I was out late on a Saturday night last weekend and saw a group setting up lawn chairs for their sober night out. There is apparently a group here in Freiburg that encourages people who it is possible to have fun on the weekend without drinking.
If I am ever downtown again, I will get the group’s info, because before I could head over there, I got into a discussion about how AA turns people off because it is all about Christianity. While this might be true in some groups, I was lucky enough to get sober in Santa Cruz, where it takes all kinds. I even went to a pagan AA group.
But a higher power, or god or spirituality does play into the its message, and while AA might not be what I stuck with, spirituality certainly is a big part of why I got sober and why I stay lucid. I am over the moon to have been able to write about it awhile back on one of my favorite blogs, Mystic Medusa. If you get a chance, please head over and read The Non-Drinking Neptunian.
And speaking of lucid living …
I also have another radio show appearance lined up for next week Tuesday, which is all about enjoying an alcohol-free vacation. This is pretty timely as my holiday in Croatia starts very soon, so I could use a little brushing up on the tips and tricks. I will probably refer to this blog post I wrote awhile back.
I will be talking to Katherine Maas on Coming Clean Radio on 26 July at 9 am PST. If you can’t make it live, there are always the archives, which I totally invite you to check out at that same link.
Good news and a little story
I am so excited to announce that the Freiburg Review selected another poem I wrote for the upcoming edition, Identity without Borders, Defying Lables: Refugees, Expats, Migrants, Exchange Students. This particular poem is a little darker and should be interesting to perform for the reading/publishing party. I am really looking forward to getting my copy, and I will be sure to let you know when you can order yours!
And finally, I read some of my work at the Freiburg Writer’s Group Summer Reading last week, which was at an excellent little place called the Hofcafé Corosol. I read Summer Solstice Service, which is one of my favorites. I had forgotten about it until Facebook reminded me actually. And I wrote something new as well, which I thought I would share here. Hope you enjoy!
“Warum machst du das Rebecca?”
I looked up from the bio container to see my eight-year-old neighbor gazing at me with serious blue eyes and a pigtail on each side of her head. I was emptying lawn clippings into the bin for what seemed like the 400th time, since our grass was so long some of the dandelions rubbed against my legs like biennial felines.
Before I got to this country someone told me how well Germans took care of their gardens, but in my neighborhood at least, that care extended only to the flowers and vegetables planted around the yard. Neighbors down the block seemed to be in competition to see how high their grass could grow, with the odd exception of a landscape artist here and an apartment complex there. The boulevards, maintained by the city, grew wild like the fields of my grandpa’s farm. I didn’t go near them, not knowing what kind of ticks would latch onto me.
But occasionally one of us in the house would lug up the electric lawn mower and the special extension cord from the basement and attempt to restore order in our tiny kingdom.
I looked at the sweet neighbor girl — Paulina — and thought about her question. Clearly in the “why” stage of life, her parents must have sent her outside to ask me instead of telling her themselves. Or maybe, like me, they had a hard time coming up with a sensible or appropriate answer.
I guess not having ticks lurk in the garden was a good explanation but I didn’t want to put the girl off running around outside. And how does one explain cultural norms and societal expectations to an 8-year-old in a language with barely passing aptitude? Besides, I’d rather not put that on a child either. If I had it my way, we wouldn’t have lawns at all, I wanted to tell her, what with the waste of resources taxing our already limping planet, a handicapped environment she’d one day inherit. But saying that wouldn’t do either.
Finally I find a place to fix the blame for this chore that has no sense.
“Weil die Maschine sehr laut ist. Das heißt wir am Samstag benutzen müssen.”
So pleased am I with my passive-aggressive blaming of the church, so proud am I of my pieced-together, German non-answer that I allow a myself a little grin at her. She smiles back. And then she says:
I look blankly at her.
“Die Maschine heißt Rasenmäher.”