Thursday, March 03, 2005


May 27, 2002


[12:31 am]
last night here in Cologne, or Köln. Feeling a little better and haven’t had to use the restroom since this afternoon. But my head hurts and I didn’t eat as much at dinner as I could have.

After we left Thielen this everning we walked through the station, where Em got some Marlboro Lights & a lighter. She was going to get some West cigs, a brand that seems to be popular here, but they didn’t have any West Lights, so she got the Marbs.

Walking through the station is standard for our walk to the lively part of the town. It’s usually pretty active there and there are lots of shops and places to eat. Em stopped at an ATM because the only Euros she had were a 50€ and some coins but the ATM was only letting her withdraw an amount divisible by 50 and she withdrew 50 and got it all in a €50 note. She saw a girl w/ brown Pumas on and said she liked them.

We ate at Campi im Funkhaus. Outside the menu includes several pasta dishes but inside we got a different menu, with zero pasta choices, so I decided to order fish. There were also two pasta specials, a canneloni & a lasagne w/ meat; I should have ordered one of those but ordered my fish entrée instead. Yet, when I ordered the menu fish, goldstatte or something, he recommended some other fish, zielof or something, so I said what the hell and got that. He was an excellent waiter, maybe Italian Em thought, and with his English he helped us with our German—

I want to say real quick that between the station and Campi we stopped at an Inter Net Café, the one Emily went to last night. We [12:43 am] went up to the second floor to use computers ochs (8) and zien (10). I checked my Artsci account first and had a message from Brook. She said she’s taking care of my plants and the she misses me like the devil. This week she has an interview with a design firm, potentially for a part-time job next semester. I also checked out fantasy and mailed Ray. I mailed Brook of course. And I checked the BBC, as well as my two hotmail accounts. Need to e-mail Nick.

So back at the restaurant we order some chardonnay and some still water. I get a salad, the dressing on which I didn’t care for but Em liked—it was just “a very basic oil.” It tasted nutty & buttery to me and it wasn’t quite what my stomach was after. Em helped me out on it. We got bread & butter. The chardonnay was very passable, a solid 6.5. To order our entrees we said, “Ich hette gairn,” and this worked. But when I was presented w/ the fish order alternative I said “wievel” and this didn’t work. Em explained that what I said was “How much,” not referring specifically to the price, but to size, portion, etc.

The fish came out, I think it was a trout, as a big honking complete unscaled fish w/ head & tail. It was split in the belly and this was where I went in. The fish was good but I didn’t eat but 60% of it. Also I got eggplant which Em said was the best eggplant she’d ever had but which I wasn’t crazy about. It was oily and heavy and too much for me. We got another flascher of wasser. When we were done the waiter asked me, “You did not like it?” And I said Yes but, oh I said, “Es var gut but ich bin voll,” which was, “I liked it but I’m full.” Well, not exactly does it mean that and the waiter helped me out with the expression: I would say, “Ich bin tsat,” “Ich been zat.” He pronounced his “Ich” not like “Ik” but like “Isch,” or “Eisch.” He was very nice. Em ordered zvie cappuccino.
[12:57 am]

Over the coffee I started talking about U.S. policy & the video I had seen at the Art Museum Ludwig….

…Ludwig. Great museum. Lots of work, many kinds. Started out on pop art but went to top floor and there were some TV’s w/ VCR’s & headphones up there, in an orange room w/ pillows to sit on. I picked up the one about CIA smuggling drugs & uzis into South Central LA. This was a story I had heard before, and there’s an article about it in The San Jose Mercury News from ’96 or so by some guy who got blacklisted after he wrote it. This could have been him talking for all I know, there wasn’t any tag saying what the video was. Anyway, he was talking about the CIA & drug smuggling, the Iran Contras, Oliver North, & it was really fucking interesting but then Emily comes over & she’s like let me listen and I’m like I’m in the middle of something leave me the fuck alone. So she got mad & left & it really fucking pissed me off because here was something of utmost interest to me and I asn’t going to get to listen because who the fuck knows where Em went & fuck fuck fuck. I just want to be able to see what I want to see & not have to g-d follow her schedule. It was also about smuggling heroin back from Vietnam in the gutted body cavities of dead soldiers w/ red toe tags and CIA and military and gassing in Iraq and Bush & it’s the same people from Vietnam, just older, and some bank account called “belly button.” It was g-d interesting & I’d-a sat there & watched the whole fuckin thing if I could’ve. So, fuck…. [1:07 am]

So I was talkin about all this shit, masonry, the masonry symbol I saw on the cover of a catalogue of Ludwig advertising the new show coming up which “promises” to be “political.” Have brochure and must check out on the web. {FYI: It was Matthew Barney's "Cremaster Cycle." -ed.} Thought maybe I saw masonry symbol—compass—on floor of the Dom cathedral, the big ass main draw church in Köln.

Em thinks I’m a bit schizo talking about conspiracy & Carlyle & she started to hurt my feelings a bit saying I’m ‘strange’ and ‘weird.’ I don’t want to have to be labelled weird just because I’m intrasted in this stuff.

(In the Internet café the keyboards were different w/ positions of “y” and “z” switched and many of the shift functions moved around.)

I got two Post-It’s today and Em found one of them, stopping to check it out & stooping to pick it up. This made me feel really good & not so strange.

I guy got into trouble by a red-and-black-cloaked priest for eating popcorn in the Dom. He looked chastised: sheepish. [1:14 am]

My head & neck hurt. When Em went to the bathroom at dinner after cappuccino I settled the bill, something that Emily didn’t believe when I told her—I had to show her the receipt. She said she was proud of me. And the whole exchange went rather well. I got his attention and said, “Die rechnün, bittê.” He said, “Die rechnün,” and came back w/the bill. It was € 44.50 and I gave him a € 50, getting two back which is a tip of € 3.50—could have done more, should have gotten 1.50 € back maybe, but it was OK. He asked me if we were from America & I said, “Ja.” He wondered if we lived here now, or if we were working & I said no, just travelling. Said we were trying to use language some and he acknowledged it & said it was difficult. But I was happy. Em came out & we left.

Walked to the “progressive” jazz bar but it was quiet so we went to “traditional” jazz bar and lingered outside for a bit until some younger-looking people came out & we heard music.

(The shoppes were closed today on account of its being Sunday. Why I said? Emily said, “it’s still the Christian infuence tradition," and I said yeah but I thought that was over. She said, you know the chicken place, Chick-Fil-A in food courts, & I said yeah. They’re closed on Sundays she said because their owner is some kind of fundamentalist.)

We went in & it was a small place w/ peanut shells & Sion Kölsh coasters on the floor. Jazz band was playing on a small little landing: sax/clarinet, trombone, piano, drums, & cowbell. Sax/clarinet guy was proficient with both. Em ordered us two beers, 3.60€ each, rounded pay eight. Group in corner playing some game. Couple reserved. Two African women. Two Middle-Eastern men. Me & Em Americans. One lonely looking guy in right corner. Three 20-ish girls working bar. One woman in red dancing; at her table were two guys who wouldn’t dance. Three well-to-do middle-aged guys getting along fine at bar. A crazy man we later saw partaking in some public urination (second such incident of the night) came in looking for food or money I guess. One of the m-a wtd guys offered him a white translucent plastic bag with what could have been a pie or just a round tinfoil leftovers container in it. At first the crazy man didn’t take the food but then he went out, came back in, took it, & left again.

(Today a Middle Eastern woman dressed rather nicely—leather brand-name purse, black leather jacket came by as Em & I sat & ate our ciabattas for lunch; she was holding her daughter’s hand, pointing to her, then holding her hand out, palm up, asking us for money. Em gave her some coins. “Nein,” I said. Are you kidding me? Woman looks like she just came out of a hotel. She did not look hard up. Not near as hard up as man who sat in front of nearby unopen-on-Sunday store playing his organ, beginning w/ a Dracula number making me & Em laugh. Man was still there when Em & I went out for dinner eight hours later, playing a happier tune this time around. The woman, whom Em said was a gypsy—“that’s what they do”—she said—“you gotta be careful because what they do is work in groups, like I wasn’t watching my purse, one of them will come up to you & distract you & another will take your bag. Good advice, I said; I wasn’t watching my bag either. Lunch was good, ciabatta mit putenfleisch, 3.00€. Evian for me—get some less expensive water next time, says EM—and Coke for Em. Drink some of this she says, you need sugar for energy. Sugar is not energy, I say. Yes it is, she says, carbohydrates. Sugar is not carbohydrates, I get carbohydrates from bread. Yes but not that many. Em took care of the bill at lunch & that waiter spoke English, too. )

We went into that jazz bar about 11:20, “Let’s just go in,” says Em—positive source of motivation for us. And es var gut. But band ended about 11:45 pm and we finished our beers, me not completely cause I’m still achy.

(God, I really hope I feel better. There was a room in the Dom open “For Prayer Only,” and neither Emily nor I went inside. Guess I could have but all I could think about was God, make me feel better, which I deemed not worthy of private room prayer. Tours (guided) of the Dom were cancelled today. Beautiful stained glass windows in there. Or I thought, “God, give me strength to make sense of all this masonry bullshit even if it kills me, in your name this house was built in theirs. Amen.” I said that in the Cathedral, and maybe it will get heard.)
[1:46 am]

Em had to change so I came out and I’m sitting in a little chair next to the bathroom on the landing of our floor. The bathroom stunk like pee when I first sat down but now I don’t smell anything. Em is most likely asleep by now. It’s very quiet. Some men on lower floor were maybe having beer & playing cards during most of this but I think they’ve too gotten ready to sleep.

(I don’t want to have any more dreams like I’ve been having. I might feel better if I throw up which I was prepared to do and almost did this afternoon in the bathroom. Told Em about my dreams at dinner and she had fun attempting to analyze them. The one about driving in a car w/ Jack. Who’s Jack? An old roommate. When did you room with a guy named Jack? I don’t know, one apt. ago. I thought Jack was your alter-ego. Emily, no. Was he driving? Yes. What three adjectives would you use to describe him. I don’t know. Well, what can you say about him? He didn’t clean up very much. So, messy? No, I wouldn’t say that. Irresponsible? No, not irresponsible; he’s got a good job now in Boston with some technology thing, he was an engineering student. Inconsiderate? No, I wouldn’t say that. Well, ok, so what was the dream? Jack & I were driving and some guy jumped in the back of the car. What kind of guy? He was large, Samoan, Hawaiian.

(Big time déjà vu. )

Like the guy in Pulp Fiction? No, you never see that guy. Yeah, you do, a little bit. Emily, you don’t, Tony Rockahara. Anyway. So I grabbed his cigar and stuck it in his eye, like in Waking Life.—Jah-nuh-thin, you never shoulda seen that movie…

It’s late and I’m tired. [1:56 am] Going to bed. Alarm set for 8. Packing in the morning. To Heidelberg where finally I can visit a library/university.

(I think I’m deyhdrated & water is hard to come by here. I used the last bit of club-soda-tasting sparkling water to swallow my vitamin pill which had been in my 5th pocket all day with small denomination euro coins and it tasted like tin & lint—flint.)

Em appears to have chewed on the cap of this pen cause I know I didn’t do it.
[2:00 am]

[10:35 am]


Back on the train, baybe. This one moving fast & bouncing. Blue skies out. Some clouds. I ordered coffee. Ein kaffee, bittë. Attractive woman came around & checked our tickets. Man w/o shirt near VW bus writing something for railroad company. Orange vest nearby; ancillary track. Fields of farming. Moving slower now. Gardens. Greenhouse. Sprinklers. Every possible façade near a railroad has been tagged. Em eating paprika pringles. Me with WSJ Europe. Rheingas. [11:00 am]

A river, bluffs. Houses on the bluffs. Read some of the WSJE. Article on Carlyle offering to London-based equity group, Coutts. Schauff. Ein netter zug. Some forests on hills but not the Black Forest. The kinds of trees I’d expect from the Black Forest, though—pointed dark green pines. Covered hills that look like one big spansive tree. Maybe the Black Forest. A church & steeple. Black slate mountain sides. People speaking German up front & behind me. The river again, on the left of the train. Open, soft green fur-like fields on the left. Slowing…. Fields on slanted hillsides. Pines whose branches droop with needles like a red-garmented priest’s sleeves droop when he opens wide his arms in prayer. People out on paths walking with dogs.

Frank. RWE. A bison, bisotherm. Elektro-union. Adamdunkel. Piles of sand. Real. Bahr. [11:16 am] [11:20 am] Abfahrt, Mainz-Mannheim, Ausage Beachten, Heidelberg. Koblenz Hbf, Friseur, seeing some satellite dishes, across a river. Ausgang.

A guy opens a vending machine & gives someone a candy bar; must have been stuck; consumer looks genuinely happy. There was a castle but now it’s obscured.

(The Dom survived WWII bombing virtually unharmed. Köln got it, though.)

Em after we both napped yesterday: “We can’t be taking long naps, like this anymore.” I was feeling very tired. Been here at Koblenz Hbf for about 5 mins. Fünf. Leaving now. [11:26 am] Chairs like half-open wicker baskets but blue metal. Attractive attendant comes by at every stop. Look ahead, at the clearing, I think I see someone wanting to get on there!!

More green-covered rock mountains. A Heineken sign. Over a river. A pleasure boat. Rocks lining the shore. Over it. Street-level now. Me in a single seat. Em across aisle in a double seat. Opening some hideous wrapper & throwing it away. Power bar, I think. A castle yellow halfway-up green mountainside. Never seen anything like that before. Beta Union. Avis. Zschimmer & Schwarz. Stück gut. Hideous f-in wrapper. Opel. Nicolai. Hideous wrapper. Look over at Em & laugh good-natured laugh. Are you putting down that I’m eating a lot? That’s not what I’m putting down. Then what are you putting down? All observations. Now river is on my right. A barge.

Dinkholder. (Sign on dock.) Hills slanting up at ~55º angle, and still, fields on them rows of cultivation. Definitely satellite dishes. Not lots of fields on tree-cleared hillsides. Strips of growing green on brown. Em opens a sparkling water. That’s all that we could find at the drugstore at Köln Hbf.

(What is haup? Capital, central, main, station.)

Joline barge. [11:42 am] No time zone change. Our big bags in sturdy racks above. Emily is clipping her nails again. Houses in big cluster on river. A levee. Hirzenach. A Shell station. People leaning out their windows. I think it’s the Rhein we’ve been on. A peninsula jutting way out that people are walking on. Into a dark tunnel. Out of it. Engulfed by tall skinny trees. Skies are not blue anymore but filled with clouds, some dark clouds. Zig-zagging hill paths step through hill-side fields. A helicopter spraying something on crops. Into tunnel again. Out. A small yellow-bodied boat. Bingen D.S.A. A church. A castle atop a hill. Most of the bricks old & grey. Some new & terra cotta brick red. Cute girl in tanktop enters door of house below. White tanktop. Black athletic pants w/ blue stripe. Water levels maybe higher than normal cause I see trunklees tree archipelagos. A long boat with French flag. I smell cigarette ashtray butts old & stale nasty. Ehrenfels. A helicopter higher up. Hotel Rheingold. Barge w/ Mazdas on it. Ruined castle. [11:58 am]

Another castle built up onto the hill—that’s what houses looked like back then. With flag flying. Heidelberg is said to have big castle. A gull. Orange buoys in river lowspots warning. Pair of kayakers, many more kayakers now. More. In boats blue, green, yellow. A gull. A crow. A castle.

Em: “John, wine.” Rows of grapes, a vineyard at a slant on a hillside. German wine…. 531. Along riverside, some kind of marker. [12:03 pm] Rows & rows of grapes up & to the left, which I can’t really see. Someone leaning out of blue minivan on road below & to my left, leaning out of backseat window to photograph them. Rüdesheim. Rheingauer. Bingen-Rüdesheimer. Willkommen, welcome. Hierophany cover: airplane toting headline banner, or castle flag saying it, “Hierophany.” Rheinstrasse. All of these beautiful quaint stucco houses with their white round blaring satellite dishes. Vineyards aglore. Weingut.

A white patch-winged magpie. Abfall ist under fall. Plenty of tagging still. Willi gleck. Armbruster. Volksbank. A guy went up & got a sandwich & a coke. Weisbaden-Schierstein. Ferchau. Getting a little sluggish. Train is slowing. Woman leaning out of window having a cig. Auto-geng. Wiesbaden ost. Close my eyes….

[12:28 pm]

[12:59 pm]

Em says we’re running late a little bit. Hombach. Tall signs for McD’s & BK. Ate some of the paprika pringles. Giving them to me Em says Once you pop you can’t stop. I stopped after too long. Drinking the mineral water & getting used to it. Haven’t seen any castles lately. R. Keskin. Abbott. Manheim Hbf. Em: It should be just about 10 minutes.

[7:13 pm]


In Heidelberg. Did the Schloß this afternoon. Rented two beds in the supposedly only youth hostel a ways out of what Em and I regard as the older, neater part of town. So the long & short of it is that we had planned on maybe two nights here but now we’re going to do just the one and move on to Munich one day early. The hostel was further out than we might have thought—a 30-minute walk from the station, maybe a 45-minute walk from where we are now, on Haupstraße, not far at all from die Universität Heidelberg.

(We stopped in there briefly: one excursion into the copy center when I was looking for a change machine—we need coins for the bus back, & for our lockers at the hostel: it’s a buck each time to lock your stuff in them & get the key so that you can take it back out—; and the other we went into what looked like the library building. I saw computers; Emily stayed back and I asked her if she was going to get on a computer—I was trying to load (first I typed but it wasn’t loading and Em said, “I’m just waiting for you to get kicked out.” No change machine around; the search for the wasserrette goes on.)

So the hostel is holding onto my passport at their desk. On the bus there from the train station we met Mitzy (it wasn’t until we met her again on the bus to the Schloss Heidelberg that Em learned her name). 1.80€ to do a one-way bus ride. Much cheaper if you get a bulk bargain-rate card. [7:41 pm] We went to the reiseburo after we got off the train and asked how much a double room would cost. The woman working there who was not friendly at all said it would be 70€, which seemed a little high considering that it was 42€/night for the both of us in Cologne. So: what-evah. We got on bus 33 to the youth hostel.

Didn’t know how much bus cost till we got on & had to endure the driver’s wrath. Gave him two 2€ coins and wasn’t getting change back right away so I turned & started walking back. The bus began to move & my balance was being tested and I heard him say, “Hallo?” So I turned & went back and grabbed the .40€ he was pointing to in the return slot of the little Euro change pay machine he was working.

So we drove over the Neckar River and past the Kinder-Clinic, which I thought maybe could have been the youth hostel but thankfully didn’t express such a thought. Past the zoo & got let off. Followed some people with backpacks a little ways in the wrong direction but then Mitzy—“Are you all goin’ to the youth hostel?” “Yeah.” “Ok, do you know what stop to get off at?” Em knew—saw a sign & said, “I think it’s back that way.” And it was. She had a southern, maybe Texan accent…

(Where was Mitzy from? Tennessee. Tennessee.)

…and she asked us where we had come from. Said Köln. From there Amsterdam. How long are you travelling for? Just two weeks. How about you? I’ve been in England for this past semester and something or other going to New York for a month after this and then Sweden for 10 days. Said she had taken a boat up the Rhein from Kolberg; a six hour ride but very beautiful. So we walked up to the hostel & saw plenty of youth. Were able to converse in English with the people working there and paid 39 for the both of us for a night. That included sheets and breakfast the next morning. Also included youth hostel membership cards (3€/per). (Don’t forget about your passport. Oh yeah, I’m gonna forget it.)

Room 59. Interesting key entry where you hold card in front of sensor light on doorknob & it lets you in. Six bunks. We were the first two people in there and who knows if all six beds will be full when we get back. We left there via bus (ran for it toward the stop a bit) at about 2:00 p.m. I put my sheets on the bed before we left, as did Em. Sheets we got were a fitted sheet, a pillowcase, & what I thought was a regular blanket. On each bunk was what I thought was one mattress pad & one pillow. We took the bunks in the corner because these might have been the quietest. I put my fitted sheet over the “mattress pad” and then it took two tries to get my pillowcase right. Pillowcase, opening.

Then took “regular sheet” and spread it out on top of fitted sheet but saw that sheet, like pillowcase, had a slit in it and that’s when I said, “shit,” and Emily said, “What?” I did this wrong. Well tell me how to do it so I don’t do it wrong, too. This thing is a comforter; this goes inside of that. Like a b—duvet.

(And I thought about that scene in Fight Club where Brad Pitt is like, what’s a duvet? I don’t know, it’s like a comforter. It’s a blanket. That’s all it is. It’s just a blanket.)

I went to the bathroom. Em had successfully put her pack away in the wardrobe. I hung up my blue hoody & put my one € in a couple of times before Em helped me out w/ it: have to put it in, close the door, & then turn in order to get it out. It had begun to rain & I wished I wouldn’t have locked my hoody in there. [8:20 p.m.] I hadn’t intended to go out minus it. We went out to counter and asked a guy worker how we should use the bus to get to the castle. What’s the stop we want to get off at?

(Em writing postcards. Did you tell Mom & Dad about the marijuana we smoked? No.!.are you kidding me?)

Caught the bus. On way to bus someone

(Café Journal is the perfect place to write in your journal. Are you gonna write down what I just said?… Maybe. Alright, I won’t put any pressure on you. I think she went on break.)

from second floor, a younger type, maybe 16, said, “Hallo!” I looked back & waved, “Hallo!” Then heard him say something like, “I come from America.” Don’t know how I feel about that. Thought on bus about how not to take something like that personally. I was sitting in a one-shot seat and Emily sat over by Mitzy. They started chatting it up and I started regretting having sat where I was sitting. There were others standing. Should I give up my seat. The bus was seriously crowded—not seriously, really. Some youths around, chatting happily. The people around me appeared to be rather garrulous & I thought about home & wondered if I was usually talkative like that w/ my friends & concluded that that probably wasn’t the case. Been too stoned a lot of the time. A very attractive dark-haired girl sat opposite Em…

[9:44 pm]


…and offered her seat to an elderly man when he got onto the bus. In the youth hostel now and it’s gotten rather boisterous in here as a group of teenagers passes through but they’re gone now. We got back to our room and met our two roommates for the night. Said “hallo” back & forth but then it was semi-awkward silence for about ten minutes while Emily & I got settled back in. Finally I decided I was going to take a walk around, find a place to write, maybe see about Internet, and as I sat & put on my shoes I said, “Sprechen zie Deutch.” And they said yah. And I said, “Sprechen zie English?” And they said “a little” and laughed real politely. They are from Stüttgart my sister found out; she is able to converse with them some but I didn’t follow much of their conversation at all. It was a short-lived convo. We said we were from America. They asked—actually, they are two girls, one was on top bunk, one on lower, both reading, very nice, quiet so far, and maybe 19 or 20—mature.—what state we were from and Em said near St. Louis, which I now realize didn’t really answer any question about state. Then Em said she lived near Washington, D.C. [9:56 pm]

That was about it. I helped Em with her duvet and we both exited the room to explore the hostel building. We said “tschus” as we left. They said the same. Em & I came down our hall, out into the open area, following the sign for Internet room only to come upon a pay Internet machine with “DEFEKT” on it. The kaffee machine is also defekt.

I am sitting at a table doing this. And Em has gone back to the room. Maybe she is conversing with the roomies. Phil Collins, no—Sting CD has been playing. Now a jazzed-up solo version of “Roxanne”: Rahhx-anne rah-cks-anne. You don’t have to put out the re-uhd light. Rah-x-anne. Etc Etc Etc. It’s not bad actually. There are three convos going on. One at table on my left is German. Color me clueless on what’s being said there. Table at 12 o’clock is I think two English-speaking girls talking to a guy who maybe is not native English-speaking but probably a German speaker fluent in English. The girl doing the talking is maybe from Chicago, or Ohio. She is talking about how she & a friend flew into Amsterdam but had some sort of fall-out, and have since split up. [10:01 pm] So it does happen I guess. I could see myself in the depths of a depression, doing what her friend has done: come to Europe, to Amsterdam, and clammed up, holed up in a budget hotel somewhere for some reason petrified and unmotivated to do anything and wishing you were back at home; wondering what the hell you were doing in Amsterdam & what the possibilities of catching an early flight back might be. What a relationship gagglefuck that would be—and thank God I’m not at that depth, through the embarassment at Sion Brewhaus, a.k.a. the “3 entrees, it’s spargelgeist, eat too much & feel like barfing meal” coupled with probably some bad tap water and thereby some sort of viral infection, culminating in some psych-o-somatic funk had me messed up for about 20 hours there.

It should be said that I’ve a swollen, tender, reddish lymph node an inch or so below the hairline of my left armpit. I noticed it last night & it’s a bit out of the ordinary for something like that to appear on my body. It seems unlikely that it’s unrelated to yesterday’s sickness. If lymph nodes are an aspect of the immune system then I figure I can take this as a sign that I really did have some kind of bug, whether viral or bacterial; whether induced, or welcomed, by a weakened immune system made weak by a) physical stress from travel, i.e. Jet Lag; b) psychological stress from travel, i.e. self-consciousness due to language issues; c) miscellaneous body shocks including a reduced intake of marijuana and/or alcohol, a drop in sexual activity, a.k.a. orgasm; d) change in diet; or, e) my lone gunmen outsider fun theory—water withdrawal.

I am usually a fuckin fish when it comes to water intake & on this trip, weened from my nalgene & now afraid to drink from the tap I’m left to have the occasional pittance of sparkling water, which I’m actually growing to have a taste for. See, my body has gotten used to getting a certain amount of H20 in a certain amt. of time. For a good 6 months of being on a heavy water diet—and suddenly that drops. This is like the corporation factoring into its budget for the upcoming FY not only the same amount of gross cash influx it got FY-1 but maybe even more; and when H20 recession hits—BAM—everybody’s fucked, left sifting through desert sands, for the spare drop of water squeezed from a shard of camel’s skin. Upstream without any water.
(Sting has lost his faith in the politicians.) [10:20 pm]

So it was a little hard to recount the day’s events with Emily sitting right there—no offense. But can anybody say Schrödinger—no, what I mean: Can anybody say Heisenberg? To observe is to effect. To attempt to measure it to subjectify the observation. This has got to be me and me because if the artist is too worried about the critics he might as well get a how to make a standard work of art kit and leave his self & his experiences at home in bed to enjoy themselves while he’s away wasting his worth.

It was a steep walk uphill to Schloß Heidelberg. Mitzy was with us. Em had a bit of sputtering trouble but she made it OK. About 10-12 min. walk uphill. Cobble road. Hazardous walk because cobble was slick.

(Gas bloating—have to find bathroom, not in-room bathroom.)

Gave Em last of my water. Made it up to level ground & got cameras out. Castle was pretty high up & even at this point the view was impressive. Orange tops of houses. Clouds tangled in hills. A dam. The city stretching out in the distance looking bigger than I thought it would. Heidleberg is supposed to be 225,000 whereas Köln was like 950,000. Only 1€ for students. “Zvie students, bittë.” Went up to the terrace, which overlooks H-berg at a good view. Em & I had Mitzy take a picture of us here. Then Tim Freytag from a local university, probably Universitat, came and asked us if we would fill out a survey. I said sure. As Em & I discussed later, this was probably the catalyst leading to Mitzy’s desertion of us. I had a pen. My thinking was: it’s pretty shitty to hit somebody up for a survey two minutes after they’ve paid admission to the castle; but anyone who’s ever had to fill a survey quota knows that numbers are numbers & desperation is desperation.

One survey wasn’t so bad—it was kind of a public service. I didn’t even read what was on it. 3 pages. A little long. Em was saying how she hadn’t even been in town long enough to answer most of it. Mitzy said why not just make it up. I said yeah. That was the last I heard or saw of Mitzy, though she is staying in this hostel & we could see her again tomorrow for all we know. I walked to a corner of the terrace w/ a good view & was just standing there for a bit & Em was like, “Come on, John.” So I went. And I was like, “Where’s Mitzy?” It didn’t matter a bunch to me. Em said she thought she had gone off, deserted us. Perhaps. I looked around on the terrace real good to make sure she wasn’t still around & that if we left we wouldn’t be deserting here. Didn’t see her so walked on.

From there it was just a bunch of walking around, taking pictures of a few things. The highlight, or most memorable moment of the day came when I had just taken a photo of a ruined cylindrical column w/i the castle. Em was phuckin around with her camera. It had rewound early, after 15 exps., and she thought maybe it was messed up but then she decided that, yeah, it was probably just a 15 exp. roll. She was like, “John, my film’s messed up.” And I was like, “Well, what do I look like? Some kind of camera expert?” She put in a new roll & all was good. [10:43 pm]

About this time someone taps me on the shoulder, or maybe just attracts my attention by saying, “Excuse Me.” It was a Japanese woman roughly my age wearing, oh, a beige sweater let’s say, a skirt going a bit below the knees; darker than white skin; hair dark but not black going two inches below the shoulder; a pretty face; loafer-type shoes that didn’t have laces—a sort of slip-on. A collared shirt under her sweater, and somewhere: red. Maybe her collared shirt was white, her skirt black or red—damn. She will know what I was wearing. She said excuse me & her friend was nearby. Someone had a camera, not just me, maybe her & her friend. Maybe she had a camera around her neck & mine (Brook’s) like a lump of coal in my pocket. She does some pointing and I don’t know if she said, “Could you…?” Could I…what? Surely I thought she meant could I take a picture of her and her friend somewhere w/ scenic background behind them. Sure, I could do that, just give me the camera. But I wasn’t being handed any camera and I realized that her friend had the camera and my “friend” was saying something like “me & you?”

I was saying sure to whatever it was that was being asked and suddenly I’m standing next to this girl getting ready to have my photo taken with her. I didn’t put my arm around her waist and of course I’ll always wonder if I could have or should have. I had a good smile to start off w/, maybe a sincere stunned flattered smile (but, see, should I be flattered, or…I don’t know, I don’t really quite understand the whole thing) but the picture didn’t come off right away & by the time it was snapped the smile was supported only w/ my mouth & cheek muscles & not by my eyes—a fake smile though I wouldn’t have been faking awe at the moment. It was a moment, a fine moment and she’ll have the photo and I never will.

(It occurs to me now but I could have given her my e-mail or postal address & gotten the photo that way—you fucking idiot! It would’ve been a beaut.—spontaneous, unpredictable,…)

She said, “Thank you,” and I said sure or, “You’re welcome,” maybe said Bye, I don’t even know. Turned back to Em and her film, feeling like someone who has won the lottery: unsure of what to do with all the money. I made some embarassed awkward babble talk w/ Em and she was like, “Ha ha! You got grabbed.” Grabbed? I didn’t ask her what she meant by this; if my moment was more traditional or customary that I might like to imagine then I didn’t want to know. [10:54 pm]

I kept my eye out for my photo friend & it was a long while before I saw her again. I was coming out of some part of the castle and she was w/ her friend, the photographer, coming out of the gift shop. We had eye contact and it was one of those boom—ooh, stomach drops—immediately look away kinds of eye contacts, another genuine moment beautiful. Maybe she had some kind of plaid somewhere—the front of her sweater perhaps. We both looked away. Her friend looked my way & registered me. I don’t think Em knew what had transpired. Her friend looked at me not so good and I made eye contact w/ my friend again and felt that regret, that what the hell should I have done there besides what I’ve done regret and that was it, we were headed in separate directions. Em & I made our way out of the castle, down to the Haupstraße to eat.
I have to knock (it’s a hard knock life rap song overhead) to get back into the room & Em left a while ago, so…gotta call it here.

[11:04 pm]

{Note: At this point in journal, a red-and-white banana sticker with yellow lettering, “Colombia,” and black lettering, “turbana®” is affixed.}

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