(I should have posted this story in September. Yet here I am, many months later, posting it. Please don’t kick me in the butt for this delay.)
This story is about how things have changed since the lockdown.
Ninja, was ‘’forced’’ to spend some nights at my house. We used to fall asleep on the sofa while watching movies. We would cook and both of us successfully started gaining weight but we always cheered ourselves up pretending that things can get worse, we are not knitting toilet paper (YAY). A delight when we noticed our bellies, the one nicely well round shaped pack was growing and that the only comfortably clothes were our pajamas which we occasionally changed when we had a shower.
A day in our lives went like this:
He would arrive at my place. l would wait for him with the dinner nicely set on the table and a fridge filled with cheesecake, tiramisu, ‘’halal’’ alcohol and occasionally ice-cream. We would find a movie. l would fall asleep as usual, be the first to be awake the next day and we would nag to each other that we snore.
I would drink coffee, smoke in the kitchen and stare at the window while wondering what we should eat that day. My mind was set-up on food and only food. Slowly, Ninja would wake up. l would bring him a coffee cup with milk as he played some Indian chants on TV. I would was stare at him and ask, “WTF are you playing again?” He always smiled and said: It relaxes me! Um, okay.
Ninja, what should l cook for us?
Oh, remember the chicken wings you made last time?
Yes, let’s see if we can find that at the supermarket and I will cook.
Slowly we would dress up. Dressing up meant putting the shoes on and never changing the clothes. We would be completely equipped with a mask and bags, the holy pajamas were not replaceable. We usually didn’t change our outfit when we went to the supermarket. We didn’t care. It was just the two of us against the world.
I must tell you, l am one of the most unorganized people when it gets to buying groceries. Regardless of how many times l make lists – which l always forget at home – I end up having this confused look while l stand in front of the shelves trying to remember what l need to buy, what was on my list… l just fill the cart with, sometimes unnecessary items. I have this urge to buy food, even if there is plenty at home. According to my Shrink, l do it out of fear because in my childhood I suffered from hunger. It simply stuck with me. l am still trying to fix it unsuccessfully. Maybe one day, I will succeed.
So back to the story. While staring at the shelves, Ninja noticed the ‘’Holy Grail’’, MEN PADS!
Ninja: Yo, Doc, did you know that pads for men exist?
Me: What? What the hell are you talking about? NO! What do you mean?
Ninja: Yo, lemme show you!
So, l walk with him to the cosmetics area and BINGO! There it is, a dark blue box, price 4.79 Euros.
‘’Millionen Männer vertraun uns! Absorbierende Protektoren, Level 2, 100 % so sicher!‘‘ reads the label.
‘‘Millions of men trust us! Absorbent protectors, level 2, 100% so safe’’
I was stunned, staring at Ninja, staring at the box – confused. I knew there were adult diapers out there but l had never imagined they would also invent men pads. Why am l still so obsessed by it?
I suggested to Ninja to buy it. l wanted to see how it looks, how big the size is compared to women pads. He let the idea mingle in his mind, but he convinced me not to, by showing me the price.
I guess this home imprisonment enriched in all of us our boredom and blindness since it is the only way in these awkward times to socialize. Personally, from that day on I started paying more attention to the shelves in supermarkets, not to miss anything. At a point l would get excited when the bin was getting full and instead of letting it pile up until it started to smell, l would immediately throw it out, not for hygienic reasons, but simply to go out and get some fresh air. You see, l am a social mammal.
With shopping done, l did an intense examination on Google, ignoring Ninja, cooking. What are those man pads used for? Do men leak too? Why would they need pads? I started thinking back and squeezing my memories. When l used to live with za Decedent, did l ever see any stains on his underwear except when he had accidental glory moments? For an entire evening, I searched about pads for men and ended up finding testicle cooling devices for increasing male fertility. Apparently, there are also nipple pads for men, special removal cream, which according to some of the users, so to sum it up it doesn’t removes hair, but also the dignity and self-respect! I was smirking and laughing.
I started asking all my male friends if they knew about the existence of those pads. None them had ever heard of them and they thought l am pranking them. So l started sharing pictures and links.
The world is turning upside down. I couldn’t help it, and l ended up buying one from the pharmacy which I promised to open when we were all together, meaning Me, Ninja and Poison. The Pandora Box was opened! They are huge, and yes, l do understand if you have a medical condition they can be very useful otherwise it can also be used if you want your third leg to look bigger through your pants. We started laughing and being called crazy, which in the end is nothing unfamiliar to me. I am a very curious person and yes, being inquisitive about other people’s affairs may get me into trouble, but who cares?
Next insanity during imprisonment. It was that time of the month, a new era, new place and new beginnings. Friday, l woke up and l did my ritual: brushing my crazy hair. l saw hair in the sink and l said that’s it, l will shave it! Mission accomplished. But l didn’t have a trimmer. l thought about asking Ninja or Poison if they can loan me theirs but I changed my mind. l said to myself, ‘’No, don’t bother, they will change your mind.”
l shall use one of the razors, I thought. Nah, l will be filled with blisters and l might cut myself…EVRIKA! I have an idea, my epilator; l can change it with the trimmer. I never knew l have so much hair on my head until l started trimming it. After two and half hours, l looked like Kojak. Despite the pain in my arms, l loved it. It was an amazing feeling. Finally, showers lasted shorter, l didn’t have to use any conditioner, any hair mask, no hair dryer. It was an amazing feeling whenever l touched my scalp. It felt like small needles touching my palms.
According to a Japanese legend, when you can’t sleep, it is because you’re awake. Fill that void with a vibrator or a dildo or shave your head, yay!
You see, Ninja and I have a special relationship even though many people think we are a couple.
Yes we are a couple, we spend time together, we enjoy each other’s presence, we have similar tastes in movies, we both like doing sightseeing and visiting museums and laugh about what we see, making comments like: ‘’OMG, my granny had similar plates in her kitchen, why the hell do they need to keep it in a museum?’’ He is my rational brain, meaning that once in a while when l am lost, he brings me back to the ground giving me his logical argument by asking me a simple question: why?
We have this awkward relationship. Ours is non sexual but we behave as though we are in a relationship. We cuddle, we scratch each other’s head, we say to each other ‘’I lube you’’ and we both don’t like drama lama crap. We are the observers, completing each other by sentences or just laughing because we already know what the other one thinks. We have this odd chemistry to many of you, but he is my invisible future fiancé and ex-husband. I am still waiting for the invisible ring to pop up on my finger. We both agreed why shall we get involved in a relationship when we can fill the void by being together without complications. I know it sounds complicated, but we do things in two. We go for walks, plan trips, watch movies. We smoke, drink, dance, play rummy, and watch trash videos on YouTube. We go out for drinks or dinner. We cover each other’s back when in need.
Ninja is also the person who convinced me to go twice to Frankfurt for a meet up group, him being bored of our group and excited to meet new people, me joining him because l had nothing better to do. At the first meet up we ended up mingling with the waiter. There was a bunch of people, in small groups. l wasn’t drunk enough to start conversations with strangers. The second time, another meet up. It was on Valentine’s Day this year. We witnessed a kickboxing free style match in downtown and I told him l like our town way better than Frankfurt and end up with a Polish guy and a Chinese guy at our table, having small talk but nothing interesting, admiring the crowds outfit, commenting. There was a guy who looked exactly like George Michael. On the way back home:
I shot some expletives towards Ninja.
“I told you it is not worth going. We haven’t met anyone, l am pleased with my crowd home. l know they are by far not perfect, but at least they are normal! Couldn’t we just be home and watch a movie? We would have had more fun. Coming here is a waste of time and money, next time don’t ask me to come along, find a different victim.’’
‘’Yo, Doc (laughing), yeah I know, but at least we tried.’’
‘’Yo, Ninja, first time we ended talking to each other in a pub, and now this. I told you not to go.’’
He didn’t say much, just laughed and we started taking selfies.
On another occasion, we liked this South African wine shop owned by Martin, a funny nice German guy, mid 50’s. We used to go there almost every Friday for drinks after work and we would talk about how our week went, what were up to, are we seeing anyone, deciding if we should go clubbing if he wants to spend the night at my place, or gossiping about the drama that people we had in common were going through.
At a point, two guys approached us and told us that someone in the bar thinks we are terrorists, because we kept showing to each other things on our phones. We were literally speaking about music and bands and songs that each of us didn’t know about.
So, we both looked at each other. It was one of those moments were l was tending to be aggressive and l wish l had screamed ‘’Allahu Akbar!’’ but l didn’t mainly because l don’t like conflicts and l decided to simply ignore it and laugh it off.
We are about to leave, and two specimens came and started asking us what we do for living.
Because you see the concept of Germans or any other Western country is that whenever a foreigner is working here, they are either in the cleaning industry or constructions which according to them is not a decent job, low labor. None of them actually think that most of us are living here because our homelands system is corrupted, that we had a life before deciding to stay here, because we cannot build a future and despite of our jobs, we tolerate their craps and misbehavior, humiliation, stupidity and their hidden racism. Don’t let them come to you! When they start playing those games with you, it is because they feel threatened because you might get their bread.
I looked at Ninja and l started speaking:
Well, we are not in the cleaning industry if that’s what you want to find out and l had this mean smile on my face.
They both went silent and suddenly one of them started to speak:
But what do you guys do? Which company do you work for?
I told them and they wanted to ask more but l excused us saying we needed to go home. We were tired.
On the way home, l was sad, sad about how some idiots can put stamps on your forehead without even knowing you. Ninja started cheering me up and we both laughed. We’re terrorist, simply because we were having phones in our palms, having black outfits and minding our business.
Personally, l started getting used to the locals behavior. I was rejected in clubs or bars under excuses that the place is full and they don’t let anyone in. I was asked to go back to where l came from. l was told that they are paying more taxes because of people like me. l was mocked by co-workers while they pretended to have a foreign accent while speaking their native language to each other. I got looks whenever they saw me eating pork or drinking alcohol. l was stunned by recruiter’s look when they started speaking to me and realizing l am out of the crowd. l was judged for my citizenship without any emotion shown to me. l was considered a shop lifter based on the way l looked, by carrying a backpack.
In six years l learned how not to let it come to me, not to be saddened by it, not to ask ‘’but why’’ and try to accept them as they are, being ignorant and minding my business. l learned that l have rights as every person who was born here. l started reading about their laws and informing myself. l learned how to defend and protect myself. I am teaching my friends about it, letting them know how the system works. I help them whenever l can. l was helped to, by my za Decedent’s parents (one of the most decent people l met). They thought about me and made my living here more bearable. Stop asking why, accept where you are even if is temporary, you are here with a goal. Mind your goal, mind your business and stay out of trouble.
Life can be very easy. There is no need to complicate it more than it is. You are able to choose your friends and the people who you want to surround you, Google engine, forums are huge resources for you to adapt. Try to help the people who are in need without expecting anything in return, but l warn you, the ones who are taking you for granted, keep them out of your life. It sucks too much energy of your time.
Photo credit: Animas