Print Story There's almost certainly a word in German for it
By technician (Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:36:12 PM EST) (all tags)
A word that is too many characters and not enough vowels.

At some point we were talking low and casual outside the edges of the rest of the group. We'd been working together for less than a year, her in an administrative and receptionist position and me in a technical one. Tiny company owned by a slightly larger one, we had offices initially in a warehouse used to store and package floppy disks.

One day at lunch as I walked back to my makeshift plywood office with arms full of taco truck food and Brainwash soda, she stopped me at the door. You eat that sort of thing? And live? I laughed a bit, she asked me to lunch, and we got to know one another.

I'd heard from my stoned hacker co-worker that Abbey was gay, and our first lunch together she introduced me to her girlfriend, a black girl with very short hair and very muscular arms. A part owner of and cook at a tiny pizza joint between San Rafael and Novato, she seemed mostly sinew and burn scars, darkened tattoos on glossy skin, hard features that looked well earned. Abbey and I talked to her for a bit and she jumped between cooking and ringing the order-up bell. After a half hour she sat with us and we talked. And talked. The lunch hour turned into two hours, and by the time we left we'd made plans to go out drinking that night.

I'd never been drinking with a group of lesbians. I'd never been to a lesbian bar. The group's numbers shifted constantly from the moment we walked in; Abbey and her girlfriend were pretty popular, and the room seemed to stop and say hi. We drank like we meant it, and moved to a corner booth. The bar, a small place with muted red velvet and dark brown tones, wasn't loud but it wasn't quiet; it was like a roomfull of family yelling and talking and having a good time.

Abbey slid over the tuck-and-roll red vinyl booth and snuggled up right next to me, her hip next to mine.

What do you think? She studied my face, had been looking after me most of the night. The bar was the loudest it had been, and at least ten people were sitting around our corner table.

I like it, I said. Nice place, decent pours, and the goodness, Abbey, the women. She laughed. Yeah, she said. The women. Her eyes rolling a bit as I laughed.

Later, after going outside and smoking a clove or three with a twenty-something Vietnamese boi (she in a black suit and skinny tie, expertly tailored and well matched to her small frame) I sat next to Michelle, Abbey's girlfriend.

I told her, look, this isn't going to sound right. She said, yeah, probably not. You're pretty drunk. I said, yeah. Yeah, I am. But. Here's the thing. I've been trying to sort out why I like that girl over there so darn much. You know why?

Because you're a guy infected by the Penthouse forums version of lesbian identity? Because you want to save her from herself?

Nope. No. Because she is this romantic thousand mile view of a man, some T.E. Lawrence rugged ideal. Because she has every tiny detail of being a man down to the point where it isn't a costume, it isn't adoration, it is a worship of everything that makes a guy a Man. She's rocking that goddamn suit, and it isn't just the fit. It's the way she moves in it, every single movement studied in a mirror and perfected. And it isn't just that. Her nails...her hands are a guy's hands. She told me she works on a printing press part time, and is a Xerox repairman part time, and she has a late 60s Oldsmobile in a garage in Sonoma and an 850 Norton that she rebuilt in her goddamn studio apartment. She's got the swagger. She knows how to be a Man. And she's better at it, ya know, than most guys. It's a beautiful thing. While we were outside she picked up some of my behaviors and wanted to learn how I lit my Zippo, why I didn't have a watch, and where I got my boots. She's some perfectly filtered form of love of being a man.

Michelle staring at her. Yeah, I see that. There's some German word for it, I think. Like the guys who want to be women, they always have this feminine ideal that has brighter lips and bigger hips, more woman per square inch than most women. Great fakes. Michelle sipped her beer, still staring at the girl, who returned her look.

I tell her, the thing is, I'm certain it isn't fake. It's not even an homage. It's a whole life she's put on.

Michelle stood up slowly, stared at the girl. What's the difference, then? She turned to me, a glance. Says it casually: What's the difference between her and you? She set down the half empty Corona. Walked across the room, and invited the Vietnamese boi outside for a smoke.

Abbey next to me, smiling. I asked, she's like Superman, no? I sipped my whiskey and watched the room, fidgeting now. Explanations are so boring, she said. We watched the crowd mingle, costumes and archetypes, cast and crew.

I stood up, patted my pockets for cigarettes. You want one? I asked her, motioning with the pack of Djarum.

Nah, she said. They aren't my thing.

< The word for the day is "hypnotize" | Two days ago >
There's almost certainly a word in German for it | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)
VS2FP by ana (4.00 / 3) #1 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:48:27 PM EST
That is all.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

Nice. [nt] by littlestar (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:02:02 PM EST

(Comment Deleted) by mellow teletubby (4.00 / 2) #3 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:55:38 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by mellow teletubby

Yeah, I think by technician (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:11:01 PM EST
that who I was with had more to do with how I was treated than who I was. Once I got to know fifteen or twenty of the folks there over the next few happy hours and Fridays, I was a lot more comfortable. That first night was a bit odd, but not uncomfortable, since Abbey and Michelle were both very, very well known.

[ Parent ]
Excellent by johnny (4.00 / 2) #5 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:20:33 PM EST
I have much that I would love to say in the margins of this piece, but, like Fermat, I'm short on time.

But remind me. I'll write it up, promise.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

When are you gonna write about SxSw? by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 10:15:54 AM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
This weekend --</eom> by johnny (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 10:14:03 PM EST

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
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I grew up drinking with lesbians by lm (4.00 / 2) #7 Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 04:32:17 PM EST
First time I ever got stoned was at a lesbian bar where my mother dragged me to see her lover play in a band. I don't think that she was expecting me to get stoned. I was pretty underaged at the time.

It might have been more interesting if I had been old enough to hold an interesting conversation. As it was, I was just bored most of the time.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
Like me with bar hostesses by technician (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 04:45:56 PM EST
and flight attendants. Could have had some fantastic conversations if I hadn't been a kid.

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To be fair, plenty of kids are cool by lm (4.00 / 2) #10 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 09:23:57 AM EST
I know some kids that can hold more interesting conversations than most adults.

I just wasn't one of them.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
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When I was a kid by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #11 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 03:12:22 PM EST
I despised adults. Never forged a friendship with an adult. I suppose I saw them as impediments to my goals.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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When I was a kid by tuscoops (4.00 / 1) #12 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 03:45:50 PM EST
I felt sorry for adults, though I did befriend them. They always seemed so caught up in how terrible something was, but they never did anything to change it. They made plans for the future that they never followed through on. The lived with blinders on, selectively choosing what they paid attention to in their lives. I saw them as impediments to their own goals, creatures of habit and pattern-makers with limited capacity to think of their lives beyond the safety of monotony, no matter how detrimental the monotony truly was.

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True enough by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #13 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 05:27:40 PM EST
But still a fate hard to avoid.

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To an extent by tuscoops (4.00 / 2) #14 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 06:26:20 PM EST
Life isn't a clear course. There will always be obstacles, but it is your ability to see the obstacle and your willingness or desire to avoid or overcome them when possible that can make the difference. There are times in your life when you may be at odds with the world, with others, and with yourself, either consciously or subconsciously. I remind myself daily that, once I begin to think I know everything is when I have fallen victim to knowing nothing and those obstacles will, as a result, become more obscured. I also try as much as possible to avoid the ideas of wants, as they are often foolish without the proper perspective. Instead, I try to be the person that I would like to spend time with, the person I would want to lead me and the person I would want to follow me, to put wants into a clearer perspective as well as keeping me from being at odds with myself as much as possible. The area that I see my greatest weakness in is my decision making skills, so that's been something that I've been studying recently. Though there's nothing wrong with making mistakes, there is something wrong from not adequately learning from them, I think.

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That sounds a lot like my philosophy by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #15 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:00:29 PM EST
Or at least the one I've come up with over the last few years since shit hit the fan. 

But I also think there's no way any adult human can process everything going on around us, so no matter how consciously we try to focus on the right priorities (which many people don't do), you will never be able to remove the blinders.  You can merely push to make sure you're looking at the best things. 

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I see your point by tuscoops (4.00 / 2) #18 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 08:01:11 PM EST
I think we may be coming towards the same conclusions through slightly different angles. I agree with it not being possible for anyone to see everything going on around them, but those aren't the blinders I am necessarily referring to. If I understand correctly, I think you may be talking about someone having an intent in achieving external "a", with such intensity and focus to ignore the presence of external "b" or "c", or to alternate between a,b,c at different intervals depending on the prioritization, all the while surrounded by d-z which may intercept at some point and cause an obstacle. I think you may be talking about making the best choices in life as a preemptive measure. I also think this may be where people wear down, as they tend to feel like they've somehow failed when they choose incorrectly, that it's "too late now", etc. They may also make the same choices again and again, despite results to the contrary that it's not the best choice.

I am talking about people being able to see everything going on within themselves, first and foremost, and removing their internal blinders. This feeds into the external as it impacts intuition, what you may choose to see and feel, the actions you take, and the decisions that you make. Ultimately, it is your response to obstacles and in the end, making the best decisions after the fact is where true success lies.

So, yes, it's not possible to see every possible choice in order to make the best choice necessarily, but it is possible to see every possible decision and make the best decision through framing, sunk cost, etc. To learn from past experiences while keeping an open mind may seem like a contradiction, but if you can remove yourself just enough to make your experiences useful, remove your internal blinders and be honest, you can take confirmation biases out of the equation.

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I've always tried to folks a chance by lm (4.00 / 1) #19 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 08:12:08 PM EST
One of my wife's college buddies once said something that aptly described my outlook when I was younger, there's so many reasons to hate people on an individual level, that it's a shame to hate them because they're part of a this group or that group.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
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The cadre to my immediate front by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 01:09:47 AM EST
are full-on Boomers, [a minority of social scientists lump me in as well] and there are numerous demonstratable reasons to hate them as a group.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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Was she tiny? by muchagecko (4.00 / 2) #16 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:19:39 PM EST
Was she every tiny detail of a man in miniature? Because that would be something even more fascinating.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

Ha by kwsNI (4.00 / 2) #17 Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 07:49:02 PM EST
The above post brought to you by Sudafed.

[ Parent ]
There's almost certainly a word in German for it | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden)