Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Two Dreams

Two dreams. 

I was standing near outdoor train tracks and a train was stalled and a dog was walking around the train tracks and I tried to warn someone that there was a dog there but no one listened to me and the next thing I know I see the dog on its back, twitching. It had licked the third rail and was dying. I called out and in doing so woke myself up. 

I was with Martina and I had taken two pills of Ecstasy and was coming down from a high and was happy about that because I didn't want to be high but then for some reason took two more pills.


G: Did you ever see “Titanic”? 

Chad (not really paying attention): Yeah.

G: It was sad. 

Chad (still not really paying attention): Yeah, a little.


Chad (laughing): Yeah, sorry, you’re right. “Titanic” was definitely a really sad movie. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Florida Night

It was a warm night in Florida -- aren’t they all warm nights? -- and Xavier, Maya and I were in a car together, right in front of my aunt’s condo. Xavier was driving. He had just used a security card to open the gate of the complex's parking lot when Maya said, “Do you still love her?” She was referring to Xavier’s ex-wife. Xavier, putting the card back in his wallet, said, “Uh, no.” 

“How come?" Maya said. "You guys were married for a long time. Didn’t you love her?" (I always marvelled at how Maya had no problem asking people questions I never would.) 

“Yeah, I loved her,” Xavier said, “but loved is the key word. Doing what she did, it told me that she didn’t love me. And why the fuck are you gonna love someone who doesn’t love you? I’ve never understood that. If someone tells you that they don’t love you, why the fuck should you love them?” 

As hyperbolical as Xavier could be, I honestly believed him. Though I knew there was no way that what he saying was 100 percent true -- there had to be a little more hurt there -- I believed that his love for his ex was greatly diminished if not completely gone because, hey, after all, Why the fuck are you gonna love someone who doesn’t love you?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Holly Golightly

 Here's a great passage from the book “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”:

"She’d come completely into the room now, and she paused there, staring at me. I’d never seen her before not wearing dark glasses, and it was obvious now that they were prescription lenses, for without them her eyes had an assessing squint, like a jeweler’s. They were large eyes, a little blue, a little green, dotted with bits of brown: vari-colored, like her hair; and, like her hair, they gave out a lively warm light." 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

I Remember...Paris

I remember one time I was in a hotel room with my mom in Paris, watching a documentary about B.B. King. 

My mom and I had been traveling around Europe together, and Paris was the last stop before I was to go back to Hamburg and my mom back to New York. 

Anyway, at some point during the documentary, I said I thought the film felt more like like a hagiography than a documentary. I remember that my mom hadn't known the meaning of "hagiography," and I can’t remember if I was proud of having stumped her. 

Be that as it may, the next morning, it was time to say farewell. I had an early train to catch, and I said goodbye to my mom in the hallway of the hotel. I mean, I had already said goodbye to her in the room, but she came out into the hallway to wait with me for the elevator and to see me off.


As a coda to this story, I took a cab to the train station that day. However, the previous night, right before my voyage, I had gone down into the Paris Métro and purchased a ticket, fully intending on taking the subway to the train station, Gare de l'Est, on the day of my departure. However, for some reason, when morning came, I got spooked. There had been so much talk about terrorism at the time, and for whatever reason, I was hesitant to ride the subway and thought it better to take a cab.  It was just one of those strange gut feeling. 

Coincidentally, and tragically, terrorist attacks occurred in Paris only a few months later. 

In a storage box in my apartment, I might still have that Métro ticket. The ticket is purple.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Kobe Bryant Quote

 A few minutes ago, Maroon 5's song  "Memories" came on, which made me think of a video montage that was played at Kobe Bryant's memorial service. "Memories" was the song that was played during the montage. Anyway, thinking about that video montage then made me think of one of my favorite Kobe Bryant quotes, which I often think about. Enjoy. 

"... those times when you get up early and you work hard; those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when don’t feel like working — you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself — but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true, something greater will."

Paddle by

As I walk along the Alster, I enjoy the feeling of the sandy path under my feet. 

It’s a glorious day and the lake is busy with sailboats, stand-up paddlers and people in row boats and paddle boats. 

A woman lying close to the shoreline catches my eye. She appears to be sleeping. I can’t tell whether she's homeless, and I keep looking at her for clues to discern whether she is or not. I see she's wearing a chunky gold watch, but the watch might just be made out of metal. I still can’t tell.

I have a book with me and I begin reading it. Reading and walking is something I've gotten quite good at. However, I fail to see a big rock embedded partially in the ground in front of me. I stumble over it and decide to walk on the jogging path that is further from the shore and closer to the street. 

I’m reading the story “Big-Hearted River” by Ernest Hemingway. It’s basically a blow-by-blow account of a lone fishing trip taken by the protagonist, Nick Adams. The story fits the pensive mood I’m in, but I keep getting distracted from the reading. I must have read this same one line, “Down about two hundreds yards were three logs all the way across the stream,” at least four times already. 

I look to the water. It’s sparkling in the noon sun. There are so many stand-up paddlers going by. I wonder to myself: Do people who go stand-up paddling happen to have good bodies or do people with good bodies purposely go stand-up paddling? 

Eventually, I decide I've walked enough and I turn around. There is a vacant lot between two townhouses across the street. The lot can’t be more than 20 feet wide--it’s deep, I’ll admit it’s deep--but it can’t be more than 25 feet wide, and I wonder how much the land costs. Millions, it’s gotta be millions, I think, considering the neighborhood. 

I walk down to the path I had been on before, the sandy one, the one closer to the shore. There are people strolling along and fiddling with their phones, people walking their dogs, people hanging out on blankets. I see one woman laid out on a blanket wearing a bikini. She's glistening in the sun. Before I even reach her, I smell the coconutty aroma of the lotion she’s using.  

As I’m about to leave the area around the lake, I see that woman again, the one I thought might be homeless. I ask myself why I think she's homeless. Well, I reason, she’s lying down with no blanket. All the other people lying near the shoreline are on blankets. Also, she’s overly tan. It’s almost as if she spends too much time outside, always exposed to the elements or something. And the pose she’s in. It seems a little unnatural. While she doesn’t look dead or anything, she looks a little too “out,” like perhaps she had been drinking. Her clothes also aren’t perfectly suited to the weather. She’s dressed for cooler weather.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Pimps and Hoes

I transcribed the following text from a prostitute who was featured in a 1970s 60 Minutes episode titled "Pimps." She was being interviewed at a bar by someone from the show, and I thought she made an interesting point. She said: 

What is a “pimp”? What is a “hoe”? I don’t know…Could you give me the definition? ’Cause I don’t classify -- I classify myself as a young woman…you know, that wants to help my man. That’s all. No pimps and hoes, that’s call'n each other names, that’s what I think, ’cause they jealous, ’cause they can’t do it, that’s all. They do it another way. Can you dig that? 


How? You pay your wife money, don’t you? Whatchu call that?…Huh? She pays you. Both of you might work or whateva, so whatchu call each other? Doing, to each other, you know. Are ya’ll pimps and hoes, too? 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Black photo

In my dream last night, I was in an elevator with a woman in her 20s. The cab was pitch black and I couldn’t see the woman, but I knew she was there. I got the feeling she and I were in some sort of high-rise building, but, again, all I saw was black. As the elevator started to descend, the woman and I began talking. I’m not sure what we were talking about, but the manner in which we were chatting was pleasant and friendly. Suddenly, the elevator started to descend very quickly. At first, I thought, "Oh, these high-rise buildings with their fast elevators; they really try to make the elevators really fast in these buildings." But then I realized that we were falling at a dangerous speed. After a few seconds, I realized that we were going to die. I tried to talk to the woman, but now she was praying--and in a different language. I kept trying to talk to her--I’m not sure why--but it was futile: she just kept on talking to herself, or praying, in that other language. I remember thinking,  "So this is how it ends, huh? This sucks." 

Then, out of nowhere, I thought to myself, “Just open your eyes. All you have to do is open your eyes.” And I did. And the dream was over. Disaster averted.

Friday, August 14, 2020

That God Intended

So I just enjoyed a really nice time with my dog. 

Initially, she and I had just headed out for a jog, but it's hot out, and it didn't take long for me to realize that Filou wanted to have a dip in the lake that was near the fields where we were running. 

At the lake, I found a stick and threw it in the water. Splash! Filou immediately jumped in after it. When she brought the stick back to me, I decided to walk over to a nearby dock.

The dock was weatherworn and rickety, but I trusted that it was stable, and from it, I threw the stick into the water. Splash! Without hesitation, Filou jumped off the dock and into the water. The distance between the platform and the water had to be at least four feet, or a little more than a meter, so the splash she made this time was a huge one. 

As Filou swam toward the stick, I looked around. About 300 yards to my left, a man in a boat was fly fishing, and on the other side of the lake, I saw kids taking turns jumping off a pier, into the water. 

Filou looked adorable, swimming back to the shore with the stick in her mouth. 

Because I had just gone running, I thought it would be wise to stretch, and no better or nicer a place to do so than there on the dock, I figured. After all, the sun wasn't too hot and the sound of the lake water lapping against the shore was very calming. 

As I stretched, Filou was right by my side, sitting on her haunches. She had already dropped the stick and had shaken off and was just waiting for me to right myself and grab the stick. When I did, she ran back down to the shore and jumped into the water. Splash!

From the dock, I watched her swim around, anticipating the moment when the stick would leave my hands. She was so cute. Usually, it's hard to see Filou's body when she's swimming, as it's submerged. But thanks to my vantage point on the dock, I was able to see all of Filou as she doggy paddled. Her front legs seemed to be doing all the work, but on further inspection, I saw that her back legs were kicking, too. She looked so pretty, squinting up at me there in the water. She was swimming close to the shore, back and forth through a mass of algae. The water was lit up in spots by the sun and was about the same color as the algae. When I threw the stick, Filou doggy paddled toward it, the flaps of her ears partially in the water. 

What a beautiful day, I thought, standing there on the wooden dock.  This is the kind of day that God intended.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Checking It Twice

Today as I was having lunch outside at a restaurant, I looked down to see if my dog was properly fastened to the leg of the table. 

I mean, after I had taken my seat, I remembered having locked the dog up. But I did it so quickly, and sometimes when we do things without thinking, we don’t do them properly. 

Specifically, I wanted to see if the bolt snap at the end of the leash was properly fastened to one of the leash’s D-rings. 

My thought was that perhaps I hadn’t fastened the bolt snap right, which would have meant that the dog would have actually been free. 

I have to admit, always having to make sure that the dog's leash is on properly can be annoying. But it's important always to check. I know, because I can still remember a close call from a few years ago. 

Filou and I were on our way to her last walk of the day, and we were walking down the stairs of my old apartment building. Because my old apartment building was directly in front of a very dangerous street, I always made sure that Filou was properly leashed up before we'd step out the door. However, on this occasion, I made a mistake. 

Instead of fastening the leash's bolt snap to the dog collar's D-ring, I attached the bolt snap to the malleable circular keychain that was on the D-ring. That keychain, mind you, had a purpose--it bore Filou's identification tags--but it was flimsy as hell. 

Anyway, as I opened the door and Filou charged toward the street--which was something she always did--I felt a sickening feeling. Instead of feeling resistance on the leash, I felt no resistance at all. The force of Filou pulling had broken the keychain and Filou was now in the street. 

Luckily--and I still thank God about this to this day--there weren’t any cars around. It was about 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday, and by the grace of God the street was empty. 

With Filou now running around in the middle of the four-lane road,  I yelled at her, "Filou, get over here, now!" Thankfully, she listened, but I had been given the shock of my life, because that street was that dangerous. 

Anyway, back at the restaurant today, it turned out that I had locked Filou up properly. I saw that I had indeed fastened the bolt snap to one of the leash's three D-rings. Filou was safe: she wouldn't be able to just run off and wind up God knows where. But you gotta check. You gotta always check.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Woman in Supermarket

When I was in the supermarket before, a woman pushing a baby carriage came in the store after me. I took notice of her because she looked nice, but not friendly. As I did my shopping, I saw her a few times, on various aisles. At one point, she was on one aisle and I was on an adjacent one, and I knew she was next to me even though I couldn't see her because I was able to hear her baby playing with a squeaky toy. 
At the checkout area, I took note of one of the items this woman planned to purchase. It was coffee, instant coffee.  This item stood out to me because instant coffee is not by any means popular in Germany. The plastic lid of the jar containing the coffee was green.  

Wednesday, August 05, 2020


"We need to talk." 
"Sure, about what?" 
"About us." 


“I’m not breaking up with you because…"
(Me in my head: “We’re breaking up?”)


"What’s up your ass?" 
"I no longer want to be your partner: that’s what’s up my ass."


"I mean, does this feel like a relationship?" 
"I mean...wait, what?" 
"No, you go 'head."
"I mean, honestly, does this feel like a relationship to you?" 


"You're acting different." 
"Yeah, yeah. You're acting different." 


"If you need to, you can call me back, OK?"
"OK, goodnight, then, OK? 
"Hi. You said I could call back." 
"Yeah, yeah, of course." 

Poor Nick...Poor Mom

The actual basketball courts where it all "went down." 

One afternoon many, many years ago, my mom dropped me off at a schoolyard near our house. This made sense because the schoolyard, known to everybody who used it as “the park,” was my favorite place to play. And how couldn’t it be? It had basketball courts, handball courts, monkey bars and swings. 
Usually, anytime I’d go to the park, my friends, or at least a friend, would already be there. But on this particular afternoon, I was having a hard time finding anyone. On the basketball courts, however, I ran into a kid I knew, Nick. Nick was about three years older than I was, so he would have been about 13 at the time. I remember that Nick was a nice kid, and I never had any problems with him. 

Anyway, on this day, Nick decided, for whatever reason, that he wanted to play fight with me. Moments after he greeted me--I think we were actually the only two people on the basketball courts--he grabbed me in a headlock and wouldn’t let go. I might have tried to get out of the headlock--I hope I did--but all of it was just a joke, and we knew that. 

Suddenly, though, in the middle of our horsing around, I hear my mom. 

“Get off him! Get the fuck off him, you son of a bitch! I’ll kill you! Get the fuck off him! Now!”

Apparently, my mom had seen what was going on from her car--I personally thought that she had driven away--and had come down to rescue me. The only thing was, of course, I didn’t need any rescuing. 

“Ma, it’s OK, we’re just joking, we’re just playing.” My mom was now on the basketball courts with Nick and me, and all three of us were standing in close proximity. 

“You get off of him, you hear me,” my mom said. 

“Ma, it’s just a joke; I know him--it’s Nick. I know him. We were just joking.” 

“Well it didn’t look like a joke.” 

Nick just looked on, stunned. He didn’t say anything. I was absolutely mortified. 

“Ma, it’s fine, I’m fine, please...” 

And with that, my mom backed off. She told me she'd see me later, walked out of the park and drove away. 

I don’t think Nick ever talked to me after that again.  

Tuesday, August 04, 2020


So this morning I went onto my balcony to play guitar. I had just begun strumming when I saw a wasp on one of the railing’s balusters. The wasp didn’t seem to be doing too well. He was motionless, and when I got up close to examine him, his antennae were moving very slowly. His wings also weren't that translucent. 

To try to help the little fella, or at least give him a small treat before death, I went into my kitchen for some honey. Back on the balcony, I smeared a fingertip’s worth of the sweet stuff about a centimeter above the wasp’s head. It was like magic! The wasp all of a sudden started crawling upwards, and before I knew it was using this tiny little, straw-like mouthpart of his (I guess it’s called a proboscis) to suck up the honey.

I think I might have saved the wasp because later, when I checked to see if he was still there, I saw that he had flown away. There was still someone honey on the railing. Maybe an evening treat? 

Monday, August 03, 2020


A holy-fuck-I-live-in-Europe moment:

"What are you looking for, sweety, 50 cent pieces or 20?

Cake First

The other day we ate breakfast at a café that was at the corner of Schubertstrasse and Mendelssohnstrasse. There was a row of tables outside the café, and a wicker beach chair was set up at each table. Standing in front of an unoccupied table--two tables were already taken--we wondered if we should first go into the café to order or to take a seat and wait to be served. This question was settled after we noticed a laminated card on one of the tables. It said, “Please order inside.”

After we placed our orders--two lattes and two pieces of cake--we walked back outside and took a seat. I had a book and began reading to you. But a few moments after I started, I began to feel self-conscious. After all, there were people sitting only a few tables away, and I thought I might be disturbing them. You noticed that I didn’t feel 100 percent comfortable and asked me if I’d like to come sit next to you in the beach chair. I thought all my problems were solved, but the moment I sat down next to you, I noticed it was way hotter in the beach chair. The hood was probably keeping in the heat. Nevertheless, I ignored my discomfort and continued to read.

After a few minutes, the waitress came with our cake. Each piece was on a plate and she put both plates on the table. She then went back inside the cafe. I was expecting her to return momentarily with the lattes, but she didn’t. I thought that I was maybe being impatient, but then another couple minutes passed, and another, and another...

What the fuck?” I finally said. I had been trying to hold back my annoyance but couldn’t any longer. “Where the fuck is she?”

“I don’t get it, either.”

“I mean, who does that? Who brings the cake first?”

“It makes no sense, you know, because that’s how they make money. How many times have you finished your first drink before they even come with the food? Then you have to order another drink.”

“It’s like, Waitressing 101. Bring the fucking coffee first. What are we supposed to do with just cake?”

“It’s ridiculous; it makes no sense.”

“OK, I’ll tell you what. If I get to the end of this page and she still hasn’t brought out the coffees, I’ll go in and ask, OK?”


About three-quarters down the page the waitress came out with our coffees.

“Oh, perfect,” I said, as I moved the plates with cake out of the way to make room for the lattes.

“There we go, two lattes,” the waitress said.

“Awesome, thank you,” I said.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Burial at Sea

As Martina and I were lying in bed the other day, I noticed that there was an insect on the wall; it looked like a mosquito.
“Is that a mosquito?” Martina said.
“I was just wondering that!”
She got up to see.
“Yup, it’s a mosquito.”
“Will you get it?”
“Yes, of course,” she said, as she stepped off the bed.
While she was in the kitchen getting a piece of paper towel to kill the thing with, I said, “I’m just going to go wash up real quick, OK?”
“Yeah, yeah,” she said, smiling. “You don’t have to be part of the killing.”
I laughed. “I know.”
As I was showering, Martina came into the bathroom and showed me the dead mosquito in her hand.
“Got it, huh?”
“Yup.” She then went over to the toilet and dropped it in. “Wasserbestattung,”  she said.
I laughed again. After all, Wasserbestattung means “burial at sea.”

Martina Chess

So I've been teaching Martina how to play chess, and today we played a really good game. Although I won, Martina really applied pressure at certain points. Especially impressive was her 20th move, Knight to h6, check. After that move I really had to defend precisely. Good job, Martina, and keep up the good work!