Why yes, I do enjoy an apartment full of dripping clothes, thank you.

…and I do mean FULL of them.


Here is a photo of my kitchen/bath/makeshift laundry room, where my drying clothes are currently hanging in the shower that is next to the sink, which is next to the other sink (?, you might say, to which I answer: would YOU want to brush your teeth where you wash your dishes? Just think about it for a minute and it will get gross, I don't know why, but it will), which is across from the stove, which is next to the bed/living room. I have recently come down with mild Apartment Envy, because my neighbor's apartment is larger than mine and has…gasp…its own bathroom. It's really nice, with its TWO WINDOWS in the bedroom, etc., and now I am left rethinking my own choice to live in the tiniest apartment in the world and share a toilet in the hall with the weird Polish couple that never comes out of their apartment (in other news, on polskablog.pl, a woman is writing po polsku, "I have to share a toilet with the weird American who never comes out of her apartment, nie, nie, nie, dien dobry, crzaszcs!", those being the only words or quasi-words of Polish I know). I realize Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Apartment, and I also realize Thou Shalt Honor Thine Own Rent Contract, but I am still mulling over the idea of attempting to transfer my lease over into slightly larger pastures come March. We'll see. I guess that's a long way off. I bet if my landlords can't find someone to rent to they'd be happier to take more rent from me rather than less, but again, we'll see.

I am not going to do a day-by-day wrapup of my Wienerwochen anymore because I am afraid that got rather labored (for the readers, that is), so hoping to "shake it up," I'll do this week's Diary of a Foreign Wiener in a list of dubious superlatives.

Best U-Bahn/Outdoor Poster Advertisement:


DUH. Notice that I have had over 405,000 visitors and am in my third year.

Best Thing I Did This Week: That would be a tie between going out for drinks with my buddy Caitlin after taking in a stage show of Der Proceß (I was unimpreßed, but will comment on that soon…oh, do you wish I wouldn't, but I shall), and going to Pilates class at an ultra-zen-type Pilates studio in an old apartment building in the 7th, taught in semi-darkness with candles and incense burning, and the instructor, Antje, who is in amazing shape, speaks in a whisper and whispers things like "seeeeehhhhr schön" when I circle my pelvic muscles in the "correct" way. As a bonus, Pilates class helps me learn words, like "pelvic muscles."

Worst Thing I Did This Week: That would be a tie between briefly getting sick again (perhaps I developed an allergy to freaking the fuck out about the upcoming presidential election?) and watching a staged version of Der Proceß that, as I said before, failed to impreß. I have a hard time railing too hard on theater groups who try to stage Kafka, because it's a challenge, and because he is so infinitely interpretable that every director has his/her own "vision" for the text, and I should really just want to hug them all for giving it the old college try (and being pretty good actors besides, though the Josef K. was a LITTLE hammy for my taste). But so here are my main iss-ssssues with the production:

1) it employed a very weird staging metaphor involving a red backdrop covered in black wax, which all of the actors playing members of The Court (das Gericht) would scrawl into with gloved hands and then remove their gloves and throw their gloves on the floor. By the end of the production the backdrop looked like a very angsty Kindergarten class had been there and there were rubber gloves all over the floor. I have been thinking about what this staging metaphor could possibly have meant, and have come up with the following College Tries:
a) the corporeality vs. disconnectedness of the squalid "court" world; i.e., the Gericht-involved people were the only ones with the "power" to scrawl something and thus get their hands dirty, which they still didn't (and didn't even leave the mucked-up gloves on for longer than a second)…so the only entity that has the "power" to do something corporeal still won't really touch anything…I guess. Though what would be the "thing" corporeal they have the "power" to do? Really? Kill K.? K. really only dies after he's had his hermeneutic epiphany in the cathedral; HE controls his own death, in the end, in a weird way. Soif that is what the backdrop was aiming for, it didn't quite work, metaphorically OR, god help us, literally.
b) All right, it also could have been an homage to "In der Strafkolonie," which involved scrawling sentences into uncooperative surfaces in "gibberish-script"–as an extra added bonus, some theorists (Corngold, Koelb) point out that Kafka wrote "In der Strafkolonie" when he was having trouble finishing Der Proceß, or, as I like to spell it, Der Prozess, though that is not how Kafka did (but I also don't do naked push-ups, nor do I spend my days refusing to marry women I previously begged to marry me, so what can you do). But again, if that was its metaphorical purpose, I didn't really get it.
2) It "cheated" with the dialog in a very problematic way; that is, the single weirdest moment in what is already a very weird novel comes at the beginning, when one of the arresting warders tells Josef K., "Sie sind ja verhaftet," (which roughly translates to, "You are, of course, being arrested") to which K. replies, and here is the important part, "So sieht es aus" (or, "So it appears"). This is a really fucking weird thing to say. If this some putz barged into your room in the morning and stole your breakfast and underwear and insisted you had already been arrested at some unknown point, you'd be all like, What? The? Eff? But not our Josef K., who just says So sieht es aus. But that makes for very, very weird dramatic dialog, so instead our director chose to have K. go "WHAT? WHY?" which makes the dramatic rhythm much better, but, oh, I don't know, disavows the narrative uniqueness of the whole rest of the story. Wait, wait, don't leave! I promise, the boring part is over.

So, those are my two main grievances with the unimpreßive Proceß staging, and I won't even go near my minor grievances (like their insistence on starting AND ending with a stylized slam-poetry version of Vor dem Gesetz).

Most Important Thing I Learned About Vienna: If you put your clothes in the dryer for a full hour, they will actually dry (the ones I currently have dripping are hand-washed, calm down).

Other Most Notable Vienna Observation: I have talked to several people about this and they agree–Vienna is a depressed city. Not depressING (though at times it can also be that), but depressed. It seems like everyone is bummed out about something–not pissed off in the way Praguers or Berliners are, but just bummed, like they've already given up on everything except going to see the symphony, and that they'll do…as soon as they finish this portion of fried vealpork. But it's not just the grossly overgeneralized people (and the people at the IFK are not like this at all, they are all very nice, even the ones who are always correcting my German like some sort of Sprachpolizei because they are really trying to help even though it hurts my feelings even though it shouldn't hurt my feelings)–it's the buildings. I feel like the buildings are depressed here, like they are death masks of the previous and now-faded Habsburg glory, like all Vienna has is its (admittedly, incomparably) glorious past between one and three hundred years ago, and that it is just not worth trying to define any contemporary version of itself because why do that when you can sit and drink the same tiny cup of 9-Euro coffee all day (I have yet to figure out how real Viennese do this…the coffee gets cold!)? I look at these grand, triumphant buildings (the Kunsthistorisches Museum and its twin, the Naturhistorisches Museum, are good examples) and all I see is a beautifully, lovingly preserved corpse. This all even before today, when the clocks "fell" back and now it gets dark even earlier! Who knows how depressed the city will become in a few months? I am hoping I just find it depressed because I find it inaccessible, and that after a few more months I will find a little more of it has made itself "accessible" to me, or opened itself up to the possibility of my being-in-it, as Heideggerians would say, ha ha. For now I can only hope that if 405,000 people want to see a crappy musical with my name, maybe 4.5 people will want to see the real thing (that is, me, singing my sweet new house music lyrics, crappily).

One thought on “Why yes, I do enjoy an apartment full of dripping clothes, thank you.

  1. Only just now read this and would love to comment in detail, but it reminded me that I need to go do some Significant Work on my chapter, now that The Mother In Law is gone. But yes, Kafka and Wiener architecture. Wish we could blab about that some more in person.


Hello. I "value" your comment. (No, really, I do!) Please don't be a dick, though.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s