(A) Time and Place

for Freundlichkeit (Human) Kindness

Jeff Glovsky
Feb 13, 2014 · 3 min read

'Kickin' it old school', as the kids say... pen and an actual notebook, loaded with paper, not apps and icons, in hand.

There's something to be said for people-watching -- Leute beobachten (or Schadenfreude, as the case may be) -- or spying, as the good people of the Gärtnerplatz in Munich keep saying.

A sort of equivalent to New York's Union Square, der Gärtnerplatz -- minus the nodding junkies, the smelly nutters, the ridiculous "protests"... the homeless with pent-up, directionless anger... directed toward themselves, in essence; but then, at white people, black people, chess winners and losers... People with hair, and wearing glasses. Or not!

At the world and everyone, every thing in it.

... unlike New York’s Union Square, in fact.

Der Gärtnerplatz is not unpleasant.

November wird hundsmiserabel, I think rudimentally to myself - like I'd think to myself forty years ago, when English was a new language. Then twenty years ago, when I first visited Munich, I instantly felt that I'd spend some time here. Relatively quiet and small, i.e., livable, compared to the ugly, pretentious slut, Berlin and that clenched New York pretender, Frankfurt.

“Franky-Boy! Mr. Albert Sinatra!” the DJ’d announce giddily… and the bar would erupt in a marble-mouthed chorus — like a room full of stroke victims, shouting heavily accented, tone-deaf English:

Ist! Op! Zum! Du! New-York,


“Franky-Boy! Albert Sinatra!” the DJ’d cry… and the Weissbiers would hoist to the sky and I’d sigh, and just know I at least had to try and get back here!

"Polizei! Hilfe! Polizei!"

A night cry...

I slip out the door of my terrible pension, across from the station, and go down to see.

There's a guy on the ground, with a boot in his back…

"Release me!" the guy's yelling up, in English, to a man in green, one of Bavaria's Finest. "Bullenschweine!" (the guy's switched to German)... "Sofort!" he shouts to the boot in his back (and the cop's deaf ears). "Release me!" he Englishes again. "Immediately!"

The Bavarian cop presses down in a Schuhplattler.

Lass uns tanzen! This image by Michael Jay

"Free sex! She was giving him free sex!" the guy yelps.

And nobody is really quite sure what that means.

The next night, I spy the guy, Larry, rolling (for he'd had a wheelchair, and been unceremoniously dumped from it by that 'man in green', one of Bavaria's Finest) through the Gärtnerplatz.

I ask him what happened: What he'd done, and why he was getting all thrown down and stepped on.

"Wasn't me," he avows.

"Yes it was!" I avow back.

He asks me then to wheel his chair "up the street".

Well, I'm not sure just how to respond. 'Kindness breaks no bones', as they say here... but I don't have time to be wheeling Larry! The German autumn night is young, and I'm supposed to be meeting my Frau ... Meine Frau ist stinksauer mit me now — the reason I’m sleeping across from the train station — and I was going to bring her some Blumen flowers.

Eenie meenie meine Frau...

Can't be wheeling Larry now!

But he's an American, like me, in Paris... Larry, Gene Kelly and me...

I start pushing his weird German chair across the Gärtnerplatz.

"That's it," he grunts, "just up the street."

We get to the steps of the Staatstheater, and I start thinking Larry might have a date too… Gonna meet up his love for a night at the opera ... but no! Larry asks me to hang a right.

Then another. We go around again... Twenty minutes or so later, we're back at the steps of the Staatstheater!

So, "This is where we part, my friend."

"Oh, I'm your friend now," the strange(r) Larry snaps.

I leave him, sitting in his wheelchair as it begins to rain, again, with petulance, in autumn Munich... Sauwetter!

Not getting better!

November wird hundsmiserabel

Jeff Glovsky

Written by

Private Tweets and Public Feats (Photos and Writing By) Jeff Glovsky

Travel Narrative

This collection will focus on travel narratives. Narrative is storytelling. If your submission starts out with “10 things I like about…”, it’s NOT narrative. Thanks!

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