Tag: business

Why Me ?

The last week started positive with all this de-cluttering and re-possessing of my appartement, but of course the forces who run the universe did not like it to stay this way, with a punctual positive overload impending. So they looked at the chart and decided to clip something else that is positive, and some mean minor deity with a bad hangover had the grand idea to give me a new co-driver.
I miss Ms F. Intelligent, witty, with a broad range of interests, she was never boring company. I still have a book she lent me. And I want to know what happens to her ill cat.
Now I will drive over land, delivering kids in villages I never knew existed, in generally Western direction, crossing the border to Baden-Württemberg. My new co-driver lives at the other end of town, a 20 minutes drive away ; and we have to leave together at least one hour earlier than on my previous route, so it is the real damn dark morning (thank You, Savannah, it is a very good expression !) from mid-November onwards. I’ll start earlier & will come back later (and drive additional one hundred kilometers each day), I only hope that there is more cash in it.
It came as a surprise, out of the blue. As I mentioned in the comments for the last post, I was told about this on Thursday morning & on Frayday midday I sat in another bus.
And this is a real change, because I found meself in a kind of rolling living room : With a cushion on the driver’s seat, and things dangling from the rear-view mirror. With cup holders filled up with these damn green “Eukalyptusbonbons” I hate from the bottom of my heart. And a kind a matriarch enthroned all over it. And to make things worse, a recently widowed matriarch, who was doing this route with her late husband for years – no wonder that the colleague I changed the car with, was beaming all over and could not get fast enough in my wonderfully sterile, clean & impersonal vehicle, driving it to the horizon … with my cool co-driver in it … basted …
To be just, he phoned me later in the evening, and we had a nice and informative chat about the whole thing. The reason for this changing of horses simply lies in that we had to write down our distances, times etc. (as it is done regularly once a year, it’s called Kilometrierung), and a result was that my colleague can not do this route & these hours with his kind of contract (he’s already retired etcetc.).
I am far away from retirement, and have a different kind of contract / employment. And because the matriarch’s husband died all of a sudden they needed a replacement very fast, basically from one day to the next (really !), and the finer points simply were skipped for the time being. When they had evaluated the drivers’ scribblings they found that something needed to be changed, and huzza I’m sitting in a dead man’s seat and drive around with his grieving widow. At least he did not die at the wheel, that would be a bit too much, even for me.
First thing I did was to throw out that terrible cushion, dump these horrible “Eukalyptusbonbons”, and change the radio to the classic station.
The passengers are five boys, I just saw four of them on this first, and so far, only drive, so have no clue about them. One has to use an electrical wheelchair, a pretty sophisticated model as I noticed, and my antecessor saied that this boy would be the most interesting & lively, interested in anything from art to history and in between. Sadly he sits the farthermost in the back of the car. I did not really go through the boxes and known stacking places yet, but I saw in one of the boxes some ripped out pages from the Fahrtenbuch … well, humph, he had really no time to get his stuff sorted …
The route is interesting, it is really right into the middle of nowhere, nice landscape, little villages, narrow roads … next week I’ll get winter tyres, and I am very sure that I’ll need them. Without the matriarch’s navigating I’d be lost. She gives clear directions, knows where to watch out for what, and makes no nonsense when it is necessary to manoeuver the vehicle backwards in tight spaces, so I do not have to worry about her loosing a leg or so.
Grief, payne and hopelessness I felt creeping in at me last Frayday in this vehicle, but I’m not in the mood to give in. I only wonder whether my “venerated” Fahrdienstleiter intentionally gave this drive to me. I saw a bit of panic in his eyes when he had to face my previous co-driver, and when she made a small remark that could be interpreted as if she did not like what happened. After all the lady is there longer than anyone else, and do not get fooled, the co-driving mothers are in the end those who do accept, or not, who is driving where, under them.
Anyway, it’s a week off before I start to drive into the foggy, dark & cold wilderness of Franconian outskirts. And I have a place of warmth and hope I come back to. So why not ? Others did this before me. They just died …


Ach, Titel vergessen …

Snoopy is right, as so often.



Rain. Cold rain. Short days, one has to turn on the light at 16:00. Travelling youtube and realising that most of the artists one listens to are already dead, does not help to brighten the mood. Freddy Mercury, Pavarotti, James Brown – ach Du lieber GOtt … is this turning into a kind of Totentafel ?
At least the printer of my neighbour is working, it does what it is meant to do. Klaus was very happy when he discovered that he can make copies while the machine is not connected to the laptop.
The screaming mother-of-the-year downstairs is remarkably quiet these days, perhaps she realised that she had gone too far around here, who knows.
Business is bleak, no customers in sight. No answers to applications, at least nice yeah-we-received-yer-scribble-letters. Perhaps a small, but steady job to pay the bills, we’ll see, I knock on wood. Three times please. Yes, I’m superstitious, some times things may not be spoken, pronounced too early does no good. So I’m just pulling meself together and answer silly questions in my head, stand in the room and watch my hands while I’m talking (where do I put them ?), and try not to be nervous. It is just a job that would pay my bills, and involve something I like to do, far away from my profession. The fact alone that I’m nervous now, shows how dependent I’m on this. In earlier days I’d just shown up and saied “Here I am, take it or leave it !” Now the “leave it” option is no nice outlook. In German this would translate as “den Schneid abgekauft”. But the bottle is not totally lost, I guess, there’s always Mogwash
Some music here, there, und da auch noch. Sleep would be nice.

Would Someone Please Hand Me a Gun ?

I did not smash something.

My venerated readers may remember that I mentioned some weeks ago that we are working on a transcription, a test for a larger project. We put some effort in it, the original source material was not that easy to read, and it is a pretty special subject.
Anyway we followed the instructions, produced two texts according to the edition rules, and wrote an offer, covering all necessary topics. Send it over per email to the man responsible.
Usually one gets a short note like “Thankx, we received it”. Other things happened, we kept it in mind, after all this would bring us over the winter.
It’s late October and this job should start now – so I phoned in today. A pretty sourly lady told me that I’m too late, the contract is already handed out, and no, never heard my name. But she would be so nice and check with the responsible bloke.
Hours later she phoned back. Never received that email. Aha – but it did not come back to me, so it was delivered. The address is correct, as checked in this conversation, date, time, title, attachments …

They did not check their bloody spam folder.

Since when do you use email ? I got my first email-address in the late eighties as a student. We used Pegasus-Mail back then, it is still around and running. Later spam showed up and the first clumsy filters were introduced.
Nowadays one gets a notification when something falls into this category – one just has to LOOK !
I send out plain-text-mails without links in them, that is what most spam filters check first, links to nice fake sites. The attachments were to their regulations, in the format they wished them to get.
Mr super professor – every bloke there has at least one academic title in front of his name & one behind – did not check this, wonder how many other offers the moron ignored by doing so. And of course the project is handed out now, gone.
I can accept a rejection, pointing out to a mistake, or a discussion about how I read and transcribe something. I can defend the price – but that someone is TOO DUMB to check his mail properly is not acceptable.
Avanti Dilettanti !
Schreien möcht’ man …

Franconians Don’t Climb

In earlier days one sat at the desk and worked for pay. Nowadays one sits at the desk, works and hopes to get the contract.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. But in order to land an assignment for a larger transcription project one must proof to command the necessary ability & carefulness – how to do better than by working on the job ? And they really picked out a tough example. Let’s hope all this leads to a contract in the end.

When I had enough of that scribble (and the description of body functions & fluids, it is history of medicine) I had a look into Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine (Eng.) – I have absolutely no clue how the 1867 volume has found its way onto my shelves. Thumbing through I found an article* about Hygiene.
Mrs HOPKINSON says that “every one has heard till his ears ache, how important is ventilation” – but people don’t give a damn : “The steam cars are filled with passengers, who sternly refuse admittance to the outer air.” Also people know that movement in fresh air and moderation in drinking and eating is key to health, but nobody cares.
Interestingly she mentions “Preissnitz in Prussia”, he installed a “water-cure” ; of course Mrs HOPKINSON finds, that “wash and be clean” is simpler and better – who needs these damn Prussians anyway ?
In fact Herr PRIEßNITZ (Ger., Eng.) is born in the Austrian part of Silesia. 1846, five years before his death, he was awarded the große goldene Verdienstmedallie (perhaps something like this, just in gold) by his Austrian Emperor. PRIEßNITZ died only 52 years old of a “shrinking liver” – perhaps a water-cure and moderation in eat & drink – ?

Besides the Austrian water-cure Mrs HOPKINSON mentions fabulous Franconia :

“Our countrymen enjoy change of place and change of air. We like to plunge at Newport, to climb at Franconia, to pour libations at Saratoga to Hygieia. We like to give money for things, and have our money’s worth. Why should we bathe in this miserable brook Jordan which runs before our very door ? Are not Abana (Ger., Eng.) and Pharphar (Ger., Eng.) better.”

Franconia ? Best country in the world, no doubt about it – especially because there is not much to be climbed upon around here. Some stony things in the Fränkische Schweiz (Ger., Eng.), yes, but that is really remote and I doubt Mrs HOPKINSON knew about the very existence of this area. So what is she talking about ?
There are a lot of new ports in the new world, one in Pennsylvanien too (Eng.). “Libations” may point to Saratoga Springs (Eng.) in NewYork. And Franconia ? Climb ?
Maybe she mistook our humble hills for the Alps.


* HOPKINSON: Hygiene. In: Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine, Philadelphia, March 1867, 258-260