Archive for In English

Don’t mind the grammar

Re-reading some of my writings on this blog I find that my grammar is more lacking when I write on the fly than when I take my time. I guess that’s common for a lot of people whose first language is not English. I know that it all comes down to how much I practise my writing skills and keep minding my grammar, so I really should get on with my writing again.

Meanwhile I don’t care all that much for correcting my writings—it’s the stories that are important. Grammar will have to wait, but if you are in the neighbourhood, please correct me if you want. I really need to be reminded so that I learn. Grammar, after all, is very important for all of us, whether you know it or not, or like or not.

 

Where is the logic and the compassion?

The expression “privileged white middle-class men” is a generalization and a disparaging expression that I have often seen and heard used by “privileged white middle-class women” to call attention to these men’s lack of compassion and concern for the weaker members of society. This borders on a form of gender-hatred and some sort of class-hatred. As long as it continues to be this way I do not want to participate in society. I will stay here on my couch and will do absolutely nothing. The struggle for humanistic values is a useless one if its own participators have not reached higher levels of understanding and communicating than this over these last few 100 years.

I won’t, of course, do nothing, but it’s how I feel today. Tomorrow I’ll start over. Some day, but perhaps not on this day, we will reach high enough.

I do not care much for Easter, so I’ll end this with,

Peace & Love, everyone!

The dilemma of waking up early on a Saturday morning

I have a Saturday morning dilemma. I woke up earlier than I wanted, but as expected. My internal clock won’t let me sleep past 7. Should I go to the gym or read a book, I wonder? It’s between need and desire, I guess. Or (extremely) boring and fun.

I wish I found going to the gym a lot more exciting. They should serve breakfast there, or something; then, perhaps, it would be a lot more enticing. They could have the female staff walk up to whatever machine I was working and tell me how fit I have become since I started (that morning), and I how good I’m looking working out, and that if I was just 15 years younger they’d go out with me. I’d know they were lying, of course, but it’d be so much more fun going there.

Instead they have a bored looking 30 year old guy at the reception nodding at me when I come in through the door. Inside the gym there are men and women well into their 60s, pressing at least 3 times the weights that I manage. I’m not joking: on some machines I have to opt to lift only the handle, no weights attached, and I can barely manage. On my way back to the locker room I have to pass a room with guys who are pressing the weight of iron equivalent to what it takes to build a small car. The walk home is really the best thing about going to the gym.

And now I’m hungry. I cannot think of working out when I’m hungry. What was I thinking?! I’ll have breakfast. A nice cup of tea and a sandwich. And then I’m going to the gym. Maybe. Or have a nice warm bath where I’ll read about people going to the gym. Close enough.

 

My first car

I married Kristina when I was 24 and we bought a green Opel of some sort for about £300. The guy who sold it only promised that it would last the year, but we were poor and needed to go places. The gear shift constantly rattled and the engine stopped every time I turned right. It was extremely annoying, but we actually loved that it was so quaint – it meant that we always had some funny story to tell others about our car. I love the memories of the trips we took back then, when one of us had to constantly keep a hand on the gear to keep the noise down and I had to carefully plan my right turns. Turning right to go uphill was never really an option. But sometimes we had to. Great fun and lots of stories.

Friendly fire

I do not fear to fight
even a thousand devils
on a battlefield.
It’s my aim
that worries me.
Stand close!

The photo booth

There is a photograph of me and the girls taken in a photo booth. It’s from one of our countless in-the-spur-of-the-moment things. Looking at the photograph, I would say that they were around the ages of 3, 5 and 7. We were wasting time at a shopping centre. We never had money to spend back then, but we went there anyway just for the fun of it. When we had had our fun and we were on our way back to the car underground, I happened to spot a photo booth. I had enough money on me for us to use the booth, so I asked the girls if they wanted to go along with the idea. Caroline shouted, “yes!” Emily said, “what do you mean?” and Sarah, in her usual manner, had not heard a word of what I said, since she was still by the escalator wanting to ride it again. We all gathered in front of the booth and looked at the different examples of photographs on the side of the booth. I told them how it worked and what was going to happen once we were inside.

A photograph from a photo booth session with my girls.

Me, Emily, Sarah and Caroline

I don’t know if you have ever been inside a photo booth, but it is a very small compartment made for one person – and barely so. I went in, lowered the seat as far down as it would go and told the girls to come in. I had Emily, the oldest, sit on my right knee; I had Caroline sit on my left knee, and finally Sarah scrambled in and placed herself in front of us. In those days you didn’t just get one picture reprinted four times on the same sheet, but four actual photographs printed on one sheet. Not one, but four really bright flashes.

The picture that I kept for myself shows an unshaved me in the back smiling, half a face of a girl on my right knee putting candy in her mouth, half a face of another girl doing her best to be seen by the camera by pushing her little sister’s head to the side, and then another little girl in the front wondering why there is a hand on the side of her face, only moments before she says, “Caro, stop pushing me!”

Each one of us has one unique photograph from that event that took place between four flashes on that day so many years ago.

The Thing-Finder

This piece is about a young woman who tells a story from her childhood. I am not sure about the grammar or the use of some of the words, and I have not bothered to revise it, but since I like it, I am posting it anyway. For now, only the story is important.

“I used to find things for my father. You know, like a treasure hunter, but without a mission. He called me The Thing-Finder. I found many things for him over my childhood years and he was proud of me and always let me know how thankful he was for it. Often it was things that he’d lost somewhere, or that he’d forgotten about. Other times it was new things; things that roused his curiosity. Those times we would sit and wonder what it was for, or used to be and how we could use it for something.

Once, when we were out walking and chatting our way through the city streets on an early Sunday morning – having sneaked out before the others had awakened – he said that it would have been nice if we had some money for a cup of tea somewhere. In the middle of his sentence I had spotted something on the pavement a few feet away from us. I dived off in the direction of it, grabbed it, and came back to him, holding my hand up to him showing a £5 note. He laughed with joy, but told me that I could do anything I wanted with it; it did not have to be used for tea. We had tea. And it was a particularly excellent Sunday morning.”

Ghost town misadventures

It was back in ’75 or ’76. The whole neighbourhood seemed like one of those ghost towns from the western films on TV and our normally creative minds had run as dry as the air around us. Breathing that day was exhausting business to anyone. Only the birds were lucky enough to breathe air that didn’t feel like sawdust on fire. The four of us wandered around in the void, aimlessly kicking stones and empty soda cans in front of us until we came to the road by the school. We sat down in the ditch and spied on the few cars that passed by. One of us, I forget who, started rolling marbles in front of the approaching cars, when suddenly one marble bounced up and crashed into the window shield of one of the cars. The air filled with cracking glass, screeching terror, and four deer-like children vanishing through the bushes.

Before I was out of the bushes, the twins and Toby were gone. Heart pounding. Adrenalin, but no air and no legs. A growling ogre in the bushes behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a small house with a garden by the road. No longer a deer, but a fox, I shed my T-shirt behind the low stone wall, sat down pretending to be as bored as before. Out of the bushes, the ogre charged towards me, stopped and asked if I had seen some boys running this way. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that I hadn’t. He continued his hunt. Life and all the air returned like the first day of spring. I collected my T-shirt, rolled it up like a ball, put it in my pocket, and slowly walked towards home. I felt like a Sherlock Holmes version of quick-drawing Kid Curry from Alias Smith & Jones.