Friday, October 01, 2010

An American Evening

You should know that the reason I don't write more often is because I'm on the rocks with writing lately. Sometimes words are wonderful, and sometimes they're the last thing I want to see. My words. I'm undoubtedly my worst critic, and I've tried to write -- but then I throw away my attempts, disgusted. C'est la vie.

As I walked past a McDonald's this evening, I saw what I had to have: the 1955 Burger. I'm not making that up, and, if I'm honest, it's one of the tastiest pretend-burgers I've eaten in years. It brought me back to good ole '55, when a burger was still a burger. To a time when Elvis was doing his thing, only men were allowed to read the newspaper, and the real Bel Air was still just a twinkle in a Chevy designer's eye. Those were the days.

Of course, a burger is hardly the place to stop when you're having a good time, and I was in the mood this evening for Something Completely Different. Cinema is the word I was after. After poking around on my phone, I found what I was looking for, and decided to walk into the city rather than take the subway because I still had time. One of the best decisions I've ever made, too, because I saw the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Sterling Moss edition - another throwback to another time and another era, but this time with a staggering 650hp (and even more torques) coming from its blown V8. So help me, I'm naming my second son Sterling Moss Nelson in honor of that exquisite car. And as soon as I have €895,836 laying around (yes, it was that specific), I'm buying that car. Well, no, I'm not. But it was pretty. And if I had to guess, it goes like hell and sounds like heaven.

I'll always stop what I'm doing to talk cars. You know me. Back to it, though, I found out this evening that there's an English-language cinema here in Munich. Granted, German's no longer an obstacle for me, but dubbed movie are one of the dumbest inventions known to man. I've wanted to see The American, a new George Clooney film, but the last thing I want to hear is a German who sounds vaguely like Clooney having to cram his lines into the time while George's lips are flapping. With all respect due to my dear Germans, it's preposterous. A country that can make 250MPH trains and $15,000 surgical scissors should see the superiority in subtitles. But I digress. Again.

The point is, I'm down to 26 days left here. My second round of courses has started, and I'm now in the second-to-highest level of classes offered by Johann's Institute. I've learned a great deal, and I continue to learn. As far as the language goes, I'm at the first point in my life where I think I can admit to myself that my German is good. Not good enough, but good. I'm not ready to go back.

I came to Germany to plan as much as to study. Dad's death threw my life -- and with it, likely some of my psychological health -- into turmoil. I came to Germany then, and that's part of why I'm in Germany now: this place I love, this place where I often feel more at home than America, is somehow where I recharge. Reflect, renew, recoup, redirect, undoubtedly other re-'s too. (If you think of a particularly good one, do let me know.) Meandering back from the theater as I am now, it's raining lightly, drunks are returning from d'Wiesn (hint: Oktoberfest), the world is quiet - and I love it. Goethe Institute will look good on a résumé when combined with my major and my mission, and will hopefully help me stand out in an increasingly homogeneous world. But more, I'm where I belong.

It's about time I know exactly what I want to do, and I have a pretty good idea of how to get there. I have my pilgrimage to the Fatherland to thank for that. It's funny how these things work. And although I'm talking -- writing -- as though I leave tomorrow, I know I still have weeks ahead (and a trip to Italy!) to enjoy and to utilize. But seeing future as present has always been (to a fault) my modus operandi, hasn't it?

(And for those of you who were wondering, the movie was excellent - though deserving of its rating. Reminiscent of The Professional, and replete with absolutely brilliant cinematography... I love it when composition helps tell a story, and, in concert with Clooney's subdued acting, it did. My favorite euro-style film in a while.)

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