A Lovable Nut

“There is only one way to salvation, and that is to make yourself responsible for all men’s sins. As soon as you make yourself responsible in all sincerity for everything and for everyone, you will see at once that this is really so, and that you are in fact to blame for everyone and for all things.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

It’s raining in Wuppertal and has been raining all morning and all night and it rained all day yesterday and my first pair of socks got wet so I had to switch to a second pair of socks and luckily these more or less survived the trip to the grocery store in the evening where I stole someone’s shopping cart and bought cheese and meat and bread and a cucumber and brought it all back to my apartment where I made a little dinner for myself and watched videos on YouTube and thought about my upcoming trip to Paris and what I’m going to do after and also what my evening is going to be like tonight with getting to this soccer game and then getting back late.

There is no bad weather, only bad clothes, is what the Norwegians apparently say, and I think this is true. The weather is not bad right now, I just have shitty shoes that let water in and I didn’t have the foresight to plan for this kind of weather. So I shouldn’t blame the weather. I have only myself to blame and my lack of foresight. If I had my Xtra Tuffs, for example, I’d be fine. I’d wear them to the game tonight. Oh, how wonderful it’d be to have those boots. And I do have a rain jacket but it’s a crappy rain jacket and the rain no longer beads on it like it’s supposed to do but rather just soaks into it. So it sort of works, it’s better than having nothing at all, but still less than ideal.

I’ve been in this apartment all morning, not daring to leave. I’ve done jumping jacks and had tea and breakfast and listened to a couple podcasts. I’ve written in my journal, which I’ve been keeping assiduously lately. I did my physical therapy. I’ve noticed great improvement in my wrist and hand when I don’t drink and when I eat decently and sleep decently. And now that I’ve stopped drinking caffeine I do sleep decently. I sleep great, in fact. Whenever my body’s tired I just fall asleep. On the bus to Paris tomorrow, for example, I’m guaranteed, at least at some point, probably passing through Belgium, to be completely dead to the world, blissfully asleep. I hope we pass through Luxembourg but don’t think we will. And even if we do I don’t think I can count it as another country visited because my criteria for visiting a country are to at least get out of the airport and have a meal. Before it was to spend a night in the place but then I went to Lichtenstein and it seemed kind of ridiculous to spend a night in Lichtenstein, but if I remember correctly I did at least have a meal there, so that has become my new criteria.

I actually thought the rain was backing off a bit but it doesn’t seem to be at all. Apparently the precipitation is supposed to drop off sometime around the afternoon, but it’s only 10:46am. I’m going to take an extra pair of socks with me, and I should probably take my notebook so I have something for the many hours I’m going to be spending on trains today. Because you see I couldn’t stay in Dortmund because it was prohibitively expensive because of the game. I stayed in a hotel two nights ago in Dortmund for example that cost 30 euros. Granted this was a screaming last minute deal, but to give you an idea of what a Borussia Dortmund football game does to the area, this same hotel is now going for nearly $500 tonight. Whenever there’s a Dortmund game half of Germany, half of Europe, descends on the city and so there’s no lodging, no Air Bnb’s, no hotels.

I haven’t really talked to anyone in a couple days and yet I feel quite happy. The guy on the podcast just said that doing the right thing at the right time can create an upward circle, but that knowing you should do something at a certain time, even though that thing’s difficult, and then not doing it, can create a downward spiral. The question is, how to break this downward spiral? I’m sure he’ll explain.

I just made another cup of peppermint tea, which is what I’ve been drinking exclusively lately, and I’d love to go for a walk but I can’t get my shoes wet right now, not on a day like this. I need to save my shoes for the walk to the train station, and also, like I mentioned, carry a pair of extra socks. Dry feet are my number one concern today. Unfortunately I’ll probably have to leave the game early if I want to get back at any kind of a decent hour. I came all the way to Europe to watch Christian Pulisic play and he’s not even going to play tonight. He’s injured. But that’s OK, sometimes things are supposed to happen like that. It’s kind of funny and I can imagine telling my grandkids someday, “One time I went all the way to Germany to watch my favorite soccer play. And guess what: He didn’t even play!” And then my grandkids will look at each other as if to say, “Oh, grandpa, he’s got a screw loose but he’s a lovable nut.”

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