They’re everywhere, the KaDeWe in Berlin is filled with these little Santa Claus martians, some kind of old school futuristic kitsch, post-midcentury monsters making it to the homes of metrosexual hipsters, giving me the creeps in any of their various colourings, I want to get away, make it to the fifth floor, to get my favourite cake from Lenôtre, but I’m mesmerized, their shiny empty faces seem to captivate us, we’re spellbound by some vapid features, purposeless design, free of any expression, faces void of character and emotion, insignificance galore, like the people from these TV shows in “Fahrenheit 451”, pointless triviality starting at €39,90, so that everybody can have one, but why would anyone want one? Why? And why do I want one? Why?
The Thirty Years’ War ended here, in Münster. With a peace treaty signed on a sunny day in 1648. France, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Sweden and the dozens of little states now known as Germany had finally come to their senses. Many centuries later, in early December, 2017, my best friend Katja’s and my worst hangover ended here, too. After a long walk through town, we decided never to eat, drink or smoke again. Coincidence? I think not. Despite being a very prosperous town, there are fine jewellers at every corner, pearls and diamonds, Meissen and Prada, Rolex and Gucci, Eames and Louis XV, you get it all, Münster is such a modest town, calm and serene, wise and virtuous. If you want to end anything, feuds or vices, any kind of addictions or sins, just do it here where it comes naturally. But the very moment, boredom sets in, you better leave in a hurry.
Last Christmas, I didn’t give my heart to anybody, but I managed to stuff myself to death at Hermès in Zurich. I can’t remember what I purchased that day, another carré or just my Eau d’Orange Verte deodorant, so much more fun to get your deodorant at Hermès than at a department store, however fancy, but I do know what I had to eat: lots and lots of chocolates, Hermès branded chocolates that is, the iconic carriage and the equally iconic H on the yummiest chocolates ever, I forgot to ask where they came from, so I cannot tell you whether they were Swiss made from Sprüngli or Teuscher or whether they were from France, but whoever made them: good job! Well done! I ate an inappropriate amount of them at the counter and finally had to move to allow some other customers to pay for their stuff and so I ever so bluntly took some more for the road. I managed to take a picture of the remaining two at home. Best Christmas ever. No one broke my heart and I gained some weight!
Christmas is nothing but a neverending dinner party, you never seem to leave the table, you’re stuck with opulent entrées followed by opulent game followed by opulent desserts, you have your glasses filled and filled again, you’re in a time vacuum in which you might have changed your clothes or even your fragrance, but you aren’t quite sure, have you? Different guests appear on the stage, others seem to have left, but when? You never know, the candles on the Christmas tree burn perpetually.
This year, however, this sempiternity was forever interrupted by Alma, the dachshund. Alma made me forget about eating and asking the person next to me for more wine, instead she had me crawl under the table where I metabolized most of the dinners by cuddling her ears, asking myself why I don’t have a dachshund, a question much more important than what the meaning of life is, as this one has obviously been answered, it’s to have a dachshund called Alma. While I tried to give her lop-ears the shape of Elsa Schiaparelli’s high-heeled shoe hat, still under the table while another dessert was being served, my mother’s famous Charlotte Russe, I promised Alma two dachshund boys for company, Gustav and Franz, some kind of ménage à trois of convenience, as I was sure she was a reincarnation of Alma Mahler-Werfel, and she surely had some unfinished business with these guys. I grabbed my iPhone and we listened to Mahler’s fifth symphony, and later to his Kindertotenlieder, ignoring the comments from upstairs, all these people wondering if I had lost my mind completely. Dachshunds are very loyal.