Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Unfit for Life

Learning German is making me even more unfit as a human being. As if having studied Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, Japanese, Ukrainian, and Latin have made me either marketable or more lovable! But German is becoming a special case: I’m not learning to communicate (i.e., how to buy falafel from the Turks) but rather to sit in a dark room alone with several dictionaries in order to decode, decipher, un-encrypt—to translate, carry over—semantic meaning from the Devil’s tongue to the language of angels. And I’m learning this “skill” from an angry Romanian woman whose smell I’ve grown accustomed to already.

So, I won’t be making friends in German. That’s involves a specialized vocabulary that my skill set can not at the present time manage. My morning language course, too, can attest to the fact that in German I will be (in the most absolute sense) all by myself: I’m not only alone in my endeavor to take the advanced reading/translation course alone but I’m also enduring, surviving the more remedial—actually the most remedial—course in the program. I’m surprised each morning when the short bus does not appear outside my dorm to carry me off to class with the (other) retards. (But at least I actually brung myself a real wordbook from Amerika to helps me with the studying.)

Yesterday afternoon I spent about four hours translating selections of Kandinsky’s aesthetic theory, and now I have a few pages of Walter Benjamin to tackle, conquer, capitulate to by my next class Monday. Benjamin and Celan are the main reasons I’m here in the first place learning the unlearnable with the unlearned, but I guess I’m not the first to blame my misery on G-d’s chosen.

Now I have five days all to myself. The others—those people—are heading off to the great Benelux conundrum, but I, because of UNRESOLVED ISSUES stemming from the GREAT UNPLEASANTNESS cannot fathom venturing near that part of the planet at this time. Instead, I’ll be visiting some of the cities nearby, exploring the offerings of Dokumenta in Kassel, the sculpture exhibit in Münster, and the great Civilized City of Köln. To further prove just how useless my German is, I will be tackling each new city purely in my native tongue. Halleluja! Hosanna hosanna! Pray that the train union strikes do not keep me in Marburg….

1 comment:

  1. "The others" piss me off too. Every damn day. My day is starting better just from reading this post.