August 10, 2010

Going Deutsch

(Monday Night)

When I awoke this morning I did not expect this evening to be writing to you from a bus. Yet here I sit, squeezed into another inadequate Greyhound seat, listening to the aggregate of mumblings of unhappy people. Why am I on a bus? Well, dear Readers, it is high time I prepared you all for a shift in mood on Being Manly. Having spent the majority of time writing to you from Boston and Montreal, with a little London thrown in for good measure, and a small dose of New York, yours truly is moving to Berlin (again). It was not a looked-for move, but it is not an unwelcome one. Berlin was something of a rite of passage for me when I lived there previously, allowing me the time and freedom to find many things, not the least of which was a sense of sartorial independence and a burgeoning writerly voice. This time I hope for the maturation of many things, professional and personal, including the thoughts I commit to these pages.

But why am I on a bus? Mrs. VB, being afflicted with a non-European passport, cannot just up-sticks and move. Uncharacteristically for German matters bureaucratic, her relevant paperwork has been somewhat slow in coming forward, and thus we are on a last-ditch run to the German Embassy in Ottawa to apply for a visa. It is a most unceremonious journey, the end of which is to surrender a passport to German officials. We only hope it returns post-haste.

Somewhere in today’s shenanigans is a moral pertinent to our theme. For while I am perennially reminded that “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”, I am also persuaded that the best mice and men have always responded philosophically, perhaps stoically, and with imaginative alternatives to their often-ruined intentions. Today I planned to make progress with some serious literature auf Deutsch; to digest a couple of scholarly articles; and to ice a couple of increasingly creaking knees. Instead, the knees got a thorough workout as we raced around town making last-minute preparations; the articles are in hitherto unimagined insalubrious surroundings, inside a bag inside a bus; and the German learning can simply wait bis Morgen. Needs must as the Devil drives, or at least, so says this mouse.

(Tuesday night)
I am on a bus. Mrs. VB is ohne Reisepass. It seems Germany will welcome us with open arms. I shall give much thought to being manly in old Europe, and trust that you will join me in the endeavour.


  1. I look forward to all your posts from your new surroundings. Best of luck.

  2. I am jealous-Berlin is a great place. Best wishes.

  3. I hope my homecountry will give you a warm welcome!
    If you do not know it already, check out the Chelsea Farmers Club in Berlin:
    Great store with great stories.

    When I was there, they sold beautiful knitted buttonhole-flowers. The story behind:
    One day an old drunken lady appeared in front of the shop and wanted to sell those flowers.
    The CFC bought a bunch. These buttonaires evolved into a signature item for the shop and the old lady and all of her neighbors are now knitting day and night :)

  4. Thank you all. I shall certainly seek out the Chelsea Farmers Club. Looks wonderful.


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