I wrote this text a long time ago in a COVID-free galaxy far, far away ... when we all led a happier life. Nonetheless, it is somehow appropriate for the time being.
Desperate. I feel desperate. I’ve been watching videos on YouTube all night. I simply kept the Autoplay feature turned on and let myself to be carried away. It’s not something I usually do, but at this very moment it felt just right: No scuba diving today as our flight home is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I might have a little nap in the hammock later in the day. So, no regrets doing it.
To be frank, maybe I was just a little too drunk or in a mood where a certain sound or certain smell takes you back in time to familiar places of your memory. I love it when that happens. There was something I cannot recall now, but I swear there was and so I turned on the computer.
Do you remember that "Tears in rain" monologue by Rutger Hauer (also known as the "C-Beams Speech" says Wikipedia) in the 1982 Ridley Scott film “Blade Runner”? It goes something like this: “I've seen things you people wouldn't believe” and it describes best last night’s experience. Whatever kind of wizardry may lays behind it, call it AI, call it user-driven-algorithm or simply shitty piece of software, the Autoplay did a man’s job - at least for me.
There were a series of Britain-Got-Talent clips: a twelve-year-old girl singing like a goddess. You could witness the split second when she switched into another person, just before she started singing. A Jazz-Singer lacking self-confidence who broke down in tears of joy when she brought the house down. One of the judges call it a “mesmerizing, sultry experience” and I agreed one hundred percent with her. Followed by all those heart-wrenching videos of what is apparently called “Faith-in-humanity-restored”: People helping each other, acts of daily kindness, little gestures standing out in a society driven by egoism. A soldier’s homecoming, reuniting with the ones they love. Firefighters rescuing a kitten, reanimating it with an oxygen mask or a father/coach coming to help his injured son at the 400m race at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. The later was among the “20 most beautiful moments of respect in sport” and it won my heart. Last the final speech from The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin.
Sobbing, weeping … I felt warm and dry. One gets soft; you start melting into yourself and you bathe in nothing but good feelings. In a wink of an eye all the hate, the craziness, the lying vanishes into thin air.
I thought about my kiddo sleeping upstairs… I was at the point to rush to his room, to wake him up, just hug him, telling how much I loved him and that there is also another person inside me: Not grumpy, not showing nerves at the slightest mishap. He surely would have stared at me asking: “Mom, are you out of your mind? Something wrong with your booze?”
It was then when I got desperate. Thinking of him, thinking of me. The way we are. The way we are with each other. There is no video about me which could live up to those YouTube clips. There are no “Tears in rain” episodes worth remembering. It’s simple: I am not a “good person”. No reason recording a life lived half - at best.
There’s a glimpse of dawn on the horizon, slowly crawling into a fully grown day. Another phrase comes to my mind: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. I’ll make it count … hopefully.
Desperate. I feel desperate. It looks like my flaws are by design. There’s nothing I can do about that: I’m not social. To me people are like a foreign film without subtitles. Sure, I can be colloquial, do small-talk, even tell a joke (though I’m not good at it) but I cannot “talk”. Spellbound: I open my mouth but no sound comes out of it. When I was a kid I was told that there would be consequences - later in life. You cannot keep your distance, live in your own wicked world without paying the price, my Dad always said. I’ve always been that way.
Narcissism, egomania, maybe a tiny bit of Asperger syndrome? The answer is: no. It’s hard to explain. Call it: discomfort. The way people are; their behaviour leaves me speechless. What’s all about the daily rush, the craving for more, this relentless, insatiable longing: more money, more power, more control … while we got out of control a long time ago, in a…
While I’m fighting hard to get rid off things, to learn to let go, to clean my basement of all the belongings I don’t no longer need, people cannot get enough. Would someone please explain me what “property” is? How do you “own” 100,000 acres of rain forest, with all the trees and beasts and fish and…? Why do you “need” shares of a multi-billion-dollar-company which is paying just 0.005 percent of taxes on its profits? “It’s for my children”, they say. “It’s my testament”. Their personal “Kilroy was here” written on the wall in a world ruled by analphabetism. Why do we wanna leave graffiti in a reality that we are alienated from, that we stopped caring about? Where does this self-destruction come from: We ruin the world for the benefit of our children? We ruin it for a better tomorrow? The “Justice League” fights in the DC Universe, not Marvel’s, not ours.
Stop! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not spitting on the rest of you from a higher moral stance. I’m horrid by myself. I cheer for the girl with her “Skolstrejk for klimatet” poster and at the same time wonder why my Prime parcel takes a day longer than usual to arrive. I watched documentaries about children starving to death in front of the camera lens and went on making dinner when the end title started scrolling. It’s all a rhetorical question you might say. You’re surely right. But I’m in a desperate need for a rhetorical answer – which is not illogical.
Desperate. I feel desperate. I won’t ever master this language. Mother tongue: “The first language that you learn when you are a baby, rather than a language learned at school” says the Cambridge English Dictionary. No grammar involved and despite all this it always seems to me that I just dispose of a restricted vocabulary. According to a study, a native speaker of German has an average absolute dictionary of 73,000 lemmas (Wiki says “a lemma is the dictionary form, or citation form of a set of words”) - clearly not enough to express what I wanna say. Well, with my father tongue it’s even worse. As per Oxford Dictionary, there are 171,476 words in current use. Plenty fish in the sea - but I’m not a fisherman.
I read the first page of Theodor Fontane’s “Effi Briest“ time and again. I re-read the paragraph in „Die Aufzeichungen des Malte Laurids Brigge” by Rainer Maria Rilke where he describes the remnant wall of a demolished house. I read Stefan George and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Kafka causes me nightmares – in full daylight.
I gotta a try on almost everything: From a chiseled text, a South-Tyrolean journalist and former Member of the Parliament would surely define as “Treibhausdeutsch”, to short staccato sentences, ripped off of any adjectives; just down to the bare bones. It never fits. There’s rhythm, there are catchy creations, a pointy quote at the right time, but there is no satisfaction. (You’re damn right: Quoting Mick Jagger with his “I can’t get no satisfaction!” would have a certain effect here, but it leaves you with nothing than a bad taste in your mouth). It’s all hopeless. I seek advice.
It always makes me smile when I come across t-shirts with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s statement: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” Translated into different languages, asserting that learning a foreign language will widen your horizon. There is surely truth in it, but Wittgenstein was referring to your language, your mother tongue … say, in a semantic way.
Looks crystal clear to me. My limited language is the direct result of my narrow-minded world. And before I get down-beat by this equation I take another of Wittgenstein's quotes by heart: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”.
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