Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do the Right Thing

Last night was supposed to be a quiet, contemplative night spent in solitary bliss, crawled up with my history of Paris book, warmed by the fluffy down comforter and the thoughts of successes to come. In bed by 10:30, I would awaken refreshed and motivated for my first city tour of Munich in 3 months. Opening my window, I would lean out and greet the new day with a hearty “Gut Morgen!” and proceed to powder my nose in preparation for the day’s events.

Instead I got drunk and woke up with a hangover.

There is a fantastic German tradition called “Stammtisch” which consists of old friends getting together every week or so and basically drinking themselves into oblivion. Philipp meets up with his friends at a cute little Bavarian restaurant in their home town (something that I realized about Bavarian culture/climate is that it closely resembles Vermont. The houses are mostly built out of dark woods, snow is perpetually falling in the winter, the mountains are easily accessible, and you need to be liquored up to stay warm). Luckily, I was able to attend this week’s Stammtisch with Natalie. After a hearty meal and a number of Munich’s finest brews, we ended the night in a sort of community center that Philipp had basically founded when he was younger. The place is in the basement of some building that I was too drunk to look at, and once downstairs there was a dancefloor, music, and naturally… more beer. Natalie and I have a civic duty to dance and sing (it’s in our contract) and make everybody else feel bad about themselves because we are so cool (either that or make them laugh hysterically due to our complete lack of social concern). After rockin to the beats of Michael and Justin, we called it a night and I freakin passed out.

Not before sending myself a text message though (kind of creepy waking up to a message I sent myself). It reads as follows: “key to the future, intermarriage”. Hmm. A rather profound thought for an inebriated brain. I am not sure why I thought of that at that moment, or quite what it means. My best guess is that I meant that a way to end racism, intolerance, bigotry, etc. is to mix the supposed “races” to show that the entire idea of “race” is complete bullshit that is a remnant of the 19th century. Through intermarriage, we can show that “race” is not concrete and a useless term which illustrates nothing and only serves to divide people. Take me for example: What “race” am I? I don’t know! My grandmother is Puerto Rican, and my grandfather is Russian Jewish, and on the other side it is a mix of German and Irish. Well… fuck. I don’t fit any “race” category. If you really want to dig deep, I am even part African! [Puerto Rico, along with most of the Caribbean, was populated by extinct native groups of people (“Caribs”, though maybe one island has a small population of descendants… I kind of remember reading that) who were wiped out by the colonizing Spanish (Christopher Columbus). The land was then resettled by African slaves and Spaniards, Dutch, English, etc. Therefore, Caribbean people today are a mix of African and European peoples.] “Race”=antiquated crap. “Culture” or “Heritage” or “Background” or “Descendants”= totally cool and actually useful terms. People look different, different colors, different clothes and foods… that’s culture. “Race” is indefinable and I guess is supposed to represent what area of the world people are from, but there is only one “race”… which is of course, the human race.

In conclusion, I had fun with my tour today and hate the idea that people should stay within their own “race”, because “race” does not exist.

Merry Christmas!

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