From Berlin to Weimar

February 1, 2006
17:43 – 21:14 (06:02 – 21:14)

<interview: 5 hours>

even though i worked through
the night the day before,
and fell asleep working
on the presentation
i got up promptly with my alarm,
showered, shaved, got dressed,
ashamed of my shoes
repacked my things

[take off my new glasses because my eyes hurt]

which was good because
as i was walking to the bus
i didn’t remember seeing
the map i needed
and went back inside
got the map and hurried to
the bus stop.
two minutes later came the
right bus (number 1) took me
to the train station,
couldn’t finish my cigarette

couldn’t buy the train ticket
at the counter (no service)
couldn’t pay for the train ticket
at the machine (no card)
got on the train 5 minutes later
ICE BERLIN OSTBAHNHOF
opened my laptop
and continued coding,
smoothing the layout,
patching features,
adding a library…

no one on the train even asked me
for a ticket, i could have paid.
(later i lied about this.)

[the conductor asks for my ticket, i can’t find my wallet, why did i take off my tie?]

<interview: 1 1/2 hours>
got off the train,
went outside
smoked a rather poorly rolled
cigarette (i know) felt
disoriented, alone and unknown.
had to go somewhere in
Wedding (also unknown)
with the U-bahn or S-bahn
and meet people i didn’t know
in order to convince them that i
am not only the best, but
that they had better hire
me quick and pay me
boatloads of money.

[the train is now stopped]

found the strassenbahn,
went promptly in the wrong
direction. (warschaer not alexanderplatz)
waited, another one came.
asked somebody with crazy glasses
(because he looked like the kind of
guy who wants everyone to think that
he knows everything about everything
probably so they believe he also
knows everything about fashionable
eyeware)
if it was the right one,
he said “ja”,
i got in,
everyone got out.

[i was mistaken. it hadn’t stopped.]

he got out too, looked for me
nicked his head, i got out,
the doors closed and it drove
in the wrong direction.

waited for the right train
got in and went to alexanderplatz.

<interview: 45 minutes>

i was ashamed of my shoes again.
had an !extra fifty euro,
decided to go get shoes.
left the station,
found a store in a mall
(felt good to feel at home)
bugati on sale, not the right
size but they fit even though
i wore woolen socks and were a bit
tight she said i needed
different socks

<interview: 20 minutes>

didn’t buy any because i couldn’t
throw your socks away and
couldn’t bring them to the
interview so i left them on,
walked back to the subway with
slightly too tight shoes.
rode the 8 to osloer,
but which way, which way?

<interview: 15 minutes>

not to prenzlauer berg
hurried around the block
waited for the light
looked for the tramstop
saw the right tram
jaywalked to it and
asked another guy:
he “Ja Wedding, richtig.”
he didn’t wear glasses,
i trusted him.

my shoes made a reassuring
click on the metal step into
the tram.

almost there.
watching streets pass by

<interview 10 minutes>

where was the street,
tramstop, look around

<interview 9 minutes>

didn’t get out
didn’t know where i was
walked to map on tram

<8 1/2 minutes>

<8 minutes>

waiting at a red light
waiting……..

<7.3 minutes>

too far! get out,
wait for the light,
!don’t run
!don’t stop
!don’t wait for traffic
!don’t scuff your shoes

<5 minutes>

walk back three blocks
there’s the street
there’s the tramstop
and a sign for the police station.
there.

<1 minute>

where is 16?

<0 minutes>

THERE!
ask the watchman
me “gebäude C aufgang 7?”
him “polizei?”
me “aufgang 7!”
<-2 minutes>
he pointed me to some
dumpsters.
i think “typical me”
walk over
enter the stairwell
at door 7 of building C
take the stairs 3 at a time
out of breath ring the buzzer
think about the gallery on
the floor 2 (or was it 3?)

<-4 minutes>

someone speaks
a woman comes over
opens the door,
smiling. <first point>

i put down my bag in an office
(and leave my laptop alone for the first time in weeks)
see a BIG room full of
people working at desktop
computers. No one is wearing a tie. <minus one point.>

she offers to take my coat
puts it in between all the coats
of the other employees in the
coatrack. i smile. she smiles.

she says she needs to tell the
others that i am there
i ask for the restroom

she shows me where it is
i urinate furiously,
admire the flat square form
of my not-too shiny shoes
being extra careful not to
splatter or drip.

checking my watch
– i avoid looking at my sportcoat –
the second hand seems to
be hanging, taking longer.

[check my watch, compare with my laptop. it is still right]

i walk to where the light switch
should be, find it,
turn it on, spit out my gum
throw it in the basket
(didn’t miss)

wash my hands, consult myself
in the mirror, forget about my watch.

leaving the light on i walk out,
she is waiting for me.
she tells me to follow her

we walk through the room,
i see a computer monitor
with more post-its on its
frame than it probably has pixels

(will I get that many pixels… post-its?)

we pick up one colleague
the other one is still talking on the phone
shake hands, he tells me his name
but i didn’t understand his dialect

– because of my operation? –

we go downstairs.
i see a man,
alone in a huge room
full of empty desks
except the paperwork that
could possibly gather
on all the desks has been
carefully gathered,
stacked, color coded

– ohmigod –

smiling we cross the ampitheater
and enter a conference room
big enough for 5

a video projector is on the
table, small, three years old.

number three comes in,
he “wollen sie wasser?”
me “gern”
she “mit oder ohne”

(is this the first trick?)

me “mit natürlich”
i unpack my computer,
turn it on,
plug in the VGA cable.

the projector works,
1024×768 good but small image
unplug monitor,

login
minimize all working windows
close firefox test browser

no one sees

start from localhost
choose the 1024×768 preset
i love stateless

everything works
looks great he sits
i plug in monitor
my face shows up
their logo is perfect
<second & third points>

they introduce themselves

(each of us has a copy of my application in front of them, in black and white. Mine is color, a laser copy from an ink-jet print. Looks better than theirs. <Second point>)

i let him talk,
listen for key points where I
can start my presentation

open my resumè file
click on Kunstfest
move to KFZ
go then to skills
at each one I open
demonstration files

come to design,
show them my postcards,
a book,
my recycled notebooks

he starts getting friendly,
talks about his friend
!in his hometown Nürnberg
werbeplane <+2 points>

(i almost say something, but forget the german word for engaged, will use it next time they invite me.)

talk about being paranoid about
internet security, my love for information.
explain my studies

he asks me to hurry up.

my research
my art

they ask a couple HARD questions
i breeze over them,

they thank me for the very complete
presentation,
we go to the stairwell
the guy isn’t at his desk in the
room, and he tells me
that it is a doctoral thesis candidate

–relief–

we go upstairs to a larger conference room,
I have to take a written test, have to
write an email. she says i don’t have to
do the english part just the German.
can use Microsoft Word.
Spellchecker.
Grammar. :)

[15:20:35] daniel-caleb : Write an email in microsoft word and save it on the desktop. the assignment was to write an essay in “email” style on one of three topics and one business letter in English. And the essays were like: “Some people say that the global economy has led to an information overload…” and the English letter was about reclaiming a defective DVD player.

so I write an Email in German
in Microsoft Word and
draw boxes for the
TO: FROM: RE: and a send and cancel button

As a reply to a fictional person
who claimed that he received
a German dictionary instead of
the English Lexicon he wanted.
And he made a joke in his email
about having the service desk
write their response in German.
I write as the service desk and
take him seriously,
responding in German.
citing in English.

she comes in, i save the file,
i comment about the fact that
there were other files
that i could have used.

she says that they could have
been looked at, but everyone
needs to write it themselves.

hmm. (honesty test number one? if so, i passed.)

i pack my stuff,
say goodbye, leave.
two women are having a fight
at the bottom of the stairs,
i walk past quietly.

i walked past the
watchman watching his monitors
down the block

went into the computer store.

cheapola.
my shoes still clacked me
across the street to the
tram stop. i got in, rode two
stations, then a whole
classful of kids piled
into the already full tram,
i got out and rolled a
cigarette (i know)

i walked down the street,
saw a house with a big sign,
a telephone number and
wrote it down.

walked some more,
just wanted an internet café.
went in, logged on,
looked you up in skype.

found you. you weren’t there.
checked my emails.

my sister sent me a skype
message asking why
i wasn’t in berlin and
what about the interview

and i told her about it
and she told me about her
masters…

you called my mobile.
i hung up.
you went online.
we chatted.

you were bursting with the
news, couldn’t wait to
hear how my interview went.

you told me about norway
you living there and if its okay
with me for you to be working
so far and cold away.
and i thought about your hands
searching for any lightswitch
in the afternoon on a long
dark subtundral night

and i compared your arms with
your happiness
trying
to decide
which of the two
is more important for me to feel
and with a sinking heart i said
congratulations

in new bugattis in berlin
being inspired by sex shops
next to kinderausstatter

by gallery 1 guy standing
in front of his store,
smoking his cigarette
(i think it was a NIL)
watching me secretly

looking at the painting
in the window, me getting
my eyes up close, absorbing
myself in it until i found the
mistake every mortal painting
has at least one) i looked at
him he looked away i turned
and left

needed some lip balm,
finding dry skin on my forehead,
walking through the druggist
wondering if they had forehead-balm
decided not to ask bought a
pair of reading glasses (1.5x),
lip balm, a bottle of wine

the s-bahn i almost
took back instead of walking
derailed because of a broken track,

the line was closed when I
wanted to get back on
so i walked from warschauer
to ostbahnhof,
got to see the Wall from
behind a construction fence
and wondered if the new fascism
is democracy disguised as Tiefbau (see John Cleese)
as I loosened my tie and
zipped up my jacket.
At that point people
stopped looking at me
with such amazement.

<interview’s end: -4 hours>

at the Ostbahnhof buy a cappucino
and carrot-cake. where’s the toilet?
on the train.

but there’s no train
to you right now, nothing
i could do to get to you so i
make do with seeing you
tomorrow,
writing you this poem,
going home to wait
to get in a car to drive
to frankfurt to you

the IC comes, I get on,
find the toilet.

sit down in smoking. (i know.)

open my laptop
put on my glasses
open up an editor
start writing.

[trying to keep busy, trying to keep you proud, trying not to miss you as bad as the tears I am still successfully forcing down beg believability… shit. I’m back in Weimar and alone tonight.]

Journal Comments

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