Timmy The Boy Scout

It may have been one of the first times since I have been in Berlin that I took a ‘commuter train’, i.e. a train that people take going to or coming from their place of work.

I had just dandled my way to the Belgian embassy (which is difficult, if you bother to look up the definition of ‘to dandle’) where I finally tried to register myself as an expat (of course, I didn’t succeed in registering, because I had hundreds of documents with me proving my German residence, but not the one that they required). They were reallly nice there, though – talked to a lovely lady who would invite me for receptions at the embassy and was keen to know more about what I did (reminds me about that time in Sweden where we were invited at the embassy for dinner, just because the ambassador had a free night on his schedule (which I guess must happen a lot, since I don’t imagine there to be many diplomatic conflicts going on between Belgium and Sweden… or Germany for that matter)).

The linguist in me couldn’t let go of the fact that the plaque of the Belgian embassy that they recovered from the rubble from the Second World War translated ‘embassy’ as ‘boodschap’ (or ‘message’ – ‘Belgian Message’) as per the German ‘belgische Botschaft’. Nowadays, ‘boodschap’ is either used as an errand one has to run or colloquial as a bowel or bladder movement (large or small ‘message’), which made me imagine what a ‘Belgian Message’ would look like. The plaque was really nice; it had bullet holes and everything!

Anyway, on my way back (after a stop-over at the film development factory (or ‘shop’)) I found myself on an S-bahn train filled with commuters. It occurred to me that it was that time of day when ‘regular’ people get off of work. This meant full trains and standing up, something I’m not accustomed to, probably due to my irregular train usage hours.

An older woman resting on a cane stood at my stop where I had to get on. Stumbling on the train, she scanned the seats for any empty ones, but all seats were filled and everyone looked away and those that did spot her quickly looked away too. After two stops, when several people left seats that were quickly taken by younger and fitter people than her (she tried to take them, but was of course too slow), it dawned on me that she would not get a seat from anyone on this train. People coming from work in this particular competitive society have a sense of entitlement that I don’t share with them. It really annoyed me I couldn’t find the right German words to just ask that bunch of people if any of them would like to help an old lady, but I couldn’t just let it go, since it was annoying me so, so much.

Another seat came free and I jumped in front of two people who tried to fill it (and who did notice her struggling, I’m sure of that), so that she could sit there. I had to guide her, since she didn’t really believe me at first. Confused, but incredibly grateful, she rested herself and I did the same to my mind.

Why did I never join the boy scouts?

The Vanishing Act

As I am lying in the sand of the surrounding desert, I whistle while grains of sand are blown on top of me, creating a slight tornado around the area where my breath leaves my rounded lips. Perhaps ‘tornado’ is too strong a word – my whistling just isn’t as forceful, I must admit – I don’t see a path of destruction behind me whenever I partake in the fine art that is whistling… Mind you, perhaps that destruction is there and I am just selectively blind to notice it.

The dunes around me are slowly adjusting to my presence. They have noticed me, that much is sure. Curiously, yet cautiously, I notice them crawling closer to inspect this stranger among them.

A bit of sand enters the eye of my tornado and drops down into my mouth, causing the whistling to stop and my throat to release a cough. As if they are shy, I see the dunes retreating just a bit. Intruders can be violent, that much they know, but then they realise that there is no real reason for this particular intruder to be violent; I am lying naked among a bed of sand that they have created there. If I were a violent intruder, I’d at least have a knife with me with which I would ceaselessy stab the dunes to death. Of course, I could still be a dormant psychopath, but if that would be anyone’s attitude to a naked person lying in their midst, then the world would be a sad place after all.

The dunes move closer, having seen that I spat out the grain of sand, which I assume to them means I’m not attempting to eat any of them. Little by litte, sand begins to cover my limbs. I am whistling again, but the sound is beginning to echo now from the gradually higher and higher sand walls that are simultaneously moveing closer. I can feel the warmth of the sunkissed grains engulf me, making moving more difficult, breathing more tiresome.

The weight of it has turned me immobile. The dunes have given me my rite of passage to become one of them, or at least part of them. My mouth is the last part of my body to become covered by tons and tons of sand. The whistling tornado stops abruptly, my mouth is filled with sand as part of the dunes’ final display of their strength.

I smile (mostly in my mind, since physically smiling with a mouth full of sand just isn’t classy) and think:

Won’t be long now until I am transformed into a millions bits of sand…

Someone in Barcelona…

I like my current smartphonelessness (patent pending on that word).
Someone in Barcelona did me a favour.

Some might say he half-molested me in order to take a piece of what was once my property and make it his own (I’m fairly sure it was a boy, not being sexist, just realistic).


Well… I guess it depends on how you look at it. To take something from one’s back pocket down a pair of extremely tight-fitting trousers, you can’t really call it molestation, maybe not even half-molestation, because you know, then they would have at least done something.
In my mind, at the time, I was just considering an all-too-eager admirer with too much confidence. I remember a brief sensation, or maybe I imagine remembering it to make me feel better, but anyhow, split seconds where I thought my bottom was fondled, which had me arrogantly looking at someone without a face, who was probably already running away.

I could have gotten the phone blocked. But why bother? A thief needs to survive. We let our bankers steal our money and we’ll happily pay for their mistakes. I guess it’s only fair I support the thieves that actually take personal risks. Maybe I won’t shout this last sentence out loud; won’t want to seem like too easy a target.

I knew and know from experience that thievery is omnipresent among the Spanish; some people brush their teeth, others steal, that’s how the world works. But since I know, I will admit that these are transactions that take place with mutual consent so I can happily give them forgiveness. Spanishness is a birth defect, nothing less (to my Spanish friends reading this; know that I am just an outside observer and that you are an exception to any rule mentioned here).

The day after, we thought we had found the culprit. A midget, a gay one, wanted to seduce me. I was struck by his candour, his spirit, to go for the Tallest guy in the whole of Barcelona. 


I wanted to explain to him that that’s not the way you balance the universe. If that were the case, giraffes would be wooing ants and short stories would marry the Bible. 
Of course I did not have the Spanish vocab for all of this. Sure, I can talk sexy-talk in Spanish, but I can do that in any language known to mankind, as long as words aren’t a necessity. Everyone is blessed with a number of talents, I guess. *Coughs*. 
I remembered the couple of pimps and fat prostitutes that tried to "tempt" me into patronage the night before. With the incredibly seductive "OYE!" (pronounced "OY!AY!") a number of fat prostitutes tried to get my attention. I tried to play deaf, but that was a risky strategy, because for all I knew were Barcelona whores sign language teachers in their spare time. And in a fight with them, they’d have won, I have no shame to admit that. 
But no, I had survived the fat prostitutes and their pimps following me for ten minutes. The midget wanted my attention. 
Being small of stature, the boy (I want to say "man", really, but can’t) probably thought that my first minutes of ignoring his gazes and winks were due to his invisibility. So he upped the ante and took out his best material. 

What followed was a a visual display of obscenities and vulgarisms that I will not burden my innocent readers with. He turned bitter because there was no reciprocity. In his view, I guess both of us were freaks in this country of In-Betweeners.
It may be the last time that a midget goes after my affections, but I guess we all must make choices in life…
Mine was to not get raped by a midget, plain and simple. 

But was he my thief? He could have easily used his voluminous teeth to grab hold of my mobile in my back pocket, but using trusty old Pythagoras, I calculated that even on high heels, he would not have been tall enough to reach my back pocket. 
And no, my bottom isn’t that high, the midget was just that small…