I love it when a first happens. And here we go with one. My guest blogger today, Quirina Roode-Gutzmer just happens to be the very first German-English translator to appear on the Vandal Blog. Just goes to show that there are daredevils in all walks of life. So get ready, grab a coffee and enjoy Quirina’s tale.

Something about life and the Universe.

I uttered the name of the person people pray to, out of sheer fright, out of respect for influences greater than myself. Usually I don’t need a God in my thinking processes, but occasionally I resort to acknowledging the possibility of a divine personage. This was one of those occasions. A cold shower in a strange place. Damn cold. If it was any colder, it would not be a shower. I pressed the button, and the water blasted upon my nakedness. My brain was hijacked. The water stopped by itself. Relief. Catch breath. Curse. Lather hair with shampoo. Press button. Blast. Curse. Hyperventilate. Apply conditioner. Is that not impressive? I was still vain enough to want conditioner. Yes, because I decided when the next blast was going to happen. And because I was in the possession of information: how cold and how long the blasts of water would be. I am empowered by choice. I am clean. I am AWAKE!

All dressed up, I was ready to eat a free breakfast. I like free things. Free tickets, free breakfasts, free Tibet. The cornflakes did not seem palatable, nor did the government-type bread or the jam, which resembled a homogeneous gelatinous lump of artificially flavoured and coloured sugar. A bagel with cream cheese was had instead, with a cappuccino (a divine little black drink with hearty white foam on top) which was not free; it was paid for out of a kind of deserved decadence.

We walked outside. The air was fresh. We saw our breaths, which my friend pointed out as being a sign that we needed to wear our hats. She didn’t have a cold shower. She had information. (I was the informant). She made a decision, her own one. The sky was blue. My eyes drank the wavelengths of sunlight that clouds usually absorb and reflect in a non-linear kind of way. Aeroplanes left their white signatures in the sky. I love that. The possibility of adventure was written in my favourite kind of sky. As the day progressed we could see the contrails spreading out and eventually growing into ominous clouds. Are we the new kind of cloud-generating plankton, usually earth-bound, but defying gravity every now and then? By the evening we were walking back with umbrellas. We took refuge in a warm little café. We both had a little black drink with foam on top. Hers was a cappuccino. Mine was a Guinness. We spoke about life till very late. When we left the café, it was dark and the sky was grey. Beyond the grey it was black and starry. And beyond that, if we dare, we are capable of perceiving the beginning of the Universe.

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Something About Life And The Universe
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5 thoughts on “Something About Life And The Universe

  • 20/11/2010 at 12:42 pm

    Sounds like a simple kind of day conjured up some divine revelations for you – or epiphanies, as James Joyce might write. Lovely little tale. I enjoyed your style. Thank you.

  • 20/11/2010 at 7:24 pm

    At first all the little asides bothered me. But I see now. The beginnings of the universe are in the details – the satisfaction is in the control of the story and the assertion of personhood.

    Perhaps I'm projecting but I find a sadness in the assertion, in the profound meaning that emerges when you "spoke about life til very late", when you defied gravity with information, as a "new kind of cloud-generating plankton", making choices and defining self.

    Sad, beautiful and profound. It's lovely Quirina!

  • 21/11/2010 at 8:45 pm

    Love it- small and vast, simple and multi-layered, warm and oddly sad.

  • 22/11/2010 at 10:12 am

    Love the layers of language depicting the many layered experiences of a day well lived. Eloquent and evocative in your use of words and imagery. Thank you for this!

  • 18/01/2011 at 10:33 am

    I didn't find it sad, I found it invigorating (like the freezing shower!) and full of hope! :)

    My favourite bit was the bit about 'aeroplanes leaving their white signatures in the sky' and that being a sign of the possibility of adventure! :)

    Quirina – you rock :)

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