1. i’m teaching so much i find it hard to find the time for blogging. When i have the time i don’t want to spend it here. i reread old blog posts and they strike me as pointless and inane. My notebook entries usually retain some power, perhaps because they are so haphazard & unprepared, perhaps because there i don’t need to worry about a potentially hostile audience. i am eager to keep them from others, to the point where i would destroy them rather than leave them to frivolous posterity.

There is something ridiculous & compromising about public utterance. My job alas consists wholly of communicating with people. It’s weirdly exhausting, having to concentrate fully for perhaps 14 hours a day: for unlike with office jobs the TEFLer can’t switch off and spend five minutes staring blankly at his socks. Most people would regard 25 €/45 minutes (my highest rate, at a large German company) as unjustifiably high. But then i have almost no work for 3 months of the year; and to teach for 8 hours a day is exhausting, thoroughly & dangerously exhausting (a surprising number of teachers abruptly burn-out after too many 14-hour days). To entertain groups and individuals; to become a repository for others’ thoughts, opinions, and secrets – this is not so easy. More than 6 hours a day leaves me weird and restless, homicidal.

2. A hard class today, with a Peruvian bitch named Janet. This is a name of ill omen. i have met two Janets and both were monstrous whores. This latest Janet is no exception. She adopts an expression of sarcastic disdain, or bored insolence. She gibbers excitedly in German at me, even though i’ve repeatedly told her i don’t really speak German and McLingua doesn’t allow me to use the Bosche. She interrupts and gives me strange orders in a mixture of German and English, all in her disgusting Peruvian accent, e.g. “egh warum you no use dies!” while jabbing her awful Peruvian finger at some worthless shit in the McLingua student book. At first, to placate the bitch, i would say, with a false smile (concealing vast reservoirs of anti-Janet hatred) “sure, we can do that.” Today i gave up and just stared at her bleakly, with the bleakness of 4500 years of pain, and then bluntly ignored her and continued teaching the other two (who are quite nice). i felt spasms of anger and the effort of restraining my true desires – to punch her repeatedly in the face then throw her out of the McLingua windows (on the 5th floor) to the street below – induced stomach cramps.

3. Still, most students are decent. Tomorrow i teach Max, the 15-year-old son of an ex-student from Kassel. Max wants to be a chef after leaving school. He goes to a Hauptschule, which is for the dregs, except in badass Bavaria this means he has passable English and has read substantial portions of German literature. He is a typically rotund, friendly, youngster, not at all intellectual but pleasingly talkative and good company. i teach him for the miserable fee of 15 €/hour but don’t mind. We meet in cafes and i eat cake and we openly stare at women.

He has read most of Buddenbrooks for school, reading 20 pages a day. He thought it very boring and i reassured him that it is quite dull and wouldn’t offer much to anyone under the age of 50. Last week he told me he has started reading Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther, for school. Bemused, he reported that at first it was dull but after 20 minutes on the s-bahn he didn’t want to stop reading it and now likes it. This struck him as very strange. i remember similar experiences in my youth, such as (age 19 or 20) starting to read the cellophane-wrapped Shakespeare in my father’s house, because i’d read all the Fantasy books in the library. At first, Hamlet took 10 minutes per page; after a couple of weeks, about 1.5 minutes.

i told Max that reading is like a virus, it alters you (Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash). He was pleasingly puzzled by his interest in Goethe, and how quickly he had found the book unputtdownable. There was something innocent and unpremeditated about this.

4. Yesterday i came across this amusing site – Stuff White People Like. It would be more accurate to call it Stuff Hipsters Like – pretentious, narcissistic poseurs, of whom i have encountered many. i like many of the same things – Wes Anderson films, coffee, whiskey, dogs, etc. – so i wondered if this makes me a White Person, or a hipster.

Perhaps the thing about the hipster (such as the hippy asshole i lived with in Kassel) is that he doesn’t really like these things, he just thinks it will be cool to like them. They are a part of his ego or CV, as my father once explained why he was forcing me to do guitar lessons: “egh well egh it is ANOTHER STRING TO THE BOW, egh???” The hipster doesn’t like coffee; he likes the idea of coffee. He doesn’t like Miles Davis; he likes to listen to Miles Davis and reflect that he is listening to Miles Davis and that he is, therefore, cool.

This afternoon, to prepare myself for teaching the Peruvian bitch, i decided to buy a new cheap shirt. Only a new shirt can save me now, i thought. i found a more expensive shirt, which was however worth the price. i tried it on but it was about an inch too long in the arms (i am a dwarf by German standards). i was tempted to buy it anyway just because it looked so good but realised it didn’t look good on me so opted intead for a H & M cheap shirt, which will probably fall apart after 6 months but at least if fits me.

When i was younger i often bought clothes because they almost-fitted and they just looked so cool. However, i rarely wore them as they were a little too big and so felt uncomfortable and made me look gayer than usual. In my tiresome old age i now only buy badass fascist clothes that fit. i could say that the hipster would buy clothes because they look cool on a manniquin; whether they fit him or not is beside the point.

5. To return to Max: unlike the hipsters he doesn’t like Goethe because it is cool to like Goethe. In his school it’s probably deeply uncool. He just likes Goethe. i would rather teach this pork pie-shaped teenager than a hipster any day of the week. The only thing i could teach a hipster is how to die.

6. i am unsure why but i feel that reading is a good thing. Why? Why do i feel that the act of reading letters is in some way valuable, more valuable than listening to an audio book, or watching the film of the book? It is just a code. The writer has certain experiences & thoughts & ideas, and puts them into words – code number 1; then he writes this code with a pen or what have you – code number 2. Why should it seem worthwhile to receive information via code 2, visually? What exactly is noble and valuable about it? This irritates me, that i cannot abandon my belief that to read a book is a good thing (even if it is a piece of shit like Dan Brown), but can think of no reason why it’s better than listening to an audio book. The latter, after all, probably uses as much (or more) energy than reading a book book. With a book book you can pause or go back without difficulty, whereas if you stop concentrating on an audio book, you will probably have little idea of what’s happening unless you pause it at exactly the point where your thoughts wander. With a book book you just stop reading automatically when you lose interest. With a CD it continues and then, hours later, you realise you were sitting staring into space day dreaming about rape instead of listening to Buddenbrooks, and now you have no idea what happened to Christian Buddenbrooks or why the family lost all their money.

Nonetheless, this feeling persists.

7. i saw some corvids acting funny the other day. i note more and more stories about the intelligence of crows but believe you me (of course you won’t), this is just the beginning. i am partly preoccupied by teaching, partly by the knowledge of how consciousness is spilling out and animals are becoming – or about to become – sentient in a roughly human fashion. i wonder what this will entail. Some animals are just retards, e.g. pigeons or sheep, but pigs, cats, dogs, horses, corvids, have always struck me as conscious, just less complicated than us human beings. How exactly will the expansion of consciousness affect them? Will they be able to use language? Can they really become conscious without language?

The future is tricky. i know weirdly about the past but the future is less amenable to the human mind. Time frames are especially vague. But i get the feeling that consciousness will spread to animals within the next few years, perhaps even the next few weeks. i can feel something strange in corvids – these are uncanny birds indeed, highly sensitive to certain matters, known to sorcerors.

i know no one will believe me now. “Oh Elberry,” you will say, “you have gone bonkers from teaching Peruvians.” But you will see i am right. Then you will say: “Elberry, you were right all along, this is incredible, let me offer you MILF and pies and Jameson’s and some tweed”. And i will just look very haughty and then perhaps laugh, so you know i am having the last laugh.

Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho.

Advertisements