Monday, January 20, 2014

Not 100 things

Apparently, a few years back when I was living in Germany I decided to write an update to 100 things, although I don't have the slightest recollection of it. Xtin-can't-remember is like some kind of theme around here. 

Peering at the contextual clues I must have written this late in the summer of 2010. There are a few stories. Suffice to say it was not a time of rainbow unicorns. A lot of what happened back then is boxed up in my head in a way that makes it very hard to get out again. I don't even know where all the photographs have gone. After ransacking my laptop for half an hour I found this one for you of my red Berlin kitchen. I loved that kitchen. It might have saved my life, or some other slightly less hyperbolic thing. (Fuck you, nature cure). Where are all the other pictures? I know I took them. And didn't I have some notebooks, too? With my spidery pencil-scrawl inside, which might remind me what the really-not-rainbow-unicorn times were like?

The head-boxes are like the goddamn Stasi and I am like those people in Zindorf who sit in rooms all day painstakingly reassembling shredded Stasi files from the big black garbage bags that the Stasi put them in after they ran out of time to incinerate everything. 

No, really. People are actually doing that. Fifteen thousand sacks of shredded files and torn photographs and unwound tape. Australian journalist Anna Funder writes about it in her eye-bleedingly brilliant Stasiland. A man called Herr Raillard runs a group of 18 women and 13 men called the Stasi File Authority. Herr Raillard showed Funder around the facility. As she left he passed her a copy of a memo that he wrote estimating that at their current rates, reconstructing all the material recovered from Normannenstrasse in January 1990 would take forty workers three hundred and seventy-five years. 

Three hundred and seventy-five years. 

He is telling me, in his quiet way, that ... [w]hat he is running here is an almost entirely symbolic act.

I only made it to number 40.

100 more things

1. I am profoundly hearthbound.
2. I have lived in three countries.
3. This is kind of a mystery.
4. I still talk very fast.
5. But not very much.
6. Because now I live somewhere I don't speak the language.
6. This is even more of a mystery.
7. My heart did break when I left England.
8. And then again.
9. It's OK.
10. Predictably.
11. I have a red kitchen.
12. I've lived out of a suitcase for almost a year.
13.  I'm writing more than I thought I would.
14. I'm not writing about the things I thought I would.
15. I'm scared to say 'I'm writing'.
16. I miss my KitchenAid stand mixer.
17. I have six bank accounts.
18. I'm annoyed to have discovered that partnership is important to me.
19. I really love TV.
20. In lots of complex and culturally informed ways.
20. And also in an embarrassingly unreconstructed way.
20. Telly theme tunes remind me of the passing of time.
21. I have no idea what that's about.
22. I miss the smart people.
23. But not the metric assloads of insecurity.
24. Especially mine.
25. Didn't quite leave that behind.
26. My passport is battered and full of visas and history.
27. It is epically cool, is what I am saying.
28. Cooler than yours.
28. In Germany I have discovered a new fondness for all things pumpkin.
29. I broke my nose walking into a glass door.
31. Germans recycle everything.
33. How good is that?
34. I have a PhD.
35. This is very much more surprising that you'd think.
36.  I get a disproportionate amount of satisfaction from generating very strong passwords.
37. I like Scrabble.
39. Which is the world's least distinguishing characteristic.
40. Oh well.

tl;dr Go get a copy of Stasiland. Because really.

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