A day out

Two weeks ago my (nearly) one-hundred-year old customer asked me whether we should visit the archive in BA. Yes I said, I never saw all the material and maybe I could find something to be used for a text I have to write.
At 9 this morning I helped him to board the car, we thundered through the fog and finally found our destination. They sat us in a not too warm room and we worked for two hours. I read some files, he got an overview, checked everything and gave me advice. After lunch he decided that we should visit a nearby museum where a common friend is working, sadly we missed her. Instead we stumbled into the meeting of the local women-club, he started the charming and the ladies loved him. I guess he just wanted some cookies. He got them.
Afterwards we drove overland in a beautiful late-autumn light. I brought him home just after darkness set in, helped him to his door and waited until I was sure that he was in the house, had his keys and shut the door. He’s 96 and just wanted to have a day out.



Silver, not round but elliptical, shrinking, clouds like ink in water. Hours ago, over the horizon it was fat and yellow.
A yard around, bluish-redish-gray. Noninvolved, neutral, distant. It just is. And doesn’t care. Like death.



A short notice in the newspaper today. Police officers took in a helplessly drunk man on a truck-station next to the autobahn. Staff said that he was around for some days, spoke only his native language nobody understood, was drunk most time and hung around a certain truck. The truck had an Italian license plate, the trailer a polish. The officers contacted the firm and they said that they had hired a driver, but had already fired him because of drinking problems. They had taken away the keys from him and were in search for a replacement driver. The officers checked the man’s home address and talked to family members. They said that they did not want him back, would not care and surely not organize any kind of travel.
They brought him to the mission.

The notice was shorter than my re-telling here and in plain police-report style, where it surely was cut out as a filler. And sent my phantasy out … What has to happen that you end up totally pissed in a parking lot besides the autobahn in November next to a truck which keys are gone?
It reminded me of a documentary I saw maybe ten years ago called “Drive-by shooting”: A car cruises through the neighborhood, the camera aiming out of the side-window, a calm voice reporting what happened here: Crime ranging from small theft to murder, reduced to the bare facts of one brutal moment. Stories of spilled live.

(“Geschichten vom verschütteten Leben” was the German title of “South of No North” by Bukowski; “verschüttet” has a nice double meaning, “spilled” and “buried”.)


The end of the month comes fast …

Prices are fine – but they do not pay the rent. And that is a problem now. The last 10 to 12 days I was struggling with a heavy cold, so my work did suffer. There is not so much of work anyway, because I am looking for a new contract, customer, something! And I have no money coming in for the next month. I am watching the ads at the employment-authority, I wrote more applications, but to no result. There is nothing else to cut down on costs – holy crap, it’s a problem to buy paper for the printing-machine … The financial situation went from bad to worse and I can not see how to change it to the better.
As a forty-something historian I can look for a job in a bureau as a secretaire (but there are well trained younger persons for that), try to find a job as writer, redacteur – what is around text-producing and publishing. The other thing is something in the production – would not be too bad to leave after 8 hours and to forget. Problem is, I need that as fast as possible. No more room to move. That’s new with me.