Let’s Go to Germany! (Part 1: Escape Is Beautiful)

“Riding along on this big ol’ jetliner, I been thinkin’ about my home…” —Steve Miller Band

I started March 1978 with something of a meltdown.Flight to Germany

There it is, in the diary, in all its flying colors: double- and triple-spaced entries, random song lyrics and unfocussed reportage of the day’s news: “Gee,” the March 2 entry reads, “I wrote a poem today.” The following day I got into a fist fight with Vince Marshall. No indication of what caused it (more evidence of general spaciness), just that it “really drained me, sore from Track. I hit him I did.” Then, on March 4, a Saturday, this bomb dropped on the page:

“I got fired today.”

Apparently Super Sam’s went from bad to worse. After working a shift with fellow burger-flipper Jeff Brodie, I “got real bitchy at Sabrina and she fired me as we were closing down the gate around 7:00.” I caught a bus home but “didn’t say a word to Mom and Dad.”

That admission is an interesting wrinkle, given last week’s post. The Family Project always fostered an ethic that work “was hard” and play “something entirely different.” Since I’d be leaving for Germany in four days, I probably thought I’d see how two weeks away would soften their reaction.

Seems I was deep in a crisis of faith: “Oh shit I’m really going crazy. I don’t care anymore what I do in this goddamn diary or journal or whatever…” While I was sparring with Vince, Skeeze and I were also flashing sparks (probably post-talent show resentment). I needed my friend Lisa—and did go visit, only to find her at home in Crystal, Minn., with a cold.

Since the flight out was Thursday, March 9, my last full day in school was Tuesday, so I could pick up travelers’ checks and do last-minute shopping in downtown Minneapolis. To my surprise, Stephanie called me at home that night, apparently to get an update about the firing. “We talked for a long time.” Oh to hear again that old, long conversation.

Schoolwork assignments complete, the Smoke Signal edition set to print, Track practice done—“escape is beautiful” I wrote, wrapping up the day’s entry, “Let’s Go to Germany!”

The following entries were focused and detailed, written in my formerly cramped style—I’d found my favorite blue-black fountain pen, which I made sure to pack. The March 9 entry was written while in flight, somewhere over the Atlantic. A blurry photo exists, sitting next to classmates (above, left to right: Nancy Kraines, Sue Halverson, Maggie Walker and Laura Nichols) on that 747, Steve Miller Band’s “Jet Airliner” looping in my head.

Hotel HeidelbegBy March 10 we were on the ground in Frankfurt, on a coach heading to Heidelberg. We began the trip as a tightly knit class, but after a couple days on the continent, I’d be spending more time with the Fridley kids. In Heidelberg we toured the castle and stayed at a hotel where I roomed with Scott Herman (pictured at left), Barry Royce and one of my new Fridley friends, Wayne, whose last name I neglected to jot down in the diary.

Later that Friday we sat down to Mittagessen, as we practiced saying—“Wiener schnitzel und ein glas bier, bitte.”

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~ by completelyinthedark on January 5, 2013.

4 Responses to “Let’s Go to Germany! (Part 1: Escape Is Beautiful)”

  1. Your post reminded me that I need to return to Germany sometime.

    Like

  2. I can’t picture Vince being in a fist fight, I’m sure you came out on the better end of that one.

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    • Yeah if I hadn’t read it in the diary I wouldn’t have believed it either. Likely he pushed me over the edge and I sucker-punched him, rather than a formal “fist fight.”

      Like

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