NOTES FROM THE HOLLOW/KREUZBERG (1-3)
Notes from the Hollow/from Kreuzberg (1)…
Yesterday, the crazy old fogey from the house next door inveighed against us for the children’s playhouse in the yard–she wrote the property managers to say that it was interfering with the sewer outlet. Which is funny, because the playhouse sits in the middle of the lawn and takes up only one square meter of space, and I pretty much know how sewer systems work–namely, not over green grass. Hmm. Perhaps she has problems with the junkies who make out in there at night. But they’ve been cleaning up after themselves ever since we wrote “Children’s House” on it. I don’t know.
Has it ever occurred to anyone that Kreuzberg is home to an unusually high number of women from their mid-50s to their mid-60s (ballpark figure) who are crazy? Theories on that would be gladly accepted. We’ve already got plenty that involve LSD or loneliness.
Exhibit A: The old 68er, who babbles things like, “Back where you came from…” while pushing our blue-haired Latina au-pair off of her bike as she passes by on the sidewalk.
Exhibit B: The neighbor who throws eggs out her window at the architects living in the carriage house as they pass between the garden gate and their door, and then reports them in court for “trespassing / disregard of the right of way.” And who was just there already, single-handedly forcing the nice new cafe to close. Or was that maybe the woman on the floor above her?
Exhibit C: The neighbor lady from the side wing, who once made off with our Bobby-Cars even though we were playing in the yard in (mutual) plain sight–and she gave them back three days and a few random encounters later, with a hurried look–with the explanation, “You were nowhere to be seen and I wanted to secure them, you never know what kind of boys ramble through here.” Hey, wait! This one doesn’t count, it’s the same one who’s trying to foreclose on our playhouse.
Exhibit 4 is the only one of our crazies whom I like. Day after day she patrols in front of our house, with long, stringy hair and clothing that’s inappropriate for the season. On good days she smiles toothlessly and schmoozes with us and the children, on middling days she cautions us about glass on the street and teens who wanted to beat her. On bad days she doesn’t recognize us.
Notes from the Hollow/Kreuzberg (2)…
In an unrelated context, a mixed-gender community of interest and work (a camera crew) descends on our new little studio. He says: “Awesome, what a studio, I’d dream of such a place…” She says: “Yeah, that’s a man’s dream, isn’t it? For me, it would be a room full of shoes!” Oh dear. Now I know who all these people are, chuckling at themselves in the audience as Mario Barth does another gender-driven stand-up concert. Concert? Oh, fuck it. In any case those women, who then think, “Yeah, that’s right, I can’t park at all, either, hehehe…” and trade pokes with their partner, in blessed agreement about the differences that they can’t overcome. So, in blessed agreement over the differences we can’t overcome: Alice (Schwarzer, German feminist), please stop by and bop the lady over the head with a shoe. Manolo Blahhhhhnik, if it fits.
Notes from the Hollow/Kreuzberg (3)…
Kids love a swinging mom
I stand rooted to the playground, freezing and grumpy, and push my daughter as she swings back and forth. She struggles mightily with her little legs, grimly determined to push herself without being held, and gives me meticulously detailed commands, all variations on the theme “harder… harder” and “…lone, …looonne!,” a safety-defying combination that quite possibly could land her face-up on the gravel and ultimately in the hospital. In my head, a quote from Tom Hodgkinson’s book “Idle Parenting” plays in a loop: “…and by all means avoid the mind-numbing dreadfulness of pushing a swing on a playground.” I don’t remember whether the quote was exactly like that, but I know that “mind-numbing” … “dreadfulness” … “pushing a swing” and “playground” appeared close together in both proximity and context. I remember word-for-word, however, this choice quote: “Kids love a tipsy mom.” If I drank alcohol, I would grant the kid’s wish completely, let go of the swing and the hood, and sigh contentedly as I tugged my flask from my breast pocket. That also makes for warm feet.