Wow. If you came across this article via any of my social media streams (mainly Facebook and Twitter) then congratulations. It basically means you are part of that group of people who are the unicorn-flavoured popsicles of my life. I sort of like you.
What happened? I decided to send a flood of “unfriends” to wipe away dead wood.
In an attempt to simplify my social media I got rid of loads and loads of contacts by measuring whether or not I actually still care for these people or anything they do. 90% of that algorithm (which is purely based on feelings, hence making it anything but an algorithm) was simply based on little factoids like “Do I speak to this person regularly?” or “Do I meet them regularly?” …..basically … do I care? And if I didn’t you went.
By no means was this meant as a judgement of character of these folks. Some of them are and will forever be awesome. It’s just….I don’t care. They are not part of my life – hence they were cast down river. And who is to say some of them can’t come back in a way. I am not ruling that out. However, for the time being – gone.
Now, there had been hard-cases too. And here I used “kickers” which I admit are far from objective and blatantly unfair. One was checking if you disgraced yourself getting stupid about “Schland” WITHOUT being someone I remember as football fan - if you did; off you went. And sometimes I merely checked if I think you’re hot. Basically, if you haven’t talked to me in ages, haven’t posted about football and still find yourself in my friends list – you either still belong to my world in my mind or you are a hottie.
Why do I run? Why the hell would you do that to you anyways? Well, except maybe fleeing that monster under your bed.
Actually, the real question is different. It’s the other way round…
Why didn’t I run?
Thinking about this question is weird, because it involves admitting that some jerk-heads from school are probably to blame for this. Yes, a thirty-one-year old admitting that somehow some 12 year old ghosts from his past whom he hasn’t seen in eleven years and did not care about for about 14 years still haunt him somehow. Up till I left elementary school I was an active even very outdoorish kind of kid. I really was. The endless days as a loner sitting in his room would come later. Well, during my first years in school I definitely already met people who were more natural athletes than me, but it didn’t bother me. It was only when I was cast into my new class at the Gymnasium when this went awry. Although I was perfectly capable of doing sports (something I should be eternally grateful for, but seldom really am) it was then when I was “taught” that not only are some people more made for this, but also that somehow being not able to keep up with that was something bad. A PE-teacher who quite openly was always in favour of those bullies didn’t help.
It reminds me of a line in a song: “Meine Leistungen in Sport waren so ungenügend, dass ich beschloß anders zu sein. Ganz klar gekränkte Eitelkeit. Komisch, dass das bis heute wirkt.” (roughly translated: my performance in PE was so bad that I decided to be different. Clearly just wounded vanity. Funny, how that has an effect up till today.)
During those last school years I eventually learned to not give a toss about the opinion of these people. However, even today I can still hear them sometimes like I heard them pretty much all through my twenties. They are in the back of my brain reminding me how I am not worth much just because I am the weird kid, the non-athletic one.
I am creep, I am a weirdo, what am I doing here?
So, why do I run then?
Hmm, the two factors that got the thing going are quickly told. It was for one a 29-year-old looking into a mirror realizing he looks about 40. It’s no good thing to succumb to (unrealistic) beauty standards (which pressures men as much as it does pressure women); yes as long as you feel comfortable in your own skin and with your body – rock it! Anyways, looking at yourself and realizing that you are clearly on an unhealthy path and frankly not be confident with your own body anymore is a good reason to get going. Did I also want to adhere to said beauty standards (be more attractive?) – of course. I’d be a bad liar if this wasn’t somewhere lurking in my mind. However, here’s my work out tip #1 – it will absolutely not work if you do it for anyone BUT yourself. The second reason was a mere practical bet with a friend. She wanted to fit into her dream wedding gown (and she rocked it) and needed some motivation. So we came up with betting who would lose the most weight (compared to body size and starting weight). I can still proudly pronounce I won that one.
Those were the practical factors that spawned the Marathon Man in me, but here is the truth.
I have a history, at least ever since I am considered a grown-up, of not finishing things in my life. I am a guy who ever since he left school hasn’t put that much noteworthy to his curriculum vitae. And the main reasons to this is are a constant directionless aimlessness, depressions, indecisiveness and fears. To sum it up neatly: I am constantly at war with myself. My greatest enemy? Myself. By lengths. If my life was a video game the end boss would be me. And we’d probably never really fight, because none would ever make the first move. In limbo. Forever.
Why I run?
Because it is the only time a day I actively take up a battle against myself. Because it is the only time a day I am actually beating myself, my meager self-esteem and low expectations of myself. I beat the street, I beat the distance, I beat certain times every now and then, I beat my mind, my body. And sometimes for mere seconds, every now and then even minutes I beat this ever running stream in my head. The voices telling me I cannot. I beat my fears.
You know what? I look shit jogging. Even after two years I definitely don’t look like someone doing it regularly. There is no grace. I cough, I gasp, I pant, I realize I am getting old, I am sweaty as fuck, I HATE every step of it. I keep asking myself why I am doing this.
WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF?!?!?!
…..because it is the only time of day when running from myself actually works.
Well, my last two days in Munich were simply just chilling out in the sun. After two days of chasing sights my mind was simply way too full with impressions to digest so I couldn’t possibly look at any more stuff. Anyways, my first impression of Munich was a good one of a vibrant, lively and very modern city. My goal of getting to know the place a little was certainly accomplished.
What did I do? Beergardens, English Gardens and any other place you could happily get drunk while having the sun shine on your stupid face. Munich has about a million of these outdoorish places which is a fact I really like about it. Even in the middle of town you’ll always find a place to relax cleverly incorporated into the madness of urban life. Yes, other bigger cities have and try that too, but I don’t think I ever saw it executed so well. Munich brings the term “inner city oasis” to a whole new level. Dear Berlin, please take note….it is possible without dog-poo everywhere.
However, I miss a bit of dirt. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean having piles of trash lying around (and hey Berlin, NO…no dog-poo), but I do miss edges, rough places, imperfect places. Overall, Munich is way too posh, way to clean in a way. (Way too boring? Maybe.)
That’s something Berlin has (and to some extend Hamburg). That look and feel of an old punk. A dirty street-cat. Just put it that way – Peter Fox wouldn’t have written a song like “Schwarz zu Blau” about Munich. However: Dear Berlin, seriously….what’s with the dog-poo everywhere?
Bottom line: I liked Munich more than I thought I would, but I am not quite sure if I could live there.
Monday saw another very relaxed start in the day which might be due to Corn sleeping in tilll god knows how late. Excuse me, wasn’t that me being the lazy arse?
Anyways, we moved into town bathing in sunlight. The rest of Monday was spent an a chilled crash-ride through the city basically giving me a ground to work on for my own exploring. Best place was Fräulein Grüneis, a snackbar build into an old public ladies toilet. No creeping intended though. It’s just off the Eisbach in the English Gardens where the surfers are. Yes, inner-city surfers. Check it out.
On Tuesday I was left to my own devices. With the help of a good book (“111 things you need to see in Munich”) and no further plan I engaged in conquering Munich. A few graveyards (found Erich Kästner’s final resting place) and minor sights later I got lost in the English Gardens. Not lost as in not knowing where I am, but simply lost in just wandering about for hours. I have to say I was deeply impressed. So much to see in and around the place. Absolutely stunning and lovely. A true oasis right in the middle of the city. If you happen to be in Munich and got the time. Take yourself a day, disconnect and slow right down. Given my rather long stay there I wasn’t quite in the mood for any more sightseeing. Went back to base camp and “enjoyed” the last England game of this year’s World Cup. Abysmal to say the least.
Today? The big day. I was celebrating the birthday of George Orwell.
Did so by basically having a closer look at everything remotely interesting Munich’s centre has to offer. You run into something artsy or remotely historical about every 500 steps which on the other hand is normal for any bigger town in Europe I guess (Sorry America!). Trying to name all the sights would take forever. Open any travel guide about the town and check the sights in the city center. I reckon I’ve seen all of them.
My plans for the rest of the day are easy. I am quite simply celebrating myself and thus I am off for now.
Finally, my well-deserved holiday. Did my last week of slaving away and now I’m off.
By the way, it’s part of my awesomeness how I can pack for a 8-day-trip in just under 15 minutes. That surprised me as well. I guess all these years of getting this done under time-pressure really shaped a luggage-genius in me. So far, I haven’t missed anything.
Had to get up early though on Saturday. It actually felt like a workday at first, but this feeling could be shaken off easily by the delight of 10 days off the dreaded phone. I might have been dancing naked in my appartment, but this shall remain a misery. Also, I do appologize for any typing and spelling mistakes in advance. Posting on a tablet is not that easy.
Next on the list: Getting to the train station to get….a bus. Here’s a tip. Should you find yourself in the dire straits moneywise and time is not an issue then DO use the embryonic inter-city-bus-travel that currently develops in Germany. Every kick up the Deutsche Bahn’s arse is necessary and the prices are unbeatable. The whole ride went smoothly. They even managed something unheard of with German rail services. The bus driver caught up with a 40 minutes delay almost making it on time. Used the system twice so far and they have a 100% Dan-Approval-Rate up to this point.
Finally, after a 12 hour journey, my first glimpse of Munich that mainly consisted of a pretty ugly bus station and the underground. I sat with my host and friend Cornelius in his flat watching a rather uninspired draw between Germany and Ghana. After this a few quick rounds of FIFA14.
What do you do after England won a world cup match? You switch off the playstation and go to sleep.
Sunday in Munich. First thing I did to myself. A healthy round of 11km jogging. Believe this or not, but it is relaxing enough to fit into my holidays. It was my first bit of sightseeing too. Rounded Schloß Nymphenburg doing so. Later, we had a relaxed brunch-like meal. It was time for lunch, but we ate breakfast keeping it ultra-relaxed. Afterwards, a quick trip to Corn’s office. I am a bit jealous as I could see myself working in such environment. I’d be lazy on that sunroof forever though.
Next up, the Olympiapark. One has to say that so far Munich strikes me as pretty green and very tidy. In Olympiapark you can actually walk up a hill and find the Olympia-Alm. So far my hot spot to recommend. Nice view over Munich. Awesome on a hot summer’s day as there still is a constant breeze. Bring your own booze though. Buying stuff at the kiosk/restaurant/beergarden (?) is rather pricey.
Last deed of the day was watching Corn and his mates playing football. The glorious FC Monaco Royal (named after a beloved Munich-based film character called Monaco Franz) got a 3:5 bashing, but I am sure this will only a little hold-up on their quest to footballing world domination.
Today is gonna be a relaxing one again. The plan is the English Gardens later. Don’t worry, the trip will get more sight-heavy from Tuesday on as host McMinnmick will have to return to work then leaving me to my own devices. That said: I do take recommendations what to see and what not.
See ya around.
Note: As I am writing this my liver is probably filling a complaint with the OFAIO (Office for abused inner organs).
Finally, the eagerly awaited day had come. Finally, five days of fun JUST ahead. Finally, off to Vienna. Well, had to pack first. Packing a toothbrush, pants and loads of alcohol neatly into my travelling bag (which I s’pose could really do with a washing) I was on my way. Many ways lead to Vienna – mine went through Leverkusen. It sounds odd, but I had to get to the party-bus first. Lemme tell ya: you see a lot of cities the world doesn’t need between Münster and Leverkusen. Arriving there I helped folks to get packed as well – mainly by making the odd fun comment and drinking beers. The first of many to come.
There isn’t much use talking about the bus ride. You can imagine the drill. A lot of sense talked, a lot of bullshit talked, a lot of beers annihilated, fighting the urge to pee every 50km and sleep. It was a bus ride I enjoyed a lot, thus being able to cross off a token on my wishlist for this year. We arrived in Vienna at 7am on Friday if I remember correctly.
First thing to do? Food. We were greeted with traditional Austrian food – Gulasch. “Odd!” I thought at first as I had this down as a Hungarian speciality, but then I remembered the two countries used to be one. I emptied a can of beer with much smugness. The next bit was separating the company into their designated sleeping areas to catch up on sleep.
The rest of the day was killed by enjoying the sun, entertaining other tourists with a festival of (beer)sport, watching the glorious Wiener Sport Club play an Austrian third division match and rounding it off with beers at a local pub. We rounded each of these bits off with beer, but you might’ve guessed that already.
Saturday morning I decided to part with the sensory and head off through the city on my own. My directions where to always walk on the sunny side of the street and see where this would lead me. Admittedly, I have this tendency to wander anyway. Without having a clue where to head to and without any pressure to actually head anywhere I did see a fair bit of town. Immensely enjoyed that. I would later reunite with the gang by passing Schönbrunn and after the long climb to the top of the hill. I was compensated for the effort by a beautiful view over the city…. and beers.
Later that night there was a birthday party to be had. We did our silly bits, we drank, we sang and I would tell you more about the party hadn’t I been utterly intoxicated by say 1am and therefore missed a large chunk of the shenanigans by falling asleep peacefully.
Wenn ich angetrunken bin, gibts nur zwei Zustände. Glückliches Nickerchen in der lautesten Bar der Stadt oder Musik auf Pöbel-Lautstärke…—
Mark Brandenburg (@HolC25) March 15, 2014
It’s weird how I called this weeks ago. Damn, I am getting old. Up to this point however I had already seen a penis combined with a glow stick.
Sunday was passed in a rather relaxed fashion. The big Schnitzel-carnage was held (supported by beers), we visited Falco’s grave (as that was around the corner), sun was enjoyed and the whole day rounded off again by beers and a pub quiz.
Yesterday, we said our goodbye (sadly), drank a few more beers (fondly) and headed back.
‘Twas a blast.
- stay weird in progress
- jog an average of 20km a week in progress
- come up with the best baby names Done, although no one takes them. Do I really have to spawn my own offsprings? D’ya want that? Really?
- pee on a Mercedes Benz singing Janis Joplin in progress
- trade in gym membership for swimming half done at least, public pool is too far off
- keep breathing in progress
- participate in an amateur half marathon in progress
- travel to at least one new place you haven’t seen yet this year in progress
- write about one song/record/artist EVERY BLOODY day pretty much in progress (click here for more)
- perform something on a real stage with a real audience; maybe start a performance art group called “the Awkward Collective” bit lost for ideas
- paint a still life that rivals Vincent van Gogh to be honest – I cannot really paint
- time travel to explain this “Don’t do drugs”-thing to pre-coke-Lindsay-Lohan and have sex with pre-coke-Lindsay-Lohan DAMN PHYSICS!
- enjoy a bus ride Done. Watch this space for more. - like a Mumford & Sons song That was so never gonna happen.
- give my life some new direction finally It never sounded easy….. it fucking isn’t.
– try being more like Ghandi rather than Malcolm X (aka. be less angry) Meh, I am trying.
Okay. I am not one for the big German guilt trip. Just don’t really see the point of being sorry for a crime I never took part in. Never killed a man. Still, being German confronts you with the biggest atrocity ever to have been commited against humanity regularly. My stance is pretty much in the middle. I refuse to apologise for being German (for I was simply never given a choice). I do not care about people’s nationality anyways, so why should mine matter. On the other hand, we simply should never forget….
Then you walk through Vienna and something catches your eye. Almost every building here has some plate telling about when it was erected and bits and pieces. You glance over them and learn that Josef Kaminsky lived here, got deported and perished around 1944 far from home in Auschwitz.
Two ways of trying to scale the horror. Think about the millions of lives lost and lose your mind in despair. Or think about Josef. In his twenties. All he wanted probably was to be happy during his time on this spinning rock of ours. Deported, perished. Think about that and you lose your mind in despair.
I am sorry, Josef.
Shoot! I should seriously blog a lot more over here again. So, here’s a “state of the union”.
I am sort of fine. Last week spring had a first reach around. Awesome. The transition from temp agency to full-employe at my company worked leaving a bit of extra-dough in my pockets. A lot of the money will be spent in Vienna, some of it used for some professional job application photos and the rest is to treat myself with stuff I don’t need, but want anyway. Like going to a gig. I am weirdly stuck up on my applications anyways, but I am battling on. The tiniest of baby steps, but steps.
Bear with me.
We erect loads of buildings to spend our days in. And by all means, they are quite useful when we need shelter. So, hooray for having a home – yeahhhh!
Still, after months of winter (even the oddly mild one this years) we flee into the open as soon as the first genuinely sunny day rolls around.
Abandon your cubicles, leave your neatly designed IKEA living-rooms and join people outside.
Hell, if you must give it the old vanity fair down at the lake.Today, I don’t mind. I am finally freed from the indoors again.
Sitting here. Beer in hand. Face in the sun. At ease.
Although, now that I am putting this idea out there you can rest assured that the universe is conspiring against me and Germany will be hit by the coldest March ever. I, for one, welcome our new polar-bearic overlords. But all the meteorologists seem to be of the same opinion. The mildest winter I ever witnessed is already on the way out. I know the east of Germany got swept by about a week of minus degrees and a bit of snow. Here in Münster we didn’t even have more than 5 days “below zero”. It had only been raining at best and most of the time it was way too warm for the time of year. Not that I complain too much. I am not, never was and never will be a winter person. Don’t annoy me with long cuddly walks in the snow and then relaxing with a loved one on a warm fire. Shut up, you couple-people! You had your day!
What else is up? Nothing much really. Had planned to work on my applications. However, I got struck down by feeling weirdly coldlish and sick. Half the day I couldn’t really get up, but I am already better now. Let’s see if that turns into some cold soon enough or if it was just a weak attempt of this winter to emulate at least that point of our yearly relationship correctly (I usually get hit by some man-flu in February for about three days of nearly dying and then being up within hours).
So yeah….applications. I am working on it. Kind of decided that I’ll give a go at some media related apprenticeship. Still very unconvinced this is what I wanna do, but it’ll open new possibilities at best. It’s a simple fact I cannot go on like the last years forever (nor do I want to).
Other work-related news – I’ll get a permanent contract with my current employer. Honestly, I tried to be glad about it, but my wage situation won’t change. It’s just a few small perks here and there that are actually getting better. But it is improvement. Baby steps. At least it cuts out the temp agency parasites. I’ll gladly sign any piece of paper for that.
That’s it for a bit of update on myself. I am doing okay…sort of. And hey look…..baby rabbits!
I had a little chat with Milly (?) on twitter today. She is an expat living in Cologne and we talked about how hard German must be to foreigners at times. Her story about the words “Pfütze”, “Fotze” and the English struggle with German “Umlaute” made me grin manically half the bus ride.
But there is traps the other way round as well and I thought I might share that story as an encouragement to everyone who ever messed up in a foreign language.
Picture a 24-year-old in a club up in Northern England – Sheffield to be precise. As a young rascal I used to be I was, of course, intoxicated and as I happen(ed) to be single I was, of course, pretty much in love with that redhead English girl next to the bar. She successfully defied all mean stereotypes about English girls not being pretty with these Northern eyes of her. So? What to do? Of course gather up some confidence and talk to the lady. I gathered up a few more pints first, but that weirdly enough had not been the problem for my short-comings on that night. And oh heaven, I actually DO manage to strike up a conversation which then had been going almost effortless for nearly an hour. I think she even really liked me. The topic diverts to siblings and now your language reared its ugly head. Too explain that shortly, you might have noticed that Germans tend to compose new meanings by adding words together (the English use auxiliaries all the time – same thing) so the German word “herumalbern” consists of the verb “albern” (to be foolish, to be childlike, maybe “kidding” comes closest) and “herum” which simply means “around” or “all over the place”. “Herumalbern” therefore means nothing but being loud, noisy, foolish and is mostly accompanied with a general mess. Like kids do in general anyways. So, here I am in a club with a beautiful girl and all I want to get across is the fact that despite the rather unusual age gap between me and my sister we still are good friends and used to have loads of fun together.
Unfortunately, I chose the sentence “Me and my sister, we used to fool (albern) around (herum) when we were younger!”, which in my head was simply the direct translation.
Needless to say, she stormed off leaving me rather puzzled.
Well, I did what I use to do in these situations. I got over it with loads more pints and simply had a good night out, but the next day I was curious why this conversation turned so badly so I asked my good friend Lisa who happened to be a fine English woman herself. To cut a fairly long story short: She almost pissed herself laughing before explaining to me that the phrase “to fool around”, at least amongst English youngsters, has a rather inappropriate meaning. Up to this day, there is probably a beautiful woman in her late 20s who is telling the story about a young German chap, whom she liked at first, who told her openly that he shagged his sister.
Languages. There are weird sometimes.
Sitting on a bus for two hours a (work)day is boring. It really is. You can only get excited about people so much and at some point you know all the regulars on the line. If you are lucky there is a new weirdo every now and then and you have a blog topic. That usually just doesn’t happen.
Normally, I just sit there and brood listening to music or simply try and win the most Quizduell-matches humanly possible in an hour. Today, on my way back from work though I had already done that for 4 hours and honestly there isn’t that much new and exciting stuff on the internet all the time. Following Preußen Münster on the live ticker wasn’t that cheery either. So I sat there, listened to music and brooded (Is that the right past tense? Googled it and it came up that way – looks weird).
Then the bus stopped at a red light and I looked around. What caught my eye was a note hanging in on of the street-facing windows of the apartment-building across the street. Weirdly enough it definitely had something written on it, but I couldn’t make out whether the words faced to the outside of the building or were scribbled to be read by people inside the building. It was definitely placed unusual, because if it was meant for people on the inside one would actually have to kneel in front of it. It was also in one of the windows of the staircase. What could possibly be written on that? If it was indeed meant for people on the outside it would simply be up to high. The whole thing hovered about 7 meters off the ground and was too small to be read from the sidewalk. Passers-by can’t read the damn thing either (unless you are incredibly eagle-eyed maybe).
For a split of a second some adventurous spirit got me. “Get off the next bus stop. Find the note and read it. Who knows what’s written on it? At least it’ll make an anecdote later!” The routine bit again. Of course I wouldn’t be doing something so silly just wasting my time.
What could be on there? I might never know. Most likely it is some passive-aggressive note by the senior neighbour complaining about the bikes that shouldn’t be in the hallway or something like that. After all, I am living in Germany. This is how I imagine being old. Writing passive-aggressive notes about bikes.
What could be on there? I might never know. Maybe the things written on there could be the start of some ridiculous odyssey. Something life-altering and miraculously exciting. A plea for help by some faceless stranger to save the world. A note that is waiting for just the right person to reward our true hero(ine) with otherworldly riches after the deed is done.
A note for someone braver than me….