Tag: work

Sunday Music

Here I sit in my dusty and cold book repository. Dusty because I simply did not get meself to hoover the rooms for some time, what I regret now, because I do not want to have silly small “things” on the soles of my feet when I go to bed. Cold because I switched off the heating sometime last week when it became over 15° C and more outside, I forgot to turn that thing on again. Over the next days we will see the temperature drop to the freezing point again. I felt pretty cold & damp when I came back home this evening. Of course I had been travelling to Suebia again.
A quick glance in the fridge showed me cold white emptiness, such must be Canada on a bad day. With the notable exception of a piece of cheese that was heroically stinking against all and everything – I never thought that a piece of run-of-the-mill-brie would develop such a personality.
Among tons of nonsensical emails was one that made all too much sense. My old professor sent me the draft for an obituary on his colleague. We came in contact some weeks ago since he had recovered from a severe illness, and this necrology is overdue.
I studied under the deceased, and now helped to piece together this part of the institute’s history, name old colleagues etc. And en passant opened a can of worms of memories. Memories I do not want to have, things I want to forget, images of persons I am not in contact with anymore, and – GOd ! – a long list of people I knew and who already have died.
Sometime in this week I will walk over to the institute and simply drop by. There is a new head now, a new ruler, I do not know much about her. I only hope that she wants to stay, and make the whole operation her own, regardless of her scientific or philosophical position – these are things to be discussed – , but what the whole thing needs is another long streak of continuity. As it was under my old prof for 25 years, and his predecessor for nearly the same long stretch. After the master’s retirement people came and went, it was no good.
In one case I went out in anger, literally fuming, I made no secret about my feelings. Not that this had any “impact”, I never was in a position to have any “impact”. But … well … The guy, who caused this, already drunk himself to death. Again successors fumbled on and off : It is time for a new Queen Now !
And no – I am not speculating on a position at the new court, seriously not !
Madame scientia (pretty much like her sister fortuna) is a damn – insert your curse word of choice for an alcoholic lady with dubious moral settings. I learned some time ago that I am not fit for this. “This is what losers say” you may mumble, and perhaps you are right. But honestly, the kind of infight I watched among “civilised” people in academia was enough to drive me away. I do not regret this, even when the other things I tried were not as successful as I had wished and hoped for.
What counts even more : The university I studied at, and where the seniorissimus and the deceased were employed at and spent their academic lives – this university is dead. After 1989 something happened here – I speak about the Western Germany university, even the whole educational system. The whole system changed.
It is not precisely explained with the slogan “Bologna Process” and what is connected with this, it is more. I have only a faint idea about this, and I seriously do not want to think about it now. It may be connected to my observation that I’m kinda “out of time” now, I do not fit in any more. In earlier times I could vanish in the herd, simply go unseen, this is nowadays at least more complicated than it was. But there is always the possibility that I am just plainly mad.
Anyway, the obit the seniorissimus sent me needs some touches – some wording & phrases are too strong. There shines something through I’d not want to be shown. Of course I know that he never shied away from confrontation, but I also liked the man who brought me into this science, and under whose guidance I finally reached my academic grade. And yes, I am proud of this grade.
It is an irony of history that a) nobody nowadays really knows what this grade means (hey, after all i received an official document from the philosophical faculty where they describe what they think of me & what I am possibly capable of, with seal & all !), that b) there is basically just one institute left (this one here !) that still carries the name of the science or field in its name, and that c) a nearly ninety year old man and a bus driver write the obituary of a philosopher who more or less by accident slipped into a unique role at a German university’s institute.

Strange days. Now I’ll gulp down a strange beer, a “Nordic Porter” by Störtebeker (with 9.1 % alcohol), and then fall into my bed. Tomorrow in the not so early ddm* (Copyright by Savannah) it’s job-as-usual. Sooner or later it will be necessary to Break On Through, here in a version by Mark ZITTI e I Fratelli COLTELLI – I hope you enjoy the music. Let’s hope for a quiet and peaceful week. And let me tell you – avoid philosophical faculties, it’s been the ruin of many a good man …






Thank GOd, the working week came to an end. It became a bit rough at the edges lately, so a two weeks’ brake is very welcome.
Usually I do not write (much) about my day time job, what should I say ? I leave early, pick up kids, bring them safely to a place, and all in return in the late afternoon. My actual co-driver is not a spotless diamond, but I am neither, we get along well. The only “thing” that is bothering me, and sometimes the boys, is that she has the tendency to create a mess by “speeding up” things. Frankly, she sometimes makes a bloody mess with her over-agitated engagement, she definitely lacks, and could use, deep relaxation.
It would be unbearable if she was in a way “wrong” or “dishonest”, she is not. She actually takes good care of the boys, even too much, like a clucking hen, but sometimes she’s simply too pushy. And then she usually uses the phrase “Ich habe einen Termin !” (I have an appointment !) to make things go faster, what usually has the oldest boy and me sighing and taking extra care, because then something may fail.
This last drive started with a little confusion on the yard, it took me a bit longer than usual to reach the point where my vehicle has to stand. The boys boarded reasonably well, we left a little later than usual.
At the first stop my co-driver jumped out with little boy J and marched to the door of the social housing block, just there was no response : Usually dad or mum wait at the front door of the public entrance, but nobody was seen, no answer to the door bell – and my co-driver came back to the car talking a lot I could not understand. She was completely thrown, and simply did not stop blabbing on and on. We had already waited for ten minutes, and it was clear that something had gone wrong there, so I told her to get inside the vehicle with the boy. I phoned the number I was given to reach the parents, but it was useless ; so I tried the additional number, but the man I reached did not get what I wanted. So I said that I’d take boy J with me and be back in roughly an hour or so. I was really running late now.
Driving on these small roads is usually a nice experience, but sadly a lot of people use them as detours and short-cuts between two or three motorway intersections that are found around this lovely Franconian capital. And on this Frayday afternoon before Christmas, when the travelling weekend was officially declared open, it was a bit challenging, simply because all these blokes from all parts of Germany are not used to our narrow roads – and my lack of “respect” against BMWs did not help. I follow more the “move over basted, I drive in the name of the Lord”-attitude.
The usual commute took a bit longer, where I could usually go through with 90 km per hour on the open road, driving in a nicely formed queue with 60 or less had to be enough today.
When I reached the last stop the phone rung and the man I had talked to earlier called back. So I could explain what it was all about, and he said he’d look for mum & dad. It all works, just needs a bit of time.
My co-driver had been very quiet since she had entered the vehicle again, and when we were driving back with boy J alone, she finally complained that we’d be back an hour later as usual on a Frayday. It came out that this time ! she really had an appointment – she did not tell me what it was, just “We women have so much more work to do in these festive times, much more than men ! TA !” – and she had put that date so close to our usual returning time that even a small deviation would be fatal, running late more than an hour of course …
Is the cosmic force trying to tell her something ? Perhaps, but I doubt she’s listening. Am I just mean ? I do not think so – I do not laugh about her, I do not feel “smug”, like “I told yah!” – this is all nonsense. Perhaps I just wrote this text because I do not want to get pushed myself. In fact, every time I witnessed it,  people got angry and did their tasks slower. Not necessarily better, but surely slower.
So when she’ll push the kids the next time with her “Ich habe einen Termin !” I can turn around and say – “Humbug ! Think about what happened the last time when you really had one !” Perhaps with this thinning-the-herd-attitude of the old God … but I’ll fool nobody, I’m soft as baby poo.
And here is some music, just so.

Rattle. No Roll

Yet. I am still a bit rattled.
If you follow my waffle here – for what I am thankful – you may remember that I took up a job as driver some moons ago. It is a job to pay the rent, really. That’s how it started, nowadays I would miss the boys if I’d get the chance to work in my profession again, but I’d do this without any question and hesitation. BTW I had a job interview two weeks ago, well, I’m still driving. But it was very nice to see that I am at least still eligible.
I do not write about the day job here, simply because it is just what it is, and because I do not want to be whining.
A driver drives, I do more than three thousand kilometers a month in the vehicle, a pretty large, white, diesel-powered passenger transporter fitted out for the special demands my passengers have. I drive on Bundesstraßen, A-roads, Landstraßen, B-roads, and narrow country lanes. I avoid autobahn, especially when my passengers are aboard. It is simply a risk I do not want to take.
On average it is all three months that a dangerous situation occurs – dangerous as in : A heavy impact is narrowly avoided – and every time this happened on slip roads or on motorway-style enlarged A-roads. On the country lanes everybody, with the notable exception of the dumb boy racer in his old testosterone-fulled BMW or Golf GTI, is careful, the professionals know what they can do with their vehicles. And if it takes ten minutes more, so what ?
The guy who tried to wipe out my codriver and me this evening on the other hand needs a special award.
I was on a motorway-style A-road in the fast lane (that is the left one on the continent). From the right a motorway exit slip feeds in, while to the left is a motorway access regulated by traffic signals. I was not particular fast, noticed a red car on the far right well ahead, my codriver was telling a story. Next I know is that the red car was basically vertically coming from the right, crossing over all lanes to reach the slip road to my left, I was in the process of t-boning him. Thankfully nothing was to my right while I pulled the vehicle over, heavy on the brakes, sliding on the mean trickle we had for the whole day.
While I was still rolling ahead & sorting my gears to stabilise my swaying bus the little piece of crap came back. It was seemingly not the gateway he liked, or the red lights did not match his seats, or maybe he just wanted to avoid ramming the car that was waiting at this damn traffic light, I do not know. All I know is that we had the same affaire again, this time from the left. He pulled in front of me less than a meter away while I was accelerating to control my vehicle and all of a sudden I thought that it would be a good idea to ram the basted to nirvana.
He drove a kind of cabriolet in red, I think it was Mercedes, and now he put the pedal to the metal and outpaced me easily. I realised that he lifted the foot when I came closer. Some hundred meters ahead to the right is a parking slot, and all of a sudden he pulled sharply to the right over the slow lane and the exit into said parking area, of course without indicator or any shown regard he rammed the car in there, still sliding with locking wheels when I thundered by. Following in would have meant a serious disaster with an unavoidable collision. I only hope he ran his car into the mud and ripped the suspension out.
All this took less time to happen than it takes you to read this, I am pretty sure it was less than ten seconds : No time to think & reflect, just action.
My vehicle took it easy, afterwards she was revving freely doing hundred km/h without any effort at 1600 rpm. Smart thing – I want to thank FORD for building a reliable and stable vehicle that one can throw around over three lanes like a wet towel without any damage done to suspension, brakes, or wheels : After more than hundred thousand kilometers, or sixty thousand miles, of heavy duty – well done !
Oh yes, thanks to the unknown driver in red, adrenalin is good, keeps the veins free from stuff. See you in three months again, bloody moron.

Pop! Goes The Weasel

Chances are that you have heard the sound. It makes a distinct noise when a bubble bursts. And all of a sudden you stand naked & alone in the cold wet darkness. Of course you sit fully clothed at the desk in your warm appartement, but the feeling of being abandoned is overwhelming for a moment. Sometimes it is a glance or a gesture, or an email with three sentences that you read in less than two seconds. To stomach what it says, may take a wee bit longer.
Of course it was not a large bubble, but a nice one, allowed to develop not for long, so it could not become an obsession of some kind, or something to build on. Just a nice idea to follow, nice enough to raise time & effort ; initial success helped the bubble to grow, and the sceptical, more seasoned & experienced part of the self warned. Of course one listens to this, but it would be … nice, wouldn’t it ?
The bubble bursts silently, but very audible, and the quiet reverberation will stay for some time. And “time” is the master word here, a cruel master, fluid, oily, untouchable, merciless.
So I will soldier on. And drive my vehicle over narrow, muddy roads, take care for the passengers, and ignore the dents.