12 December 2017

We got up at the crack of dawn. In fact, before sunrise, but that's easy in December. Last week when I mentioned to my Heidi Klum colleague that midwinter was only so many days away and she replied with her beautiful eyes all big and round, really? I almost said that it happens every year at the exact same week but instead I just nodded and she was so happy.

Anyway, after we got up so extremely early, we cycled in the dark to the station and took the train to the big city of Cologne because I had to attend a hearing at the Social Court. We both felt extremely sorry for the poor commuters crammed into the train around us and slightly smug for not being one or rather two of them.

The hearing went smoothly and as expected I lost my case but not without the judge telling the lawyer representing my health insurance to be a tad more socialist in future. As the dispute value was below 150 euro and since I had lodged my claim for non monetary reasons (also there are no costs/fees involved for plaintiffs at the Social Court)  everybody was happy with this lesson of participatory democracy.

Afterwards we briefly looked at the imposing-as-ever front of the big fat cathedral, complete with queues of Asian tourist, Peruvian pipers and schoolkids singing carols. Inside the station,  I bought an overprized small bowl of apple and walnut porridge from a hipster bar because the train back home was delayed as expected. The porridge tasted a bit lot like the papery wooden bowl (with such a pretty wooden spoon) it was served in but at least it provided some warmth and I did not want to spoil the day getting a coffee-to-go in one of these non-recyclable you-call-this-paper cups with a plastic lid because I was right up there on my moral high horse.

The last couple of weeks have been hard. Professionally, especially. While most of my colleagues are delightful and delighted to have me back for a couple of hours four/five days a week, there are some who think it's time for me to act my age and my illness and make way for a younger, healthier and most importantly, cheaper person. So for a few weeks, we moaned and grinned and some called it mobbing and I didn't really because I put my foot down - and in it - for a bit.

Predictably, I will once again get too ill to work sooner or later and we shall see. But it left a dent in my armour, disrespect, disregard does that. If you let it. If I let it.

As for the bigger world, I am in despair and seriously so. I find myself in need of excessive hugs and love because well, what is happening to us? I want to scream. I want to shake people out of their apparent shopping stupor and their sloth and what feels like grievous neglect but what do I know. They all may be crying inside.
(But: Watch this video and read the comments and tell me I am imagining it all.)

Mostly, I feel ashamed. For my failure, for my lack of action. For being old and ill (and watching The Crown on netflix).

So here, let me moan and lament for a bit that I cannot see a light, a tiny, flickering one at least, of goodness and promise on the horizon.

The man in the house is trying his best to be reassuring, elaborating on tipping points and how species adapt until I ask him to shut the fuck up.

Also, it snowed - think blizzard - briefly, on Sunday and I don't do winter (as explained here).


liv said...

I love a feisty post. You have so many wonderful characteristics of your personality and feistiness is one of the best, it keeps the blood flowing!

I hope you do stick with work for a bit. It sounds like it's good for you, if even for a little while. Those that are delighted with your return see you as we do - delighted that you are here. Every feisty little bit of you.

Ms. Moon said...

When I can't see any light at all, no matter how tiny, I try to remember that there are nights which are so dark that not one shred of starlight or moonlight can pierce the clouds and yet, I know that the stars and moon are there, their light is simply obscured for that one moment in time and that we will see them and their light again.
Liv is right- you ARE feisty and that characteristic has and will save you over and over again.
I cannot bear to watch that video past four or five seconds. Even that amount of time though makes such an impact.

am said...

"So here, let me moan and lament for a bit that I cannot see a light, a tiny, flickering one at least, of goodness and promise on the horizon."

Never alone. Sending love to you, Sabine. Winter, yes. Snow, no. I grew up in a Mediterranean climate where it only snowed twice during my entire childhood of winters, but that was a long long time ago. During my first winters here, I was so cold that I cried. That seems like yesterday.

ellen abbott said...

I don't do winter either. it saps me. well, I for one am appalled at how fast it has all gone to shit, how quickly human beings shed their pretense of civility. perhaps it's the only way we can keep our population in check, not having any natural predators. and each of us, we do what we can given our lot in life and our degree of wokeness.

molly said...

From here it looks like you ARE the light of goodness and promise on the horizon. Still feisty in spite of all you've endured. As for not doing winter you could always move to sunny Florida. I'm sure The Chump would let you in....love and hugs to you - as many as you need.

Roderick Robinson said...

Did our paths cross, well sort of? We were in Düsseldorf, three days in early December, me acting like the Ancient Mariner, grabbing German lapels and demanding sympathy for having to endure the crucifixion that is Brexit. Sympathy was freely given although one jolly person pointed that my crucifixion was in stark contrast to Ireland's ascension at this present state of the proceedings. If you get a chance listen to organ music in Düsseldorf's Johanneskirche; the best organ and - even more commendable - the best acoustic anywhere in the world.

So you are back at work, having been very sporting about the lucubrations of the Social Court. Nice to be thought expensive even if the price you've had to pay is excessive by any standards. As to the bigger world - mein Gott! The BBC has a reporter, Fergal Keane, who specialises in large-scale and continuing human disasters. Having wrung our hearts about the Yemen for a day or so he has now moved on (I should say "back") to the Congo, ironically described as a democratic republic. The danger is we become sated with videos of flies crawling over the hopeless faces of rachitic children, and we switch off. The intractable problem is that this is a civil war (or rather a group of them) and any outside intervention from the UN tends to attracts the gun-muzzles of all the warring and torturing factions.

As usual visiting Germany briefly strengthened me. I'm personally glad you live there.

Nick said...

Very evocative winter photos. My abiding memory of Koln is not of the cathedral (which I visited briefly once), but of buying, from a kiosk somewhere underground on the station there, a long, fat, white sausage that kept me from hunger all the way to Munchen (where I bought another to see me through the night on my train journey to Zagreb).

My life so far said...

I feel despair right now too. It's good to know I'm not alone. And my man, he wants to fix me as well. They try. It's their nature.

Steve Reed said...

I can't watch that polar bear video. I've seen it linked on many websites and I just can't bring myself to watch it. More than anything else I am horrified by the plight of the world's wildlife in the face of human overpopulation and plastic-filled oceans and climate change.

I'm glad you got to make your point with your court case, even if it didn't result in a victory. I visited the Cologne cathedral about 20 years ago and I remember how impressive it is!

Colette said...

I try to imagine living in a country where judges tell insurance company lawyers they should be more socialist. As for the light, yesterday Alabama, one of the reddest of red U.S. states, did the right thing and voted in a decent Democrat over a low-life Republican. This was the spark that gave me hope this morning.

Anonymous said...

I think we will reach a tipping point, and sadly getting there is going to be a horrific show. I can't watch the video of the polar bear either. My heart can't take in such a scene because I might end up having to do something crazy. What we are doing to the planet in the interest of our own selfish sense of entitlement will not end well. I am at least heartened by the Alabama Democratic win and the climate meeting in Paris, the one where Trump wasn't invited, but the governor of my state attended. I don't think sanity will prevail, but I take some comfort in knowing good, powerful people are trying.

37paddington said...

I have to have hope for humanity or else I will curl up and die. i am glad you are back at work.