It’s not that I’m an idiot (although, in the spirit of full disclosure, I sometimes am), it’s that I’m sometimes clueless. Or, forgetful. Or, mentally misplaced. You see, there’s a lot of shit floating around in my cranium. Some numbers, some interesting data, some bullshit ephemera about what episode of what season in what obscure TV show a character walked down the wrong hallway to go to the bathroom, tons of music, a few memorized beautiful things I’ve seen in my days, some horrors I’ve always memorized, and a collection of all the breasts I’ve come across and been mesmerized. Yeah, there’s a pun there. A bad one, at that.
This morning, I woke up and smiled that kind of smile that only happens on a day off. I got up, stretched, did the various things I do when I wake up alone, the scratching of places and releasing of certain human fluids, then went to the internet and began absorbing facts. A typical day. There’s “significant amounts” of water on the mother fucking moon!
And I was reading some stuff about the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which I knew I was a few days late to, but it’s still fascinating, right?
I even put on some music as I did this. Made myself a little playlist in my music player and put it on random/shuffle, and you know what song came on several times? My favorite song by the Cure, that’s what. This one:
That’s “The 13th,” and I just adore it. Not the video so much, but the song, definitely.
There was a commercial on TV for a Friday The 13th marathon. And I thought, “Huh, that’s interesting.” Thought about 2012, the batshit crazy stupid but fun looking Roland Emmerich movie that came on today that I’ll probably see tomorrow with Conrad Noir, who tells me he’s not all that interested because he was let down by The Day After Tomorrow. Well, no shit you were let down by The Day After Tomorrow, right? Anyway, that’s most likely on tomorrow’s agenda.
Long story short, it took me until like noon or later to actually fucking realize that it was Friday the 13th. I probably shouldn’t be bragging about that.
It happened at some local coffee shop that I went to, and, well, it was embarassing, but interesting. I live in a small town, the kind where it’s hard to not get to know everyone and their quaint little stories. And all the Southern gothic ghost stories that goes along with it. So I do my best to avoid people as best I can, but today I felt like getting out of the domecile for a bit and going for a run and experimenting with various Pandora stations on my smart brilliant phone.
The search for the perfect Pandora station is man’s constant crawl towards enlightenment, nirvana, and the fingerbanging of God. The pleasure is in the quest, not the capturing because the goal is unreachable, but we still try. That’s the beauty of the humans, or something. Regardless, I’ve been bouncing back and forth, trying to find a good station while running/walking, and I took a chance on an 80s station.
Not bad, but you know what? As great as they can be, Duran Duran and Frankie Goes To Hollywood and “The Safety Dance” just felt a little too gay for this job. I needed something less festive, so I figured I’d shift a decade forward and did a search for an appropriate 90s station. Came up mostly zero, no joke, except for a fascinating station that played 80s music stars trying to make a comeback in the 90s:
Okay, that’s the lovely Bryan Adams song from the Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves soundtrack, which is fantastic all on it’s own (except when it’s used for a Dawson’s Creek fanvid, sorry), but in actuality, the first song that came on that station was Adams’ “Run To You,” which isn’t bad. And following that was some Tom Petty, which is always good in my book, and some Bon Jovi, which is atrocious (though old Bon Jobi works appropiately in some bar settings, I’m loathe to admit), and a whole fucking lot of Guns N’ Roses. It was weird, but I guess it did the trick, workout-wise.
Then I got to the coffee shop, got something to eat, something to drink, and meant to hide myself in the corner with some headphones and devour my meal and some more internet on my phone. Also with me were some printouts of various things I needed to revise and a copy of Warren Ellis’ new POD book, Shivering Sands, which had just come in the mail today. I feel like I’ve read most of it previously (it’s a collection of various writings of his from the internet of the past few years), but still, I was excited.
But as it sometimes can be when interesting people are in the vicinity, and frightfully true when there’s less than interesting people buzzing around you, I got sucked into some conversation. Found out it was 13th day of the month coinciding with the fact that it was also a Friday. Also absorbed some recent gossip. And, because of the recent anniversary, got involved with a conversation about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.
You see, the conversation got even more interesting when it turned out that one of the women there was German, a former resident of East Berlin, who had been 18 when the wall came down, and moved to America shortly after. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with Germans in the past (and no, I’m not referring to World War II, though that was no picnic either, ha ha!), but every once in a while, I have a good experience with their women.
The woman and I talked for some time about the Berlin Wall, and primarily what it was like for her growing up in East Berlin. Essentially, it was bleak, but fascinating. And we had one of those conversations that always pop where she mentions that she was feeling uneasy today because she had left her cell phone at home and she just feels like she’s naked and out of touch, but growing up poor in Germany, they didn’t even have a phone in their house til she was 16. “How did we live in that ancient, strange world?” she asked with a laugh.
She had just seen The Lives Of Others a few weeks ago, she told me, and we talked about the movie, which is really quite good if you haven’t seen it yet, and about the Stasi in general. She told me that the movie scares her because back then, when she was growing up, you just always knew you were being watched, being monitored. You always suspected who was a Stasi man, but you never really knew for sure. And it didn’t hit you until later that it wasn’t so much agents of the Stasi you had to worry about, but those around you because everyone was informing on each other to get ahead.
Could’ve been worse. He could’ve thrown up in her lap.
From there we went into little aspects of German history, talking about “The Iron Chancellor” and how the Prussians united the country a hundred years before the Wall fell, and we even talked a little about Merkel, or “Angie,” as she called her, and told me what a fan she is, being that they’re both East German girls. She told me how it was so weird for her to come to America in her twenties and get a more full view of her own little world up til then and to compare it to growing up in communist Germany, where history was repainted with a propaganda slant. She mentioned that as a teen they were never allowed to refer to the Wall as just “the Wall,” it was always as the “tool for anti-fascist defense” or something like that.
She told me how when she was in school, it was a mandatory field trip for the kids to be taken to the concentration camps and shown all the gross details, the rooms with human remains permanently staining the walls, with the empty shoes of little babies that were turned to dust, the lampshades made out of flayed skin featuring Jewish tattoos. She told me how the physical evidence of the darkest corners of history would never leave her mind and part of her was glad that she was forced to see that shameful part of her country’s past, but that it’s something she knows kids don’t go to see anymore.
I don’t want to use the word “fascinating” again in this post, but that’s what it was. A fascinating conversation, and a fantastic one, informative and insightful. I thanked her for her time and being so patient with my curiousity, and of course for letting me know that it was actually Friday the 13th. Then I left, since I had been there for quite some time and it was starting to look like it might rain. I wasn’t interesting in listening to sad old men with hair plugs crooning bar anthems into my ear, so I just walked in silence, my head heavy with thoughts about everything we discussed.
“Komm rüber!” Hans Conrad Schumann defects, from here.
It did start raining before I got back to my front door, of course, but my mind was elsewhere and I didn’t actually realize it until I was pulling my key out to let myself back in and realized I was shivering there as the water dripped off of me.
And how did you spend your Friday the 13th?