Archive for February, 2015

Mind games

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Life-thingies

When I was growing up and living with my parents, my mum would bake bread every Sunday. She still does in fact, I am just rarely there to witness it. Every Sunday she would be in the kitchen, radio on, quietly humming along and kneading dough for buns and loafs. She would roll out the buns, nice and round with practiced hands. Repeating the same roll-scoot-scoot-roll over and over, like she was kneading out the rhythm of a foxtrot.

In the windowsill her wristwatch and her ring would sit glinting, the sure sign that she was hard at work. They had been exchanged for the old washed-out apron with the vertical stripes and the stains of a thousand home-cooked meals.
When a familiar song came on the radio her clear voice would search for the words and fade in and out of the passages she knew. At noon the radio station would play the bells from the city hall in Copenhagen and the smell of freshly baked bread would be wafting throughout the whole house.

The bells ring out the oldest written melody in Denmark, “Drømte mig en drøm i nat” (Dreamt a dream last night). It is not an elegant melody when played on gigantic bells, instead I always found it to be rather haunting, but a strange thing happened once I moved away from home. Whenever I hear those bells, I smell freshly baked bread.

The first time I remember it happening was on a bus filled to the brim on a hot August afternoon. The bus smelled anything but nice, more like sweat, cigarettes and diesel, but the radio was on and the clock struck twelve and suddenly the smell of my mother’s freshly baked rye bread was wafting through the air. I closed my eyes and I was standing right there in our kitchen with the cracked floorboard by the door and my father’s million bottles of oils and vinegars in the windowsill. I sniffed at the air trying to retain the image, but it only lasted for a moment and I was back on the cramped no. 41. If only the other experience had left me as quickly, it was not nearly as pleasant.

A moment ago I was watching a movie, X-Men: First class to be exact. The first few scenes has a young Erik Lehnsherr (later Magneto) in a concentration camp. An Evil Nazi German wants to experiment on him and learn about his mutation. The scene was in German and as I had not put on subtitles I had to concentrate to understand what they were saying. As Evil Nazi German spoke of Evil Nazi things, I could suddenly smell the car-deck of the old Great Belt ferries. I felt nauseous and trapped.

Now normally I have no issue with people speaking German. I might even understand some things if they speak slow and clear. I don’t recall German ever making me nauseous, but something about Evil Nazi German’s voice or inflection made me remember the frequent messages in multiple languages announced over the tin-can PA and the terror those foreign words made me feel.

I know those ferries no longer sail, haven’t for 17 years, but the fear they made me feel as a child is still very much alive inside me. The seemingly endless sea-sickness, the cramped car-deck that made you feel like you were trapped in a maze of sedans, the distinct smell of oil, seawater and exhaust and the constant fear that we would sink and die. I was utterly terrified and I just experienced all that again. The mind-numbing fear of a small child roaring through my adult head and rooting me to the spot.

Man I need a smoke!

Advertisements

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a story of what love hate (and drugs) can make you do.

It was a little past 4 in the morning at the Big Gay Party and we were closing up.
The DJ had played his last song and was unplugging a myriad of cables. The bartenders had cried “Last call!” and were mopping up the dregs on the bar top. The floor guys were doing the same thing they had all night; running from the kitchen with empty trays and returning with them brimming with bottles, glasses, lemon slices, straws, lime wedges, chewed up gum and other delicacies. The cloakroom girls were slowly drowning in the rising tide of guests in dire need of their coats, caps and handbags the size of a small car.

As I always do at that particular time of the night, I positioned myself slightly down the corridor that leads to the cloakroom. From there I could catch people drunkenly trying to get back to the bar and I had a decent view of any trouble that might arise.

Closing time is a tricky time. The potential for trouble naturally increases when the entire party crowds together in a narrow hallway. People are drunk and tired, but still hyped up from the mood and the music. They know they ought to head home, but at the same time the morning bars are tempting with their siren song of “Just one more. Postpone the inevitable loneliness and have just. one. mooooore!”
All the little insults, the shade thrown, the stinky eyes sent throughout the night coupled with alcohol, tight quarters and pushing and shoving, run the risk of turning a small misunderstanding into a fully fledged brawl in this pressure cooker environment.

As I stood there, keenly watching the crowd and trying desperately to forget my sore feet, one or two stragglers passed me from behind. The staff check every room carefully to see if anyone has stowed away and usually someone has. Most often in the bathrooms.
Suddenly I heard what could only be described as an anguished roar coming from behind me. I spun around just in time to see a girl rushing down the corridor at full speed. A small bull dyke coming straight at me, fast and with a burning hatred glowing in her eyes. All I had time to do, was to try and step aside, but I wasn’t quite quick enough.

She hit my left shoulder hard. I reacted instinctively, wanting to get her away from me. I wrapped my arm around her waist and pushed her backwards.
Now I am not really sure what happened. Maybe I used more force than I meant to. Maybe she was smaller than I thought. Maybe the adrenaline and pain kicked in and I lost control. Maybe I have latent mutant super strength. I don’t know. All I know is I ended up sending her flying across the floor. It looked like something out of an action movie and I was horrified that I might have hurt her, but at the same time proud that I did something that looked so cool.

We were instantly surrounded by bouncers and as they picked her up and asked her what the hell she did that for, she looked at me with those dazed, glazed, bad trip eyes and mumbled “Sorry, I thought you were my step-dad”.
After checking she was otherwise okay, all that was left to do, was to find her friends and have them take her home.

Poor girl!

And poor my shoulder when I woke up the next day! Ice packs are not just for athletes. Sometimes chubby lesbian bar-managers need them too.

The following party she showed up, even though she was obviously banned. She didn’t make a fuss and she told the bouncer she hadn’t come to party, she just wanted to speak to me if I had a moment to spare. Naturally I took the time. She was very apologetic and said the incident had opened her eyes. She would try to cut down on the partying. She was nice. She had even bought me a chocolate bar as an apology.

I like chocolate!