Picture Perfect Life

I moved to Switzerland because of a post card. That postcard is now on my refrigerator door, held up by an ugly magnet shaped like a moose. The picture displayed is one of a lake, blue and picturesque, generic. Back home I'd imagine swimming in it in the summer, cooling off from a hot day in the mountains, lazily dazing on its shore. And in the winter I'd go ice skating. In a thick woolen hat, that I'd have knitted myself - I would know how to knit by the time I had moved there - and a matching scarf. That is what I'd always liked about it, the possibilities it held for me. The post card is dog-eared, creased in the middle, like it has been folded and unfolded many many times before it has found its place here. It looks like it has been stuck into back pockets of jeans, stuffed into purses full of bread crumbs and old gum, forgotten. Like it has just recently been flattened by a thick book and finally hung up. Right now it seems like it is mocking me. I consider taking it off the refrigerator door and ripping it in half, exactly where the white crease is, a clean cut if you will. But I don’t. For some reason it still holds some sort of sentimental value for me even though nothing turned out the way it was supposed to. I have never been as lonely as I am here. Even though that was the point of this entire endeavour, I was never prepared for the sheer boredom of this place, the nagging silence that is palpable to a point where I regularly talk to myself just to hear something, anything really. Me ripping that picture would probably be the most exciting thing to happen to me that week. I gaze out of the window and see the exact same lake, the one that is displayed right there on that door. A perfect copy of that picture, only that the water is always too cold to go swimming. The mosquitos make it impossible to do as much as walk on its shore and in winter it never completely freezes over, because it is too deep. Ice skating would be a suicide mission. Even though at times that was a promising thought.

I hadn't actually wanted to move to Switzerland in the first place, but had wanted do something crazy instead, like hike the PCT. I had read about it in that famous book, the one that had been turned into a movie, and had thought to myself, "why not". I considered the woman who did it brave, extremely brave  really, and a little stupid. I was at least one of those things. She had found herself on that hike, something that sounded promising to me, as I was always on the verge of finding out something about me but never quite getting there. Like a forgotten name, that sits right on the tip of your tongue but you can’t figure out what it is. Still, the second I really started thinking about that hike, I knew I wasn’t going to do it.  I sit down at my kitchen table, polished wood of some sort and look down at my perfectly manicured fingernails. I have them done once every 2 weeks, a habit, I am somehow always able to maintain, even though it means having to drive for 2 hours to the next manicure place. I am just not the hiking type. I cant picture myself strapping on a pair of boots and a backpack and camping out in the woods all by myself. So that was the end of that.

I get up again, open my fridge and peek at its contents. It holds a jug of milk and a wilting head of lettuce. I will have to go shopping some time this week, something I dread deeply. I take out the milk, and pour it into my half empty coffee cup. I glance over to my dog, Stewie. I don’t get him, I don’t even know if I like him all that much but it seemed to be a good idea to get a dog, living here all alone. Sometimes he will run up and down the hallway like he has gone crazy and I will let him out thinking he has to do his business only for him to stand in the door looking at me like he wants to say „what do you want from me.“ Other times I miss all the signs and end up with a pile of dog shit in my hallway. Or the living room. I hate when he does that, I can’t deal with it. I usually leave it there to dry and pick it up with a plastic bag after it has gone stale and hard and the stain has set so deeply in my carpet, that I can’t even pretend to ever get it out again. I am weird that way. I care so much about my own appearance that nobody would ever think I’d leave dog turds lying around my house just because I am too lazy to clean them up. Stewie looks content now, so I ignore him. Instead I look over at my laptop on the living room table. 2 fucking pages. That is all I managed this week. That brings my total up to 27 pages. I know real authors don’t count their pages, they just write and write and all of a sudden they have a book and they could just go on and on, their heads spilling ideas like a beaten piñata. But I am not an author. I am not even a writer. I make money by translating press releases for a small Swiss company. I don’t make a lot but it is enough for what I am here for. I am not sure the company is doing well though but I dread looking for something else. I should go back to writing, at least one more page. But I take a shower instead. It's almost dark out, I usually manage to take a shower right after I get up around noon, but today I just couldn't. I down my coffee, now cold, useless, as I am going to go to bed in a couple of hours anyways. Sleeping and eating, that is my life now. Some people would say that that is all you need. I am just not some people.

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