Friday, July 17, 2009

Claustrophobia

Some days there’s just not enough strength of will, spirit, or plain old heart to get past the fact that one’s completely alone in a strange land, and the thought comes to mind, that I could fall over dead and days could go by, and when they did find me, I’d certainly end up in the public morgue then probably slapped into a cheap coffin and stuffed into a grave in the section of the paupers cemetery reserved for the unknown and unloved. And when this happens I always swear to myself that I’ll put an emergency contact card in my wallet. But the only person who’s at all appropriate to put on that card at this point in my life is my mother, and that’s right, of course my mother should know if I fall over dead in a foreign country… And then I have two options, either I contemplate how long she’s likely to even be around, after which there's no one who’s appropriate, or I go back to worrying the question of what to do with the body: let’s say it’s at the public morgue, maybe they put it in cold storage, but then she’s supposed to do what, fly over here and somehow take charge?? Or is there some sort of service for shipping bodies overseas?? I suppose there must be, but this is all getting rather out of hand when really all I want is to be cremated. Which circles me back to thinking, good god, how much of the body would even be left, it could be quite some days before anyone notices I have, well, expired. OK, sure, that had more currency in the winter in Berlin, but now in the blistering Madrid summer, it probably wouldn’t be long… And with that I'm tidily back to convincing myself cremation's the only logical option as I make a mental note to tell her to have it done locally, since something about the idea of my decayed body taking wing just freaks me out.

At any rate, what I’m really trying to say is that I’ve always been the kind of woman who needed that emergency contact to be a man, and there is no man now and there hasn’t been for two and a half years, and consequently that emergency contact card has not and probably never will make it into my wallet, because dying an anonymous immigrant in a strange place with no lover to mourn my loss (and preferably throw himself on my [newly] dead and still [reasonably] attractive body) is a fate so grim that I have to push it aside and mentally pick myself up and shake myself off, cursing whatever horrid bureaucrat of the moment has gotten me into such a state (in this case it was finding out that the last step to process my residency isn't until October 23, meaning I can’t leave the country for what will total 6 months, which throws me into a claustrophobic panic), tell myself I have it a HELL of a lot better than 95% of the other people who come from truly difficult situations and aren’t affluent and light-skinned and American and close to fluent in Spanish. Yes, I have it so good, but I’ll tell you I always remember life would be so much easier if I could be, just, well, normal, with a beautiful house and beautiful children and a beautiful job and beautiful SUVs parked in my driveway in the good ol' USA, with, above all, no need to think so damn much, then yeah, life would be just great.

5 comments:

Rosa said...

Mmmm, I think life wouldn't be easier for you if you were a "normal" wife with children at the States. Thinking too much is not a question of a specific situation but of your own character and personality. Your feeling of loneliness and so on is a feeling I have myself so many times... Don't say everything depends on having a man by your side. It's depressing and, above all, untrue. It's wonderful having a man when the relationship is quite good and fair for both parts and this, sorry, my dear, is so exceptional and unusual!!!!

Katchita said...

Back in the women's lib era there was a T-shirt that all of us sweet young things (who had no idea about anything at all) liked to wear: a Woman without a Man is like a Fish without a Bicycle. I just bought my second. Bicycle, that is. But in all candor, the dirty secret that underlies most of my writing is I absolutely DO need a man to survive. But I'm not happy about it, not at all.

scribe said...

Hi,
Just discovered your blog and I really like your writing. It's just a pity you're not in Berlin anymore.

cheers,
scribe

Katchita said...

Thanks, scribe, I checked out your website and am curious about your connection with Berlin? Today I have finally abgemeldet and have been feeling especially nostalgic. I was thinking about writing something but feeling too lazy in the Madrid heat. Maybe your comment's given me the kick I need. I'll just say for now, that I'll be back in Berlin in November.

scribe said...

I visit Berlin periodically and lived there for six weeks earlier in the year. Made some films, blogged and attended the Berlinale, where I believe we attended the same screening of Human Zoo. Hope to get back in autumn, maybe for 20th anniversary of Wall coming down. I would gladly move there if I could work out immigration and earning a living.