I very precisely remember the day my mom took me to the local library to get my very own library card. I was five years old and reading fluently, so naturally I was super excited to finally be able to check comic books out on my own special card. We walked up to the counter and my mom said to the nice lady – whose colleague she was to become a couple of years later – that I was ready for my own library card. I stood there, beaming, excited, and then Frau S. looked down at me and said, “I’m sorry, you have to be at least six years old to get your own library card.” I was crushed, humiliated, bitter with the unfairness of the whole concept. I did not get a library card that day but had to wait for my birthday.
Twenty-two years later this particular trauma caught up with me. In my second or third week here in Annapolis Karl took me to the public library, where I was going to sign up for a card. Or so I thought. We walked up to the counter and I, almost as excited as I was at the age of five, declared my wish (myself this time), and the nice lady looked up to me and said, “I’m going to need an ID with your address on it.” A what? I was crushed. My green card hadn’t arrived yet and I had nothing to show. “Oh”, I responded. “Well then.” With my head hanging down I retreated from the counter. There is nothing I can do but wait for the day my green card shows up in the mail. I’m guessing my birthday won’t change anything about that this time around.
Today is Labor Day here in Germany. Actually, most of the world celebrates Labor Day today and not in the September. It’s funny and fitting that the rest of the world uses May 1st to celebrate workers and commemorate the Haymarket massacre in Chicago, while in America the day was moved to September to sever any connection to its original, anti-establishment roots. So in the true May Day spirit I baked some protest bread and Anna made some socialist spreads for our own anti-establishment picnic on the Rhine. Later tonight we’ll burn some old Economists (the magazine not the people) to inaugurate our new fire pit.
In other news we added a new feature to the blog, namely the “Now Reading” section on the sidebar to the right. I am finishing up Of Wolves and Men by the great nature writer Barry Lopez. In this book Lopez looks at the history of the human understanding of the wolf, in an attempt to understand and explain why the Europeans and settlers in America went to such extreme lengths to drive them to the edge of extinction. But of course, as any Barry Lopez fan knows, it’s more a critical examination of the modern understanding of our connection to nature. Anna is about halfway through Wann wird es endlich wieder so, wie es nie war (When will it finally be like the way it never was) by Joachim Meyerhoff, which is a funny book, think David Sedaris, about a boy and his family who grew up in an insane asylum where his father was the director. It doesn’t appear to be published in English yet, but if it ever comes out, we highly recommend it.
Happy May Day everyone!