1. It is common to share a s-bahn with screaming infants, for whom i feel a mixture of loathing, irritation, murderous hatred, amusement, and curiosity. Women look quite openly at other people’s children, and make funny faces at them: this has always seemed odd to me, that one should feel at liberty to gurn at a stranger’s children. However, women do it and feel no shame.
i saw opposite a beautiful girl on the s-bahn yesterday, the girl accompanied by a dog, the dog sniffing me curiously. i eyed the girl fairly discreetly (that is, not rubbing my thigh and making low, sexual moans) but felt strangely at liberty to gurn at her dog and encourage it to sniff my ankles. And in this much is revealed. Dogs are the children i wish i could have. i feel broody.
2. Another oddity about the travelling Bosche, i.e. on the s-bahns – they quite openly try to read each other’s books, newspapers, confidential documents, love letters, staring intently over their neighbours’ shoulders, craning and swivelling and peering like Stasi goons. i can half-understand reading someone else’s newspaper, but i’ve quite often seen one Kraut openly reading another Kraut’s homework (schoolkids) or work documents (businessmen). In England, such behaviour would merit a savage beating/knifing, but here it seems…normal.
3. A busy week, this, but there will be almost no work in December, and probably little in January, so i must take everything i’m given and spend absolutely no money on anything. i think back to Vienna. Jana said one can live in “sub-standard housing” there for about 200 € a month, including utilities, this being popular with what she called artists, (hippies and drug addicts and filthy goucher scum and English teachers).
i rarely get time or energy to write these days, as every day i have a class beginning about 8 am, meaning i leave my flat at 7 or earlier, and i usually have a class ending at 9 pm, meaning i get home for 10. There are often gaps in between but not long enough to go home, so i just surf the net and drink free coffee at one of my schools. i can’t write anything long like this, because for longer works one needs daily or at least regular writing sessions; if i tried to go back to rewriting my accursed novel now, it would take me hours just to recover the mindset, and then i would have to break to do lesson prep, chores, and then the working week would commence once more, and so on.
i feel i should be in Munich, for whatever strange reason, but i like the idea of becoming a Viennese hippy. The city is beautiful, and though one should take the Sunday into account, on my visit it was far quieter, less tourist-ridden, than Munich. There are many quiet streets, cobbled even; as the Viking said, it’s nice to walk down streets not designed for cars. Cars indeed are the enemy.
i first saw Durham and Cambridge on a day like this – bright blue skies, the same in spring and autumn, when the light seems a translucent veil, the city glänzte klar durch ihre Frühlingsschleier, clearly shining through her springtime veils. Perhaps it’s to do with stone and trees. Vienna is full of trees, which i think of as the opposite of cars – quiet, and quietly beautiful, still, graceful, harbouring & allowing life, and not fabricated. Talking with Jana, i mentioned the “ugly trees” in Königsplatz in Kassel; she said, dubiously: “is it possible for a tree to be ugly?” A good point, and it emphasises the achievement of Kassel in populating the town centre with ugly trees.
i feel my life at present is more car- than tree-like, full of frantic busyness, noise, fuss, requiring too much money, and not really getting anywhere. Treelife would, i suppose, mean stepping out of this nonsense and not, apparently, doing very much, as the world reckons things. We shall see.