So, this week, was hat passiert?
Wildlife count: red squirrel – 1, stepped into my path from next door’s garden as I set out to walk down to Mehlen
Deer – 1, seen from across a field, springing away from a group of walkers.
Jays – plenty
Birds of prey (buzzards I think). Well they have been quieter this week. Usually I can hear them mewing (which is why I think they are buzzards) from my desk as I write but nothing this week though there was definitely one circling about the Deutsche Post tower in Bonn while I waited for my lesson.
I also discovered that the Bonn branch of Rewe has a recycling machine for plastic bottles so for 3 bottles I got 75 cents, issued as a barcode to be used at the till. I have yet to find out what to do with glass bottles – this marvellous machine doesn’t accept them – but I’m sure there is somewhere for these too. It makes me feel very nostalgic for the days when glass lemonade bottles could be returned to the pub (also shops?) in exchange for the returned deposit. That was always quite fun (I was 3 or 4).
I signed the training contract with this other company so those 8 days are going ahead. Fingers crossed that they are compressed into a week as the travel to Dortmund costs about 100 euros per week and at the moment the 8 days are staggered over two weeks. Still, it’s progress of a kind. The guy said there was some material to pick up, I went along thinking “OK, one or two books”. Er no, two BAGS of material. Awkward enough when I was already carrying lesson prep for that day’s lesson but, walking (slowly) away I realised that I am moving house on Sunday. To my “two suitcases and a novel” I must now add a further two bags. Well, that settles the matter: I won’t be walking from Mehlen to Konigswinter.
The novel is coming on. I got some very good (and very eloquent) feedback on “And I Shall Be Healed” from a friend which has rather encouraged me. I am also pleased that I have found a slightly cheaper print shop as, while I may wait until I have fetched my proper laptop from England when I go back in November to type up the changes, there will come a point when I need to print out a “clean” copy, just to be able to see what I’m doing, and I suspect that arriving home in December and promptly emptying my parents’ printer of ink will not result in the most – festive – of atmospheres and, the rate I’m going, the new version will be a serious incursion on my baggage allowance.
What I have to watch out for, is that the quality of the writing doesn’t suffer (quality not quantity). Especially when I write even when I’m not totally focused – or interrupted. At the moment it’s ok; there are many many levels of rewriting and checking to go through yet especially as I have a few characterisations to sort out and deepen but it’s something to be aware of.
Speaking of interruptions, in light of the disappearance of my original language exchange partner, I started to look out for a few more. I contacted one guy from the Bonn university tandem partner webpage and was contacted by another guy and a couple of girls. All well except that the guy I contacted phoned me and was totally unintelligible. When I explained (in German) that I couldn’t hear him he switched to English (because obviously that language is so much louder). It turned out that his phone wasn’t working. Now when a guy I like doesn’t reply to my messages, I mentally explore ALL possibilities including fire, theft, hostage-situations and a broken phone. However this guy has sent several texts over the last week actually updating me as to the health of his phone. He’s apparently keeping a bedside vigil because the texts arrive late (does he have nothing else to do?), he even tried to phone me at nearly midnight clearly critical – but at that point I turned off my own machine.
Yesterday I got another health report and a confession from the guy that he is nervous about our meeting as it was his first blind-date – albeit of a somewhat different character. Personally, I don’t view meetings for language exchange as dates. Of course there’s always the possibility that such meetings might lead elsewhere over time but it feels a bit weird to be offered the comparison by a man I haven’t met whose rate of text messaging has, in one week, exceeded the number of texts I receive from lifelong friends in a year. Unfortunately my phone had run out of credit so I couldn’t reply resulting in another message, at 11.30pm to the effect “Just send a sign if you’re not going to meet”. Hmm, not sure why he thought I’d break an arranged appointment. Should I have sent his phone flowers? (I suspect grapes wouldn’t agree with its circuits). However, language exchange should be an enjoyable thing, an opportunity to meet other people – potential friends. Instead I can feel this guy hanging around my neck like an albatross. I’m the highly-strung, insecure “artist”, I need calm and happy people, not a third-party self-esteem to prop up. He was getting on my nerves before, the comparison to a blind-date felt a bit weird but I thought – meet in public place, stay an hour, all well – but that final message has killed it for me. If he was 25 I might be somewhat more indulgent but this guy is 45. I don’t want the responsibility.
So I am going to finish my packing ahead of my move tomorrow, clean my room, go into town, top-up my phone – and cancel my meeting with this guy. He should probably spend whatever time remains with his phone.