Tuesday, June 30, 2009

gr

I go to a café and the stalker turns up. (Of course, he's not really a stalker, just someone who knew my old address and used to turn up and ring the bell. But this was one of the reasons for moving out.) Anyway, X turns up and asks inside if it's all right to busk. They say yes. He brings out a stool, sits on it, sings a couple of Russian songs while playing guitar. Afterwards he comes over to sit down, orders a beer, talks. "I'd like to kiss you," says X. "Don't you like men?" (I need to find another apartment.) Presently X finishes his beer and leaves, kissing me on the cheek. A patron of the café comes over, says, Sie kennen den Junge? I say (roughly) Well, sort of. He points out that X took the stool outside to play, and now the waitress will have to take it back in. He says, also, that people here like good music, if X comes and plays schlechte Musik he has no chance. So he must either play classical music or pop from the 60s, 70s, 80s. I say (roughly) that I really have no independent access to X, he just turned up by accident at the café. The patron says He kissed you on the cheek. I do not say Is that my fault? He reiterates that X left the stool outside and now the waitress will have to take it in. I agree that this was very wrong. I knew it was a mistake to get out of bed. Dolce vita ist vorbei.

7 comments:

Ality Atwo said...

There's plenty of us who think The Last Samurai is one of the only proper books written in our lifetimes, but we don't all feel the need to hunt you down and be creepy. Though perhaps reading/commenting on your blog is just a bit less creepy? Frankly, I understand the joy in getting close to people you admire, but somehow I've always felt more stalked by some writers. For example, Rachel Zozanian catches the bus from Brighton Station (I live two streets away) and then there's the photo insert in YNH taken from the 6th floor of KaDeWe (where I went to buy coffee beans grown in Saint Helena, the only UK-sourced coffee) and then there's the 'character' Ilya, who shares my age, hometown, and judging from his writing, seeming obsession with BOOK by the Doug Anthony Allstars. You'll understand, Helen, that if you turn up with a guitar in my local cafe I will politely run away.

Cecilieaux said...

I would have replied "Nein" at the first question, noting that the kiss was unwelcome. Then I would have settled the matter with a good "Möchten Sie anrufen die Polizei?"

(And, OK, you couldn't end it with a good "Heil," but I -- being a tourist -- would.)

Then it would have been a great day to be alive. Dammit!

Anonymous said...

Ah, your Russian stalker found you again, eh? You could always pretend you are a lesbian robot pirate from the planet Zworg. Feign madness. Speak incoherently. Make everything you say a non sequitur. Something has got to work, right?

Anonymous said...

Or you could destroy him, which ever is convenient.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 agrees with Anonymous #2. Destruction is definitely the way to go.

Helen DeWitt said...

AA X is not hunting me down, he just happened to turn up and want to busk at a café where I happened to be sitting.

C What, you would have said No when someone asked if I knew X? But that's not true. It seems odd to me that Y inferred some kind of close friendship from the fact that X kissed me on the cheek - plenty of people kiss cheeks when they say hello and / or goodbye, it's a purely conventional gesture. I can't say it's one I actually like, but I don't go around disavowing acquaintanceship with people who use it on the basis that I don't like it.

Anons, seems to me that social life is full of encounters with people one doesn't especially want to see. We don't have a well-developed code of practice for leaving an encounter that happens not to be welcome. It would make more sense to debug our social practice than to devise aggressive ad hoc solutions.

Portia Saunders said...

Less freedom and more custom is the only way to debug. You could always marry a Spaniard.