Tuesday, September 25, 2007

when you're having fun?

For most of my memory, my life never seemed to be moving fast enough. When I was in one place, I wanted to be in another. When I was a child, I wanted to be an adult - make my own decisions, do my own thing, stay up late, eat ice cream all the time. High school seemed to last an eternity. College too. The workday refused to die. And so on.

Now suddenly everything is moving way too fast. Suddenly, there's a due date to the dissertation. Or at least the money will run out and the university will start to tap its toes impatiently. T. and I have leapt from cohabitation to marriage to immigration laws on both sides of the Atlantic in little more than a month. I have stuff in storage in Boston and L.A., piles of things here in Basel - little deposits all slowly spreading the globe and threatening to splinter off and cross yet more borders. I have a box with dollars, euros, swiss francs, and a check or two made out to pounds sterling. Where are the yen? the rubles? I ask myself. For every birthday after 30, I wonder, will it start jumping by fives? 35, 40, 45 for the next three birthdays? Kind of like dog-years?

How did this happen? Where did the obligatory two weeks to do nothing but sit on a beach and wake up late fly away to this year? And why is every weekend between now and New Year's booked? If someone else were writing this, the words jet-setter or high-flyer would come to mind if I happened to stumble upon it, but nothing could be worse to describe the deep end into which I - as if by ambush - have been unceremoniously tossed.

Spinning her wheels seems more apt. Chaotic, running in place, everywhere and nowhere, in the eye of a storm, maybe. These days the song that goes through my head as I'm in the shower is the chorus of a tune by R. played on the car radio during a vacation I joined with S. and her family:

Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy

Sunday, September 9, 2007

my first joke in german

At the Sommerfest to conclude the Eikones summer school yesterday, I. fretted that all the salad was finished, though there was still plenty of Wurst to go around.

"Are you a vegetarian?" I asked. He answered yes, and then I replied:

Das hab' ich nicht gewusst [I didn't know that] - or should I say, Das hab' ich nicht ge-Wurst?

the yiddish part of me laughed heartily

On the day I presented on Aby Warburg's formulation of Nachleben, I brought in my laptop so I could show a few slides of the Mnemosyne Atlas.

M. saw my machine and admired its diminutive size.

"In Germany," he said, "we don't call it a laptop. It's a schlepp-top."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

gare CFF

On the Tram 11 back into Basel center from the Schaulager, we pass by the central station, a structure divided in half - one half Swiss, the other half French, with a passport checkpoint before you board the trains into France. As we approach the station, we pass the Herzog & de Meuron switching station and a series of buildings ostensibly designed by Donald Judd, and the usual recorded woman's voice announces the upcoming stop:

Nächste Haltestellung Bahnhof SBB

Then a very different woman's voice announces the stop in French:

Finally, yet another voice - again, a woman - states:
Swiss and French railway station.

We were on our usual commute this week back into town for lunch when I. announced that he loved the voices on the Basel trams, adding that the French voice sounded "so ... triumphant." But it was really the German voice that did it for him. "I adore the voices on German trains - I just fall in love with them. So reassuring, so beautiful. Whenever I hear them call out the stops I wonder about the world I'd find if I got off at that stop. They always sound so magical. One time I was in Vienna, I think... Louisenstrasse. And I thought, I want to go to this enchanted place, Louisenstrasse."

Saturday, September 1, 2007

the hitchcock festival continues

Foreign Correspondent
Shadow of a Doubt
The Trouble with Harry
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Rear Window
The 39 Steps
Strangers on a Train

The Stadtkino Basel has finally opened today after the long, dry summer break (dry in the sense of slim pickings in the cinema, not the weather). I am looking forward to seeing Eisenstein's Que Viva Mexico in the next few days and Strangers on a Train for the first time on the big screen. Hoppla, wir leben!

of note for fall

Rare is the book without a typo.