Foreward: 'It Was All Too Much'
I want to tell you the absolute truth concerning how this book of mine came about. It wasn’t like the film of Hannah Arendt, where the protagonist spends most of the film lying on Ottoman-coach with her eyes closed, smoking a cigarette. It also didn’t come to me whilst sitting in the large window of a bar in Kreuzberg, sipping a glass of wine and people watching. I didn’t have an affair with an older man, I didn’t finish Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable and it wasn’t written down in a moleskine on the train to Paris. The only remotely sophisticated thing about this idea, was that I was living in Berlin at the time, other than that, it’s a first-class dork tale.
It happened on a Monday at the end of May: the start of my fourth week in the German capital. I woke up to the sound of builders turning off the water supply in my apartment and was thus exiled from my room in search of a place to relieve my bladder and brush my teeth. I got on the wrong train twice and waited at the wrong platform once. For the rest of the day, I hopped from cafe to cafe, haemoragging money and rubbing the hayfever tears from my sore, lazy eyes as I attempted to translate a website from German into English. At 6 o clock in the afternoon I found an unusually peaceful bookshop cafe and decided to forgo my recent fitness regime for that day, to sit sipping a Club Mate and reading a magazine. In a tired, dehydrated daze I boarded the right train at half past seven and tried to shake the loneliness off my extroverted self. As I walked from the station to my apartment, my ipod ran out of battery so I had no choice but listen to the man yelling at his dog, to hear the gravelled squeak of the outside basketball court and to notice the young man on the phone holding a bunch of flowers. My exhausted brain started to whirl: who were these people? How would I describe them? How can I retain the scents and the sounds of this moment? Did I feel at home here? Did I have a home? Who was I exactly? What was I doing here?
All of a sudden it felt too much and I’d finally realised it.
It was an unsophisticated, manic brain fart that made me run into my room, change into a pair of trackies, check the water supply, make some tea, open the chocolate peanuts and sit down at my desk to write the following:
If I die tomorrow, my passing phrase would be ‘It was all too much’.
If I live into old-age, I hope my passing phrase will be ‘It was all too much, but somehow I learnt to manage’
Perhaps this book is about managing the ‘too much’ in this world, but that’s not very likely. This book is really about a self-absord twenty-one year old female, who’s trying not to take herself too seriously, but still searching for meaning. I just didn’t want you to get the wrong impression. I just wanted to be honest.
What’s more, you don’t have to read it now.