Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead. I read Orlando when I wake up this morning—afternoon. I am overcome by the beauty of her words, of the construction of sentences, but also of the ideas represented. I am reminded how ahead of her time she is—or is that what I mean? She brings so much clarity to me, I read her slowly, drinking in each word, wanting it not to end, wanting to understand each sentence, sometimes struggling to. And then getting it, some strange nuance or reference and thinking once more how brilliant she is.

I needed something tonight, today, whatever time it was when I woke up. Someone’s arms around me, someone to snuggle with. I wanted to watch a movie and be a vegetable and I don’t have a TV or a DVD in my computer. I’m feeling sluggish and know that I need to write and read and keep working on my art—but I’ve been crippled by the amount that I worked this weekend. I panicked when I had no income, but as soon as I got a job, I realized how it only takes a few days of meaningless but hard work like waitressing to get in the way of the rest of your life! Plus, the drinking adds to it, which is difficult not to do when you work at a bar and all your fellow employees are offering you drinks every hour, at least. Granted, it was Halloween last night, but when you work for 13 hours, which I did, you can have like 10 shots, feel drunk but not too drunk, and kind of fuck with your head still at the same time. Today I feel like I’m coming down and my brain feels all dumb. It makes me want to quit drinking forever, like I’m gonna get real stupid soon.

My god, my job at White Trash! … it is an old Chinese restaurant on Tor Strasse in Mitte with all of the kitsch still there and now gourmet burgers and soups and teriyaki chicken salads. The boss gets drunk, I’m used to that, while he watches us work. But he encourages us to drink, takes shots with us, jokes around and trashes the place. Stays ‘til seven in the morning and smashes shot glasses on the floor laughing with glee. Employees get warnings not for drinking or even for doing coke, I know Wally is a coke addict and there’s the question have you done a line with Wally yet? … [No I haven’t, no I don’t really] but Tesh got a “warning” for offering ecstasy to other employees while at work. We’re not on a clock. There is no clock in the place, no computer, not even a cash register. Not a single receipt. We pay ourselves cash at the end of the night, right out of the drawer, 10 euros an hour. Last night the bar tender was a total bitch to me it made me want to walk up to her and just ask her straight out if there was something about me that she didn’t like. I know that White Trash has this “I can be a bitch and get away with it” kind of an image but all in all it’s a little weird, really, because I have no reason to be a bitch and it doesn’t really make me feel good to be a bitch or be bitched at. On the other hand I suppose I could do it if I had to—and I wonder how much it will take me just to snap and fucking yell at some of those girls. But you know, I’ve already done that in my life. I guess sometimes that kind of thing just makes me think, I spent the first 18 years of my life in a house where everyone yelled at each other all the time! I know how to do that! And I just don’t want to anymore. I don’t understand this kind of coldness I get from some Germans—I’ve gotten it more lately, and I wonder is it just about me not having the German skills to flirt my way out of it and be all charming? Are they pissed at me for not speaking more German? It got so frustrating last night that I really swore for about 5 hours that I was going to throw in the towel and move back to San Francisco. I figure, if I’m waiting tables anyway, I might as well do it where I love everyone. But then, I know that this experience is nothing like the one I would have in the united states. And then, miraculously, everyone I know and like in Berlin (with the exception of Samson and Athena) … Marco, Ayana, Brad, Krylon, Brandon, Mella, Tom, Noah, Wolfgang … came into White Trash and it ended up being a great dance party in the wee hours of the morning. It was so fucking crazy there all night I can’t even explain. At the beginning of the night Wally and friends dragged in Autumn leaves and scattered them all over the floor, a big Halloween mess with pumpkin guts, too, for us to wade through as we fought through the crowds to serve our burgers and fries and soups and salads. Berlin is so fucking irreverent and so fucking chaotic and so fucking out of control. And … and … Krylon superstar as the Halloween MC. Halloween in Berlin means scary, not that I’m a [ ], but a ho-[ ] thing that happens in the US. Halloween in Berlin is about gore and guts and grotesque costuming and makeup. And they do it and they do it well. Shit! Like this one guy, he came in with all these needles pierced through his skin and household tools stuck through his ears. I’m not talking fake, I’m talking seriously pierced through with long needles. And blood on his tanktop spelling out something I can no longer remember. Some private party for Redbull with photographers and cameramen and Brits asking for beers and people running relay races, literally relay races, while followed by cameramen through the bar and me with a tray of brown tequila shots on my arm trying not to spill them. Us drinking shots constantly until 7:30 in the morning, which was really like 8:30 because of daylight savings time. Some guy towards the end of the night how was dressed as one of the seven dwarves and had a huge fake penis stuck in his pants gave me this incredible necklace he had—it was a cat skull on a rope that he had dug out of a cat dead on the side of the road when he was 15 years old. It clearly had magical powers and I gave it back to him at the end of the night. He also gave me a crown of thorns, so by 7:30 in the morning, on top of my black veil I had this crown of thorns and my red and black makeup was dripping all down my face … I’m sure I looked like hell. I fell in the turquoise and red Chinese fountain with a golden angel up my ass (not literally but it was poking me hard) and leaned over and kissed Mella. Its nice to be able to begin to have friends again who I can count as friends. I grabbed Tom, one of the few people I actually really like at white trash, at the end and got him to dance with me saying turn me, turn me! And him not understanding my meaning ‘cause he’s learning English. That’s when the kid with the needles piercing him all over faked passing out and I really thought he was over and out but no! It was a joke. Funny. My friend Brandon dressed in the tallest spiked heels as Lucinda. [the night before I went to Barbie Deinhoffs to find Brandon and Mella and we ended up playing improvisational theatre games together until 7 in the morning, when two more customers came into the bar … one guy from Guatemala that I ended up talking to for about an hour just cause it felt so good to speak Spanish again. And he was telling me about racism and being present and being real and …] I cleaned off the tables with all the glass and the shit and just threw it right on the floor, me the last waitress to stay cause I needed the money and I didn’t mind exactly. Carved pumpkins with candles melting on the bar. My friend Brandon getting some guy who’s “straight” to suck his cock and … at the beginning of the night the makeup artist who had been hired by Wolfgang did incredible flesh wounds on all of us, mine a disgusting road rash all over my shoulder and blacked out teeth like they had all been knocked out. I told everyone it was a motorcycle accident and Brandon kissed me and made me feel like someone cared and loved me here in Berlin like I haven’t felt yet here. Brandon is a gay fashion designer from nyc and from the start we really connected, heart to heart, like for the first time someone here was interested in my life and how it was going for me, and how hard its been, and what its like to really not know anyone and have to be an outsider. So I thank my stars for him, seriously—and … I was leaning across the table, kissed him on the mouth and Ayana said I had nice tits—cause she had seen them at le’Space when Krylon Mella Brandon and I all got naked. Then 6:30 in the morning we’re just waiting for everyone to finish their party and Noah and I want to go the fuck home, but we can’t so we do shots of Jaiggermeister … The strange thing is that my boss is the one sort of holding us all up, cause its him and all his friends and maybe a few stragglers we don’t know but they refuse to kick anyone at all out and still he’s paying us to stay. And when I left I kissed wolfgang, the German two-cheek way, and the expression on his face, so happy to have been kissed by me, at least he seemed to be. I swear its bizarre-o world and I can’t even remember what normal life is like. Was it like this?

You know the best part about last night was riding home on my bike, alone. Seeing Berlin at 7:30 am all those school kids and mothers on the way to school. I stopped at a bakery and treated myself to a Danish, so fucking good, chocolate and vanilla creme. And the woman asked me, Was ist heute? (she was wondering why I had all this freaky makeup on and looked like I got hit by a truck and had blacked out teeth.) And being crazy and a little drunk I decided to just answer her in Spanish and I said Ich weiss nichtel dia de los muertos.

I got home and fell asleep, woke still only like five hours later but that was 1:30 in the afternoon. I got an itch to rearrange my room so now the bed isn’t blocking the French doors, and I can open them wide and there is this little railing with a place for plants. I can open them in the morning and stand there and look out, for the last few days of the warm spell. I like it better now—feels like its mine now. Too bad I’m going to have to find another place in January or February.

Today I got a third job, I got a babysitting gig that I had interviewed for, and they took a while to get back to me. I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but I just go take care of these kids for about three hours and speak English with them so they’ll learn. They are so sweet and the mom is really nice too. They live in the suburbs of Berlin and I take the train for 45 minutes to get there. Its this perfectly nice neighbourhood with big houses, kind of like the size of those in Claremont area of College Avenue. Actually the whole neighbourhood kind of looks like that. And there was a real German family living there with kids who are in school and take piano lessons. And it was so funny cause when I asked the little girl what she wanted to be for Halloween, that was a week ago when I first met them, the mom answered for her and said, “she wants to be a princess but I told her she couldn’t, she should be a witch, because a princess isn’t scary.” (‘member cause Halloween in Germany has to be scary!)

For now I’m going to work all three jobs, since really none of them are hiring me for too many hours per week, but it might get to be too much and then I’ll probably quit the cafe, since that’s probably the least fun. However, it is actually the best place to learn German. Still, I guess I am picking up a fair amount at white trash too.

I bought myself a plant today—I had to venture out before my coffee cause I had no milk and no coffee and no orange juice left in the fridge. I bought the plant as a treat to myself since I’ve started to have an income and it only costs 2 euro. It is beautiful with small little red flowers and lots of leaves, it is kind of a Christmas plant, which is coming soon, and here they don’t do thanksgiving so there is nothing now between Halloween and Christmas. I am going to make myself an advent wreath, light the candles one by one, and meditate every Sunday with the lights out. I can’t remember, I think we’ve talked about it before, that I love advent and some of the traditions of Christianity, but I don’t believe in the creed and I can’t really call myself a Christian. On the other hand, I love the kind of introspection that the period of advent creates, and I celebrate it as a time of meditation every Sunday in December.

I sit here, now 2:40 in the morning, this is my new schedule. I feel like the writing has only just now started to flow. I figure that I may as well give into this entirely nocturnal lifestyle. It only makes me sad not to see much daylight. But I guess its worth it, just to see those very early morning hours sometimes on my bike—I swear the most beautiful time of the day. I noticed that they put a photobooth—the kind with a strip of four pictures—down on kastanianalle … just out on the sidewalk over there, for anyone to use coming home from the bars. It is the coolest thing ever, but I haven’t had anyone to do it with yet. I vacillate between pangs of loneliness and then genuine satisfaction, a sense of wholeness and purpose, to a sense of listlessness and lack of goals. My latest idea was to apply for a fullbright to stay here in Germany and write a book about sex and performance, and the way in which the tradition of sexual openness manifests itself in the culture of queer performance art here … how so many foreigners are drawn to it. And then again, how sex is still, despite the openness, a site of struggle and exploitation and controversy. This is also my pitch to the exberliner … if I can start an article about this very topic by interviewing performers who come to berlin from other places. And speaking of, I think I should write an article about the election, perhaps if I go to Potsdammer Platz tonight to watch the election on the big screen I can write up something. Sorry, at this point I’m just talking to myself. I’ll be watching the States tonight, hoping for the best.

Much love.

Everything appeared in its tenderest form, yet, just as it seemed on the point of dissolution, some drop of silver sharpened it to animation. Thus it was that talk should be, thought Orlando (indulging in foolish reverie); that society should be, that friendship should be, that love should be. For, Heaven knows why, just as we have lost faith in human intercourse some random collocation of barns and trees or a haystack and a wagon presents us with so perfect a symbol of what is attainable that we begin the search again. —Virginia Woolf


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