Tuesday, January 27, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 103:
the far see apparatus

whenever me n emily gut back frum our new years in berlin, we found a slew of cards n letters frum tennessee, most of em with a lil money tucked inside: $50 frum mama, $100 frum daddy, $200 frum her mama, $25 frum her nanny, $10 frum her grandmother, $40 frum her daddy pete smith. thay wuz probly more that im fergittin. ye kin magine how we wuz feelin rich n furst thang i sed to emily wuz did she wonta git us a tv. ye couldnt have sed nuthin that wood make her inny happier.

so we looked up the wurd fer tv n found twuz called a fernsehapparat, witch wurd fer wurd that means far see apparatus. that lil black n white box changed our life in lots of ways. fer one thang, we gut purty good at unnerstandin news in german. ever night we wood wait fer that fernsehansager, witch that means far see talker wurd fer wurd by means announcer jes the same, to say, 'Meine Damen und Herrn -- wir bringen Nachtrichten!' we hadnt been that innerested in the news much back home, but twuz a differnt story here. we had always herd bout how we had a free press n everwhar else they had sum kinda censorship, so twuz quite a sprize to real eyes how in amurka ye mite have plenty of free press folks but they wuz all sayin the same thangs. now we were in a place whar they wuz real serious bout thangs n wonted to git moren jes two sides fer ever issue.

purty soon that far see apparatus wuz makin plans fer us, lettin us know bout blitzreisen, witch we had seen ads fer them quick trips but dint never unnerstan em all that well till we saw a speshul on em on tv. we ended up takin a few, one to amsterdam, one to paris, one to london, n one to rome, witch i plan to tell bout sum of them by n by.

them germans had em a cuple idees bout tv that i wished we wood use in amurka. fer one, they dint lack interuptin thar programs fer the cummershuls, so they held em all fer the end of the show. then to git ye to watch em, they had differnt rules than we wuz used to. fer one thang, they wuznt so upset by the look of a womans breast n dint thank twood be so awful ifn folks could see em on tv. so thay wuz plenty of em to see, only ye had to watch keerful n the mane place to see em wuz in them cummershuls. fer instunts, they mite be trine to git ye to buy deeoderunt, so they wood show ye a woman wearin the skimpiest lil bikini bottom ye ever saw n no top. fer sum reason, she wood be jumpin in the waves at sum vacayshun spot that they dint have nowhar in west germany on a counta how they dint have no sunny beaches. or ifn in a drama a woman woke up in bed n wuznt wearin pee jays, she woodnt walk roun holdin her blanket in frunt of her. she wood jes git up, lack folks duz in real life.

nuther thang they dun wuz they dint even have nuthin on till bout 4 in the afternoon, witch that seemed lack a purty good idee to me, but i wuznt no big fan of tv. but lease that kep us frum wontin to sit in that lil apartment all day doin nuthin but watchin tv. in sted, we mite sit thar jes readin or sumthin, witch nobidy never luved readin bettern emily. we wood even read thangs out loud to each other, fer instunts Gone with the Wind, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and The History of Tom Jones, a foundling. we laffed so hard we needed a breather with them last two, n ifn ye lack laffin out loud, i strongly recommend ye git copies n read em. ifn ye gut sumbidy that luvs ye -- or luvs readin -- that much, read em out loud. i reckon we woodnt have read nuthin out loud to each other ifn that tv wuz showin programs all day long. we probly wooda sat n watched.

twuz on that thar far see apparatus that we furst larnt bout that musickul group call police n thatn called talking heads on a counta they had em on tv. thang wuz, we caught the police show in the middle n thar wuznt no way to tell who twuz nor nuthin. they dint have no talkers to splain to ye whut ye wuz seein, no lil wurds on the bottom of the screen neethur. so we dint know who twuz, but we lacked thar musick purty good, speshly that song name of roxanne. we couldnt hardly tell whut wuz a'goin on with that band called talking heads, but we wood see thar albums bein sold all over the place, witch we never had us no record player while we wuz thar.

now it mite seem lack emily wuznt even trine to quit smokin, but twernt the case. after i give up bein the person to say no to her n tole her we wuznt a'gone play thatn no more, she gut to whar she wonted to quit, mayhap to proov sumthin to me, mayhap to proov it to herself.

so twuz that without no smoke in that lil box of a home, we wuz able to git thru my birthday deepreshun, witch i wuz deepressed on a counta i wuz 28 n fer sum reason i figgerd i hadnt dun nuthin with my life. problem wuz, no matter how i tride, i jes couldnt git a nuther novel a'goin. in sted, i rote a lot of verr borin stuff bout whuther twuz honest to use the thurd person omnishunt ifn ye aint never been omnishunt or whuther ye had to rite everthang in furst person or whuther ye had to have some kinda splainayshun bout how the verr book cum to be, witch i had ansers fer that in crap notes on a counta how twuz the notes gregory gurley made while he wuz takin his daily dump. thang wuz, i wuz jes larnin that i wood eethur be wurkin on sumthin new or feelin deepressed. i jes never really gut it till i wuz 28.

innywho, i figger emily mite coulda kicked her habit ifn it hadnt been fer frieda. lack ever german we met, frieda lacked to smoke a lot. when she wonted to have a treat fer herself, she wood git sum marlboro cigarettes, witch twuz amazin to us how it seemed lack them germans broke all cigarettes down into jes a few categories: (1) marlboro, (2) mos everthang else, ceptn (3) speshulty brands frum turkey or france or morocco or sumwhar eggzotick. so whenever frieda wood cum over fer dinner n talk n maybe a lil tv, she wood be smokin n twuz moren emily could resist.

so she cum to thank she could quit smokin ceptn whenever she wuz wurkin on her masters thesis or ritin. i mentchuned she mite swell include whenever she wuz with frieda n she add mitted it. thang wuz, she n frieda wuz takin lots of the same classes n gut to be such fast friens that ye dint hardly see one without tuthern ceptn at nite whenever twuz jes the two of us.

corse, frieda wuz wurth the eggschange of emily not bein able to quit on a counta twuz frieda n her sister erika who showed us moren we ever wooda seen of frankfurt am main n other places too. she wood ast, 'Haben Sie lust ins Kino zu gehen?' witch that meant did we wonta see a movie n she wood take us to see it. she had her a boyfriend name of herr krugel, witch he wuz a lil stiffern she wuz n dint thank we wuz good a nuff friends to use his furst name. ye had a lot of that overn west germany, so it dint seem too odd. but he treated her bad so we dint lack him much, n whenever she ast emily bout it, emily splained how she woodnt never put up with sumbidy treatin her thataway, witch when we wuz out, he wood ack lack the gurls shouldnt never open thar mouths on a counta nuthin they had to say seemed wurth hearin to him.

the good thang bout whut emily wuz trine with her smokin wuz how it gut her to rite a cumplete story, witch twuz the furst time she had ever dun that. twuz also the lastn on a counta by then she n frieda wuz purty much smokin together as much as they had ever dun alone so she dint need to be ritin to justify smokin. i hate to add mitt how i figgerd that prooved she dint really wonta be a riter but only wonted to git her a eggscuse to smoke.

corse, tv wuznt our only source of news. tuther thang we lacked a lot wuz the internashunul herald tribune, witch twuz a newspaper made frum the new york times n the washington post n it cum out five days a week. the one that cum out on fridy wuz the one we bought on a counta they cost dm1 n we couldnt afford to git one everday. thatn we wood git on fridy wuz fer the weekend n we wood parse it out as keerful as we could to make it last.

fer instunts, it had a big crosswurd puzzle. we wood save that till sundy on a counta how thay wuznt nuthin open even half a day on sundys n thay wuznt no mail, so twuz the hardes day fer us to git thru. we wood sumtimes splurge on a pack of them pringles n she wood take the across n me the downs or vice-versa n we wood split them pringles eggzackly in half, witch i wood eat mine rite away n she wood try to save hers till she could bargin with me usin em. generly by then we wuz watchin that far see apparatus, the news at lease n sumtimes whutever show they had on after.

i member one sundy nite sittin thar watchin sum show bout a avalanche, witch mane thang i member wuz the beeyootiful woman who had long stretches whar she wuznt wearin much of nuthin. i had roasted a chicken n then turnt the leftovers into soup with rice, n twuz a big hit with bofus, speshly when ye put lil chunks of roggenbrot in it. we had the couch folded out into a bed n she wuz leanin back agin the wall, smokin n pullin on her hair n drankin her sum coca cola, witch thats whut she dun in sted of drankin ice tea. outside twuz bitter cold n the nex day i wuz spozed to read my referat to the class. the verr thought put a lil jolt of fear into my stumach. but fer that mint i wuz pulled back frum the scene, almos lack i had my own far see apparatus, n it seemed to me that despite all the truble we wuz havin gittin by in west germany, we wuz warm n well-fed n safe n happy in our lil home. i couldnt see far a nuff, tho, or i wooda known by then that such moments is about the best thang ye git frum life.

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