The feeling that I have a social life hasn’t been stronger since I got here. I spent the last two nights out with people, and as fun as both nights were I’m looking forward to spending another night in the sweet comfort of isolation. But the feeling that I actually have some friends out here is quite nice.
On Thursday night, in spite of my strong desire to stay in, I decided to go out to Quiz Night with Alan and Amanda again. On Tuesday, we’d used the name “Jesus Loves Vodka” as our team name and lost horribly. But we really like the name, so we used it again, only changing it to “Jesus Loves Guinness” which we felt would be slightly less sacrilegious to the Irish Catholic woman who runs the quiz. She was quite amused by our name, musing about the idea of Jesus drinking Guinness on the microphone for all to hear, but she did say that it was in fact a sin. But the name proved to be good luck, because we actually wound up winning the quiz (thanks to a lot of Obama questions at the beginning and many others that fell into my areas of knowledge), and she said that we must have had help from Jesus. It felt cool to finally win a quiz, but it also meant free drinks, which wasn’t ideal because I really hadn’t wanted to drink very much due to the necessary early rise on Friday morning.
But on the third Guinness, after I had a significant buzz going, I found myself opening up and spilling personal details more freely than I ever have before. I told them about my theory on human sexuality, and how I consider myself a man who is mostly inclined towards same-gender sex between two women. I even let them know that I have no strong desire to penetrate a woman and I’d rather just pleasure them orally, and Amanda assured me that there are plenty of straight girls who aren’t into penetration who would totally go for something like that. The trouble is of course that I might get slapped in the face a few times before finding one. Not that I even intend to try, but it’s fun to imagine.
The next morning was quite shitty, but not as bad as it could have been. I struggled through my two beginner classes in Helmstedt, then came home and plopped back onto my couch for a little nap, looking forward to another nice night of watching downloaded TV entertainment on my computer. But only twenty minutes into my nap, the phone rang and it was Oliver inviting me to come to Celle—a town about 25 minutes away by train—to spend the night at his place. I almost didn’t want to go because I still wasn’t feeling too great, but I knew I should go and that after a meal and a few beers I’d be feeling just fine.
So I just threw on a jacket and hopped a train to Celle, arriving at the station at around 4:30. We drove around for awhile because he meant to take us to a restaurant but we found it didn’t open until 6, so we just settled for a half-chicken from a stand outside the supermarket and went back to his place to chow down. He lives in the downstairs of a very old run-down house in a relatively secluded area wedged between a forest and some fields. It looked pretty shitty but felt nice and cozy, a feeling augmented very much by the wood-burning oven that he uses to heat the house. We had to venture outside to fetch more wood a couple of times, which was quite fun.
Throughout the course of the night, we basically just sat and talked. He played some great music, almost all of which I intend to download, and we split a six-pack followed by a couple of bottles of wine, from which I drank extremely slowly and cautiously because I hate to mix different types of alcohol. Our conversations were all over the place, beginning with just telling some stories about some of our most intense life experiences (which for both of us usually involved LSD), and sharing our personal histories. I told him about my father abandoning me and the high school depression stuff, and he told me about how he became a father at 19 years of age with a woman 6 years older than him, and he has two daughters. They lived together for about 5 years but that didn’t work out so he left, but he still sees his daughters, now 13 and 15, quite frequently. I couldn’t believe I was hanging out and drinking with a guy who has teenage daughters.
I also told him about my writing at one point, and he seemed quite interested in my pet universe and wants to read some of it. Apparently, he’s into that kind of thing. But talking about that stuff led to deeper issues, and our conversation got pretty philosophical at one point. He enjoys thinking on a deep level and considering things like humanity’s place in the universe, but he doesn’t very often so he found my ideas pretty interesting, which felt quite good.
At around midnight when we were hungry again I helped him cook up a really delicious chicken salad with mushrooms, onions, and apples, drenched in a delicious Indian sauce. It was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever eaten (because of the apples) but it tasted fantastic.
And when it got really late he started asking me about women, so our last topic of conversation was me once again trying to explain why I’ve never had a girlfriend, an explanation that seems to change slightly with whomever I’m with. I didn’t go into the whole male-lesbian thing with him. I just told him about how I would always fall in love with girls I couldn’t have and didn’t pay attention to anyone else so I never got any practice at picking up women. He asked me if I believed it was just bad luck or that it was all because of me, and I said I knew it was all me which he said was important. I explained that while I sometimes get very lonely, most of the time it doesn’t bother me. Not having a girlfriend gives me the freedom to stick with my plan of travelling the world and moving to a new country every year or so.
But he also told me that German girls are probably the most difficult girls in the world—that he’s never had a problem finding a woman anywhere else in the world except Germany. Just more confirmation that it’s just not going to happen for me here. And that’s perfectly fine. As I said, being single preserves my freedom. But he did tell me that I’ll eventually find someone and that woman will be very lucky, but I gave him my standard response that some people in the world will never have sex or a relationship, and I might be one of those people. “Maybe next life then,” he said. Exactly.
We finally went to sleep at around 2 a.m. and although I thought I wasn’t sleeping well, I woke up nice and late and found that I actually did have a relatively good night’s sleep. Unlike this apartment, you don’t have the nearly constant street noise at his place, although there was a really annoying water pump that kept me up for a little while. But when it was silent, I just laid there appreciating the absolute silence of it, and getting back to sleep was never too difficult. Then this morning he drove me to the train station and I came home. My head is still a little light from the wine and beer, and my throat is still a little itchy from all of that smoking, but my soul feels quite right and I’m really glad I went last night. Not counting Ichenheim, that’s the first time I’ve slept outside my apartment since I came back to Germany, and I really enjoyed it. I was worried that he might not find my company too thrilling but we got along really well. His English wasn’t perfect so there were a few communication problems but it was mostly okay. I tried to speak a little German but he could tell I was struggling so he stuck to English as much as possible, and language wasn’t a big issue most of the time. At any rate, we were able to have some good conversation which is really the only thing that matters.
So now I’ll spend the rest of the weekend alone (barring any unforeseen invitations by Alan or Amanda to come hang out somewhere) and relax in the peace of mind that I am in fact making good on my resolve to be more social and focus more on other people rather than so heavily on myself.