titles in a row!

It must have been a magic night.

In both cases, I pretty much knew the ending halfway in. However, as we all know, it’s almost always true that it’s not the story but the telling of it that makes it ‘wondrous and fascinating’.

If you haven’t read ‘The Gioconda Smile’, do yourself a favor and read it right away. It’s just fantastically well-written and if I could just write one story that acquaints us with the characters as this one does…

I read both in Milton Crane’s ’50 Great Short Stories’, but you can get them anywhere I guess.

Not caring vs. apathy

People think that not caring and being apathetic are the same thing. Obviously, I beg to differ.

To have apathy is turn oneself off. It means, one decides that they are no more than flotsam in the ocean, with no power or urge to choose how to behave and where to go, be it with or against the current below the waves. It means one is blind and deaf, and in the course of time, mute – because what would the point of speaking up be?

To stop caring, however, is to stop worrying, if something will happen or not, if a desire will be fulfilled or not, if  and if only cease to exist! This extremely liberating mental attitude lets one notice things like viscous egg-yolks in the early evening sky, smudged on the edges and bleeding playfully into the grey-blue wash, just the perfect shade of orange. And the light thrown on the side of a beautiful red-brick church, pulling into focus its lower facade, covered by irregularly-shaped stones, russet, brown, and grey, snuggled into each other’s eccentricities in uncomplaining harmony.

Not-caring makes one feel lucky. All the time.

Expat or not?

Fantastic. Finally. I recall when two women, one Australian and the other from somewhere in Western Europe (OK, so two white women, if we must),  were discussing how they are both expats here in Germany and I said, “well that makes 3 of us then” and they looked at me like I’d grown a second head. The subconscious head-shaking and “wha..?” look never fails to both amuse and shock me at the same time.

The European woman then proceeded to complain about how her last trip to India was markedly different from her trip 30 years ago, because she encountered 6-lane highways and all the usual 20th century stuff and shook her head while saying, “Tch, this is not India!”.

I retorted that “I guess Indians should continue to be half-naked and starving and never improve their lives, so that you the Westerner can take some nice photos, huh”.

As half-expected, the reaction was snarling rage and a desperate attempt to hold on to that ‘mask’ all these types wear.

It never fails to both shock and amuse me.

and ugh.

Great related article and about time someone wrote it.

GRATITUDE – a short story

Andrew turned slowly. Myrtle sat still, her body crushed, her mouth half open, frozen in time.

His nostrils flared from the acrid odor of slowly swirling cornstarch powder and he flinched from the sporadically pirouetting snowflakes.

He turned his head back forward slowly, neck bobbing as cold air slapped his face. He could feel the backs of his eyes.

Andrew drew in a ragged breath, sensing the cacophony as it competed with a throbbing ribcage trying to blindly escape his chest.

He shakily touched his face, the backs of his fingers resisting the inflated airbag pushing up against them. Below the airbag his right foot slowly moved up and down his left calf, then in reverse.

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Illustrations of WW1

Somehow I totally missed that the Great War began this year, a hundred years ago, in 1914.

Here are some drawings by a fellow called Otto Dix depicting some realities of war. It hasn’t gotten any prettier even a hundred years later has it? I think all the romance and glorification in the movies comes from the fact that in a way for a lot of people it’s like being snowed in, or having to  (getting to) stay home from school due to a complete solar eclipse, or a week-long power blackout – despite the poverty and uncertainty, people interact more, become more symbiotic in their attitudes, and eventually get sick of being worried sick and sing and dance and make love a lot 🙂

Anyway, here is the uglier side of war:

Coffee Makers and I

Folks, when you buy a new American-style coffee-maker, and rush to use it, do look to see if there is any tape covering the hole from which the coffee is supposed to drip! Else you’ll be spooning coffee out of that conical thing and coffee grounds everywhere, your coffee-maker, your clothes, the kitchen work-table-thing.

Update: The coffee holding thing is removable.

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Cool time-jump stuff

In the year 1995, before there was Google, a woman requested a translation of a German Poem from 1910ish (Weltende by Jakob von Hoddis) into English on a Newsgroup. She didn’t even paste the poem, instead listing several books where one could find the text. In a time when we actually walked to the library, plodded through a lot of cards, went downstairs, got skin-numbing rashes (I always did), and citation-surfed.

Anyway, she got exactly zero replies and the thread died right there.

Nineteen years later, in 2014, as I was trying to Google what the hell expressionist literature is, I stumbled upon her request in a Newsgroups Archive.

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Settling Down vs. Settling In

When I hear people say ‘I want to settle down’, what I am hearing is ‘I want to get frumpy and paunchy, and wear my sweats everywhere, and make lame jokes that don’t deserve to be laughed at, and fill my day with mundane routines and busywork because I can let myself go with this other person’.

I never want to settle down.

I want to settle in. Continue reading

A Corridor with a View

Blackest black you ever saw. Black stone on both sides, curving subtly yet hindering the view beyond. To get out of it, you’d have to take a few steps forward. But the oppressing walls on both sides, so close to you, make those steps the most halting and frightened steps you’d take. Take them anyway, as going backwards out of this narrow pass, you’d have to walk back the entire way you came. Might as well go forward, we don’t know what’s around the corner, there’s a small sliver of hope yet, that lifts your feet slightly off the ground, even as you take a rasping breath in and your chest feels heavy and dry. Turn the curve, there’s just more wall. Keep going regardless of your fears which make you unsure if you are still living. How on earth are you still moving? Turn the corner one last time, slightest shift in trajectory, and the skin on your face is flooded in warmth and light, you can see the grass, the sun, the sky, you are out, the darkness is behind you.

{a part of the Jewish Cemetery – somewhere in Berlin, near Potsdamer Platz}