I wish that I knew a few bums.
Since Sunday’s shopping trip and the subsequent shucking of a behemoth wardrobe, a sofa, two desks, four chairs, a stool and probably something else I’m forgetting of their protective cardboard husks, Niels and I have replaced what is (someday) to be our office with a corrugated paper pit. It’s like the Chuckee Cheese ball pen, but with extra Drab (and less mucous of unknown origin). Niels has been searching for a nearby recycling center to take what probably amounts to about 35 lbs. of cardboard, but it’s occurred to me that what we need isn’t actually a paper disposal center: it’s a fleet of vagabonds. If I could get a few street-dwellers–say 6-8–in here to take away the Ikea leavings and use them for good (sleep sack padding, wind blocks from that biting Berlin breeze), I’d be glad to provide a meal to go along with it–plus booze! The problem lies in contacting a battery of bums: how would one go about such a thing? If there is a network, I am unequipped to penetrate its parameters. Perhaps there is a long line of tin-can telephones somewhere hidden in the shrubbery and signage of Berlin. I’ll keep a lookout for it, or perhaps start publicizing my willingness to dole out a meal for cardboard removal. Who knows who might show up?
For example–the skeletal, down on his luck looking dude wearing a tatty santa hat whom I saw yesterday. He was so thin, so oddly clad in gray, dirty jeans, a cracked and dry looking leather jacket, 5 o’clock shadow and a santa hat that looked as though it had been used to scrub the floor in a regional train with service to Mudville, that I feared for him. I was also slightly afraid of him, because as we passed on the street he lit a cigarette, gave it an emphatic, hollow-cheeked suck and looked directly into my eyes with something that fell squarely between menace and disdain. Perhaps he was not, in fact, a bum, but an exceptionally dirty, ironically capped hipster, which in addition to being possibly threatening, means he might not be much good for cardboard removal.
Anyway, with the cardboard pit contained in the middle room and the door shut, I can almost pretend that we’re moved in. Our Christmas tree glows sweetly before me and I’m settled into the crook of a new warm, dark gray couch. We’ve also got four dining room chairs I’ll be staining sometime next week. Even if it left us with piles of unwieldy paper refuse, I’d say our Ikea trip was a rollicking success.
It also means that Niels and I (but mostly Niels: I am largely a soda and tool jockey) have been building furniture until late at night for the past 2 days. I’m tired. He’s tired. I haven’t had time or energy to blog much, and because we’re headed to see Alexi Murdoch at the Berlin Heimathafen, this entry’s also doomed to be quite short. You might notice that it’s also photo-less due to the Android having been checked into the hospital. It was getting damn annoying not being able to use the “e,” “c” and multi option keys.
I’ll be back probably tomorrow with more to say . ‘Til then, may Hump Day (known as “Bergfest” or “mountain party” to Germans) treat you right!
*Edit: What I need isn’t a fleet of bums, it’s a team of GOATS! Goats for hire in Berlin? Anyone?