Tennis chicks

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Reading my blog faithfully, of course you know that I’ve joined those dull women choosing tennis as her preferred way of staying halfway in shape. (The other kinds of sports I enjoy more than anything else will not be mentioned here … but I think you know what I’m talking about!)

I’m quite unambitious and lacking any kind of vanity in these regards. I started out with my old racket, only investing in a new one when my wrist started to hurt badly from the vibrations. I still wear my 20-year-old Reeboks and probably will wear them until they are disintegrating around my feet. As for the rest of my outfit? Cheap leggings, cropped or not, plain t-shirts, preferably some I bought at hard rock concerts (one wants to be a bit shocking), a baseball cap I got from one of our sub suppliers and my long-trusted black backpack displaying the Canadian maple leaf flag I bought at ROOTS in Vancouver in the late 90s. And which is far from the styles of fashionable tennis bags one wears today … that’s me.

I love to play tennis. I really do. But I hate to play tennis with other women! Why? Because these housewife types are all about competition, trying to outmatch each other. In every single way. Starting with their standard tennis court uniform of Nike tennis skirts, pink Ralph Lauren tennis shirts, matching baseball caps from the same brand (and colour), full makeup and the best racket, sneakers and bags you can think of. Like … real tennis bags or backpacks, with special compartments for their rackets, balls, etc

Off the court, especially at “official” club functions, think country club style. White pants obligatory, polo shirts and – again – matching sweaters of the usual designer brands thrown “casually” across their shoulders. Not forgetting the blond bleached hair including cheap extensions.

Then, of course, they are also competing in terms of cars (anyone envious of those boring family luxury cars like BMW, Mercedes or Audi?), husbands (doctors, lawyers, bank managers, insurance and real estate guys … anything less is unacceptable) and on the tennis court itself. Nearly scratching each other’s eyes out in the process.

What I really hate about them, though, is their meanness and intolerance. Their talking and whispering behind other women’s backs, those who actually are nice, just want to play and would like to join their groups but are maybe not as “good” as they already are. (Not me, I would never want to join them, it gives me the creeps and goosebumps just thinking about this unthinkable concept!) Well, therefore, I couldn’t care less what they think of me, I have no intention of interacting with them in any way. If they want to, they can talk all they want behind my back. They are so far beneath me in every single way that all they get from me is a cynical smile at best and a cold look and raised eyebrow when I disapprove of their behaviour. That’s all they deserve.

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Watching sports is dangerous

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I’m THE anti-sports fan, pure and simple. And I have been watching a soccer game not too long ago! No, I’ve neither gone mad nor have been brainwashed by my soccer loving best friend. Then why in the hell was I watching a soccer game? At the Olympic Stadium in Berlin? Driving there for 5 hours, one way. When A.) I don’t have the slightest idea what the rules are! B.) I don’t even want to know what the rules are. C.) And what the hell are the people around me talking about? Cheering or nearly crying about … what exactly had just happened on the field?

All I know is that it’s got something to do with kicking the ball into the other team’s goal, trying not to lose it to the enemy too stupidly. Never mind that I don’t know my way around this kind of sports. I just can’t peel my eyes away from the far away playing field as all that manpower fights its way from one end to the other.

The next life threatening question arises! Which team should I cheer for? Being a bad girl I decide to pick the obviously weaker one, which is also the BIG BAD ENEMY in my friend’s eyes. Just for the fun of it! Whenever he yells at the “good guys”, swearing at them, telling the players what to do, I cheer for the other team, telling them how well they are doing! (Unfortunately, I usually am at the wrong end of the fan base and am looked at quite meanly!) Sadly, however, my friend’s favourite soccer team is usually winning, which makes it hard to root for the losers … even though I never give up hope until the end.

So, the question still is, what makes me do such dumb things? Taking one day trips, driving to Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, etc occasionally to see my friend’s favourite soccer team play? When I wouldn’t be caught dead watching it on TV, because it’s so incredibly dull? Well, basically it’s just getting away for a change, spending time with one of my friends. And I have to confess, it is fun. Watching those hard-core fans with their shawls and caps and jerseys, totally living in the moment, suffering every messed-up chance, celebrating every goal. (Yep, HE is no stranger to all those fashionable outfits either while boring me is usually dressed, well, quite boringly boring in jeans and a black top, refusing to join the lines in buying any soccer merchandise. I clearly draw my line there!)

Naturally, we have established the one or other ritual as well. Eating Bratwurst in a roll or Currywurst with fries before the game is a must, accompanied by a beer-lemonade-beverage we usually share. And by share, I mean I try a few sips and he gets the rest. During the game, it’s usually me who heads up to the beverage stalls to have it refilled, careful not to step into sticky spilled beer puddles or on ketchup and mustard filled food wrappings. Because … it’s an art and long-time experience to eat the German version of a Hot Dog without getting covered in the condiments you foolishly squirted onto your Bratwurst in huge amounts. Which I have tragically had to master after the first game when huge globs of mustard landed on my then pristine white shirt … of course, one wouldn’t expect less of me. One does learn, however! Hence the black tops and dark jeans! I’m not all stupid!

By now I at least can tell whether the game was halfway good or not. Even though my friend can’t help rolling his eyes whenever he has to answer my silly chick questions when I’m stumped once again by something that had happened on the field without me knowing what and why. But … well … it’s something different and – let’s face it – a fascinating study of human group behaviour. With the exciting perk of having something to write about and share with you! Happy Russia World Championship of soccer watching … I’m rooting for … wish I had a clue …

Just get over it

A few months back lots of historic monuments were being dismantled or destroyed in the Southern states of the USA. Monuments from the American Civil War. Confederate statues. And I just can’t stop thinking about it. Because I just don’t get it. I really don’t. I mean, I would totally understand toppling over a statue of the crazy dictator who had to be displayed at every corner of his empire directly after his downfall. But 153 years later? Are you mad? It’s your history! Just accept it. With all its good and bad sides. You can’t change it. It shaped your country, the way history intends to do. You really think destroying historic monuments will solve your problems?

Every country has black sheep in its past. And there will always be black sheep, power hungry, egocentric, paranoid and just plain crazy. There is the one or other one I could think of at the top of my head right now who doesn’t care one bit about human rights or laws. Incarcerating journalists, teachers, homosexuals, normal people on flimsy excuses. Without proof. To put pressure on other countries and its own people. How exactly is that any better than what leaders all through the centuries did?

The Germans are the only people I know who manage to play the martyr role perfectly well. The funny thing? This guy wasn’t even German!!! Just whispering the evil creep’s name whose name one does not mention – Austrian, I have to admit – makes them hide ashamedly. Remember the Harry Potter books? Where in the first few parts Voldemort’s name was not dared to be mentioned? Reminding you of something? Mentioning the little Austrian’s creep’s name is politically incorrect. I condemn his followers as much as everyone else who still has got a little brain left. And the man so beautifully portrayed by Charlie Chaplin in his prediction of the future movie “The dictator” was a small, power hungry, insecure psychopath who somehow managed to enchant Germans and Austrians alike. Using the bad economic situation and obviously getting things done.

Killing millions of Jews and enemies was an abominable horror. But, what the hell, just get over it, Germans! Yes, you got roped in by this guy first and fell for him! But it’s been 73 years since the Second World War ended! Stop being martyrs and feel responsible for every little thing. Show me any other country still being stupid enough to pay retributions to everyone who makes you feel guilty.

My point in bringing all this up? Even though it’s a delicate topic? Because it makes me sad seeing history destroyed. Might it be ancient sites bombed to smithereens or 150 years old statues disfigured and destroyed …

Greetings from John and Jane Smith

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Have you ever considered going on vacation incognito? No? Why not? It’s more fun you can think of and sure spices up your relationship!

Perfect for pulling something like that off is a few-day-train-ride. I could picture the Royal Scotsman, the Blue Train, The Canadian, the Orient Express … I’m sure you are wondering how I even come up with stuff like that? I honestly don’t know! Must be the writer in me, picturing and planning things I want to do sometime in the future. The fun in this game? You can be whoever you want to be! I wouldn’t recommend “John and Jane Doe”, though. Dead unidentified people’s names are not your best idea. “Smith” is a whole different matter. It’s so common it’s credible enough but still will make you feel like completely different people!

Now, apart from a new wardrobe for your “incognito trip”, of course you also need backgrounds, background stories, how you met, hobbies, etc to go with your names. The planning and talking about it before the trip – or during the trip in your private carriage – will probably be more excitement than you had in years … Your usual jobs are a no-go, of course. What would be the fun of it, if you didn’t choose something completely different or something you’ve always wanted to do!? You should be actually able to talk about it, of course. So, being a psychologist pretending to be an engineer might not be your best idea! How about being a sleazy car salesman and hair stylist couple? Or art dealer and writer? Or very boring accountant and librarian? If you’re travelling a lot in your real life, wouldn’t it be nice to imagine your lives being totally 9 to 5 boring? With the white picket fence house, two cars, two children and a dog? When in reality you live in a stylish apartment, don’t have time for children and spend more time in restaurants than at home cooking!?

On the other hand, if you DO have this kind of boring life … John and Jane might pretend to be the boring couple with boring jobs but your background story is spy-on-a-mission where you obviously are so fake it’s interesting to get to know you because nothing checks out. Yes, I know, the crazy, twisted me comes to light again. Guys, what have you been expecting? I’m an Austrian who lives in Germany, writing English articles to be published in a blog without connections to Facebook, Twitter and Co … There you go … you just have to live with that!

The little things that annoy me

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Imagine it’s Sunday, the kids are with your parents and you’re looking forward to a quiet morning with coffee and the Sunday papers. So, still half asleep you go outside, in your crumpled old flannel PJs and an even older, frayed bathrobe to pick up your treasured papers … just to discover that it’s dropping wet and unreadable because A) the newspaper boy hates you and threw it right into the puddle from the last rain, B) your neighbour’s dog peed on it, again or C) you forgot to turn off the usually non-working sprinklers. Your beautiful Sunday morning is ruined and you’re in such a bad mood that not even a lovingly prepared breakfast by your loved one can save the day! You know what I’m talking about? Of course, you do! Welcome to my life and the little things that annoy me!

1.)   Waiters! Well, actually, waiters who take away my plate even though my company is still eating. Every time that happens I’m considering holding onto my plate and telling them to please read the “Elmayer” – THE Austrian publication for rules of etiquette. I’m sure there are equivalents in every country. (Well, guess Google would work too …)

2.)   Other car drivers! Those who crawl up to the red light in the hope it will turn green without having to use the brakes. Because, replacing the brakes is expensive and one has to avoid using them at all costs! Not caring that the line of cars behind them is getting longer and longer (with me in it), already blocking the previous intersection. Those who drive on the far left highway lane (or far right for the British) with the speed of a snail, holding up the other drivers and causing mini traffic jams in the process. (Guess which lane I usually drive on and have to endure those dangerous, crappy drivers, yelling at them that they are too stupid to drive!)

3.)   Imagine you are playing tennis with a friend, enjoying it, minding your own business, not caring about tennis rules because you just want to play. Sometimes you’re having a good run, sometimes … well, not so good. When suddenly one of the players from the other court starts commenting on your game and giving you good advice. Ohhh! I hate that! I so hate that! I have always hated that! Even as a kid! People should just mind their own business! The only person allowed to correct me or give me advice is my dearly beloved tennis trainer. Anyone else … can rot in hell!

4.)   Standing in line at the supermarket checkout! Aaand … always managing to pick the one taking forever to move forwards. With people in front of you counting small change out of their unorganized purses, bagging their groceries is an endless task and then you certainly will have the one person who forgets to separate her groceries from the one before her, ending in a discussion with the checkout clerk who then has to deduct the already scanned products again. Good thing I’m always carrying a freezer bag with me for my frozen peas, ice cream and pizza … otherwise I would be even more stressed out, counting the minutes I’m waiting in the wrong line, while the other one is moving forwards in the speed of light, seeing my food thawing in my mind …

Of course, there are quite some more “little things that annoy me”. But this will have to keep for another article in the near or far future … can’t reveal my “secrets” all at once, can I? Well, have a nice weekend and an annoyingless week.