Saturday, November 24, 2007

The "Steals" Part

"Steals" is what Inga, my landlady, calls the people who broke into my apartment while I was sleeping and stole my half-functional digital camera, ipod, and wallet. No, this was not THAT big a deal, and while yes, it was frustrating, I am forcing myself to maintain a positive and unfazed attitude about it, which as you can see may be a vain attempt. But really, I mean, it could be worse, right? I'm still typing into the same computer, using the same passport and listening to music through the same headphones. Three out of six accessories. Not so bad.

The problem was that when I arrived home with my hands full of groceries, including two of the 5-liter water jugs that are the ubiquitous lifeblood of this city, I really had to pee. And while I was peeing I forgot all about the fact that I had not locked the door. I remembered the door only the next morning, when I realized that several things were missing from my desk. Which is when I realized that "steals" had snuck into my apartment while I was sleeping and taken these things. Bummer.

In case you care, I just realized that there is an elegant circularity to this story - you see, I was peeing out water I had drunk from a 5-liter jug early that morning. The fact that it was the last water in that jug meant that I needed a new jug, which was precisely the jug I carried into the apartment when I suddenly desperately had to evacuate the water from the old jug. If I hadn't drunk the water from the old jug, I would have needed neither to pee nor to carry the new jug, and chances are I would have locked the door like usual and woken up the next day with a camera, ipod, and wallet sitting on my desk where I had left them.

This is a long and fiction-free attempt to explain why there are no pictures on my blog. The other excuse has to do with the unfathomably high cost of electronics in Latvia, which may in fact have something to do with the persistence of whichever steals were checking nightly to see if my door was locked.

BUT, I get to go to BERLIN tomorrow, and there, against all good sense (considering the euro-dollar exchange rate), I am dead set on buying a camera. I know, I know, edge of your seats...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rain, Steals, Stories

Almost a month into my Latvian sojurn, I'm sitting in a half-lit apartment, suddenly ipodless (more on that in a moment), finishing Modris Ecksteins' disorienting and decentering history and memoir "Walking Since Daybreak." It's one of those moments where writing feels like the thing to do, and I suppose it is a good moment to start my first-ever blog.

Which, such as it is, requires at lest a brief struggle with the concept of 'blog' and its more productive offspring, 'blogging...' Am I writing this for myself or someone else? Do people read these things? Why? Is it an expedient way to avoid sending mass emails, or a different endeavor entirely? Am I overthinking this? Course I am. The idea of a public journal is a difficult one to grasp, though. I suppose it isn't meant to replace the private journal, but perhaps to provide a venue for some of the contents of that journal to be made public. After all, not everything one writes down in one's little black book is a dark and intimate secret. Half of it is just schlock that pops into one's head after a concert or on the tram. But is any of that schlock really worth sharing with the world? The above digression is an ideal example. Do you really care? Further, am I writing this for myself, or for my projected audience, anxious as I must be on some level to impress them with the quality and candor of this, Whit's first-ever blog.

And about that projected audience. Because of course it is projected. If a blog is written on the internet, and no one is there to read it, is it really there? Anyway enough of this silliness. Here it is, for better or worse. I hope you'll email me for a more personalized take on these things. But in the mean time, here they are, gracefully cast in white-on-blue Helvetica.