A Little Whine

I was not able to go to Suebia this weekend, and it feels crap. And it is all my Grätigkeit to blame.
For some days now I develop a headache from midday onwards that slowly but steadily gets on my nerves. Yesterday evening I nearly lost it at our filling station. I drove towards home in the late afternoon through heavy rain, met an unwanted detour, cursed the autobahn I had to rejoin, finally reached the filling station with the last drop of Diesel. Here I forgot something, a guy yelled at me, and I was close to, well, loose it. The Suebian expression is “auf der Sau ‘naus”, what may give you an idea of my feelings. My co-driver made me realise the nonsense, and all was fine.
I actively avoided (more than usual) collisions that would have been caused by other drivers over the last days – and pray that I made no serious mistakes meself. I saw some inner-city accidents last week, and three heavy ones on country roads & the autobahn this Wednesday. These three happened obviously shortly before I passed the location. In one case a car seemingly summersaulted into a field, at least I could not see that the thing would have been driven to the location where it came to rest, on its left side – the wheat was still standing well all around it. In all cases dutifull people already were doing the necessary, like safeguarding the location, helping the hurt etc., so I could drive by.
The weather is strange. I know for sure that my body reacts to air pressure – I mean that I need some air pressure to function properly. I think that is not the case right now. Usually I lie down in the late morning for an hour or so, sleep a little, doze a little, get up after an hour or three halves, all well. Over the last days I slept awefully at these occasions, and when I got up, the face in the mnirror was terrible, swollen, like after a Sauftour, a real bad bender. The mentioned headache does not help. Time through these siestas flowes differently : I fell asleep, woke up with the impression that I must have slept for an hour or so, that it would already be time to get up and prepare to leave for work. A look on the (radio-)clock taught me again & again that only fifteen to twenty minutes had passed. I find this very distressing, simply because I usually can rely on my feeling for time. And because I woke up, and felt even more exhausted than before.
I blame this terrible pressure system they called “Bernd”, or “Bernhard”, I don’t know. I only hope “Bernd” finally pisses off, the basted did enough damage around here.
I seriously need to entkrümpfeln : I want to see nothing, hear nothing, meet nobody over this weekend. I feel old, exhausted, grätig. It is different this time. Only two weeks until holidays. I have to scrap everything together to keep my optimism. And it feels lousy not to be in Suebia.

Sunday Music, Tuesdays

Well well, this last week “off” was busier than the regular scheduled working week. And offered more drama, too.
It started with a trip down memory lane and to a city I once inhabited. This Suebian monstrosity really changed itself to the better, from grey industrial wasteland to a colourful, “green” even, education oriented location. I did not spend much time in the city itself, but what I saw was very different from the images I had stored in my head.
I went there, because some people seriously harbour the idea that I could work for their archive there – crazy talk ! The ensuing conversation was a dense, no-nonsense affair, I’ll be told about the result in circa two weeks.
The next day I went to Middle Franconia, to visit the bookmines. There is still some flotsam & jetsam that needs to be looked through. Number two and number three of the institution came by to be briefed about the stage of affairs. All went well, we had a frank conversation, and I described some ideas about the library’s future use, and of possible subjects of further research. But I bit on granite, they want me to finish what has to be finished, then they’ll close the door, and keep quiet. When my job is finally done they can proudly declare that they did all the necessary things, there is even a new & actual, digital catalogue. The books themselves now rest in a reasonably safe place in bookcases – of course, if someone, for example a colleague from the nearby museum, wants to use the collection, this will be allowed. But there is no chance for the installation of a librarian or some other court jester.
So this is clear now.
Finally I went back to Suebia to meet a friend. On Saturday we went to see Bebenhausen monastery (Ger., Eng.). Stepping out from a 19th century room onto a 16th century circular staircase my friend misstepped, and while I grabbed only thin air, slowly but heavily fell down : Payn, faint, broken elbow bone – what can under the circumstances be called a blessing, it could have ended much much worse. Nice people in the local emergency room btw.
I was unsure about today’s Sunday Music, but in the end it had to be Johnnie TAYLOR (Ger., Eng.) with It Just Don’t Pay To Get Up In The Morning from his 1974 longplayer Super Taylor. This song is now 45 years old, but not too much seems to have changed. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the music. Do me a favour, please, and avoid to fall down & break some bones, this week – and, if possible, in those following, too.



Deadly Compliments

We know that archives and libraries are dangerous places. GRILLPARZER (Ger., Eng.) for example fell off a ladder and only survived because he let go the fascicle. Others died. Besides death by drop there is (still today) the serious danger of inhaling spores of mold, yes it’s a tough life in the field.
But that making one’s compliments also is a dangerous task was new to me. At least that is what Julius Bernhard von ROHR (Ger.) speaks about in paragraph 44, chapter 5, part 1 of his  Einleitung zur Ceremoniel-Wissenschafft der Privat-Personen, Berlin 1728 (digitised, world cat). And we can assume that von ROHR, a life-long and experienced man of the court, knows what he’s talking about. You find the German text at the end * of this little post, I paraphrase it here as follows :
“A young cavalier should take care not to suffer harm on his health or even his life, when he makes his compliments. After having spoken to the high Eminence or grand minister he has to leave and is not allowed to take his eyes from the high person & simply turn his back ; so he has to move a little sideways or must have taken care of the position of chairs, desks and other ameublement in the room ; especially when it comes to stairs he has to take good care not to fall down :

inmaßen ja unterschiedene Exempel vorhanden, daß einige diese Unvorsichtigkeit, da sie die Treppe herunter gestürtzt, das Leben gekostet.
especially while there are different examples that this carelessness that led to them falling down the steps, has cost them their lives.”

Hours or even days of Antichambrieren – “bow & scrape” my dictionary says very fittingly. Finally one is allowed in, to meet the important person. Compliments spoken without stutter or other un-pleasantries. Perhaps even a small smile, a small nod by the eminence. Then retreat, as learned : backwards, without bumping into a chair or knocking off the ming vase ; the staircase at last – wrong step, keeling over, broken neck, final end of carrière.

What “unterschiedene Exempel” may Herr von ROHR thought of ? I am pretty sure that he knew of some – but to my knowledge there is no survey of these accidents.
Sources could be memoirs, (auto)~biographies, letters, maybe official files ? Gossip is seen as an important source for life at the court in the 18th century (Hofkultur), not only by modern scholars but by the contemporaries too. I know of no reader on this special topic. Maybe I found just a Desiderat der Forschung, a blank space ?
Would someone sponsor my research, please ?

* “§.44. Endlich mag sich ein junger Mensch, und ein jedweder angelegen seyn lassen, mit der Manierlichkeit und Wohlanständigkeit, auch die Behutsamkeit zu vereinigen, damit er seine Complimen[t]s so einrichte, daß er über den vielen Complimentiren an seinem Leibe keinen Schaden leide, oder gar des Lebens verlustig werde. Daher muß er im Zuwillgehen aus ein Gemach einer Fürstlichen Person oder eines großen Ministris, die er stets in Augen behalten, und ihr nicht den bloßen Rücken zukehren muß, vorher Acht haben, was ihm e[t]wan an Tischen, Stühlen, und andern Meublen bey dieser Passage im Wege stehe, oder ein wenig seithalben gehen;  insonderheit aber sich bey den Treppen wohl wahrnehmen soll, daß er nicht hinunter schmeisse, inmaßen ja unterschiedene Exempel vorhanden, daß einige diese Unvorsichtigkeit, da sie die Treppe herunter gestürtzt, das Leben gekostet.”

Arg …

How is it possible that in such a small appartement so much dust can gather. It were not dust bunnies the Hoover devoured, more like dust elephants, dust monsters …
I also scrubbed the floor of my kitchen, very necessary after I accidentally knocked down a glass of orange juice, what a sticky stuff. The good side: Less dust, better air. The down side: My back hurts ; sitting, standing it’s all the same. So I’ll lay down & read [ARIÈS’ (Ger.; Eng.) History of Death, or whatever I can reach from my Leidenslager]. Ade schnöde Welt