Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2008

in memoriam

had things worked out differently, he would almost certainly have become a close friend. but we only met a few times, too briefly for deeper friendship to develop. and now his young life came to an end in a violent car crash. only a few days earlier, i had heard the news of the death of another man, this time of someone whom i had known for a much longer time but also had not been in contact with for as much as i now feel i should have.

if there is a lesson for the living that i can make out, it is that we can never know when it will be too late to reach out to other people.

Sonntag, 11. Mai 2008

frühlings erwachen

as i returned from a brief trip britain the other day, it would be facile or me to go on my usual diatribe about how britain is a third world country with first world prices, with the exception that third world countries usually have better weather and food, friendlier people, functioning public transport systems, use the metric system, have a written constitution, better health care, and mostly have democratically elected locals as their heads of state instead of the wacky offspring of imported german and greek feudal overlords ruling based merely on some bizarre pre-medieval concept of god-given privilege. but i decided not to engage in my typical pastime of britain-bashing, even if the majority of the ludicrously overpriced trains i took broke down or got stuck in tunnels mere minutes into the journey, double-glazing or central heating still haven't made a breakthrough on the isles and there was a tb outbreak (!) in neighbouring birmingham while i was in coventry.

instead, with the coming of spring and all, i've decided to try a new format here on my blog: in lieu of my normal pontificating here i've decided to write little snippets of semi-fictional stories, mostly involving a character who bears a striking similarity to myself.

on to chapter 1, "the letter"...

it was a gloriously sunny day in berlin and having gotten most of his errands done quicker than expected, our protagonist decided to sit down by the spree in a small street-side cafe for en espresso and do something he had not done in a long time - write an actual hand-written letter. the letter was for an old, good friend of his, who by all accounts was quite ill at the moment, possibly very seriously so. the trouble was that his friend was too afraid to do a proper check-up, too afraid of hearing the verdict from the doctors - The Verdict, the one that says that your life is no longer consists of a carnival of opportunities that are out there waiting for you but that you are much closer to that inevitable ending point, much closer than you thought, that your life is soon over. for ever.

while he was writing the letter, hoping, wishing that his friend's condition was not that critical after all, his thoughts went back to the trips they'd gone on together, the evenings spent chatting away, his friend's duracell energy, the way his friend would (quite justifiably), chastise him for his crap dress-sense and puerile humour... while our hero's thoughts drifted across to the other side of the world, ships full of tourists drifted past the cafe and an old man stood on the bridge, singing "o sole mio" in a booming operatic voice...