A chilly December outside. My hippy flatmate goes out to get hippy food and, probably, drugs. Shortly afterwards he rings the flat bell. i open the door and he shuffles in, mumbling “I forget key”. He seems permanently stoned, incapable of the most ordinary everyday tasks, beyond getting (stealing, perhaps) hippy food and drugs, and consuming both, leaving dirty plates and cannabis smoke in his wake. If i don’t clean the flat no one will. He seems utterly oblivious to his surroundings, in a permanent drug-induced torpor. He is 25 and allegedly studying Sports Science, or something similar. Almost daily i wonder if i can afford to get a studio flat, if i will be in Ultima Thule long enough to justify the move and extra rent. On the other hand he amuses me and he seems a good sort, in his stupid way, not malevolent or calculating – too cheerfully stoned for the former, too dumb for the latter.

He has complained to Gordon that Ninja, the 3rd flatmate, is never in, and i am always in my room. “I have no WG life!” he has complained, WG being a shared flat, in Bosche. i haven’t seen Ninja in over a month and i guess she will move out properly soon – every time i saw her, in the past, she would complain about the hippy and his hippyness. My predecessor here, Sophie, told me she moved out because she couldn’t stand living with the hippy anymore; whenever she brought friends over he would intrude and take over the conversation with his hippy platitudes. He is dumb as pigshit but pathologically extroverted, and so needs to be the centre of attention, to dominate.

i am largely protected from the hippy by virtue of a) never bringing people to the flat, and b) not speaking German. His English is too limited for him to sustain a conversation with me, and in any case i’m unwilling to have long and tedious conversations about Buddha, marijuana, why India is so spiritual, why money is bad, etc. etc. When i consider Sophie’s accounts of his behaviour (e.g. she woke up once by his crashing into her room in the morning, shouting “wake up wake up wake up!”, his deranged dog meanwhile running around yapping at her), i reflect that one really needs a measure of wariness, to get along with human beings, that peace is only possible if one keeps people at a distance.