By today's shimmering steel of morning I reevaluated yesterday's brilliant blue behind pregnant clouds not as the triumphant return of late summer but as brittle last breaths foreboding autumn's dominion.
Last night as the previously crisp breeze became its chill twin Rainer and I took a walk to the Laotian restaurant on Willie Street, a hole-in-the-wall past which for years I had walked and ridden but at which I had never eaten.
The service was good, the food better, and the iced coffee just what I needed after having been unable to get it at my normal watering holes in Berlin nor at the food cart on the campus mall. Their medium-spicy was more than spicy enough this evening.
That afternoon the perky married Italian-American hand-talker continuously called him Rainier, but he figured that was better than the alternatives; his more Germanically-named girlfriend had more difficulties. The only woman's number I got that afternoon belonged to Melissa, the TDS representative who can set up my line if call her tomorrow.
An evening earlier I skipped soccer and spent more time at the library to finish grading writing assignments, and then left in a hurry so as to catch an open-mic poetry-slam at the Maduro Cigar Bar, only a block or two from the hostel. J's husband, M, was performing, as were a few less-talented folks, and after M was finished the quality went rapidly down the metaphorical hill. Earlier that day I had participated in some much-needed-relaxation-via-fiction-writing ... crappy fiction, but much fun. It is a sad state of affairs when my crappy fiction is still better than most of the poetry performed in a cigar bar.
I return to J&M by way of J, with whom I met today for lunch and an interview of the non-job-obtaining variety, but rather the interview-a-teacher about pedagogy type, and lunch at Amy's, home of tasty broccoli-cheese soup in a bread bowl, lasted a couple hours before we both returned to the library, which, earlier in the day, had hosted an annoyingly ill-timed fire-drill, although it is to be mentioned that the repeated “An emergency has been called in; please exit by way of the nearest stairs; do not use the elevators” announcement is an improvement over sharp alarms. It also provided a great opportunity to steal library books, were one so inclined. I got to see and use a staircase that I had never before experienced.
At times I wish I were a librarian.
My students are this week comparing and contrasting US and German systems of education ... it's a superficial treatment, but in addition to some mildly-fun texts, the main point is to get them to read, write, and discuss critically. This is the contemporary-events class ... not the introduction to literature. Tomorrow we discuss homeschooling; Friday we get evolution. And while the former text would seem, much like the latter, to really be about the US and thus how the Germans view the US, the context is a bit more complicated, for what inspired people to report on the topic in the first place seems to be localized incidents in Germany involving evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who want to homeschool their children because they believe the state schools (and even private schools) offer too little religious instruction and are too sinful ... sex-ed and all that. Take, for example, Scheila Lange at homeschoolblogger.com: "We also have Tobias waiting for us in heaven since 2-04" and "the fight for homeschooling has just been too emotionally exhausting to continue, yet we are still 100% convinced that God IS calling us to do so."
I am almost reminded of growing up in Idaho. Almost.
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