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Issue 19/2008, September 25 2008 (No. 269)

Farewell (2)

        
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THE DAILY GROOVE
ISSUE 019-08:
FAREWELL (2)


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MASTHEAD


 
working shoes of a builder
I took this photo of the working shoes of a builder a lot of years ago.

  I think, that Fritz also wore such shoes, when he was an employer.

In the early morning, when I am biking to the district, where I distribute papers, I pass a kiosk. There I sometimes meet Fritz (that's not his real name), who supplements his starvation pension by working at a company in the early morning. Fritz is already over seventy years old. When I greet him by handshake, I see my hand disappearing inside his big round fist. At that moment I think, that he is able to this day to remove the big bolts at rails by his muscular paw. But when I look into his unshaven moon- face and his eyes, which are flickering in strain, I see how he gasps for breath, softly panting through his slightly open mouth in rapid succession.
 
The details about his life, which Fritz told me, just slipped out with a mischievous smile as a commentary on his quietly presented résumé of life. 'I am stupid!' he admitted, wheezing softly, and then he explained, that he hadn't gone to school for a long time. I wasn't able to worm details about those days of his youth out of him, when he had ridden on a moped from town to town and from job to job.
 
And later on he was an employer and so he was also often away on a construction job. That was obviously the era, when he sealed the end of a marriage by lugging all household goods and furnishings, which he had left, to the front of the house and incinerating it. ‚That's what would happen to my life, if I ever won a wife,...'Fritz softly sang and walked away, before I was able to ask him a question.
 
‚If you have problems with your people, don't let it make you think and go for a drink!' Fritz versified, when I met him in the kiosk another night. There was always only coffee in the vacuum flask, the content of which he shared with the other night-workers before shift. When I was leaving the place, I dared take a furtive look from outside through the window. Fritz had been slumped in his chair. His pals were feeding each other lines and bouncing jokings off each other without looking after their tired mate.
 
  After shift he would return to his cheap cramped rented flat, he would sleep a little, then he would ‚have breakfast with the broads from downstairs' and would look on how the drunk Russians from the next door were fighting in the back courtyard. Later on he would tidy up his flat, ‚but not too thoroughly, so that I'll find my things again.' When he's on leave from his night-worker's job, he drives on his moped into the country for hours.
 
He said, that he would soon hand in his notice to his employer. So I asked him to bring the song ‚That's what would happen to my life, if I ever won a wife....' to a close at least once. He didn't bat an eyelash, ran out into the night and started to sing ‚That's what would happen to my life, if I ever won a wife, if I really walloped her with blows, which were severe ... '
 
That much is clear, you pitiless smart alecks und life coaches: I'll miss good old Fritz, when he stops coming one night.


Please also read

Encounters 8

Please also read Dittmeier's report about an old man in the streets of Phnom Penh. The report is dated April 27, 2008. The link leads to the latest entry of the diary. Please scroll down, if necessary.

The international poster organisation Loesje has started a project to train young people from all over Europe and Asia in how to organise and coordinate information campaigns about the Millennium Development Goals. These goals are set by the United Nations to fight poverty and to improve living standards world wide.

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Next issue 'The Daily Groove'
on Thursday, October 9 2008

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