Monday, December 10, 2007

inanity, inanity, all is inanity

Sankt Oberholz is a café on Rosenthalerstraße. It has a blog with a somewhat Alexandrian aesthetic: that is, it has turned the Lost and Found notice into an art form. Berlin is papered with poignant descriptions of missing animals, primarily cats, and Sankt Oberholz has brought this poignancy to plastic folders, CDs, sunglasses, clogs and Ritter sports chocolate.

Gestern wurde eine Tafel Ritter Sport vergessen. Es handelt sich um die Sorte “Pfefferminz”. Es lässt sich deutlich erkennen, dass diese Tafel Schokolade mindestens einmal, eher mehrmals, warm und damit weich und danach wieder kalt und damit fest wurde. Die Verpackung wurde vermutlich während eines dieser Vorgänge im Bereich der beiden rechten Rippenreihen auf den Inhalt aufgedrückt und klebt nun immer noch dort fest.

Yesterday a bar of Ritter Sport was forgotten. It is the 'Peppermint' variety. One can see clearly that this bar of chocolate became warm and soft and after that cold again and hard at least once, more likely many times. The wrapping was presumably pressed against the contents in the area of both right rows during one of these events and is now permanently stuck there fast. [roughly - there's actually more but I am so demoralised by my plodding translation I can't bring myself to include it]

I'd love to be able to write lighthearted yet poignant squibs about Ritter Sports chocolate. In German. What I'd like to do is pay Sankt Oberholz a deposit of 30 euros. Each day I would write a German blog post (yes, time for another blog, 2008 is almost upon us); each day a random Germanophone stranger could correct the post and collect a free coffee and cake at Sankt Oberholz.

When a German cat is striped, by the way, it is 'getigert' (pr. geTiggert). 'Grau getigert' - with grey stripes. I imagine a verb, 'tigern', to give the tiger his stripes (argument from Intelligent Design lurking in the background, Tyger! Tyger! burning bright! In the forests of the night, what immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? - I think of Blake whenever I see the word). According to Pons, 'tigern' actually means to mooch, saunter around, like a tiger on the prowl.

I called LottoTeam about the 160 euros. It turns out this is the result of an ill-judged move in early November: the phone was plugged in for some reason, it rang, I answered it. A flood of German poured from the earpiece of the phone; I couldn't make head or tail of it. The speaker seemed to be saying that I was in a draw for Win-A-Cabrio, and this did ring a bell, I seemed to remember entering this free draw online at some earlier date, which must have been when I inadvisedly gave my phone number. The speaker kept talking, and I kept saying, Entschuldigung? And out of the mists came a comprehensible request for my bank details. The point is not that it did not seem a stupid idea to give out bank details over the phone, the point is just that this is exactly the sort of thing that always happens when I get on the phone (which is exactly why I don't like to do business on the phone) - and also, anyway, I had no idea someone could take money from my bank account even if they had the account number unless I actually signed something saying they could.

This is all exasperating, yes, but on the other hand the girl I spoke to today said she would stop whatever it was so no further payments would be taken, and I could write an e-mail explaining the circumstances & requesting a refund, and oddly enough this conversation was beautifully comprehensible. I think it was obvious to the first person I spoke to that I had no idea what was going on, so this was undoubtedly the sort of dodge Mamet dreams up - but then, frankly, 160 Euros is nothing if one has come up through the Miramax school of talent management. And I did get to practice speaking German.

1 comment:

Elatia Harris said...

I think the only thing to do now is to purchase a Ritter Sport Tafel, preferably peppermint, smash and spindle it, subject it to a windowsill and a microwave, and try to palm it off on the seeker of the one that was lost at Sankt Oberholz. But don't get your hopes up -- he's going to have Asperger's...