Let’s begin with the shout-out. Fun fact: I can see exactly how many views I’m receiving from each country in the world with internet. Fun fact: I got my views from Switzerland the day I shared my blog on Facebook for everyone not to read. Fun fact: I only know one person who lives ten minutes from the Swiss border in France and works there, and it was read during working hours in Switzerland. Fun fact: though we are not friends on Facebook or in real life, a mutual friend definitely passed it on to her (OK so I unfriended her and all her friends during a much larger Facebook purge; but really, I’m never talking to any of them ever again and they’re all kind of just idiots so why keep them?).
It’s kind of funny, truly, in the sense I moved on immediately while she immediately downgraded. And it’s really quite sweet that she is feeling regrets, really it is. She should! I mean, when I spend an hour at our breakup quoting Russian poetry and German philosophers in the original language, and the last thing I say to you in person is the last line of a book by Marcel Proust in the original French, you know your life can only go downhill from there. But the Stadden-Go-Round has moved on to hotter and less mind-numbingly-boring things.
I know women aren’t ‘things’, so don’t freak out. The sentence just sounded better with ‘things’, so please accept my apologies. Also, I’m single, so don’t be shy and please endorse me on LinkedIn.
In the very unlikely case she was not the reader from Switzerland, I stand by the rest of my words. And Servus, Herr/Frau Schwiizer! Herzlich Willkommen zu meiner Blogschaft.
Now that my Ex has peaked in life by being mentioned on an unknown blog, let’s talk about my novels and how weird Euro-showers are.
Yes, I know, everyone has that one obnoxious friend who has no idea what he wants to do in life so he deflects it by saying “I’m just going to write a book eventually”. Or that one friend who is way too artsy-schmartsy for his own good, has taken ten creative writing classes, and tells terrible stories when he’s drunk. I hope I am neither of those. I thought I had some good ideas and, being the guy who does stuff when he has an idea no matter how absolutely heinous to the human race it is, I wrote them down. So far I have four novels either done or in writing.
First completed one: Technically, it’s a novella, but you would be surprised how many people do not know what a novella is. Premise: A man in the distant future, after light speed and genetic perfection have been invented, is sentenced for a heinous crime. His punishment? He will be genetically redesigned to be unable to sleep but always need to; he will only be induced to sleep for forty-five minutes while travelling at light speed; after these forty-five minutes have passed, he is forced to stay awake three days somewhere in the universe. This repeats itself until the universe’s heat death……or does it?
Second one, in progress: A man is a lucid dreamer in Weimar-era Berlin. He discovers he can structure his brain as an information-recall machine while he is asleep, and that with enough finagling he can have the system last while he’s awake as well. Then some things happen, and there’s an ending.
Third one, in progress: Twin brothers are determined to be prodigies in the arts from a very young age. But there is a major difference between the two! One has synaesthesia, the psychological phenomenon in which all the senses become mingled, giving him an artistic edge over his brother, who attempts during the course of his entire life to replicate his brother’s ‘gift’. Lots of Mozart vs Salieri sort of comparison.
Fourth one, in progress, will be shortish: A man in university is dumped and handles it in a very theatrical way. Although he is absolutely wonderful, kind, gentle, and downright gorgeous, he is still dumped by a much lesser being in the form of a woman who speaks French as her first language. Rather than a confession or accusation, he writes down exactly what happens as a form of lustration, much like when Stasi archives were suddenly all opened for everyone to see who had been spying on whom. Wait, you say, that sounds kind of sort of like the breakup you experienced, Stadden, relatively recently? Ah, I’d say, you may very well think that, but I can neither confirm nor deny that any of this actually happened. Plus names, dates, and events may or may not have been changed. Also, I’m going to begin looking for a lawyer before taking this to a publisher.
It’s finally time for the showers! Something about this continent is very odd, in that the showers are just plain strange. In the United States and Canada, one can go to virtually any part of either country and the showers will be the same: there’s a curtain, maybe a tub in the bottom, there’s a showerhead screwed into the wall, and the knobs are somewhere below. Sure, there’s variation, but everything is essentially the same. Much like our languages, we can go hundreds of miles and speak the same language and use the same showers.
But the Europeans say ‘Nay nay!’ to such organisation. Here, every danged apartment has to have a different danged shower to the point that they almost have shower dialects. The one in the apartment I’m staying in has a shower that doesn’t stick into the wall higher than my waist. It is meant to be held in one hand. Which makes lathering a bit difficult and slightly less sexy. This is in Berlin.
Then in Florence, a few years ago, the showerhead was as high up as my beautiful, hairy nipples, but was screwed into the wall as if I were going to steal it unless it were welded onto the pipes. This washroom also featured an entirely unobstructed view onto a little nonna’s porch and kitchen, which also didn’t have windows. We got very friendly very quickly without exchanging words. I’m not that picky when it comes to women, as the first paragraph of this post shows.
Then in Ravenna, the shower took up a whole room. But where, you ask, were the sink and the jawn? They were contained in the same shower room, which occupied a square yard/square meter. So everything got really wet when you were showering, and there was no way to wait for it to warm up before you got in, since that would require you standing naked in front of everyone before hopping in.
Then there was Gex, a small town in France full of very beautiful, ravishing, genteel women, all of whom are approximately 60, and some average-looking ones all of whom were younger than that (realist painters found French peasant women quite intriguing; a year with one and you realise you’re better off looking at the paintings). This city’s sanitary facilities included a normal shower, but no shower curtain! You would be surprised how naked you feel in spite of a locked door when you have to shower without a curtain. And how careful you become not to get water everywhere.
And then there was Budapest, which featured a shower shaped like a labyrinth, spinning in on itself until dizziness and nirvana were achieved simultaneously.
I don’t know why it has to be like this. It’s like every fifteen miles there is an entirely different convention for how showers must be made. It’s beyond me. It’s almost more annoying than learning a language with multiple dialects and finding you understand none of them, since in most places you can just avoid everyone. But the shower should be used at least once a day depending on how hot the climate is and avoiding it should be illegal.
French was standardised by Napoleon in 1804, Italian was sort of standardised as an unofficial used-only-in-writing language in the 19th century, and German is very organised as a language and culture. So why couldn’t they standardise their bathing facilities?