My first week is of class is over. It was so fun, just like Mausi said. I really like it. I’m surprised for a number of reasons.
I think it was algebra and Mr. Hilton that ruined me. From the first day, I had no idea what the Mr. Hilton was talking about. He’d stand up in the front of class and talk and write stuff up on the board and I NEVER understood it. I would try to decipher it on my own, try to remember formulas by rote with no actual comprehension. Algebra became the crocodile to my Captain Hook. Everyday, I would find myself standing up front of the class, piece of chalk in hand, classmates silent behind me as I attempted to illustrate another incomprehensible formula. Mr. Hilton thought the daily humiliation might jumpstart my ability to understand. Mr. Hilton was also the Basketball coach. This method worked in improving jump shots, why not Algebra?
Wake up 20 years later. I’m living in a country where they speak math all day. Every family event, every neighborhood BBQ, every single waking experience is another day in math class. I am once again illiterate, standing in front of the room. No wonder I’m such an anti-social hermit.
Back to the class. Its great. The teachers are nice and the students are nice, too. Best of all, I know enough German that I understand the teachers. I understand what they say with actual comprehension. I make mistakes, but I understand what happened when corrected. It’s so liberating. I feel like the Frankenstein monster in some way. I keep waiting for someone to shout, “Its ALIVE, IT’S ALIVE!!!”
On that note, let me tell you about my classmates. The first day we didn’t do a whole lot. There was lots of paperwork and admin stuff so I had some time to figure them all out.
Bernard. He’s in his middle to late 40’s. Very closely cut hair, kinda balding. The pronounced brow bone and smallish eyes give him a sinister aura. He smiles a lot so the sinister has a soft kindness. You know, bait kindness. Makes you believe he’s kind, throws off your guard and then BAM, he’s a serial killer.
His lips are old man lips. You know, where the lip skin has faded to the same color and texture as the rest of his face and the only way you know he has lips is because he wets them continuously with a whitish tongue and the spittle shines in the fluorescent classroom light. Bernard smiles, but I can’t help but to feel a bit skeevish when I smile back. In the course of the class we find out that Bernard lives in a hospital. That’s when I figure it out. He’s a child molester. You know how Germany is, all liberal and stuff. This guy is out learning German as part of the catch and release policy of crime and punishment here in Krautland. I’m totally convinced.
In my head I’m putting B’s face into all the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve heard. Then I find out he’s from Poland and he’s ledig (single for all my non-German friends). AHA! A man in his late forties who is not married and looks like a child molester is definitely going on my “persons of interest list”. He has no kids, no girlfriend, no boyfriend, (we asked questions of each other and it came up, she says shrugging her shoulders). And then he says, “Ich bin ein Priester.” Did I call it or what?
I’m keeping my eye on him.
Naimja was in my class for one day, she moved on to GKII. She’s from Kosovo. I thought she was going to stab me when I asked her name. I’m sure she’s a nice person, but she’s really scary. I almost handed over my lunch money when she asked me the time.
Manal is from Palestine. She seems like a very nice lady. However, her determination to be from Palestine has really fucked up our conversation teacher. He keeps insisting that Palestine is not a country and she cannot be from Palestine. He says that Israel is country. She can be from Israel. It might just be me, but if Manal wants to be from Palestine, I’d let her. This might just be one of those things, as a teacher/human, you just let go. PLO, buddy, PLO.
There are two women from Somalia. They keep to themselves. The Hijab covers most of their face and they never make eye contact, even when asking a question. They are related, cousins I think. I’m sure they are fellow secret agents. I certainly won’t be the one to blow their cover.
There is one older English dude named Darrell. He reminds me of an old co-worker (British with similar disdainful attitudes, height and narrow eyes). I’ve projected those feelings on to Darrell who, obviously, couldn’t care less. He skips class frequently.
Last, but certainly not least is Anna/Anya or Sweet Cheeks, as I affectionately call her. She walked into class with a fitted black leather jacket, creamy(ed) pink satin pants and platform sandals with Rhinestone. We all know I’m a friend of the Rhinestone, but girls, this is not the 80’s, its 9 am and not a strip joint. Her outfit was so over the top, I thought she was a tranny.
She’s not real fun. When it’s her turn, the teacher spends 30 minutes explaining what he just spent thirty minutes explaining. Algebra has made me sympathetic. And I’m sure the incessant click of her pen is hard to hear over. It might be the gum smacking, but I’m betting on the pen clicking. Click, click, click, smack, click, smack, pop.
I feel sorry for her. In class, we found out she doesn’t have a Mother, a Father, any siblings or a job. She does have a few friends. One picked her up after class. An older man who drives an expensive BMW cabrio. I think it’s her Onkel.
Those pants! I’m obsessed. I’m surprised I did anything at all that day because I was so interested in her pants. Satin… a thin, pink satin without underwear. When she took off her jacket, the pants rode so low; any sort of undergarment would have been visible or at least the string part at the top.
I was fascinated. Were they machine washable? How long could she go before a stain was visible? Were they silk and “breathable” or a nasty man made fabric that while letting go of stains, tends to retain odors. She didn’t appear to have the greatest of hygiene. Her pale blond hair had been rinsed black and pulled back in low stringy ponytail. I tried to peek at her fingernails to see if she washed her hands, but she has magenta acrylic talons. What lies beneath those nails is as much a secret as how she keeps satin pants clean. I imagined sitting next to her for several hours would probably be more of a sensory experience than one would have thought. There was bound to be moisture in the temple of her womanhood and those pants would hold back nothing. It’s a class full of women and a priest. We’re all gonna know that scent.
The class started to get warm, twelve people of various cultural backgrounds, stuck in a really small room. Our teacher wanted to open the window, but Sweet Cheeks claimed she was too cold. Well, who wouldn’t be in a crop hoodie, satin pants and rhinestone platform sandals? I’m sure her navel ring was cold against her toned, tanned abs. As the rest of us sat there, pink from the body heat of twelve strangers and an overactive radiator, she sat just sitting there, smiling, juices simmering. I was hoping it was more of a crock-pot type of simmer as opposed to a pressure cooker.
I wanted to tell her to wear some clothes and she wouldn’t be so cold, but I didn’t want her to cut me or show up at my house like Birthday Girl meets Head of the Class.
For Jillby, German word combos.
Böse Möse = Evil pussy (not as in cat)