My room is impossible. No, that's not true. I've cleaned it two or three times in the past month and every time it is, to me if to no one else, the pinnacle of organization and neatness, even if there are little fly corpses hidden at the corners of my desk and the dust bunnies under the bed have gone rabid. But I tidy it: my papers become two or three manageable piles, the clothes return to the closet, rugs and blankets become flat. For a few days everything goes back exactly where it belongs, but soon I just have to leave my sweater out on the chair because I'll wear it again tomorrow and then there are bags on the floor and dishes on the desk and my adorable stuffed guinea pig from IKEA is dangerously close to falling prey to those dust bunnies.
I'm not going to eradicate the dust bunnies (or Wollmäuser = wool mice I think) because in just twelve short days I move out of this room, so I might as well wait till all the junk's out of the way. I cannot wait for all the junk to be out of the way. I look around the room and immediately start cataloging: this goes home, this was sold to a next-year-student, this isn't worth my precious transatlantic weight allowance, this book should probably be shipped, and these papers. These papers. They have to be sorted and recycled or else packed away and there are library books in stacks that I need to read, or reread, or not read. I have to finish this schoolwork, but the walls are starting to close in and seeing all my things safely in bags and boxes would leave more room for me to breathe.
Somewhere along the way, the way the sun works has changed and the sunlight never really spills in my solitary floor-length window all the way to my kitty-corner bed anymore. My desk is stuck in the relative dark and my room never feels warm but when I run to catch the Straßenbahn I realize it's summer, even if it rains every other day and even if my eyes are chained to an increasingly misbehaving computer. I think it needs a break from the Lower East Side, from German spell check, from lolcats and Wikipedia and taking me to so many websites while simultaneously fighting with Microsoft Word to keep its consciousness. It's really acting out: if I want to work on my desk (and I do!) the only way it holds onto the internet is at a neck-stiffening angle.
I ran out of peanut butter this week and have been debating whether or not to buy another. There's not that much time left—but in that time I will eat many more apples that would benefit from some protein. I will miss these tiny peanut butter containers decorated in American stars and stripes that are so easy to bring when you travel, even for just one person. I think life is easier for just one person in Germany, or at least groceries are. Living alone is harder here for those of us who are appalled or frightened by bugs. You have to open your windows and there aren't any screens. There's no one here to capture or kill for me so I have to mount a solo attack on the bigger flies every night. They've got nothing on the bugs I faced last summer. Those were too big for squishing.
Meerschweinchen = little sea pig
(And if Russia is Egypt, America's the Promised Land, and the Lower East Side is the desert between, World of Our Fathers is something like the Torah of secular American Judaism. Or maybe that's going too far.)