THREE NEW TEXTS: NOTES FROM THE HOLLOW/KREUZBERG (9 THROUGH 11)
Notes from the Hollow/Kreuzberg (9)… Love is blindness
There’s a woman in our neighborhood who goes walking every day with her, umm, dog. The woman prefers to sport a bald head and a rather gruff expression. The dog, for his part, seems to have a cheerful disposition and is bald in reverse: his body hairlessly nude, but on his head a Fraggle-feathered explosion. The dog fascinates me because, as a dog fanatic who suffers from allergies, I’ve regarded him from the beginning as a hairless pet who doesn’t look half bad. So I’m curious. One day I walk up to the gruff woman and declare her dog to be sweet. What kind of dog this would be? The woman barks, more loudly than the dog could have: “SWEET? THAT’S HARDLY THE POINT!!!” Errrr, apparently. I stammer something about “allergies, but… I love dogs…”, but the woman abruptly interrupts me: “IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHETHER YOU LOVE THE ANIMAL!!!” Yes. Umm. Yes, I will. I mean: yes, I would! The woman pulls her Rover, whose naked snout has turned pink with shame, toward herself on the leash, turns on her high heels and leaves me standing on the bank of the canal a bit like her sweetie, naked and fraggle-haired. I opted for the most plausible explanation–the woman had just heard, out of plain habit, what she must hear much more often when it comes to her dog. “Whooaah! What is that, now?”
Since then I’ve learned, anyway, that naked dogs can be worse than fully-clothed ones for allergy sufferers, because we’re reacting to the dander and not the fur. And so a furry coat, when it’s there, at least stops the occasional flake from escaping. Phew. But no Fraggle for me.
Notes from the Hollow/Kreuzberg (10)… From Level to Level
Pola has discovered speech-recognition on his new mobile phone and has just sent me this text message from his bicycle: “I’m coming home now with Mimi and Marteria.” “Mimi,” as in “our little daughter.” Marteria, as in “the Rapper from Berlin.” All right. Okay. I can figure it out. Surely the two of them are home now, bounding from Level to Level to Level. Hmmmm. Mimi would do just that, and so would her little friend Matea. But I choose the notion that seems more pleasant to me–and silently bow to the image of the Swedish woman who lives in Pola’s phone. And perhaps this marvelous, murmuring Siri is also the one Marteria salutes in song as the Endboss. That would explain why she knows the score on so much, but is so inflexible. Gotta ask Madeira, next time I meet him. Madeira? Madeira is the pet name that my computer’s autocorrect-thingy has dreamed up for Marteria. The wonders of technology.
Notes from the Hollow/Kreuzberg (11)… Bless you, Huhn
Blethhuhn!!! cries my daughter, pointing excitedly to the little black bird-bottom peeking up from the brackish water of the Landwehrkanal. It may sound like the way a coughing American would wish “Gesundheit” to a sneezing American, but in fact it’s an accurate description. Yes, that is a coot (Blesshuhn), my child, and you have recognized it from behind. That is just lovely. Especially since yet another person was just telling me he wants to move to the country so his kids can grow up surrounded by nature. As I have mentioned elsewhere: My children live near the bank of the canal in Kreuzberg and can identify at least twenty species of birds. Including herons, gray geese and, yes, Blethhühner. And last winter I counted 40 scowling swans, skittering in consternation on the frozen surface of the canal. The only thing missing, if my little daughter had her way: penguins. And now you come along.