My AirBnB host in Hamburg is the 55 year old German version of myself. I hope. Kinda. Except I'd like a lovely wife, kid, and a Doberman. Anyways...
I've arrived late. Quarter past eleven. Of course he's still up, he's just having dinner. He leaves town tomorrow morning and still hasn't packed. Same. Btw...his name is David. His demeanor is composed, but his eyes are active. He can't hide his eyes. You ever met someone like that, body as still as sloth, but they've got Roger Rabbit eyes? My man is wearing two, or is it three, different types of plaid...I can't tell...its a plaid labyrinth...I'm lost in it. Around his neck is what looks like a skinny, extra long, dish towel. It's tied just so, two knots, enough to know he cares. David is polite, friendly even, while his eyes investigate me and gather intel. He tells a joke about Americans, and then tells me it's a joke. Germans, man.
David lives here alone. He's a writer, too. It appears he's learned the lesson I've struggled to learn. He creates best without distraction. The flat has no WiFi. No TV. He doesn't have a smartphone. He has an answering machine. And a radio. His apartment is a scrapbook with lungs. There are little trinkets, crafts, and books everywhere. I mention an airplane bottle of mezcal sitting in his kitchen, he says it's 30 years old!!! A Colombian sombrero is hung atop a CD tower. A photo calendar from a recent trip to India hangs by the kitchen. It is a kitchen, I think...I mean it walks like a kitchen, talks like a kitchen. He's got one skillet, one baking pan, a few plates, two bowls and a bunch of glasses. That's it. The fridge is like a Fisher Price my first refrigerator. It couldn't hold a holiday ham. David is living stripped down. Just the essentials matter, except for the clutter, but shit, in perspective, if this is ALL this guy has after 55 years of life...fuck, he's done good.
He's left me alone here for 9 days. I don't know about you, but if I'm 55 and I let some stranger stay in my place for nine days while I'm gone, that's saying something. I wouldn't let a stranger drive my car at this point in my life. I bet most of you wouldn't let me stay in your house for nine days unattended (tell me I'm wrong!!). Seriously though, there's something so freeing in this all. There isn't a locked cabinet or door (I've checked), his laptop is on the desk. People talk about peace this, peace that, well one path is letting go of attachments, right? We're all attached to possessions, identities...and place. This man is either the holy body of zero fucks reincarnated, or over the decades he's shed his attachment to his "stuff".
I have the tendency romanticize people, and moments. I'm actually pretty good at it. But you know, sometimes you just feel like you're meant to be somewhere. I didn't feel that when I arrived here, but after a day at this apartment, and here in Hamburg, I know I'm supposed to be here. You can tell me I'm full of shit, and you still might be right, but if you know anything about me then this last bit'll get you. In my rush to get to bed late that night I didn't fully take in my surroundings...so when I woke in the morning, I was quite surprised. Behind my headboard there's a bookcase, filled with Donald Duck comics, German literature....a book on the Cuban revolution. Tucked into a crack at the top, a dusty, fake, long stem rose reaches out over atop my head. A rose, for the man who leaves roses everywhere he goes. A rose. In Hamburg.