Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brain-sizzled uncle

I was at my niece's second birthday party yesterday. She went to fetch two zebra toys and showed them to me, to which I exclaimed: Giraffe!

She replied with a clear and short no and gave me a look you couldn't imagine.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I'm so patient you wouldn't believe it. There must be a halo above my head.



Here's an ugly golden one, but at least it's a halo

Saturday, January 7, 2012

the Talk

So, it's a bit scary.

Waiting for that talk which might change the course your life is going to take. Thinking about all the possible scenarios that could occur. The best and the worst. And all the possible ones in between.

You don't want to keep your hopes up, since you've been disappointed so many times. But then again, it would be about time you start thinking a bit more positive. Everyone says you're too dark anyway.

So you try to find equilibrium. Whatever that is.

And you try to be so confident. And ready. And you read up and you prepare and you try to sit up straight. And you fix your hair and check what the camera is showing in the background. You don't want your shit to sneak up on you and show up in the image.

And you ponder upon how you pronounce your Rs and whether they sound too non-native-speaker like. And then you start to over think and you start sounding like a second-generation [insert nationality] who can barely speak the language without a hard-core accent. Any you panic. You start choosing words, but you end up picking out the wrong ones. And you get caught up on your own phrasing.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

A day at work

Note: The story is a couple of years old, but I'll keep it in the present tense.

It's a regular day at the shop. 

Anyone who's ever worked in a shop knows how it goes. There are bad and there are less bad days. It all depends. Maybe some of your coworkers will come to work all bitchy, maybe it's gonna be a dumb-ass customer or maybe you just got up on the wrong foot. But for the sake of the story, let's say it's a regular day.

There's always something to do, whether it includes a customer or not. At those rare moments the shop is empty, you use the time to fix something up, deal with some unavoidable number crunching or, from time to time, just enjoy an eventual minute of peace.

So I'm walking around, fixing up incense sticks and some price tags when a lady comes in. Not one which would seem a regular customer, but we have those that everyone just hates. Everyone except our boss. Our dumb-ass-kissing boss. 
It's the kind that comes into the shop wearing a thousand bucks on each hand and three animals on her but is ready to haggle about a discount for half an hour. And she runs into me. That's my luck.

I'm not the pushy kind, so I ask her if she needs any help. She politely declines (maybe seeing I'm on the verge here), but I see her eyes going around all lizard-like. I see that in the tram, when we're going fast enough, but people are still trying to catch everything with their eyes. Kind of open-eyes-REM style...

I tell her she can feel free to look around and that she may ask me for any help she might need and then I go by my business. She's roaming the shop, all five thousand articles there must be, but she's not happy. So I take a deep breath and I go closer, asking if she 
may be looking for something special.

- 'I'm looking for Buddha', she says.

- 'Okay, a specific one perhaps?' (Since there's always some shit being advertised in some fancy magazines, so people want exactly that Buddha or whatever.)

- 'No, nothing really specific.'

- 'Alright, we have this wooden one, there is a bigger one in stone and there are some smaller ones over here', I present them as if I were a host at a car show. Or TeleShop.

She is frowning and I see she's not happy with any of them.

- 'Are there any more?'

- 'No, I'm sorry. I could check the storage for you, but only tomorrow.'

She frowns even more.

It probably doesn't sound like an exciting job, but you wouldn't imagine what kind of questions people are able to ask.

So she says thanks, but she'll go and look somewhere else.

Some of my coworkers get back from their break and the office and whatever and I start telling them the story. It's always the nicest part of the day, laughing at the stuff that's happened. And quite sad, now that I think of it.

As I'm finishing up the story and we're trying to catch our breath ('cause there's like a thousand Buddhas in the shop), the lady is back at the door, swinging it wide open with one hand and she walks inside like she's carrying the Olympic torch, while actually carrying a small paper bag in her other hand.

- 'I found the real Buddha!', she says and goes all Kathy Bates on me, flashing me with her glare from all across the shop.

Turning around vigorously on her heel, she starts closing the door, but she stops, swinging them in the other direction and keeping them that way, leaving the shop wide open. She looks at me again and, probably proud of the fact that she's made me have to go and close the door, she storms out.

My colleagues are still standing close to the door since I was telling the story. There's a short moment of disbelief, silence and wide-open eye-gazing and then it's all lost in an avalanche of laughter. They're mimicking her lifting up the paper bag, finding the real Buddha and all that. I'm not sure if I'd be better of crying or laughing, but I tag along and laugh at how silly some people are.

Now that I think of it, maybe she did find the real Buddha.

Photo from the Tibetan Museum in Hüttenberg, Austria

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dunno how many words there are, but it happened in a club in Augsburg

So, he's one of those guys who walk around showing off, bulldozing their way through the crowd and winking at every and any girl along the way. I really couldn't care less, but he's somehow always in front of me, pushing his way into the crowd or elbowing me and stepping on my feet all the time . Something I don't really appreciate.

And so he gets to talk to a girl and (as I'm guessing) they decide to sit on a bar and talk a bit. It's more of a big crate of some sort than a bar, but being that it's an underground club, it serves the purpose of a bar more and more.

He jumps on it in one go, probably showing off how athletic he is. She's a bit more on the shy side and it takes her some preparation and bottle-and-glass translocating, but she still manages somehow. Now there are full as well as empty glasses surrounding her in at least three directions. She's even leaning against an almost full glass of Erdinger, but she's giggling and smiling and enjoying herself and, ultimately, not noticing.

Being the freak that I am and seeing that glass as a potential threat (a wet floor, hectic frenzy, a stampede and a violent death), I move it after a couple of minutes of looking at and observing it as if it were the only thing in the room.

There, now it's in in the middle part of the table and more or less safe and posing no threat. Phew, right?

They roll up a couple of cigarettes and look around for a light. As if it's going to turn up from thin air. He turns around toward me and waves his hand in front of my face. Maybe he thinks I'm a magician or something. Or that I'm blind. I only know it's annoying.

He shows me an imaginary lighter in his hand and the cigarette in between his lips is jumping up and down like an eel. I gesture empty hands and no cigarette in them either, but he's still looking at me, probably hoping I'd be the one to go around the club and ask for fire.

He, of course, is not moving his ass and me, going all private-Ryan on another couple of glasses and bottles that keep clacking around as those two laugh and swing. And among all that glass I see a box of matches. Right behind the douche's back.

So I pick it up and open it to see a single match. Kind of Fifth Element, don't you think? Being that it's dark, I can't even see if it's burned out, but I poke him in the back and hand it to him. He glances at me as if I was asking for money or I'm his lackey or something.

He makes an okay-it’s-not-a-lighter-but-it-will-serve-the-purpose kind of face and lights his and his supposed girlfriend’s cigarette.

And it’s a non-smoking club.

Preparation, shmeparation

So, it's more and more interesting and exciting. Well, in my head at least.

Taking in account that the last interview went really good, I'm hoping the one with the boss will also go well. I've been preparing, reading up, reading on and gathering as much info as I can for the interview.

I got two letters of recommendation from my university professors, so that should help a bit. I also got a copy of the Journal that published my professional work. Weird to see one’s own name on the Contents page.

I still think it's quite exciting that we live in a world where job interviews, college lectures and group chats are taking place online, via Skype. I might as well be just a bit too nooby, but I still think it's awesome. To bring all those possibilities even closer and make them even more real. Isn't that great?

In any case, I'm eager to welcome the upcoming Monday and talk to the boss.

As I was telling Anna last night, I don't wanna end up disappointed, but on the other hand, I think this might be a good time to finally start thinking on a more positive side. I'm sure many of the people who know me would agree.

So, I can only hope for the best, hope that the boss likes me, as well as my résumé and that I get the job offer. If that happens, I'll start squeaking or wheezing or giggling or something.

But that'd only be a short embarrassing moment at the beginning of a new, lovely story.

A copy of the Journal that published my professional paper


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