We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Dispatches from E.D. Sedgwick’s winter tour through Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
We wake up in Marburg and drive four hours to Berlin’s Tegel Airport to retrieve four bags lost by Air France. At first, we cannot find the building at the airport where lost luggage is stored, and must ask directions from an airport worker on a smoke break who screams and points in a vague direction—-really, in all directions—-in response to our queries. When we finally find the ambiguously marked, unheated gray shed where lost luggage is stored, we enter and find an unmanned desk with a sign that points to a phone. The sign indicates that we are to pick up the phone and call for someone to come down, meet us, and retrieve our bags. We call the number, but no one answers.
We are stumped. Our bags seem near, but we cannot access them. We consult with sleepy customs agents in a different part of the shed. They suggest that, after waiting a moment, we should call the number again. Should no one answer, we should wait yet another moment, then call the number again. We follow this advice. Eventually, an unimpressed, mustachioed functionary appears. He seems beaten down, like Raskolnikov or Josef K. He retrieves our missing luggage, which we lug to the van. In this way, the travel to Europe that began with a cancelled flight on Thanksgiving Day officially ends five days later.
We drive from the airport into Berlin to return our borrowed equipment. Outside of our driver’s apartment, we get a parking ticket from a policeman who looks remarkably like the unimpressed, mustachioed luggage-minder at the airport. I try to argue with the policeman, who does not seem to speak English. The driver will be back soon, I say. I would move the car myself, but I don’t drive stick. I know—-I should have learned in the 1990s. But I didn’t. Can you forgive me? The policeman says that it is too late, because it is.
In Potsdam, we play for about 20 people, sell about 50 euros of merch, and make 150 euros at the door. Thirty euros go to the opening band. This seems unfair to me, but I only half-heartedly object.
After the show, a large German woman who definitely does not speak English enthuses about Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Fifty Shades of Grey. When she gets excited, she grabs my arm and bites it. “Bites” isn’t the right word. “Mouths” is probably the right word. I feel her teeth on my arm. They do not pierce my skin, but there is saliva.
The large German woman and I wonder who will star in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. I mention that my mother and sister have read it. The large woman seems to favor Christian Bale in the role of Christian. I favor him as well. I always have, ever since Empire of the Sun.