High Tide and the lisping dwarf

With the lectures behind me and the exams ahead, the things I really should think about are my studies. But being the person I am, I am of course distracted by other thoughts and smaller mishaps.

During the last few days it rained very hard and very long. The skies seemed to have an endless supply of water to rain down on northernGermanyand soon the problem was not so much the water from above but the water standing on the streets as well. In no time the lake next to my dormitory was filled to the brim, went over its borders and flooded the adjacent small meadows between our different dormitory buildings, the street and the parking lots. It may not be too high (or deep), only 20 cm or so, but I am nevertheless annoyed.

Thankfully though, I live upstairs and do not have to worry about water invading my room and another plus is that the guys from the THW (like fire fighters on a voluntary basis, but they help you in any catastrophic situation, be it a storm, a flood, a fire or whatever) are there and use a huge pump to make the water flow into some nearby canals and further into the sea. This is great help and I truly appreciate it! I do. Otherwise the water would surely have reached a higher mark. It’s just that at night I have to remind myself of this more than once because their water pump is seemingly getting louder and louder and its noise depraving me from sleep as if the splishing and splashing noises from the fish and my neighbours downstairs were not strange enough, not to forget the eerie light on my ceiling created by the reflections on the water. What a strange July!

Here’s another thing that has happened to me in the last days and which I am still confused about. This semester I learned Old Hebrew. I will not explain the why and how here, because it would take too much time. Suffice it to say that I like the language and that learning it was quite fun. In the middle of August there will be my exam in Old Hebrew and to prepare myself for this I met with a fellow Hebrew student and one of her acquaintances, a guy I hardly knew. We had seen each other sometimes before Hebrew lessons when he had joined our group.

Maybe I should mention here that we had our lessons at the Theological Faculty and most students and teachers there are very friendly. Meaning really, really friendly in a way I had to get used to first, because otherwise I would have thought them to be sarcastic (which they are not).

So when this guy approached us saying that he could help us with Hebrew it seemed to be just a friendly philanthropic gesture. Well, I am not a good team player (too ambitious mostly) and prefer to do things on my own so I declined his offer but I talked to him now and then for a few minutes.

Now, imagine him as a short 28 year old guy, with naturally white blond hair, a pink complexion and small sweaty hands who is also a little chubby, lisps and has still such a baby face that any granny or auntie would be tempted to pinch his round apple-cheeks. Not the typical Prince Charming, right? Just a harmlessly nice guy.

This Tuesday I had agreed to meet up with him and my fellow student to have a look at our mistakes in our last test. I had been all day at the library working on my paper about the British Mandate onPalestinewhen I got there and was already a little exhausted. We met in front of the Theological Faculty and from there went to the ESG (a place where Protestants from our university can meet and spend time together). In their cosy kitchen we sat down for an hour and worked rather unsuccessfully. I was very glad when my friend suggested that she would like to stop and go home. He offered to do some spontaneous translating with me, something I liked best during lessons but I said no since I saw no use in staying (he was a rather confused Hebrew tutor and as I mentioned unsuccessful). Therefore we all went outside and I just wanted to go home. My bike was still locked securely at the Theological Faculty but I did not like the thought of retrieving it because a) I was already halfway home and b) I was convinced he would go that way. So went my friend said goodbye the following happened:

He: Where are you going now?

Me: Home, I guess (indicating the direction of the railway station).

He: Oh, I wanted to get some money before heading for the Café K. (The opposite direction.)

Me: Well then…

He: But isn’t there some (I forgot the word, you know these machines, automats where you put your bank identity card inside, enter your personal code numbers and get money from your account?) XYZ at the railway station? Then I’ll go there and accompany you.

I was not too happy about this and when he started rambling about this evening prayers and this morning prayers and so on (he is one of the truly religious sort) I only felt worse. You see I am not Christian. I believe in Judaism and do pray but I do not like people talking about it so openly. For me praying is a private matter and we were just acquaintances. I was at a loss for words and had no idea what to answer. So I stayed silent.

I guess he noticed this and changed topic accordingly by asking me whether I wanted him to carry my laptop bag. Actually he made a grab for it while asking and before I could answer anything. The bag was indeed heavy and had it been anyone else asking, I would have said yes but here I wanted to make a point. I do not know if it is coming across but I felt like he was trying to create a kind of intimacy I was not willing to have. I am generally not a person to let people get too close (except when I find them very sympathetic) and avoid pretending to be friends with people I do not really like.

Me: It’s okay. I am an independent woman. I can carry it by myself. (I know this argument does not really work here, but this is what I came up with first)

He: Well, but this does not mean that I can not offer to carry it for you, does it? (His hand still on the bag while I held on to it)

Me: No, it does not. But I was raised in a matriarchic family and like to do this on my own.

Here he gave up, however, it did not last long before he tried his next advance. Finally standing in front of the railway station we stopped.

He: Well, I guess, I will see you tomorrow then?

Me: If I am not mistaken, we agreed to meet again on Thursday, not tomorrow.

He: Yes, but I will surely see you at the Faculty?

Me: No, I have no reason to go there.

He: What about the books in the library. You could use the ones on Hebrew for learning.

Me: The books I need I already have at home.

He: So, is there no way I can persuade you?

Me: …no.

I was a little bit more polite of course. He tried to hug me for goodbye but I extended my hand before he got too close and shook his clammy hand. Then I turned and went away, fast but not too fast without a single backward glance.

I dislike such situations. He seems to like me but I never ever encouraged anything in this direction and have now the problem to get … well rid of him without hurting him too much. I have not a lot of experience in this since some years ago I was seemingly invisible to all guys. The grotesque thing is that comparing this guy to the man I adore (note here the different use of terminology “guy” and “man”) he can only lose. Too short, too religious, too chubby and not as intelligent, charming and charismatic. I should add that he also had very bad timing considering that I am facing two endlessly long months during which I will not be able to see my “man”, my only consolation being that I can expect one or two e-mails from him. This man is if you read older entries still the one I was smitten to all these last months (I miss him!) and having him write me an e-mail although I am not attending any of his seminars nor will do so in the next semester implies shared interests and contact beyond university and is something I have worked on since the end of June. I was more successful that I had expected but there is still a lot to do. About this though, I will write another time.

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