Thursday, November 22, 2007

At home it is Thanksgiving. Here it is Thursday.

I can only imagine the abdominal pain caused by the ample mirth which the Fates must endure when they compare my romantic imaginings and plans for a day with their omnipotent schedule. In it's entirety the day was performed with a larger than usual helping of charm, and yet it was a mere tarnished silver reflection of the day that I had intended. Not that I complain. No, it would be unusually ironic of me bordering on sacrilegious to be anything but grateful on this particular holiday, so I will content myself with a narration of the day's occurrences interspersed with accounts of my thwarted intentions.

It has been the tradition of my family, since our uprooting and transference to Oregon, to make our way to the Pacific ocean for a weekend together every third weekend after the first Tuesday in November. In light of the difficulty of attempting to prepare an entire turkey dinner in a strange kitchen with or without the proper means, utensils, crockery and assistance, my family has also forgone the fowl tradition and replaced it with a main course of ham. So to keep with these traditions of untradtionalism, it was originally my intention to spend the day on the coast of Germany, which fortunately is not very far; frolic on the beach, watch the sun set, enjoy a personal picnic, and return home fully self-satisfied.
Last week, (or was it earlier this week?) I was asked if I would be willing to look after the little man for an hour or so while his mother kept an appointment with a client. Her assumption was that I was going to attend my language school in the morning and go to the coast in the afternoon; a question which I had not entirely settled in my own mind trying to balance my desire to attend class with the urge to flee the city as soon as possible. So, ever the one to bend unnecessarily far to maintain good graces, I agreed to leave my class half way through to watch der Junger.
The morning went entertainingly; I had to run the last block or so to catch my bus, much to the amusement of the driver and a cluster of three or four ten year old boys; I was early enough to class to steal my preferred seat which is usually occupied by Essofa, who could pummel me for the offense were he not rightly afraid it would come off as ungentlemanly; according to plan I left my class unfinished and rushing to Sabine's office, I quickly weighed myself down with a Baby Bjorn containing the aforementioned child, and stepped out of the office to explore the nearby bookstores; finishing her appointment rather later than expected, the three of us drove home making a pause at the grocery store and bakery to complete my requisite picnic expectations. By the time I had loaded my backpack, eaten my lunch, donned the necessary layers of warmth, and made my way to the bus stop it was almost two in the afternoon. My late start was further delayed as I, for the second time in one day, ran to catch my bus, this time missing it by fifty feet or so. Since the next bus was not due for another half hour, I decided to walk past the next three stops until I arrived at the fourth stop on my route (15 minutes or so) which is the junction of two bus lines. Fortunately, I had only ten or so minutes to wait for the next bus, and arrived in one sleepy piece at the train station where, having missed the previous train by no more than fifteen minutes, I waited over a cup of coffee for my conveyance to Wilhelmshaven. The ride itself was marvelous, an opinion I have come to expect from myself with respect to riding the train, but I found as I watched the sky on my journey that I had yet again miscalculated, this time assuming that the relative latitude of my former and current homes were more in accord with each other. Unfortunately, they are not so similar as I had assumed and the sun was set when I arrived at my destination. So I found myself a corner of the harbor in Wilhelmshaven, sat on a pile of what once must have been concrete blocks but now more closely resemble a pile of discarded building materials, and ate my dinner of salami and bleu cheese brie on baguette. Although sitting there watching the moon rise did not comply with my earlier imagination of watching the sun set over breaking waves from a sandy perch, beyond the shared presence of water, it was a charming meal. When I finished it I resolved to walk until I discovered the actual North Sea instead of the half-full harbor I had been observing. I have no clear understanding of either the time or the distance that I walked, but my sore limbs tell me it was certainly far enough. When I eventually found myself on a promenade, I mustered the courage to ask a kindly looking pedestrian gentleman where I could go to hear the waves. He chuckled and answered that there aren't waves in the area because there is not enough wind, and where am I from? This opened up a pleasant although short conversation about how I found myself at the end of the earth, to use his expression. Following his implications as to the direction of the shore, I clambered across some moss and muscle beslippered rocks and performed some tame frolics upon the sand finally closing my performance with a solo rendition of "Be Thou My Vision" under what appeared to be very nearly a full moon. I continued my exploration of the town by following the promenade for some distance then doubling back through the city on a different route to the train station. Along this previously untraversed ground, I happened upon an old and majestic church which was further enhanced in its appeal by the audible token of an organist rehearsing on a large instrument, and a cafe which was snuggled in the corner of a Vespa dealership the primary decoration of the establishment being several of the revered machines themselves on display in the window. I arrived in ample time to the station and entertained myself by wandering through the adjoining mall cleverly named the Northern Passage and reading the famous papers arranged by Mr. Boz; which latter event likely accounts for my observation of the ironic and humorous this evening. Such was my real and my imagined day which I leave, as it finally closes, quite tired and satisfied. I only hope that your holiday also went well.


Teal said...

hooray! that sounds like a rather good day, despite being thwarted many times over.

Happy Thanksgiving Valerie!

sufferingsummer said...

I love this. Both the writing and the picturing of you experiencing this.

Anonymous said...

Lovely and amazing. I am proud of the way you are taking on the possibilies afforded by being away... but truthfully a little nervous... can I send you mace? No joke, would it be legal?
It was wonderful to talk on Thanksgiving (ours). I'm having a sad adjustment to having you gone for the holidays, but adjusting all the same. Love you, Mm

Valerie said...

Teal- yeah, it was a good day... even before I got to the retrospective point when even bad days seem at the very least funny.
Summer- thanks for the encouragement!
Mom-I know you're worrying, but don't. You've raised a girl who is big and seemingly athletic enough to never get messed with even by her fellow students. That and I'm always cautious. I have serious doubts that mace is legal and honestly, I would forget to carry it.Thanks for the thought, though.