Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Of age, fabric softener and of LIFE itself

I'm a victim. A vicitm of this culture's ruthless advertising habits.
Today and for quite a while already I had the notion in my head that what I really needed was fabric softener. I have never bought or even thought of buying fabric softener in my life (quite possibly due to some late eighties ad suggesting it was bad to use it).
But lately I find myself wanting my laundry to smell nice when it comes out of the washing machine and also stay that way while it impatiently awaits being worn.

Anyway; I wanted fabulous smelling stuff that would turn my clothes into a pile of...fluff the kind you would throw Teddies in. Not that my laundry smells in any way bad when it comes out of the machine, I just wanted it to smell of ... rosegardens? Summer breeze? I really don't know, I only know that all of a sudden, after twenty eight years of immunity, I thought of fabric softener as a necessary utensil to have.

I reckon this is another one of those phases you go through when you get older. Other people might turn to bleeching their teeth or buying organic food or turning to classical music for no apparent reason. It's what my little sister calls "doing adult stuff". (In the particular situation she coined that expression, the act of doing adult stuff was me buying a toaster...)
The point is, suddenly I acknowledge the existance of things I must have come across a thousand times, but now they get my brain to think about them. And I guess we all come to that point in our lives. In other words: we all have our fabric softener, even if it is bleeched teeth.

Whatever, back to my victimhood.
There I was in front of the supermarket shelf displaying a small but carefully selected range of fabric softeners. I had already put Kuschelweich in my trolly, when I watched my hand putting it back and going for the slightly more expensive version by a rival company, who promised my undies would smell of the sweet and mysterious scent of the Sahara desert. Because "When the desert turns red in the evening sun and the air seems to glow, you get the feeling that almost everything is possible and that everything can happen..." (It REALLY says that on the back of the label!) I want that feeling! Also they put their product in a flash red bottle, instead of a dull baby blue one. HOW COULD I RESIST?????

I admit! I am a consumption slut! I want the smell of Sahara in my clothes! I buy washing up liquid as long as there's plastic fish swimming in it or at least flower stickers on the back. I will prefer products showing Arne Friedrich's face on them to those who don't anytime! While all the time I know that I'm acting horribly stupid and could probably also save some money if I only chose the dull baby blue version of life. This whole consumption thing sometimes works so well on me I feel like I'm floating above my body, watching myself doing everything the advertising industry wants me to.
Maybe I just know too many people who work in advertising. "Hahaaa, I know you're trying to manipulate me, I know the way you people work! ... Give me that really expensive tooth paste with the glittery bits in it, willya...".

The irony is: Sahara scents don't even seem to smell that sweet, as I discovered when, upon coming home, I dipped my nose into the bottle in joyful expectation. It smells like ... fabric softener really. Hm.
I guess life wanted to tell me something. Something about my consumption habits, I just don't see the message cleary.
Next time I'll go for Summer Breeze.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Highland Serenade

The remnants of once monstrous evil smells still linger in the rooms.
The washing machine has been doing double shifts.
Flocks of Tesco bags cluster in the kitchen drawers.
...and my bank account moans a silent lament.
In short:
I'm back.

Truth is, I have been back for a couple of days, but it was only today on my way back from Aldi that my brain caught up with my body and reunited we look upon the neatly stowed away camping utensils and piles of accurately folded clothing.

The water heating system doesn't work, my pay has not been paid, two papers await being written and I need to teach some private lessons in order to afford the toilet paper.
Yes, the vacation is definitely over.
But still memory lingers. (I know, this is the second time I use this word but I just like it so much, so there, whatcha gonna do about it?!) My nose still seems to smell the heather, the vast mountain panorama is still almost in front of me and my feet will certainly never ever talk to me again.

For a detailed account of my trip, come over for a cuppa or just utter the magic words (anything containing the words "Scotland", "Highlands" or "camping" will certainly do) and I will keep you entertained (or at least keep talking) until the tea turns solid, but in this here entry, I will but shortly intruduce you to some of the best people, places and moments of my first encounter with

The West Highland Way:

Three singing dutchwomen I met on the train to Fort Bill:

Colin, a guy from Dundee whom I met above Blackwater reservoir and who insisted on carrying my backpack down to Glencoe:

Lovely Laura, his girlfriend:

Taking rest on a patch of grass next to wooden bridge crossing a gargling creek. Probably my favourite place in the world.

"Erbsenkopp" they used to call me:

15 minutes from Kinlochleven I asked two gentlemen to take a picture of me so I could prove
a) I was really there
b) I did look like a gay donkey

Ben Nevis, eight o'clock in the morning:

Ben Nevis, half eight in the morning:

Ben Nevis, ten in the morning:

Most days I was alone with THAT for miles on end:

View from out of my tent in Kingshouse, Glen Coe:

The Devil's Staircase and my more than slightly swollen hand:

My favourite place in the world: Glen Coe; I spent about an hour there, just looking around. Recommendable: the water from the creek.

Morning mist in Glen Coe, about eight in the morning:

And here endeth the trip: I took a train that took my back to Glasgow and next year, I'll do the rest of the way.