The house is made from glass, steel and wood alone. Massive looks the house, even if B. calls it exclusive. Obviously exclusiveness now is the term to describe young and aspiring architects who better should planning steel factories or car retail centers but not houses. But this would be too harsh, especially when B. praises this genius of an architect who did such an unbelievable great work. And inside things don’t get better, all is made of steel, glass and wood, white are the leather couches who look like small space shuttles, the table is made of massive glass and the white leather chairs look as uncomfortable as they are, when you sit on them for longer than two minutes. Gorgeous, praises B. the interior, shows me the electric curtains that can be moved up and down, the electric system to regulate the light, the electric heating system and the electric thing you can open the garage doors with, when you sit on the space shuttle couch, on the couch table lay the obvious coffee table books but the room is dominated by a huge flat screen and thousand similar electric devices who are perfectly framed in by steel, glass and wood. K. his girlfriend, I never met before in person, greets me with a duster in her hand and says she truly is a manic cleaner. Oh, say I and congratulate her to the house, because with all this glass and white leather she must have found her paradise than. Obviously persons who always have a duster in the pocket don’t have any sense for irony but just carry on with a „swiff here“ and a „swaff there“. K.’s son whom I never met in person either, has some old-fashioned name, says not a word and soon he is deep sunk in the world of some video game he plays on the massive screen in the living room. But neither K. nor B. call him with his given name, he is just Junior. Somewhere in here should live a white dog but I can’t spot him, maybe he lives a life of chameleon on the white sofa. We eat Sushi brought by a delivery service, served on white plates, the leftovers K. just throws into a metal bin that makes awkward noises, but I don’t feel in the mood to get a lecture on electric bins and don’t ask. Junior asks for ice-cream and soon two scoops of vanilla ice- cream swim in his coke glass and he disappears to the screen and the only noise we hear from his direction is a sudden: „Booom“ or „shrriiiiek“. Soon we get up, and B. and me go outside. B. smokes a cigarette on the balcony and I join him, leaning over the balustrade, looking into the garden, the garden too, made of white stones, a pond with some Japanese fish and dead green bushes, invisible in the night. „Are you happy here?“ I ask B. and for some moment his smile freezes, not long maybe for half a minute. „It’s splendid here“, he says, „you know many people dream of a place like this.“ I see, answer I and don’t ask him if people live in such places like his.
I dreamt of sand last night. First I was standing on the top of a dune, sand everywhere around me and sand I breathed and sand I ate, someone passed a glass over to me, it was filled with fine, nearly white sand, I drank it hastily and accepted firmly the sand offered to me on a plate and searched long for fork and knife in my bag. The sand soon began to rise, to twist and to twirl, around I lost sight of my glass and my plate, the sand became more and more grained, harder and of a darker color, it cut my fingers as sharp paper does sometimes and I looked for a handkerchief to stop the bleeding,but there was no handkerchief in my pocket just more and more sand followed, not being directed by a clear source but growing and growing, transforming the world into a land of sand, a sea of yellow-brown colors, of heat and dust, rinsing like water but more heavily, massively, overwhelming everything, till the world lost its shapes and soon I released that I would be buried soon enough under this sand rushing towards me neither fast nor slow but with intense certainty, assuring me that there exits no ground beneath quicksand.
Maybe I could grab some more apples I thought today when walking back from the station through the village, straightaway to the grocer store. But to my great surprise the door was closed and not even when I knocked three times, the grocer’s wife came as she usual does when working in the back. It was only then when I noticed that a sign stuck inside of the window glass. The sign informed the „Dear customer’s“ of a two-day closure of the shop due to the „National Ploughing Championships“ taking place in Co. Laois these days. And obviously somewhere among the grocer’s wife, cheering for some team of horses. And when I met the vet a few hundred meters further down the road and invited him to come over for dinner, he just shook his head, already on my way to the „National Ploughing Championships“ he said to me, leaning out of the window, just in case you don’t know it, they taking place in Co. Laois these days. Alright than, I said and waved him good-bye. Maybe now at the „National Ploughing Championships“ a long desired wish of the grocer’s wife could become maybe not true but a bit closer to fulfillment. The daughter of the grocer’s wife fell deeply in love with the vet, the vet not, but maybe now, over a glass of mulled wine or shandy, looking at the perfect hooves of some mare or the muscles of a stallion, maybe then not only the tongues nut the hearts will be opened. And indeed the village, where I live as little as it may be, is nearly emptied. The farmer’s gone, even the fishmongers has not opened and in the news they say that nearly 124.000 people came down today for the „National Ploughing Championships“ and this means that nearly half of Ireland must be somewhere in Co. Laois. So forget about Wimbledon let alone the Olympic Games, has ever been a Papal Nuncio out on running tracks? Certainly not. But at the „National Ploughing Championships“ he does and probably blesses some sheeps, too. Just in case. And more attractions are to be found there: a not without reason famous brand founded in Germany some 80 years ago, especially supporting local and organic agriculture as well as sustainability and fair treatment of its worker’s, is present with a Harvest Festival but who might sing the praise of the cheapest cucumber of all times I can’t say, we have to have wait till the grocer’s wife will be back, maybe she comes home sitting high upon not a horse back but a brand-new tractor, everything is possible not everywhere but at least at the „National Ploughing Champioships“ taking place somewhere in Co. Laios these days.
Today I searched for my keys, no, not once but twice, my glasses who tend to disappear to most awkward places, leaving me behind blind as a snake, books due to be returned, pairs of matching socks, but who doesn’t? I searched for a street and had to ask an unbelievable high number of people passing by till I finally arrived. I searched for security needles to fix colleague B.’s skirt, then searched for missing lines of a song learned many years ago ( no success so far ), then started to look for a pile of paper, which I swear had I laid upon the table yesterday before I left ( Paper thieves hide where at best ? ) I searched further for recipes with white cabbage, unfortunately a too common visitor in my weekly organic box ( no success ), searched for words, didn’t help much, remind myself to better stay silent, searched for a good excuse, didn’t find one and will have to join, but at least I tried. Searched for a Korean Restaurant in Dublin, will try soon, searched with D. under a table a missing earring, hit my head badly, earring was not to be found. At least he made his re-appearance later in the bathroom. I searched for cookies, good against headache aren’t they and liked them a lot. I looked for the sun, but the sun looked for someone else, the pretty man on the train I looked in the eyes ( green-brown ) didn’t notice mine ( very ordinary brown ), Queen Cat looks for another tin of that cat food with salmon in it and so at least someone searches for me.
PEEP-This is the mailbox of Read On. I am currently not at home but when you want to leave a message and a number I am happy to call you back. In the meantime: Read on. PEEP
This is only partly true, because I am indeed at home, taking a long and hot bath because if you dear reader could see me, you would start to shiver as I do. Because I am cold and this is an euphemism for how cold I really am. I am shivering as the proverbial tailor and feel like having survived a field trip to arctic regions, even if it was only Polo Crosse and Gaelic Football, where I strapped way to many fingers and knuckles and froze. And no telephone ringing as loud and as long as it would, could get my out of the tub right now. And so I hear after another PEEP dear friend K. saying: „Hi Read On, sorry for calling back so late but I would love to come to supper and J. wants to join too. By the way, she does PALEO now, hope that doesn’t bother you too much. See you at 7 PM! And when another PEEP is to be heard, I shiver but now not only because I am so cold. As glad as I am that K. will come, as less enthusiastic I am about him bringing J. I, by the way even on good days look like a sullen sister of Gundel Gaukeley whereas J. looks glamorous even when wearing a Onesie. J. would even look good dead. And J. has very special habits. She was vegan for some years, accusing me of cruelty while serving a very good roasted duck, then a period of gluten-free lifestyle followed and I remember the one and only cake I threw out, because I couldn’t cope with the recipe, of course she has a lactose allergy, a period of separating food in a scheme of colors followed, of course I failed here too and soon after she gave me a box of deep-sea fish oil capsules to get better in shape. I still try to convince Queen Cat to swallow them done. Of course I fail. And so I am only slightly surprised that obviously PALEO now is the newest hot thing in town. But my knowledge of the Stone Age is to put it frankly, pretty small. And with sheer horror I think of the creamy potato mash on the oven, because even I know that America appeared a few centuries later, let alone the strawberry cake in the fridge as well as the braised lambshank with rosmarine and green beans waiting to be heated within another pot the kitchen table. I have no idea what to serve to J. Should I ask the grocer’s wife for an alive chicken, to be placed in a basket on J. side of the table, the knife hidden in a tissue? Where to buy moose juice on a Sunday afternoon? Do I have to dig a hole in the garden, where under ash meat will be roasted slowly? And wouldn’t the neighbors not be slightly concerned? Should I just offer some apples that fell from the trees and is there a way to brew mead? In my imagination everyone in the Stone Age had a sip of this especially awful beverage. And when, oh when became food such a complicated thing? Wish me luck for tonight.
Nothing of interest I could tell you. Because even if you are a very patient reader, it would not desire you much to know that I twisted my knee badly in the morning when missing the last step while leaving the station. You would just yawn and be right. That I ate two carrots, a banana and two slices of apple for lunch would bore you as much as it did me. Probably, you work as much as I do and it wouldn’t be any news to you that the pile of my desk is higher than any existing mountain in Ireland. You would just nod and say, come on, Read On, do you really have to be that banal? It is not worth to tell anyone and why should you dear reader count less than anyone else that always in autumn I am getting sad, while seeing the leaves fall down, even if I like to shuffle through the leaves piled up high in the parks or on the streets. Damp is the air, smells of the coming darkness and wet and heavy is the soil. Even the words laid heavy in my mouth but you would agree that someone who has nothing left to say, better remains silent. No stories to tell and no wishes left, to look once again at the falling year, to think of the summer and to remember nothing of particular importance. To see someone tired in the mirror, who now holds a cup of tea in his hands, cold fingers, day after day. It could be someone else in the mirror but in the bathroom it was my alone. No way to escape, not even briefly. On the way back, later on the train, the ticket inspector, a young lad with a baby fat face vomited within the wagon, beyond a tissue I had nothing to offer. When I walked home from the station it started to rain.
Not even as a child I was good at sport. And not good at sport in this case means not good at any sport at all. I was a child that fell over his own feet and was expelled from the ballet class where I stumbled across the little and delicate elves I admired so much, even it was clear that I never ever would be one of them. When teams were put together I was the last one to be chosen and then I stopped going to school. The dear former companion F. was an athlete, playing soccer, running like a thunderbolt and starting every day with push-ups. I admired this from a safe distance and soon I learned that there are truly people, sitting on the couch, wearing their favorite team jumper and shouting enthusiastically at a TV screen. I watched from an even safer distance, because even the very dear F. would have been sad about me laughing out loud at such moments of emotional upheavals. And I learnt later on, whenF. already left and shouted „goal“ somewhere else, that those who sit on the couch know always best and I found this even more funny but remained the only one. Sport seems to be truly a serious business. I drag myself to two yoga classes twice a week, where my steady mantra is: Read On no one ever died from yoga and try not to think of my ballet class disaster, even if this is not easy at all, because grown-up ballet elves are all doing yoga. They look gorgeous after class, whereas I look like a heavy breathing walrus, trying to get back into water. In summer I swim, obviously water seems to be the most appropriate surrounding for a walrus with some human touch. And you would laugh how such an athletic catastrophe as me spends so many weekends on some sports fields as I do. But I do. Still most of the time I have no clue what it is all about. At least I learned that soccer needs eleven people in a team, but when asked how many play in a basketball team I could just shrug my shoulders helplessly, I have no idea what handball is about and can’t believe that there must exist somewhere outside people who know the difference between Rugby and American football. But anyway I classified sports after their most commonly occurring injuries. Boxing is the number one for nose-bleeds, whereas soccer is categorized under strains and sprains, hockey players ( whatever they play for ) are facing muscle cramps and whenever someone shouts „medic“ on a rugby pitch, I already break an ice-pack. Since I came to Ireland things got even more complicated. In Ireland they do sports, I never knew they were even existing. This weekend I found myself thrown into a Camogie game. You have to imagine two female teams, all of them helding a wooden bat, called hurley, looking like Getafix’s wooden soup ladle, but in opposite to him they don’t mix magic waters but chase a small ball up and down a field. This sounds harmless enough but it isn’t.If you hear the wooden bats smash at each other and see the tangled and twisted teams you don’t even dare to breathe. I am sure the Romans never invaded Ireland for one single reason, they saw a Camogie game and decided to better not get involved. So after a weekend of Camogie I still do not know how this games works, but this sort of sports has to be filed under: injuries of any kind. Probably the most dangerous game in the world. Better stay safe on the couch.
But early in the morning, again and maybe for the last time in this year to throw the towel into the bicycle basket and drive down the cobbled lane, turn left on the corner and through another more cobbled lane till arriving at the lake. Quiet is the lake in the morning and no one would believe that just a month earlier already around 7 AM and 7.30 AM all possible people packed bags and children and arrived cheering at the banks, rented rowing boats and rowed as if pirates were chasing them and in the evening the same or different groups of people, who knows for sure, drank as much they could and when I arrived early in the morning, the lake smelled quite alcoholic but this is already past. Now the ducks rule the lake, in big groups they swim and practice obviously for the annual duck water-ski olympic games, obviously shown on all duck TV channels between Berlin and Montreal. They look quite distressed when looking at me and realizing that I want to interrupt their practice, but then decide just to ignore me. Yellow and red are the leaves not only on the trees, but quite few of them fall into the water, swirling around. At the edges the water is still warm but the further I swim the colder the water gets, it looks deeper and darker than in the summer months. Still a few rowing boats are outside, next to the little hat next to the wooden plank, waiting for brave pirates to come, but most of the boats are already made winter proof. And I think of the Nöck, the true ruler of the water, who in the summer hides behind the waterlilies or in the reeds. But when the people leave and the autumns comes, the Nöck appears, already today he started to flex his muscles, and the waves went high and higher, even a few climbing plants tried to catch my toes but then the sun came out and the fog went away, the Nöck had to give up his plans, but soon I could hear him grumble, he will be back and maybe already in the afternoon he will try to knock down a rowing boat, because as a king and a ruler he has to prove year after year, when the summer is over that he is still in full power, his wife and even more his mother- in-law are very critical judges and for me, probably it is time to let the summer go and come again, next year early in the morning.
Have a good night say I. Than again, sleep well and for a third time, I hear me saying, take care. I stare down on my feet. I have to get out of bed early tomorrow morning he says more than an hour later, while we continue talking. I nod. Do you have a cigarette? a random passer-by asks, slightly drunk. He offers one. I look at his back of head, his ears, the shoulders broad and strong, his elbows and beyond us the river, black as the night, the streets and the night. Outside of a pub, a group of girls sings „Like a prayer“ loud and full of enthusiastic exuberance. We look at the stranger who disappears soon, only a weak shimmer of his cigarette remains for a few seconds longer visible. I have to go say I and get up, brushing the damp grass from my trousers and leave. Should I walk you home, he asks me and I deny. I am grown up, say I and want to smile but I can’t. When crossing the street and search for my keys I still can see him standing at the corner, looking for what?
The door is being locked behind me. Half an hour later, the telephone rings but I don’t pick up. I have no answers left, not even for D. who asks later how it went. The most banal one would be that two wrong’s don’t make a right one and D. looks at me with doubt. He doesn’t ask and I don’t tell him that sometimes the injuries are too deep to go away, even for one night.
Hot has the çay to be, never lukewarm nor slightly warmed up, steaming hot must be the çay, when it arrives at your table the glass must be steamed too. At its best, the çay is served in small thin walled blown glass with a tiny, golden ornament on its top. Black, with a golden shimmer must be the çay, a few but not many flakes of the tea must remain on the bottom of the glass, floating around while you held your glass of çay with your fingertips. Sugar is needed for the çay, not a tiny teaspoon, even if it speaks for the teahouse when your çay comes along with a small, silver spoon. But the sugar has to float into the çay, not in form of a few meagre crumbs but with a rush of this white gold. Sweet scents the çay who deserves his title but never mawkish, with your fingertips hold your glass and stir your çay slowly and with thought. Sugar pretzels filled with honey suit your çay well, oh, sip your çay slowly and stir again, the çay is no fast flowing-stream but a long stream of joy. Add more sugar or less, but milk does the çay no good. Taste the çay carefully, strong and intense but not overwhelming is the çay worth to be drunken. Never ask for the çay, because in the tea-house where you will sit, they will know that one glass can be nothing more than a beginning, because çay needs company, a chess game, a long story of a broken heart, a complex legacy claim all will find a better end with çay than without.