CBLT

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CBLT

The best Chicken BLT you’ll ever eat

Click me!

Roast some toast!

Slay some tomatoes!

Defeat salad!

Overthrow cheese!

Ambush bacon!

Finish chicken,
season with pepper
and smoked paprika

add ketchup..

..and mayo

..and we’re done.

You’re welcome!

My grandmother

Posted on

hero

My grandmother,
who isn't there

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the moment she entered the room, I froze.

I had seen her just about two years ago, we had conversations, went out for dinner and talked to random strangers she had thought to recognise. But it was still her. The athletic body, though weakened, the full light brown hair, though coloured, the same smile, voice, tan, she looked just like back in my childhood, the grandma who would push me outside on a sunny day, kick my ass on a bike through the forest, enjoy the nature, be active. It was still the woman who would beat me mercilessly at ping pong and chess, without breaking a sweat, so full of energy and life.

When my mother brought her in the room, she sat in a wheelchair, too weak to walk, her eyes anxiously searching. She saw me, she looked at me, with big eyes, with what I would mistake for recognition and what actually was confusion.
There was my grandmother, the woman who would give - not take, GIVE yoga lessons at the age of 70, who had traveled the world more than my whole family combined, who would kick everyone's ass and cook the best lasagna of my life. I knew it was her, I recognised her eyes, her hair, her hands, her smell even, and yet, this person in front of me was not my grandmother. Not anymore.
It was like she had been taken away, stolen, and nothing was left behind but her skin and bones and a stuttering voice that was full of words but empty in meaning.

Her skin was so pale, every vein shining through, every mark of the sun long faded away. I could see her bones, every one of them, through the papery thin wrinkles that had dried up and shrunken down, all her energy, her strength, her muscles had vanished. Her skin was nothing but wrinkles, her body sunken together, minimised to what's left, crumbling ruins of a once great empire.
Her eyes were that of a child, still, the same blue eyes, but pale, lost, looking around with both infantile amusement and childish fear, not understanding what was happening, who we were and where she was.

il1

My grandmother was born in 1930 in Germany.

She did not talk much about that time. Like most of her generation she never really talked about what happened, only about the consequences. Her family had been rich, but my great grandfather lost everything when he sold his houses just before the great inflation. She often told us how she had to bring her two younger brothers down into the cellar when the bombs fell, she talked about loss but not about what happens to a child who was only 9 years old when the Nazis started the war. What happens when everything around you goes to flame and you are right in the center of it all and all by yourself.

A few years ago, when it all started, she would call my mother on the phone and tell her how “they” had just loaded the people on transporters and that her block was next. She did not seem to remember any of that when she still was sane.
But neither did anyone else of that generation.

il3

il2

After the war, she worked as a secretary.

She had to work to support her family, but she didn't want that life, the constrictions, the dull. She didn't just want to be a secretary. That's when she met my grandfather.

My grandfather had survived the war because he was transferred to the front lines after pissing off his commanding officer. His whole class died in the war, while he sat amongst the grown ups who had long understood that the war was lost.
While Hitler burnt younger and younger children in the fight for his insanity, the grown ups at the front beat up my grandfather for trying and told him to sit tight till the war was over. After the allies had freed Europe, he returned to a broken home.

Ultimately he lived the American Dream, starting from scratch with nothing and ending as a manager. When he met my grandmother, he bought her a whole bar of chocolate, just for herself. She never had that before. They got married.

il4

My grandmother lived the perfect life of the 60s,
but not a happy one.

She had her own idea of life, and breaking out was not easy.
My grandfather didn't want children, but my grandmother found her ways to trick him. Thrice.
My grandmother wanted a driving license, so she got one, my grandfather, who back then would have had to give her permission, she told him about it the day she had passed the test.

From what my mother tells me - and there isn't really much talk about past events in my family - they had not really gotten married for love. It likely was pragmatism. It was a different time back then and priorities were not so much filled by ideals and Hollywood movies as they are today.

To my grandmother, my grandfather was a way to escape. She got out of her life. Left her past behind. They raised three children, had the life that people from the Mad Men age would dream of. But my grandmother still didn't feel in the right place.
She didn't want to be just a housewife.

Breaking free

Ever since her first love, who later should become a professor, my grandmother had that ideal, that picture in her head, the idea of a life of sophistication, art, culture. She would yearn for the big and intellectual, while my grandfather, though successful in his vocation, would settle for simplicity and crime novels. Though he had saved her from the dull life of her past, she now was caught in a life of routine and boredom. She despised her life as a housewife and the idea of spending a lifetime solely on cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. There was more, and she knew it, and she wanted it.
So she went off to study at the university.

It was the time of the 1968 protests, of emancipation, socialist movements, revolutions. It was everything my grandfather despised and everything my grandmother longed for. A whole generation broke free from the norms and restrains imposed by the old, remnants of a world that had just recently burnt Europe to the ground. Students protested oppression and the Vietnam war, socialists fought imperialists, Kommune 1 the middle class and the government the press. The Red Army Faction was about to be founded, Rudi Dutschke about to be shot and the whole world about to change.

Right in between, my grandmother didn't want to be a secretary. And neither a housewife. She wanted independence, to take her life in her own hands, to seize it. She wanted self-actualisation in a time that didn't even know the meaning of that word. In her pursuit for freedom, happiness and fulfilment, she finished another chapter, closed the book, and moved on.
She left my 18-year-old mother behind to take care of my grandfather till he died.

lx1

lx2

lx3

Breaking apart

My aunt went abroad, to America. She returned with an invitation for my grandmother, to visit my aunt's host family. At the welcoming party, she met Albert, the ex-husband of my aunt's host. She was meant to stay with the host family for two weeks, but the next morning they ran off together.

Albert had a store on the 5th Avenue, he worked in a gallery, built picture frames for Sotheby's and Christie's and lived in the Hamptons. He lived for art and the life of a crazy artist, burning through money like a forest fire on crack. My grandmother and Albert would write their love with pens and send it in letters, both stuck thousands of miles apart.

Ultimately, Albert left everything behind and moved to Germany. They bought an art nouveau villa, the biggest house I've ever seen, restored it from the ground up, planed their future, a life. But the more their house took shape, the more their love fell apart.
At its completion, their relationship lay in ruins. In the end, they broke due to sheer ego. Albert had threatened to leave. My grandmother responded that she wouldn't stop him. Neither of them wanted to fall apart, but neither of them could back down. It was the simplest and yet most difficult thing in the world. Albert left, without wanting to, and my grandmother let him, without wanting to.

Albert moved out, but he had no place to go. As he was meant to leave America for good, he had stopped paying taxes there. He couldn't go back. The fabulous eccentric from the 5th Ave was stuck in a tiny German village, drowning between trees and loneliness. He ran out of hope, then out of money. Ultimately, he hanged himself.

l6

My grandmother was far from perfect. She always lived in her own world, her own thinking and her own point of view. She would pursue her goals and ideas with little regard for others.

And yet, ironically, many of those goals were driven by her regard for others.
She would work with drug addicts and women from the women's shelter, always watching out, always fighting. When I was a struggling teenager, she took care of me, she put me in my place and she got me back on my feet. She took care of her neighbours and her friends, and when she met strangers, she would make them friends. She taught me right and wrong with an uncompromising determination. And there was not a single day, not a second, in which she would sit down, lie back and relax.
There were always things to do.

She did not really do all these things out of sheer altruism. It was more like a necessity for her to help others, almost as saving others would save herself.
Maybe the girl who had to protect her two little brothers from the falling bombs and raise them when nobody else was around, maybe that girl never really grew out of her duty. 

She was so full of energy, so tense for action, restless from dawn to dusk. Maybe her inner restlessness, her need to act and break free was finally calmed by the needs of others.

I would have big and many fights with her over what she thought was best for me, and for years we would barely talk. 

She could be strict, merciless, judging. But I believe her, I always did, that she always thought it was for my best. 

The great escape

Years after escaping the straits of a good middle-class life, my grandmother would be left with a giant house that she could not fill. Albert was gone and so was their dream of a life together. So she traveled the world.

Her passport would be filled with the immigration stamps of her travels to Africa, south east Asia, Iran, Tibet. Her house was filled with both the evidence of a stereotypical, traditional German mother of three from the 70s, and the memories of a more adventurous, more versatile, more badass female Indiana Jones who would travel the world with Klaus-Dieter, and later Karl, the artist, and their camping van.

Many of her destinations, as so many of her destinations in life, she would reach far before any other westerner. There were no all-inclusive clubs and hotel resorts where she would go. And there wouldn't be anyone else with stories as mesmerising and unique as hers.

The woman who decided that the contemplative life was not enough, she would fill me with awe, with excitement, envy and, ultimately, the inspiration and yearning to travel the world by myself.

il8x

i8

My grandmother was a great person. Not a good one, and neither bad, but certainly, without a doubt, great. 
It is a cruel thing, and honestly, it is simply not okay, to watch all that fade away. Like an old photograph that becomes pale and wrinkly. And ultimately, it is lost. There will always be memories, but they shine only so strong. And slowly, they are lost as well. 

She sat in her wheelchair as I saw her for the last time. My mother cried. She could see that she was gone. My grandmother didn't even notice her tears. She was sitting there, right in front of us, smiling, holding my mother’s hand. But she wasn't there.
And she was holding the hand of a stranger. 

My grandmother always wanted to escape. Maybe she finally did.

Ilse Steinert

5.3.1930 - 8.7.2016

Black forest blues

Posted on

hirsch2-Y

Black Forest Blues

- seven days, one car, no sleep and too many instant noodles -

48.3000° N, 8.1500° E

"The Black Forest is not your typical bunch of trees having a good time. It's Woodstock."

1

The Idea

I had just finished up my very last courses for the year and felt like my life was running on the soundtrack of David Hasselhoff’s I’ve been looking for freedom. Laura would spend the summer in England, watching children having holidays for ten pounds an hour, and I was set to leave Europe a week later.
Let’s go somewhere, she said, as we realised we wouldn’t see each other all summer. Where, I asked, I don’t care, she answered, anywhere, only it has to be cheap, close and we only have a week. No pressure.

We went to the black forest.

2

The Plan

Here’s the thing: I’m a city boy. I grew up with the tram right in front of my door, I fell asleep at night to the sounds of the bars and restaurants below my window and I grew up to the rhythm of a million cars trying to find a parking spot in the city centre.

 

The last time I entered a forest I was ten and my mom had made me visit my grandmother. She lived in this house right next to the forest, with a giant garden, raspberry bushes, hedgehogs and a million snails (which we would hunt mercilessly at night), in this tiny village that didn’t even have a supermarket.

 

There was no internet and no computers, no fast food, no tram, the children didn’t watch TV, they played in the wild, built tree houses, swam in the small lake down the road, made little swords from wood and mountain biked all day long.

 

We would take long hikes across mountains and meadows, we would watch wild animals and collect mushrooms and inhale the clean air and feel the warm sun burn on our arms as we would walk barefoot through the underbrush.
Obviously I hated it.

Fifteen years later, Laura rolls her eyes. And oh my god, wild strawberries, the tiny ones, and the forest, all those trees, and the fresh air and the silence and the birds and, oh wow, do you think we can see deers? Do they have deers? I want to see deers! My eyes glow wildly as I speak. We can take long hikes across the mountains and meadows and watch wild animals and trees and.. CAN YOU IMAGINE?


Yeah, i guess, says the girl who has not lived in a bubble for a decade.

Fig. 1 "Oh my god, it's a stag!" "Calm down, you're scaring the children.."

3

The Problem

Here's another thing. The Black Forest, it's big. That little park around the block with those trees and the tiny artificial lake?
Yeah, that’s cute. The Black Forest is nothing like that. It's not your typical bunch of trees having a good time. It's Woodstock.


The Black Forest consists of a few many bazillion trees, a bunch of lakes, a few hints of civilisation here and there that most likely do not qualify for Amazon prime, pizza delivery or free wifi, and hundreds of rustic traditional hotels with wood paneling, stuffed animal heads on the ceiling and a very religious attitude towards beer and sausage.

Of course my plan was to take photos. Why else would I sacrifice the comfort and security of my cozy home and all night super markets for the adventurous life of canned food and sleeping in a rental car?

I already had the photos taken, edited and uploaded to my mind. Foggy landscape, millions of trees in the morning mist, the blue of a sleepy sun, mountains ("are there mountains in the Black Forest?" "I guess so.."), with snowy tips and cold and bare stone ("you do realise it's July?"). It would be great.

So, where to, she asks, five minutes in. The Black Forest, I say, with big eyes. Yeah, but where?
I stare at her. She stares back.

Ten minutes and two missed exits later we sit in an overcrowded McDonalds, drink plastic milkshakes out of paper cups and try to download the "black forest tourist app" via free wifi.
I feel dirty.

DSF6574

DSF6574

4

The throw-up

Fifteen minutes later. The app didn't work and we're back on the road. Ten minutes later, we're close to Erfurt, Laura gets sick.
So how bad is it, I ask. Her silence gives me a pretty good estimate.


The last time I met the father of a girlfriend, he invited me for a beer, I told him I didn't drink and his five year old son called me a sissy.
Coincidentally, Laura's father lives in Erfurt. Coincidentally, he doesn't know about me. Coincidentally, Laura's face is as white as a barf bag.


So.. I begin. I mean, we could.. you know.. she looks at me like she's about to ruin the rental car.


Ten minutes later. A huge man with huge arms opens the door as Laura rushes inside with a pale face and blown up cheeks.
Five minutes later. I hold Laura's hair back.

Ten minutes later. Laura's father invites me to dinner.

"Oh, I'm fine, thank you", I say, desperately holding onto Laura's hair.

"No, it's okay, you should eat something" she mumbles from the bottom of the bowl.

"No really, I mean, you need me right now, I should take care of you" I say with a very. subtle. increase in persistence.

"I'm sure you're hungry, get some rest as well" she says completely oblivious.

Somewhere in the distance I can hear the Green Mile-soundtrack playing.


Two minutes later. I'm sitting at the kitchen table, opposite me are sitting Laura's father, his new wife, two children. Kafka's last supper. I reach for the butter.

DSF6676

5

The forest

If you search on google maps for the Black Forest, it will point you to the Black Forest High Road. The Black Forest High Road is a, well, long, high road in the Black Forest, which everyone praises for its beautiful view and scenery.
As it turns out, it is also surrounded by, well, the goddamn black forest, which makes it rather inevitable to miss the wood for trees! We arrive at our destination - according to our GPS - in the middle of the night with no way to actually verify that statement. There is nothing but pitch black darkness and trees wherever we go.

We take a rest right by the road, in car seats that turn out to be surprisingly comfortable, and with the cheapest sleeping bags we found on Amazon that turn out to be super warm and cozy.
On the other hand, we sleep with the dilemma of either suffocating in the car or opening the window a bit, which, we know this for sure, comes with the free chance of being murdered by bloodthirsty grizzly bears.

At 12 am, we stay strong. At 1 am, we fight. At 3 am, we opt for the dangerous life of a slightly opened car window.

At 5am my alarm rings and we get up to take photos of the sunset. As we get out of the car, the cold and moist air of a quiet, grey, gloomy morning sets on our skin and dampens our steps. I notice the five single family-houses right next to our car that we thought to have parked in pure wilderness.
I pass them and walk down the hill towards a meadow of blue and grey and the white of the fog that slowly gives way for the rising sun.
Some sheep stare at me in apathy as I pull out the tripod Laura's father gave me and set up my first shot.

The black forest, I think. Trees. Fog. Mountains. Wild animals!
I smile.

Fear

Posted on

"A real man dies a hero’s death, and who am I, if not a real man, sitting on this toilet like a real badass!"

There is little that scares me. Heights, maybe. Clowns of course. The open sea. Sharks. Conservatives. Preservatives. GMOs. Crowds. Doorknobs in public restrooms. Public restrooms. Waiting in line at the supermarket with the guy behind you actively fighting the law of minimum distances, breathing warm, wet carbon dioxide right into your neck. Dentists. Pop music. Nazis. White gummy bears. Sweet salad. Cabbage!

Obviously, I’m pretty fearless! There is a reason I scored only a 90 on Neuroticism in the NEO-PI-R personality test, and not the big fat 100. Basically, if you will, so to say, frankly, we could argue that, probably, mostly, I’m a really brave, badassy son of a bitch. I am as tough as a leather jacket and hard like a math test. My balls are the size of small soccer balls and made of Adamantium and women adore me as men adore a new sports car or zip-off pants.

I’m one of those guys who, when things get tough, tear open their shirt with less than three tries, exposing their muscular, big, manly mane of a chest, who yell really manly things with the bass and pathos of a braveheart, jump on their war horse and lead the Scots to victory.

If fear has a name, I am the one calling it nerd and stealing its lunch money!

-

The light flickers for a moment as I turn it on. The formerly white tiled room lights up in the damp glow of a single neon light hanging loosely at a cable from the ceiling. I walk into a gust of stale air, a moist, warm, mouldy scent of this-really-needs-to-be-cleaned-or-rather-burnt-down-right-away.
I close the foldable plastic door behind me and it roars like a startled walrus having a cold. Silence.
My fingertips slowly open the toilet lid. A real badass right here.

Oh, yes. My Kryptonite. It crawls and creeps. It has antennas. It follows me to any country I travel to and it has made me its archenemy, its lifelong dream to destroy me, its anger infinite and its wickedness boundless.

Cockroaches and me, that is high volume desperation paired with a pinch of panic, many manly tears and a lemon slice. Cockroaches and me, that’s Psycho, The Shining and the whole Twilight saga combined.

Snakes? Hungry tigers? Axt murderers chasing you through the streets of London past midnight with a boombox playing the best of ABBA? Fine by me. Give me my fedora, my whip and a fridge and I survive even the nastiest nuclear bombings. But cockroaches?!

Deep down in the depths of my heart there is an eternal fire, burning full of pain, and no amount of tears could ever kill it.
Trust me, I tried.

"with the hungover voice of a Morgan Freeman, his battle cry, for freedom and for Frodo."

The light shines on the white-ish tiles in front of me. The room is tiny. To my left, a sink, to my right, another formerly white wall and some kind of drainage that strongly resembles the Sarlacc Pit. The tiles are old, the dirt in between even older. But I don’t mind. My manliness shines strong in even the darkest, dirtiest places.

My eyes wander along the wall, in every direction, every corner, crack, edge and bump. I try to detect any possible crawling sounds among the speed metal drum solo my heart is beating. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Calm down. You’ll be fine.

I sit down.

It should be pointed out that anxiety can be overcome. Goethe, for one, once cured himself from his fear of heights by climbing up the highest tower he could find and looking down till his fear was gone. But not everyone is Goethe. And god knows which poor bastard discovered the downside of Goethe’s treatment when walking at the bottom of the tower that day.

The dripping faucet pulls me back into reality. On the other hand, I think, that’s exactly what I wanted.

Adventure. Danger. Risks! Leaving my comfort zone behind, going out into this world, conquering the exotic, the unknown, standing on its carcass with my hands in my hips and my eyes on the horizon, watching the sun set and radiate golden colours at my Ray Ban sunglasses as somewhere in the distance you can hear the Topgun soundtrack.

-

Whatever happens, a real man breathes in, breathes out, and then, with all his strength, roars, with the hungover voice of a Morgan Freeman, his battle cry, for freedom and for Frodo, and on his white horse he rides into battle, a battle so epic and legendary that the movie fades to black and the following events are told in text, because the CGI department didn’t have the budget for such greatness.

A real man dies a hero’s death, and who am I, if not a real man, sitting on this toilet like a real badass!

I look around. Maybe, actually, it’s all much ado about nothing. After all, I’m much taller. And stronger. And, did I already mention? A real man! Plus, I checked everything as I entered the room. The floor, the corners, the walls, every bump and dent and crack and hole. My inner self vigorously nods. I’m save. Seriously, those things would have to fly to get past me, I think. Or, like, walk on the ceiling, my inner self adds. We both laugh exuberantly. Ceiling, haha. Ha. Ha..

Are you ok? she asks, as I return.
Sure, why? I respond.
I heard a girl scream in there. Didn’t you hear it?
What? No, nothing! A girl? Weird.. Besides, that’s the men’s room!

(Note: I found the amazing public domain macros on USGSBIML)

Sunset

Posted on

"I inhale the dirty road deep into my lungs, and i feel it, i taste it, the new, the strange, the unknown on my lips."

The bus roars cracking and seasick, staggering through narrow urban gorges, shaking like an epileptic bobblehead. It’s filled with people, standing, sitting, pressed together skin on skin, wiggling to the rhythm of endless turns to the right and left.

The people, they stare in the distance, no roaring and cracking and staggering, no wobbling and wiggling capable of interrupting their thoughts. No word, no sound, just stares, the distance ahead, the anticipation of home drowning the boiling evening breeze. In their mind, they are already there, and yet it is far, far away.

I try to breathe but there is nothing left. The air burnt out, the heat dripping down my skin, i escape the thicket of bodies and asphyxia, press my head through the small plastic window, breathe in the heat of the setting sun, the blurred, flickering colours of light. I inhale the dirty road deep into my lungs, and i feel it, i taste it, the new, the strange, the unknown on my lips.

The heat of a long gone day drifts past me with the golden glow of a burnt out sun and the sticky, sweat-soaked sounds of the streets.

An abrupt jolt stops the bus in front of a traffic light in perfect unison with a sea of mopeds, bikes, trucks, pickups and other deformed tin dents, packed together like iron sardines in a love-hate relationship. They all stare, with their tired, empty eyes, into the beaming red of the traffic light, hanging loosely from a rotten thread.

bottom

Young boys run on the street, between the small alleys of cars and bikes, selling cold water to open windows, soft drinks, food and toys, anything to ease the wait, anything in return for small coins and pieces of paper that are thrown out of the car windows with indifference and collected with gratitude.A juggler sets his stage right on the street, below the light and in front of the cars. He throws his clubs far up in the air, higher and higher, catching them with the precision and experience of a thousand traffic lights. The boys roam the alleys of cars. The other vendors, waiting on the sidewalk, they watch and wait.

The roaring of the bus pulls me back into reality. the red light has gone out and the sea of cars has gone wild, roaring wildly as they push to the front, faster, louder, haunted.

The bus breaks through the jungle of concrete, past giant skyscrapers, standing tall and dark in the sunset, hidden behind walls, crested with barb wire, glass shards and watch towers, closed by heavy gates made of distinctly cold steel.

Two cops race past the bus on a motorbike, the one in the front, driving, the one in the back, carrying the machine gun.

"People walk down the street, carrying the weight of their wealth past those that live here."

Jewellery, expensive clothes and luxurious cars sparkle and shine behind thick display windows, lit in bright lights, framed by flower pots, palm trees and polished, white, completely empty streets.

Down the road, there are the people, crowded at the bus stop, back from work and an hour by bus away from home.

They wait in the dusk, in silence, waiting for the bus to take them away, from here, far, out of the city, to the neighbourhoods that have no bright lights but more garbage lying on the worn out walkways.

We drive past them without stoping. Nobody yells. There will be another bus, at some point.

Turn left.

Construction site. Giant billboards advertising the newest skyscraper and its life above the clouds, luxurious monster flats in green, red and grey, layered on top of each other like uniform pancakes, higher and bigger and better and already framed by even higher walls and even more barb wire and watch towers, guarding football fields of empty anticipation, protecting it from the world outside.

Turn right. Roaring and cracking. Turn left. The sun slowly melts away on the horizon, between palm trees and concrete bricks, empty, black pillars risen from the ground, a few single lights gleaming in their darkness.

We ride past giant constructs of glass, steel and stone, shopping centres the size of a football stadium, fortresses of fast food joints, supermarkets, electronic stores and fashion labels, with fried food and cold ice, air conditioning bringing winter to the people and people bringing money to the stores. The economic boom yells even louder than the fifty inch flatscreen TVs in front of each store.

People walk down the streets with gigantic cardboard boxes under their arms and on their shoulders, flat-screens, consoles, computers, they carry the weight of their wealth past those that live here - in the dirt, in front of pharmacies and supermarkets, with or without their children and mostly without shoes, camouflaged in the dust of dirty roads, looking up to those who don’t look at all.

Security guards sweat in their heavy army boots, their hands on their weapons, standing in front of the shops, carefully watching the endless waves of people on flip-flops flooding the cold paradise of goods. there is nothing you cannot find, nothing you cannot buy. the price is displayed in instalments. There is always tomorrow.

Being a sissy

Posted on

"Is it possible to replace the poisonous arrows and the dirty bombs with some vegan alternative and some almond cream? Thank you. And oh, I’m allergic to nuts."

Adventures! I shout, my eyes glowing, my voice dripping of excitement, my spoon scratching out the very last bits of Nutella. A real adventure, full of danger, wild animals, exotic food and near death experiences!
She looks at me with the critical look of someone checking a pack of milk for their expiration date. Her face is very clear about the result. ADVENTURES! i shout.

There are two kinds of people. And there is me.
There are people who one day just burn all their stuff, leave everything behind and walk into the sunset, barefoot, free and with a smile on their face that is bigger than anything that lies in front of them. People who ride on trains through the country, a guitar in their hands, a straw hat on their head and a fire in their heart.

There are people who discover long lost temples of doom with a fedora, a whip and a fully grown designer stubble. Who search for sunken ships in the middle of the ocean, who eat half-hatched eggs in the Philippines, fried tarantulas in Cambodia, Scorpion Soup in China or Corndogs in America. There are people who love adventures. People who always look for the new, the exotic, the unknown.
And there is me.

People like me live and love adventures. We have watched Indiana Jones over twenty times, we know every Anthony Bourdain episode by heart and we are right there, in the middle of a stormy night, with a hot chocolate in our hands and a blanket on our feet, when Bear Grylls eats giant larvae on TV and drinks his own urine.

People like me don’t need a compass, we simply inspect the moss growth on a tree. We know the morse code better than our own phone number and we know the Amazon better than anyone else. Hell, we even write reviews there! 

People like me are perfectly prepared for any kind of adventure, especially since people like me make perfectly sure to never actually end up in one.

 


 

"We want to go back to nature, grow our beard, eat some roots, smoke some weed and wear hemp shirts like a real badass!"

The truth is, we are sissies. Hard and cool is way to uncomfortable for us. We shower at maximum heat and use lotion. Raw is risky. We overcook our snake heads. Can you imagine the salmonella?! There is one thing we are really good at - and that’s running away. Try catching us, mate. Our kind has perfected this survival strategy for tens of thousands of years!

Of course we are brave! Ambitious! Adventurous! It’s in our blood! It is only a bit.. diluted. Kind of like homeopathic solutions.
The memory of what once was a manly, hairy, muscular ancestor, it is still there, you just have to believe in it!

It’s not like we do not like adventures. It’s not like we don’t want to be part of it. All we expect is a certain degree of comfort. And that any potential adventure lasts no longer than 120 minutes (150 if it’s directed by Peter Jackson) and ends with a happy end at 9pm sharp, right in time for wheel of fortune.

The same way Indiana Jones would prefer his tombs without snakes and James Bond his martini shaken, not stirred, my kind of adventurer would prefer their adventure lactose-free, topped with a king size portion of adrenaline and directed by Roland Emmerich, only, could we, like, is it possible to replace the poisonous arrows and the dirty bombs with some vegan alternative and some almond cream? Thank you. And oh, I’m allergic to nuts.
 
It’s not our fault! You had it coming! You just had to introduce us to microwaves and Netflix, didn’t you? You successfully domesticated a once much wilder, stronger and less bikini-waxed beast of prey and introduced it to pizza delivery and cubicles. 

 

We all knew where this was gonna end when we discovered how to use fire and now you have no right to complain about us as it is just as much your fault as it is ours! After all, we are the victims here! We WANT to be adventurous! We WANT to go back to nature, grow our beard, eat some roots, smoke some weed and wear hemp shirts like a real badass! 

We have planed our backpacking tour through south-east Asia for almost a decade now! We want to sleep in hammocks under palm trees and we want to eat weird food that has no stickers on it and maybe, just maybe, we will even ride a donkey our touch an elephant or something!

We have long thought about going to Africa for a year as volunteers, eating some real squid or assemble that Ikea shelf all by ourselves!
We actually already bought the right toolbox for that, it is bright red and has some screwdrivers and pliers and these round thingies you can stick on the long thing.. it’s pretty cool!

If we find the time for it, we certainly will book a trip to one of these exotic countries in the south, we will get to know other cultures, meet new people, discover ourselves! It is about time to finally get out there, to be a man, to take some big steps and to make a difference! We’re basically on our way already, all we need to do is to get some medication for our allergies, and a backpack, and we certainly will have to look into that, I mean, you can’t just buy ANY backpack, you have to research that, and also plan a route, and I don’t actually know if I will have the time this year, I mean, I’m so really really busy with work and stuff, but I am already planing for next year, it will be big, trust me on that! I’m basically gone already, all I need to do now is to find the perfect time, I mean, I have so many responsibilities right now.. but you know what they say - you only live once, right?!

"Life in the bubble is the sissy's way of carefully using Old Spice for your body but No Tears for your head."


 

The key to success, in my world, is a bright pink bubble of what-ifs. It is the perfect balance between our primal need for adventure, adrenaline and excitement and the much more important need for comfort, security and four layers of toilet paper. It successfully bounces off Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, combining both our self-worth and our self-preservation into a parallel universe of I-would-definitely-do-that and Ahhh-shoot-but-I-have-this-really-important-thingy-tomorrow. 
 
Life in the bubble smells like artificial strawberries and tastes like manliness. It’s the sissy's way of carefully using Old Spice for your body but No Tears for your head. It is that thrill of excitement when you stand in front of your mirror in the complete Jack Wolfskin spring collection and growl like a bear.

It's the litres of adrenaline that drip down your armpits while your 3D glasses make you feel like you’re right there, next to Bruce Willis, the bullets flying over your head and the smell of fowl zombie breath in your nose. Or was that the guy next to you? 

It’s really too bad we don’t have a car, otherwise we’d have stopped talking by now and gone out in the wild, hunting some deers and making some awesome barbecue with our Jamie Oliver grill! But have you seen the statistics on car accidents lately? It’s not like I have to prove anything..

The pink bubble is a beautiful place. It’s the last stand of our self-esteem. It is cozy and it is warm and it protects us from the dangers of suddenly sitting in a restaurant, a fork full of tentacles in our hands.

The what-if world keeps harm away, it provides us with adventure in the save environment of a fancy hotel with air conditioning, room service and a mosquito net big enough for the breakfast buffet.

There are people who love adventures. I’m not one of them. I don’t like adventures. I like my bed. Wifi. A (mostly) clean toilet. Damn you, Rachel! It was your turn this week!

But I also don’t like the bright pink bubble. The usual, the normal, the familiar.

This is me, trying to escape.