Hi Dad

Hello Dad,

more than one year past since you left us. So many things have changed within this year. But I do remember very good your last days. Those days have been so intensive, so much suffering, so much pain. Those days have been soul-crushing and those days changed me.

Seeing you disintegrating in such a short time frame, such a strong man. And at the end only skin and bones left. I remember as it had been yesterdays, you could hardly speak anymore and you tried to tell me something. You called my name, but I was not able to understand what you tried to tell me. You have been so weak already. I moved my ear as close as possible and I tried so hard, but you have been too week. Your eyes told me it was important to you, but I will never get to know what you tried to say.

The heaviest moments have been when the doctor asked me to help to turn your dead body to determine your death and later on when the hearse drove down our street with you. You were gone. It was so final.

But Dad, despite all this I am happy that I could be with you, that I could spend those days with you, your last days. We might not have had the best relation and you drove me crazy many times, and I probably you as well. But I always knew that you love me and despite you never told me, I know you have been proud of me. You have been such a stubborn man most of the time and so I was as well. And I still am. Remember how many fights we had? About politics, about news, about values, about attitude, TV channels, about everything actually. I tried to change you and you tried to change me and it never worked out. But you influenced me so much. I am driven by fears and I am acting out of fear, same as you have been, the fear to fail, the fear to disappoint, the fear to be rejected. You are responsible for my be-strong-drive. I want to achieve things on my own, without help. And I have a high need of appreciation, higher than others. Since deep inside me I am insecure. Remember my early years in cross-country-skiing? I never was fast enough for you and I failed your expectations so many times. This changed me and shaped my behavior patterns for the following years. Today I know, you wanted to help me, you wanted me successful and happy. You had the best intentions and I appreciate this.

We haven’t seen us that much, only on weekends. You worked far away. Nonetheless you had so much influence on me. You have not been the perfect dad, and I have not been the perfect son. But I loved you and I know you loved me. I never told you and now I am regretting that I never did. I am proud that you have been my dad. And I am happy for every minute we spent with each other, fighting or not.

And you taught me one thing within your last days. Life is precious and fragile. Life has to be lived actively and every moment counts. There is no value in living in the past or fearing the future. Important is the here and now, the very present moment. Put all your effort in this current moment and everything else will fall into place.

Dad, I wanna say thank you. I am happy and proud to be your son. I miss you.

Public Transportation

You know, if possible I like to avoid public transportation. Why? Well, I don’t feel too comfortable with crowded locations. So I’ll try to go by bike or car if possible. But at times I am facing the adventure ‘public transportation’. In fact it’s quite interesting since you see and meet and sometimes at hot summer days even smell other people. So the morning starts with a first social event, city railway.

Already while arriving at the train station you can recognize two different types of people. The are the regular travelers, which are here every morning, again and again and again. They accepted their destiny and are usually looking bored, even pathetic, trying to ignore everybody else, starring holes into the air or the ground. Some of them carrying books, which will be read in various positions. The atmosphere is almost like in a zombie movie. So let’s refer to them from here as ‘zombies’. Already this would be disturbingly funny if there wouldn’t be the second type of people, infrequence-travelers. They are the ones walking around, looking confused, irritated, puzzled, trying to read time tables or trying understand unclear loudspeaker announcements. Let’s refer to them as ‘newbies’. They even try to ask the experienced train users (aka zombies) for help, which will result into a grumbled mumble-answer, presented with an as bored as possible facial expression, which tells you non-verbally: “How dare you to talk to me in the morning?!”.

The combination of those two types of people, zombies and newbies, has a high value of entertainment. You can even improve those funny moments with smiling into random zombies faces with a loud “Good morning, what a wonderful morning!”. The resulting looks are price-less. Try it, it will make your day. The visible confusion is a mix of “What the hell do you want?!”, “Do I know you?” and “One more word and I’ll kill you with looking angry at you!”. Enjoy this moment, wish the confused person a nice day and look for the next victim. Life can be wonderful.

Even scarier becomes the zombie scene with all the used smartphones. Observing smartphone controlled people is very funny. And almost everybody has such a device now. Most of the people at the train station are starring into that tiny device, not realizing what is going on around them. You could dance nakedly between them, they simply wouldn’t recognize you. It becomes even funnier when they use those devices while walking. But that’s a separate story.

Then the train arrives. The zombies are positioned already in front of the right door. They just step forward into the train without even looking off the book. They simply melt into the train and their bodies know what to do and you can see that they don’t even think in the process. Highly optimized and very impressive. And there are the newbies. They usually stand right in the middle between 2 doors and the decision process which door to use to enter the train is visible on their foreheads. You can smell the fear triggered by early closing doors or insecurity. In fact this permanently on-going confusion state is fascinating.

Once in the train the zombies collapse at any free seat or attach to the walls, continuing what they did all time, reading, smartphoning or looking bored. But all the zombies have something in common, not a single facial muscle moves. The newbies instead are telling stories with their facial expressions. They stop as soon as they entered the train, no matter if they are blocking the entrance, the aisle, the toilet or whatsoever. There is only one thought, orientation, now! Everything else around does not matter, first they have to scan the environment to handle the situation, usually combined with a 3 minute look to the cities train network map, followed by questions to random people around to get confirmations to be in the right train. They usually are.

Yesterday such a newbie lady has been directly behind me in the train. Both of us wanted to leave the train at the next station. There had been some delay and the train schedule was screwed up already and the train stopped for whatever reason shortly before entering the train station and the woman behind me tried to convince me to open the door since she needed to get out here. It took me some time to explain to her that the door does not open here whatever I try since the doors are locked as long as we are not reaching the station platform completely. Then the train started again to roll into the train station and I don’t know why, but I made a little joke towards that woman that we missed the station now and the train will not stop again. Oh boy, I shouldn’t have said this. I could see in her eyes the different scenarios she played in her head to throw me out of the train, if the door would have been open. Never ever make jokes about elderly newbie ladies. I still get goosebumps when thinking back to that situation.

But hell, even if I don’t like crowded places. This morning experience is worth it, definitely. A great start into an awesome day. A wonderful good morning to everybody! Yay!  😉

Appearing indecisive

Well, it times I get the feedback to be indecisive, as happened recently again. Once in a while I get the complain that I do not have an opinion and I do not know what I want. That’s probably not a big deal, happens to many of us. But the interesting part here is, I don’t experience myself in such a way, not always. I think I know quite well what I want and most of the time I have an opinion about everything.

Looks like a clear disconnect between my sense of self and the awareness of others. Again nothing which is that unusual for humans. So where does this disconnect come from? One of my problematic habits is that I want to understand what’s happening and I keep thinking about those things until I have found a reason or an solution which fits into my view of the world. Some would argue that I am just whitewashing my weaknesses. Maybe, but at least I became quite good in self-reflecting meanwhile. And at times I am even learning something while doing so and change my behavior, at least for a while.

So, now you are curious what my excuse is to be indecisive. Here it comes. My drive for harmony is fooling me here. As you might found out when following my blog, I am one of the guys who are trying to preserve harmony. One of those guys who get along with almost everybody, who is trying to suit and please everybody around. That’s the heritage from my parents, with all its good and bad sides. But how does this influence my decisiveness? Well, it does not, or not to the extent you might think. But it definitely has an impact on the way I am communicating my decisions.

As I found out I am trying at times to wiggle out of question where I know my answer or opinion might hurt the asking person. So it happened that I made a clear decision, but did not communicate this decision to the affected people since I did not want to hurt them with this decision. Crazy, isn’t it? The decision had been made, but I did not communicate clear and crisp what I want I not want. Instead I tried to preserve harmony. You do not need to be visionary to realize that this strategy does not work out as expected. Not communicating a hurtful message will not make the underlying truth vanish. In the contrary, it will make all involved people suffer more.

So I don’t think there is a disconnect in my self-awareness and the awareness of others regarding my decisiveness. I need to learn that communicating straight is the better strategy, even if the truth hurts. Since everything else is just procrastination of the pain, which usually multiplies it. It’s so simple, isn’t it?