31 October 2015

Windows: Graveyards IIa

s it’s All Hallows I thought I would relate a little incident which as the title gives away, has to do with graveyards. My Graveyards I, from last year had to do with trying to get some kip away from a rock concert, this time well, you will see..

[Ed: After taking a quick look at the text below it looks like you’re going to take your time getting to the plot.]

Yes, I wanted to give some background and relate the whole day leading up to what you call ‘the plot’. May I get on?

[Ed: Sure, please do! don’t mind me, I’ve got other things to do like sorting through pictures of nail vanish for the nail saga.]

Do that. 

I had a friend that was clearing out his flat and moving away from the area. He asked if I would like a few items for my household and his ‘old’ bike. As I had just moved into a flat and had no means of transport other than open, I said sure. So I went round to his place to pick up the bike and see what other things I could use. It turned out that the bike was a 10 gear racing bike. I was a little concerned about this. Well not concerned with the bike being a racing bike per se, I would be using only a couple of gears anyway, but it looked like the wheels would buckle and collapse under my weight. 

I must tell you I have never been on the thin side and also I have never been interested in active sports, it being too strenuous due to weight and a permanent eye problem. I am more the board game type. Chess for example and all its variations from 3D to Star Trek to Chinese and the exotic family of variations which go under the name of fairy chess. Unfortunately I did have to play rugby at school only because once I got moving and up to speed nobody could stop me. If somebody did try they didn’t usually try again. I won’t say I was the team’s secret weapon, but when I was passed the ball immaterial where on the field, I usually found myself scoring and doubled up gasping for breath. 

My friend assured me that there would be no buckling of the wheels or anything else on the bike. It was more a heavy duty type and not one of those you could suspend from an outstretched index finger without realising it was there. Of course I took it; you can’t look a gift horse bike in the mouth saddle. Well it held up and gave me the chance to get out into the country at weekends. 

The friend had not only a bike to give away but had also a tic with the colour orange. Not only was the bike orange, but almost everything he had was orange. I also took two clip-on lamps, a lamp stand and diverse kitchen utensils and a few other things. I can’t remember everything I took; only that it was orange! He even had rolls of orange toilet paper, which I didn’t take, no idea when he got them. 
After a time I moved away from the city out into the suburbs, green belt, the styx, back of beyond, middle of nowhere, call it what you will, it meant it was a long way to the next tram station (stra├čenbahn). 
 I now had to use my bike every day to get to the tram station. I must say it kept me fit. About 30 minutes one way, all times of day and night and in all weather, summer and winter. 

Most of the journey was through a forest, the entrances where secured with a pole that pivoted at one end and could be padlocked at the other, similar to the one pictured. In the week it was always open to allow easy access for the foresters and I use to sail through not thinking it could be down. Of course I usually look where I’m going, but one’s mind is sometimes elsewhere when in routine mode. 

Every couple of Saturdays I had to do my stint in the clinic. Well it was raining cats and dogs and I had my anorak hood up and secured tight. I was off, my head down and full steam ahead battling the wind and rain. Everything was ok until I arrived at the exit to the forest and the wooden barrier. I just forgot to look up while approaching. 
I only knew it was closed when I hit it at full speed making contact just below the handlebars. 
To quote one Gerald Hoffnung,‘I momentarily lost my presence of mind’, because instead of letting go, I held on tight to the handlebars and did a salto using the pole as the axis. I landed abruptly on the other side with my bike (not bricks) now piled on top of me instead of under me. 
I laid there trying to get my breath back and bringing my mind up to date on what my body has just experienced. After a while I decided to push the bike to one side and in slow motion attempted to get up. While doing this I listened to my body parts for any alarm signals concerning different stages of brokenness. 
Surprise #1, It seemed I was still intact, a bit sore and achy due to the unscheduled short stint of aerial gymnastics. I took it that bruising would show itself later, but all in all ok. 
Surprise #2, by the look of it the bike had also survived the impact, no wobbly wheels that I could detect. 
Surprise #3, my forehead was burning somewhat. 
Surprise #4, as I touched it I found it wet and warm. 
Surprise #5, on looking at my hand is was rather bloody! 
I suspected an abrasion due to contact with the gravel path and with further tactile examination I realised that some of the gravel had decided to hitch a ride on my forehead. I gently dabbed it with a clean tissue and supporting myself on the bike, I started to walk towards a kiosk that was on my route 20 meters away. I had never stopped there only flew by on the way to the tram. This time I decided I needed to find out the condition of my head before continuing to the station. 

The kiosk looked deserted; I crocked out a “Hello!” until a woman appeared. She took one look at me and stepped back with a wide eyed look on her face. 
I wondered why this reaction. 
Then I realised I must look like one of her regular down and outs that I had seen hanging around to drink their last social welfare money. 
I was thoroughly wet through, dirty from rolling around in the gravel and had my hood up partly obscuring my face and what was visible there was blood dripping down it. 
Yes, her expression to say the least was quite understandable. I asked her in my broken German if she had a mirror I could borrow. And explained I needed to check to see the extent and condition of my forehead, also to take the opportunity to clean it as far as possible from the embedded gravel. 
She just looked at me. 
I asked again indicating my head. She just didn’t or didn’t want to understand what I wanted from her. 
I said I had an accident with my bike and pointed at it. 
No reaction. 
I think she had pigeonholed me under ‘possibly dangerous so keep quiet and it just might go away’. Well after a few more attempts at communication I gave up and did go away by wandering off direction tram. I must say except for the frustration with the women, I didn’t feel that bad considering. 
After a long walk (usually a short ride) I locked up me bike and entered the tram. Fortunately as this was the terminus there was hardly anyone in the tram to give me strange looks. I sat in a window seat and after placing a handkerchief and hand up over the wound pulled up my hood and gently rested my head against the window. I tried to relax as a headache and drowsiness started to compete in a race to get the upper hand. 
At work I went straight to outpatients and quickly had someone clean and bandaged me up. Being staff had its perks. 
The rest of the day was without incident apart from a throbbing head. 
Eventually I headed for home.  

[Ed: Get on with it! This was to be about graveyards and one grave in particular.] 

Yes I’m nearly there. I was pretty tired, the short unscheduled flight and landing that morning was taking its toll. Before I describe the last leg of the journey home I have to mention that my way to work was not only though the forest but if I wanted to shorten the time by 10 minutes I took a short cut though the adjacent graveyard.

[Ed: now where getting there!]

The problem is, it’s not allowed. Well you’re allowed of course to walk through the graveyard
but not ride. If I wanted to ride though I just had to make sure I didn’t get caught by the caretaker or other staff. I would check for any visible activity at the front gate. If it was ‘dead quiet’ then open and enter still sitting on me bike, ride through to the back gate open and close from the saddle and ride like the wind off into the sunset forest. I rarely had to take the long way round. 

If I did ride through the graveyard it was usually the same route unless I saw someone looking after a grave or if there was a burial and then I would either get off and walk pass or take an alternative route. 

Over time the cemetery grew.
Now and then new names would appear on wooden crosses stuck into temporary mounds of lose dirt, covered with freshly cut flowers and text covered ribbons. Over time this would turn into permanent engraved stone fixtures with patches of hardy evergreen plants needing a minimum of looking after.  

My work at the time was having to setting up and carrying out experiments that could take up to 12 hours and more. On some days that would mean I would be homebound in the dark. 
Day time was no problem one could see well enough. A cross country slalom between graves was not necessary the paths were wide enough. With routine I could get up to speed so that the riding time in the forbidden zone could be kept to a minimum. 

With riding through at night, the only light was from my rather dim light bulb and a whining dynamo, not you’re blinding LEDs of today. There were of course in the cemetery quite a number of grave lights. They gave an eerie illumination and only helped for orientation by acting like airport runway positioning lights, in this case red not blue.

After my fiasco that morning I was at first a little hesitant on riding my bike when I picked it up at the terminal. But after a few dry rides the wheels didn’t wobble and the brakes braked, so I decided to ride home. As I had been late for work, it meant it was a 'going home in the dark' day. Thankfully the rain had abated but the sky was overcast and everything just damp with patches of ground mist drifting about.

[Ed: that with the mist you’re making it up!]  

No I’m not! On most days in early autumn there was evening mists. The day was and was about to be ‘atmospheric’ enough without fabrications on top.. 

I entered the back gate and made my way towards the distant street lights and the front gate. I didn’t expect to meet anyone this late so I took this time a more direct route. 

After a while I realised that somehow I had taken a wrong turning. I was very tired and probably got distracted thinking about bed. I thought it was funny that there was less grave lights around. I knew there was an area at the back of the crematory that was booked for new comers. 

As far as I could see in the dim light I was riding towards it. 

No matter I knew roughly where I was and.. 

[Ed: hey! You’re not going to stop here are you? You wouldn’t dare!]

Yes, that’s all for now. In the final part I’ll relate on the forthcoming unfortunate event and the consequences there out of. I promise not to wait till next All Hallows before posting it...  

[Ed: not another cliff-hanger! You know as your editor I’m going to get lynched for allowing this!]
No problem, leave town for the week, go underground and while your there do some research on the size of graves. Actually it’s more of a grave-hanger than cliff, down not up.  

[Ed: gawd! Now I’m on the run.. ]

01 October 2015

ObserVation: Did my Mother know?

 his post was triggered by Stana’s post about 'How could she not know'. 

When I was living at home I explored my femininity as best as I could by borrowing my mother’s clothes and makeup whenever I had the opportunity. I have related some of my adventures/close calls here under my 'Windows:' posts. Over all those years at home I can’t recollect any panic concerning tearing or ruining of her things, only panic of direct detection and confrontation. Not once did I have the feeling that she ‘knew’ what was going on. We were very close after the early death of my father and I think I would have felt it if she knew what I was getting up to. 

Either I was really really good at leaving no traces or just suppressed them at the moment they occurred (selective erasure). Looking back I just can’t believe I didn’t make mistakes with relocation, lipstick use, and all those little signs that turn up over time and collect into a pattern on one’s radar. 

My conclusion, she must have known, but she hid it well. 

At my last visit before her death (I didn’t know it was going to be the last visit) we talked about everything under the sun apart from the girl in me. Over the two day visit I wore when possible pantyhose under my jeans, maybe I was trying to tell myself something. 

The whole time it nagged me, but I just did not dare bring up the subject. I was very scared to let it all out in an uncontrolled babble punctured with fits of crying something my boy upbringing wouldn’t allow.. 

At that time there was no Abigale as such. I think now, with her coming of age, blogging and making good friends with similar experiences and their collective constructive support that I could handle such a talk much better and explain myself to her in a way that I hope she would have understood. 

Before Abigale brought things together and handed me a roadmap I didn’t understand myself so how was I to explain ‘me’ to another. Thinking about it, my mother had 40 years of social counseling behind her, she probably had heard it all before anyway! 

I can’t turn back the clock, but I often wish I could. 
Sometimes I rehearse the talk with me mum in my mind. 
Every time I learn a little more about myself.