You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.
So, i have a new flat and all is well, barring demented phone calls from the kangaroo house landlady – i decided to keep the kangarhaus keys till the end of June, since i’ve paid this month’s rent; she has now called me several times, threatening to change the locks and charge me therefore; then, when i stopped answering the phone, she called two of my language schools, apparently leaving strange messages about “unauthorised visitors” and the locks. My new landlord, Reinhard, says he will write her a letter to the effect that the kangarhaus wasn’t fit for human habitation, so she must return the security bond forthwith. In any case, i’ve decided not to think about it too much. Luckily, she doesn’t know where i live, though perhaps she will stake out my school and i will have to come into work incognito. It’s a great mercy to have a decent landlord for a change.
Reinhard proves increasingly sound and chappish. He’s in his mid 50s, wiry, tough, moustachioed, humorous, and decent. He seems one of those unusual cases – a moderately successful businessman who doesn’t cheat, trick, lie, or otherwise screw people. He picked me up from the kangarhaus, helping me to load his car for the transit to Germering (a quiet suburb, about 20 minutes to the west of Munich); he took photographs of the mould on the kangarwalls, the insane clutter & filth, all the while chuckling “wonderful”.
After dropping my stuff off, he gave me a little tour of Germering; we stopped by an arcade of old trees by a converted schloss. A few years ago, the G wanted to cut them all down, but the Volk rose up in protest and the trees were spared, thanks be. Reinhard won another Chap Star by telling me, approvingly: “these trees are two hundred years old. I like this place. I like…old things.”
i feel in the right place. On my first morning, i awoke to the sound of crows and magpies, and then the daylight coming through the broad south-facing windows. There is a slight strangeness to the area – not in a creepy, kangarhaus way, it just feels a little different to the rest of the world, set apart. i felt this quite quickly, a sense that the place is protected, closer to the gods, though presumably not so close or only people like me would live there.
After the old arcade, Reinhard drove us back to my flat. We passed this sign a few minutes later:
Apparently, it means “danger of ice/snow”, though some readers will know of another meaning, and understand why, coming as it did as i was contemplating this feeling of being protected, i stared a little; and why, when we passed Walkürenstraße a few seconds later, i was further astonished; later, i Googled it to see if i’d imagined the whole thing, and found we’d also driven past Wotanstraße and Odinstraße. My home is a few minutes hence.
i found this room under the aspect of Eihwaz. i feel i am rooted in this place, that there is a power and a favour here, and i will finally be able to get to work, to justify my 35 years, my 4700 years, my world. For it evidently stands in need of justification.
1. i feel weary but hopeful, as a hard 2 months’ kangarhaus misery should soon end. i haven’t lived in such a hellhole in 5 years and i pray to be spared such horrors in future. i am sometimes curious as to why i suffer so – given that we choose our lives before we are born, in detail, why did the self i have outside of time assent to this foul durance? i think it is that i cannot believe in easy happiness, that i feel one must work hard for anything good, one must sacrifice a great deal for knowledge and mastery, and just as i had to pass through the ordeal of Kiel in 2009, so now i have had to endure the kangarhaus, as the necessary suffering before entering a new life.
i am essentially optimistic; my various miseries & torpors are each time but the prelude to a greater life. i would very much like an easy, happy life, sans kangarhauses and cretins, but i could never credit such happiness – it’s not that i am given wholly to gloom, but that i know suffering is dyed into the fabric; it can be fought or endured, but not simply waved away. It is central, it goes to the roots; as one might say the yew is the evergreen tree of life, deadly to the mortal.
2. It’s been a grim few months and interesting to observe the balance of misery & endurance. Talking about diets and exercise, one of my students said that feeling unhappy is the worst thing for health; and i think this is so. While there is little i can do about the kangarhaus, it is at least possible to seek out little happinesses, to right the balance somewhat. i’ve felt quite close to some kind of final collapse; without my students, Juniper, the poetry of Edward Thomas, white raspberry cheesecake, black coffee, Suede, perhaps i would have gone over some psychological brink – though given most people would already say i’m insane, since as we all know there is no such thing as reincarnation, perhaps this would have merely righted my unbalanced psyche, who knows.
3. A picture i found of the house Wittgenstein built for his sister Gretl – this is the first time i’ve liked the look of it, having previously regarded it as an inhuman slab of slabbery – there’s something pleasing in the deep irregularity, the way all those straight lines only come together in difference, as if each is incomplete, not quite right, but they join and settle – without losing the sense of separate wills and formation. It’s deceptive, apparently bland and wholly regular, but full of internal differences, oppositions, a kind of deep irregularity. i wonder how much is actually Wittgenstein’s design – some say Engelmann did the outside, LW just the insides – and if it WAS LW’s work, if he intended it to mirror Gretl’s character – apparently impeccable, a real know-it-all and prima donna – but full of curious internal divisions, far from unified and monolithic, actually very complicated and irregular.
So i am close to escaping the evil kangarhaus, but now it seems i must pay my deranged landlady rent for 3 months, as i have a 3 month notice period in my contract. i am extremely averse to paying her anything, not merely out of tight-fistedness but because i’m sure she will get a new tenant as soon as i leave, and the place is a horrible stinking slum, unfit for human habitation. However, i have no real proof of this and i lack the willpower for a legal battle in a foreign country, so i must now somehow find enough money to placate this nasty creature. If i plunder the entirety of my English credit card, take it right to the limit, this should be possible.
Goddamn the Bosche.
i found a new flat yesterday, the first i viewed, hoorah. It seems many other hopefuls emailed or phoned, but i was the first to visit, and the landlord seemed to relish speaking Dinglish with me. It’s a 1st floor studio flat, so i needn’t share my kitchen or bathroom with hippies or lunatics anymore. The rent is only slightly more than i’m already paying for a dank horrible basement. i get my own balcony, and might take up smoking crack so i can of an evening wear shirt sleeves and puff away, thoughtfully. i spent 3 hours chatting with the landlord on the balcony, and i got a good feeling from him – honest, humorous, competent, decent, so far as i could tell. He works as a kind of jack-of-all-trades business Bosche, doing insurance broking, owning property, and in his youth worked as a skiing & windsurfing instructor.
i hope to move in soon! i also look forward to breaking the joyous news to my demented landlady tonight, i imagine her reaction will be to scream and threaten and so on, in true German style.
A potentially hellish 3-day weekend in the kangerhaus, averted by a trip to Kassel to see Juniper. i awoke late on Saturday, feeling too depressed to stir; however my landlady forced the matter, bursting into my room and shouting: “There is letter!” and throwing a letter at me, and then “and trouser!”, throwing a pair of my underpants at me. i don’t know where she found my pants, or what she was doing with them, but there it is. i have to hang my laundry on drying racks in the garden so i guess she stole them, or the dogs did, who knows. She then demanded that i clean the garden and the pavements outside the house.
i lay in bed for a while, feeling far too tired and grim of mood to get up, let alone to travel 400 km north. i wondered if i should cancel my trip, then felt suddenly & strangely sure that i would die if i stayed in the kangerhaus over the weekend (plus holiday on Monday). i often feel a stark, crushing force in this place, trying to suffocate me – whether it’s really there, or just how my imagination figures things, i cannot say. Certainly, i feel it.
And so i launched myself towards the train station; naturally my landlady intercepted me and started screaming “you must clean! clean this all! clean now!”. i surveyed the situation, calculating it would take at least 45 minutes to do her bidding, and said “i don’t have time.”
“Why you not have time?” she screamed.
“I have to get a train.”
“Where you go?” she screamed.
“Why you go Kassel?” she screamed.
“To see friends.”
“What you do there?” she screamed.
“So! You not have time! Why you not clean before?” she screamed.
“Because I was tired because I work 12 hours a day.”
i left on this, and with difficulty got up to Kassel, leaving my suitcase on the train and so arriving bereft and utterly irritated at myself. Luckily, Juniper (in true Jason Bourne style) wears man’s pyjamas and lent me a pair, so all was well. It was good to escape Munich and see a plain, unpretentious town, and to see Juniper again.
i feel i have not found the right place in Munich; i don’t just mean the kangerhaus, it is rather that the whole city feels alien to me, glittery and interesting but not quite real, not home. In Kiel i found a good place, the local cemetery, which was usually deserted, peaceful, eerie; in Kassel, the huge Auepark, which has an uncanny feel to it, even in broad daylight, on a Sunday, full of strolling Bosche – and at dusk, it really is startlingly strange, full of crows. i felt the difference very much this weekend, walking in the Auepark with Juniper; the English Garden, in Munich, feels touristy to me, full of speeding cyclists, ice cream stands, pedalos and sunbathers, not enough crows, not enough weirdness. i need weirdness and crows, to survive.
Prompted by Juniper, i am now energetically trying to find a new flat. It can have kangaroos if need be, but no screaming Bosche.
1. i am unutterably weary. Deathly hellish insomnia has set in, i get about 3 – 4 hours of broken sleep every night, too tense and alert for anything more. i am surrounded by ugliness and insanity and kangaroos at home, beauty at work – today, for example, i taught a 5-hour-long group, one of whom was an eerily beautiful blonde, about 6 foot tall, amazing ass, long, long legs, etc.; she had strange, elvish features, and the commendably odd first name “Grit”. She was 95% German, 5% Swedish but looked the other way round. She bought me dinner at the company canteen and i wanted to offer sex in return, but in my present state the most i could manage is to suddenly fall asleep under the table.
2. Another great student has come my way, some sort of economist at a big company, he wants elocution lessons to erase his German accent. Naturally, i assumed he was BND, but he’s certainly interesting, whatever he is. My boss suggested an elocution CD but instead we are reading ‘Burnt Norton’ together, very slowly. He seems fascinated by the poem; when i suggested moving on to ‘East Coker’ he said he just wanted to read BN over and over again. He says he can’t understand it, but he respects the concentration of thought and language, and that seems to aid his reading.
3. i’m starting to look for new digs, mainly rooms in WGs (shared flats). Although i don’t feel the kangerhaus is getting any worse, my insomnia means i’ve nearly missed one lesson thanks to getting on the wrong train, and yesterday i sleeptaught a lesson in the evening, and can only hope i didn’t do or say anything too perverted – i have no memory of any of it, only a sense of manic energy and uncontrol, unsleeping.
i go now.
Life at the horrible kangerhaus continues. Yesterday was Ascension Day, no work, so i slept in till 1800, then got up feeling like i’d been changed into a cockroach and then hammered with a big hammer, then thrown into the garbage and half-eaten by rats. My landlady started screaming at me as soon as i ascended the perilous stairs from my bunker, demanding that i clean the yard (this is in my contract, though i didn’t realise when i signed it).
i loathe her more and more. She isn’t, i would say, a bad person, just deranged, permanently frenzied, devoid of human sensitivity (e.g. she walks around with her fly undone, no pants on, or emerges from the toilet half-naked), plus she sounds like Hitler when she speaks, which is quite disturbing.
i considered using up all that’s left in my credit card to get a room in a student flat, but then i thought of the asshole hippy back in Kassel, and decided i might be swapping one monster for another. My plan is to save up, get more work, and then get my own flat, but it looks extremely unlikely to happen, given the cost of living in Munich. i am unsure how long i can survive like this; already i am physically disintegrating, i have bad insomnia, averaging perhaps 3 hours’ sleep a night, and there seems no escape, except by death. Today i found myself praying for death, merciful god, but it seems a distant hope. i know i lack the resolve to kill myself, weakling. Instead i drink ginger tea, posted to me from Kassel by Juniper, and try to think of her beauty, to hold something against this ugliness. Pictures of the corridor outside my bunker (there is a mouse, by the way):
and one of the bathroom:
All pretty horrible. My friend the Viking wouldn’t mind it, habituated as he is to chaos, filth, clutter, and madness, but for someone of my disposition it is an appalling prison. i increasingly feel that a house reflects the psyche of the owner, becomes a physical extension or manifestation of his/her character. So in this insane house i feel i am trapped in my landlady’s insane mind. The house itself seems to be physically fighting me, as i have to battle through the cluttered corridors, knocking things over, bags swinging from the roof at my head, mice scuttling unseen, crates mysteriously left in my path (it is common to return home and have to shift crates full of deodorant or dog food to get to my bunker, as my landlady randomly moves her belongings about); the stairs are a grave danger and almost impassibly narrow, bags of clutter hanging from hooks on each wall. It is dark and damp and cold and horrible.
On the other hand, i like my job. A photo i took of Carla, my photography student, in our last lesson:
Without this beauty, only horror.