Just one more day and I get to do the best post of all, well part 1 of 2 at least. Jogi may not have done as many half-time interviews as usual this year but I’m still sure I’ll need two posts to put together the best of his pictures and videos from this year. Plus Hansi will need a little space too anyway. Maybe then I can finally get around to uploading some of my pictures from the London trip. Whilst I was out and counting down the hours until I got back I was convinced it was the 23rd today for some reason. I guess that’s what happens when there’s no football on, I’m even worse with knowing what day it is than usual.
Today wasn’t a disaster but it wasn’t exactly a lot of fun either, I do like trains but I also like and more importantly need to know what’s going on and what’s going to happen next. I get that not everyone (even those with an autistic child/family member) does the whole list and written schedule thing but I would have expected to at least have been given an outline of the schedule, to at least know what events were taking place and when. I find not having that information very unsettling. Were it someone I didn’t know that well it wouldn’t be so bad but when it’s a person who just a few weeks ago commented “you need routine a lot more than I do, don’t you?” Bearing that in mind I didn’t think it would be an issue. It doesn’t matter now anyway, I got through it. Though the day did remind it’s a very good thing I don’t get driven places very often, 60 minutes in a cramped confined space with other people is not my idea of fun, or even my idea of a tolerable situation. I spent most of those 6o minutes trying to sit still and resist fantasizing about opening the car door and escaping. And no I don’t mean that in a death wish kind of way, I mean that in a I don’t think I can keep still longer kind of way. I spent most of the day observing more than doing anything else, not that I’m really complaining about that, I like people watching. It’s always interesting to meet a fellow autistic’s family, I like seeing if autism has a genetic basis in their family or they’re just a genetic aberration of sorts. Now I’m done for the holidays, that was my last social time, now I get to catch up on some sleep and curl up in bed with a pile of books. That is what Christmas is made for.
I wish I could come with a better title, Nils certainly deserves one. Also because the title makes it sound like I got Nils’ card in the DFB calendar, something which of course is never going to happen. Maybe Christian Günter will be in there one day but not Nils. That doesn’t matter tonight anyway, they didn’t win a trophy or promotion but you wouldn’t know it from the players and Christian Streich’s reaction. It was a big game, three points would see them out of the relegation zone. For some reason at home they don’t lose against Gladbach and tonight was no exception. It may not have been a performance as terrific as the one which saw them beat Gladbach 3-1 last season but it was good in it’s own way. They only scored the one goal and that was a penalty but it so easily could have been more. I’m kind of glad it wasn’t though, it would have made a dent in the goal difference which obviously is important but I would have felt bad for Matze. Gladbach aren’t having a very good week, last weekend they got a penalty wrongfully taken away and scored an own goal. And this week Jannik Vestergaard isn’t any happier, the penalty was debatable to say the least. And once again it showcases how annoying and intrusive VAR can be. It took them close to a minute to stop the play and tell the referee. If they are going to keep VAR they need to make it more responsive and communication needs to be better. In the end don’t think it would have mattered, the way the second half went I think Freiburg would have won anyway. That won’t make Vestergaard feel any better of course.
I could rage against everything that went wrong today and all the things I screwed up, not least about the fact I need to take better care of my stuff. This time it’s my tablet and the USB port needs replacing. Being without it makes me feel like I’m missing a part of me, I’m so used to it being at hand it actually feels like an extension of me. Having a laptop in front of you is just not the same at all. But it’s my own fault and now I have to pay the price, not just the cost of the repairs but the waiting. I keep going to get it thinking it’s there. It’s only been 24 hours and it’s like I’m going through a withdrawal of some kind. One thing is for certain I’ll be careful not to mention this to any so called “professional.” Lest they give me yet another lecture about being “overdependent on technology.” You know because normal people aren’t over reliant on technology at all. I’m not going to rant about that or anything else. Freiburg won, Nils scored a goal and just as importantly I got the Jogi video I was expecting to get today.
Nils scored the only goal of the night but he was far from the most important man on the pitch tonight, in fact everyone but Alex was. He for once didn’t have a lot to do, which makes a pleasant change for him I suppose. Of great importance tonight was Çağlar Söyüncü. This was a game made for him, several times he got partake in the monster tackles and interventions he thrives on, earning himself a much deserved equally monster hug from Christian Streich after the game. Apparently some Premier League clubs are interested in Söyüncü, I hate to say it but I can see why, he would be great in the English league. But he’s not going anywhere, not yet.
Sometimes I think maybe things are predestined, today of all days I get the sticker of Jonas Hector and the card of Marco Reus. The connection of course being Peter Stöger who up until last weekend was Hector’s coach at Köln and is now Reus’ coach at Dortmund. There’s another interesting connection in the sense that tonight was his first game in charge of Dortmund against Mainz, the team of former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel. As well of course as being the former team of current Dortmund player Andre Schürrle. Well Dortmund won their first game with the new Peter in charge. As for Köln tomorrow night will be their second league game without him and there is no way in hell they are going to win it or even draw with Bayern. Last season they got a very respectable point at the Alllianz arena, a feat which is the very definition of impossible now.
I really needed today to go perfect, after spending all day yesterday catching up on sleep and the week’s previous events I needed one perfect day at least. I’m happy to say it started out good and for once stayed that way. With getting the two premium packs of FIFA 365 cards in the post I was worried that might turn out to be the high point of the day, a case of starting good but not ending up that way. And to make it even better I got a Philipp Lahm card in the second pack:
I started writing this post on Friday after I got back, I didn’t get very far though. I was a litle more tired than I thought, so today should actually be yesterday. The point still stands though, the day did go fine. There were a few minor things I got in a flap about but most of that doesn’t seem so important now. The main thing being the newly configured Christmas market, I read in the news about extra security measures and all that but didn’t really know what that would mean here. It just caught me by surprise, half the stalls not being where I expected them to be. I’m not complaining of course, I understand why, they don’t want any stalls closer to the road than they have to be.
As for everything else I think I’m too tired to be obsessing over anything. Just the other day I was reading about some idiot online who doesn’t believe that social anxiety is a real thing and that people who claim to have it are just nervous really. That it’s normal to feel nervous in new situations or a little uncomfortable at times. There was so many things wrong with what they think I’m not even going to bother to go into it, I don’t want to ruin my day. But there are two points I want to make, I would give anything to just be a little nervous. And secondly anyone who thinks that way should consider this, in a strange way I’m grateful to be so tired today simply because I can’t think straight and thus won’t obsessing over anything that happened yesterday. That’s not to say those things won’t come back and bother me later though, in fact I can guarantee they will. It’s not just about feeling uncomfortable sometimes, for me it’s never feeling comfortable, no matter how well I know someone or how much I trust them. It’s always second guessing myself, always doubting if I’m saying or doing the right thing. It’s the fact the simplest of conversations require so much thought put into them that it’s easier to just never talk at all. Like I said there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to just be a little nervous.
Forget about the bad stuff for now, as well as the cards there’s something else I got yesterday. Everytime I get a little extra money in my pocket I spend it on books, and yesterday was no different. Two of them I’m particularly happy about, not just because of the subject matter but how nice the covers are. I don’t normally take pictures of the books I buy but I’ll make an exception here, they are two delightfully Germanic covers:
On the subject of books that brings me to the second topic in the title, my annual re-read of The Book Thief. The plot point which bothered me last time still bothers me a little, yet I want to read it anyway. It’s not so much I don’t care, more that the positives outweigh the one negative point. Reading it again is like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time, like a good friend you accept it’s flaws as being part of them. It’s one of those books I feel like I can never get tired of and each time I read it I get something new from it. I think it’s a very fitting book to be reading now. Not because it’s about Germany, where it takes place is not really relevant to what I’m thinking about, it could be anywhere. It’s the people that are important, not the place. It’s foolish to think that the Holocaust is some uniquely German thing, all people are capable of that level of hate and of acting on it.
Time and time again I’ve tried to work out why it’s one of my favourite books. If it’s because the story is being told by death or because it’s set in Nazi Germany. Actually whilst both those things play a part neither of them are the main reason. I think I know now what that reason is, it’s Liesel’s foster-father, her Papa Hans. And no it’s nothing to do with his name, though I will admit it’s really hard to type Hans and not Hansi. It’s what he does for Liesel, the way he helps her as best he can make sense of the world. It probably doesn’t make much sense to him either but amongst what’s going on he takes care of her, teaching her to read and so much more. I could do with that right now, someone to explain all of this, to make everything make sense. That’s part of it anyway, the other thing is the words themselves, the very topic of the book. But it’s not stealing books which I’m thinking about, rather stealing words.
The Book Thief made me realise it’s something I take for granted, being able to read that is. I never considered what it would be like to find that hard or be unable to read at all. I taught myself to read at a young age and have never liked or needed to be read to. The importance of being able to read can’t be understated, yet it’s not all there is. Reading is one thing, understanding what you’re reading is another thing all together and what I worry about the most. Not just with the written word but in conversation too. There’s one particular event in The Book Thief which really sticks with me, one line which I can never forget. “You can steal a book but you can’t read one.” And it’s how Liesel solves her problem which makes it so memorable to me. Unable to read the book in front of her she starts reciting from memory a chapter from The Gravedigger’s Handbook. Reciting but not necessarily understanding, that’s why it sticks with me. So much of the time I feel like I’m saying and hearing things but not really understanding them. I’m never really quite sure about what I’m saying, or if it makes any sense. It feels like words are my best friend and my biggest enemy at the same time. I hate them but I need them.
That’s enough about books and words for now, just one more day to go, today is the final day of the calendars. At least I don’t have to worry about how the final post will go, I have that all planned out and there won’t be a lot of words in it, there’s no need, the pictures will speak for themselves. But before that is the previous two days, day 22 & 23. Day 22 saw striker Harvard Nielsen make his appearance in the Freiburg calendar and he was followed by Christian Streich who needs no introduction. I won’t have any problem picking a good picture or GIF of him that’s for sure. And in the Dortmund one was Raphael Guerrerio and Marco Reus:
Now I’ve got the hardcover version of the album I can start my collection, it’s exactly the same as the softcover version with just two small differences. It has a couple of extra pages for some special stickers, the Coca Cola ones and annoyingly a set of the German team which can only be obtained from Mcdonalds. I’ve got two boxes of stickers to go with it and happily each box contains 100 packets of stickers, I’ve opened 10 so far and already have three Germans. Ironically the second German I got was none other than Marco Reus, ironic seeing as how he just got sent home this week. On the subject of irony I also got the sticker of the Slovenian Dusan Svento, not just his Euro sticker but his Bundesliga one too. The other two acquisitions of note were his Köln teammate Jonas Hector and former Freiburg player Admir Mehmedi. Annoyingly enough Christoph Kramer was not only the first German out of the box but the first sticker too. I’ve gotten several of Amir Abrashi’s fellow Albanians but not the man himself so far, hopefully it won’t take too long to get him: