Sunday, November 22, 2009

Internet Unruly - In Dresden

I am being forced to write this by an internet devoid of any human emotion or feeling. Though I wish for nothing more than to relax on a couch and watch or listen to streaming media from beyond the pale, the computers link to the interconnected network in virtual space fails me.

And it does not fail me in the way that I can simply accept than a void exists. No – it fails me in such a way that sending still works, while receiving falls flat.

But wait, you say, couldn't you listen to one of the many podcasts you've recently inherited? No. No I can not, thank you oh so much for inquiring. No – because I have been sending my video to youtube for some time now, and to listen to those podcasts would force me to inter... Wait – the podcasts are not on an SD card, but on a thumbdrive! Success will soon be upon me!

But wait – where is that thumbdrive? Where is that thumbdrive?! Ohh – winter and lemon chocolate. I forgot you still existed, but no matter how wonderful you are, you will not allow me the comfort of digital media if I shove you into my USB slot. No – you'd probably only cause a sticky gooey mess, forever voiding my F drive.

Ah victory at last – it was caught hiding within my sun glasses, one arm broken – silly thumbdrive. Now reveal your secrets to me! We Are Scotland, indeed. Ah – Stop Making Sense – The Talking Heads. Sure it's not a podcast, but it's great – and it takes me back to two of my good people. The one and only DD (shortening the Don-Don... eventually it will become Dee Dee, a la Dexter's Lab. This is how the inside of my mind works. Terrible.) And it takes me back to old housemate Matty P – who really should be out here with me, but instead he's a music spy. Which is all very well, but it means that he's in Canada – which is all fine and well, but...

Hmm, but enough of this. The first and second crises were averted and now all is well. And I have delightful music streaming through my cheap headphones picked up from the train back in Spain. It's also worth nothing that this is the third pair I've gone through. The one from IcelandAir died some time ago, and one earbud fell off the first pair I swiped from the SpainTrain. I'll have to scope out some new one soon. I'm looking at you AirBerlin – you and your flight out of this crazy continent. (Apparently I feel spaces aren't required when two consecutive words both require capitalization.)

So lets get down to today, shall we. Are you sitting back, preferably with your legs read? Because Italo Calvino, in If On a Winter's Night a Traveller..., says that's the only way to read. One of my legs is up as I type. But it's less for comfort, and more as a makeshift table.

I often wonder how these blogs would differ if I didn't work in a public field where I need to maintain some sort of sense of professionalism. I tell you this – that is the one thing you have to accept if you go into teaching – you lost your private self to a very real extent. Whenever I throw up a video on youtube, I have to make sure it's very tame – and even wandering around in my hometown, I need to be aware that people who should not see me as less than professional are often out and about. World travel – it's somewhat freeing in that respect – but the world is a very small place. (never mind what I said a few days back, that was a metaphorical largeness.)

So – where did my day begin? Right. Well it started out with me dragging my bags into the hall early in the morning to start packing, and rearranging without disturbing the others in my room. One door down, I shared a knowing smile with a girl doing exactly the same. And I wondered – that moment, how many times had it played out in these halls? And how many times was it destined to play out – over and over again. In some cases things would progress very differently, depending on the situations, and the lives intertwined. A multiverse collapsed into a single hallway. One hundred monkeys, one hundred typewriters – and nothing but time.

And then I closed my zipper, nodded my head, and walked on by, turning around only as the elevator doors began to close.

Breakfast. Check out. Key Deposit returned, and exchanged for a subway ticket.

My youtube upload just finished. Finished with a heart wrenching error of failure – but finished. So that's that. No more youtube in Dresden. I'll just wait until I return to Berlin, and there I'll toss them all up again. That's fine. I rarely upload my videos day of, and often find myself adding them to past entries. In most cases if there's no video when you read, you can bet one was recorded and is waiting to be uploaded.

I've also thought about audio uploads, but I don't know where I'd host those.

Oh I don't think I'll ever finish this blog entry. I keep getting sidetracked with urges to write those emails I talked about a few days ago. I'm just in the right state for them right now. Those who knew me a decade ago will understand, and those who were there through the April – June of my first year working at UHS will understand too. But only that first year – only the first. It's night. I have good music. There seems to be no pressures from the world. And I just want to write. Sounds about right to me.

Tonight's the type of night during which I could fall in love.

I've used this saying before, and no one has ever seemed very clear on what I mean by it. It has been met with a sense of complete unknowing, moments of awkwardness, and terrible attempts to explain it.

To be honest, I'm not really sure what it means myself, but I do know when I feel it. And I feel it tonight. It was almost there way back in Helsinki – but not quite.

If I were forced to describe it, I would say it was when conditions were right that everything seemed good in the world, safe, perfect. And where there were no fears for the future, no thoughts about what should be being done, only the moment. It brings me back to watching suns rise through Golden Griddle windows – knowing that it's probably time to go home and sleep, it's notebooks exchanged, read, and discussed inside a Tim Horton's more comfortable, and lived in, than my own home. It's canoe paddles on the wall, and finally being let into the big secret that is The Beatles. It is the people looking to you for answers, and you actually having some to give.

I don't think I've ever fallen in love during these moments. But perhaps that's the point. Perhaps it's the feeling of what I've been led to believe love should feel like. Perhaps – well it doesn't matter. Over thinking it would probably just destroy it. That's just the term I use for the state of being I find myself in right now.

I'll make no excuses for my blog- but I will stand back from the last few pages and say that that's probably something Nemesis would have written (No – not him Laura.) And that's alright. One needs that in a Nemeses relationship, doesn't one?

Best to take advantage of these moments as they come so infrequently.

So – how did my day continue? I went to the train station, and found myself waiting in a large line for McDonald's. Now I should have known by the large posters on the wall that I was too early for real meals, and that only breakfast was being served. But I had to make sure. It was eleven twenty after all.

But no – curse the Germans and their love of this meal. I would need to hold out for ten more minutes before making my buddy Stew proud, and ordering a most desired McRib sandwich. The people here didn't understand when I took pictures of the meal. They must have thought my crazy, mad, insane. Like I found the man in western Canada taking pictures of a chipmunk (“you can never have too many pictures of wildlife.”) They didn't realize, as I didn't then, that these things were oh so rare back home.

But – meal eaten, I boarded my train, and began the process of traveling from the Known of Berlin, to the Unknown of Dresden.

I had no seat reservation. And I didn't know what this meant. However, I just sat down in one of the seats that didn't have a name tag on it, and hoped for the best. As I received no complaint from the delightful man who came to punch my ticket, I assumed that all was well. And I'm sure it was.

The train ride was an exercise in staying awake. Much as I would have liked to drift away and find sleep, I did not. I forced myself to stay awake, as I was not getting off at the last stop, nor the second last stop – but rather, I was to disembark on the second stop. Sure this was hours away, but what if my eyes closed for but a moment, and failed to reopen in time.

And what if I was on the wrong train? When we pulled into a station not listed on the plan this became a very real fear. This is always a fear I have when boarding a train. Sure, it's nearly impossible to be wrong when you read the marquee overhead but – Sometimes we are all neurotic. (Got my camera, yep – laptop, check – power cords (cords should have an a in it. An a that can be converted into scissors cutting a string.), good – notebook, done.)

But as things turned out it was the right train, as well it had to be, and all was well. Except for the woman in my car who had this perfume. I don't know what it is – I'm sure it's meant to smell nice (she was probably late twenties, early thirties – down with the trends.) but – well, sometimes I think I smell nice, and then I remember when the clothes I'm wearing were last washed (fun fact: today was a new clothes day. So no grungy funk today.)

The perfume reminds me of one that an ex-girlfriend of mine once wore. It didn't smell good then, and it doesn't smell good now. Well – maybe I'm just retconning it due to the mnemonic image. Hmm – maybe I should delete that. It's not a very long list of people who fit that category – what if they were to read? Oh, who am I kidding – none of them would read this – and if they were to, well I'm fine with them knowing how awesome I am now.

By the way, it wasn't you – nope, you either – yes. Yes, you're the one with the perfume. Sorry to say, but it's true.

Anyway – two hours of that and I was in Dresden. Getting from the station to the hostel was pretty simple. There were signs, and it took all of two very literal minutes. Once there I was offered a choice between the six person dorm, and the ten person dorm. I could take whatever one I wanted – it would be the same price. More people were in the six person dorm. So to the six person one I went, paying three euro a night less than others in that room, for who am I to refuse meeting people, while perceivably saving money?

I met a guy who seemed at the end of his journies thinking more about going home than staying out any longer. He claimed that travel just wasn't for him – and while I tried t talk him out of this mindset, I got to thinking – if you really did feel perfectly fine at home, not traveling the world, how fanatic would that be? Me – I feel I may never be satisfied, because wherever you are, there are so many places you are not. And because of that you may never find yourself happily situated anywhere – always planning your next escape.

But these thoughts would wait – I had to hit up Lidl for groceries. I was not prepared for the low cost groceries. It had been so long since I'd seen this chain. I ended up with yogurt, beverages, and zaziki sauce with pita (kind of.) It was not the best of meals, nor was it the worst. And we'll leave it at that.

And that brings us to now – well to hours before now. But those hours were filled with conversations with aforementioned traveller, and those bring us to now – nearly three o'clock in the aye em. I had plans for this night – plans to do nothing – but they were filled. And that's alright. But now, now, I must sleep if I'm to wake tomorrow and explore the city of Dresden, which I best get to, as it looks like rain could be coming in any day now.

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