Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Saturday 22 November 2014

(TBC): She Who Must Be Obeyed

©Brigitta Huegel

I'm not good at "to be continued". (Didn't even know the abbreviation for it - when I took the above photograph at an Elvis exhibition in Hamburg, years ago, I wondered what TBC meant, and maybe it means And Now for Something Completely Different  - but I like the design).
Maybe I am too impatient.
(November is a month for insights).
Impatient - a word I should not use when I'm near the --- thing --- the Cat --- the Tamagotchi,
or, as Rumpole of the Bailey would have said: "She Who Must Be Obeyed." (Though he was speaking of Hilda, his over-ambitious wife). I wouldn't obey anybody as long as he/she isn't carrying a gun or highest authority (it is November... in June I would have written: Anybody - but that simply/sadly isn't true).
So: maybe my Tamagotchi is mirroring me?
Bit complicated, bit opiniated, bit willful - but sophisticated and shining, too? And reliable when you know how to treat her?
But knowing and taming takes time, as the fox in The Little Prince said. And times were rough at the beginning.
Much of that time I spent - as a scholar, nothing else - with the kind man at 'Saturn' - him a specialist for this coffee-machine (THAT should have warned me - they have a special expert for this - thing!)
Oh, come to think of it: Maybe I should have added megalomaniac to the charming list of my attributes.
I mean: I don't have a degree in precision engineering, nor am I a computerfreak. (Both would be very helpful indeed).
The manufacturers had put a little brochure into the huge packing - thus suggesting: "So easy to handle!" Just a few comic pictures.
"Oh, it is easy", said the kind expert.
Of course: everything is easy if you know how to do it.
When I was a child, I loved one book on my parents' bookshelves especially: "The Home Treasury of Humour" - one story in that huge anthology was given the title: "The Malice of the Object (though the dictionary proposes: "The (general) cussedness of things")." How come that I remember this caption just now?
How come? Why didn't the author just called it 'Philips Saeco Exprelia'?
Cat lies in wait for me when I tried to make an espresso: "Fill the watertank!" she commanded (the programmer of that machine is from the 'No-Time-for-Politeness-You -Moron-School - not knowing the word "please", though he would have had place enough - maybe he had used it to fill in 'idiot', 'jerk', 'dope' --- (yes, yes, here I can use the abbrevation "TBC" again) ... but the company forced him to delete it, because in times of the internet even an imbecile as I can tick a rating scala and publish it on Facebook...
"Haha", I thought: "next time I know" - hastily filled the watertank before it could cry out - then: "Empty the container!" it spit (the box for used pressed coffee- which I don't know the English word for - my kind man at Saturn (really) calls it "marc/rape/pomace" - which astonishes me, but in his former life he (really) had been a sommelier...)
So:  I emptied the container, feeling smug.
Then I put a cup with a bit of sugar under the coffee-fountain -- "Plörr!" -- out came only hot water -- "Flushing!" the cat snarled. (It has a lot more of those little informations, but we all have work to do - who wants to read "War and Peace - with a Coffee Machine"?)
I surrendered - put the DVD from the huge box into my computer (as husband had told me from the very beginning - himself keeping away from IT . Hint: you might look up the point: my megalomania again)
My computer flashed over 70 pages with hints "How to Use this Easy Machine in a Jiffy (you Moron!)  at me. Oh.
Well - when I get angry ... I become VERY accurate - read the over 70 pages, copied their little drawings by hand (I mean: the machine is in the kitchen - not on my desk beside the computer).
Sadly they omitted one little drawing, just one little step (Hahaha!)
So I met my kind ex-sommelier again. And he explained to me the secrets of opening a very-complicated-lid&pressure-high-frequency-unit-Thing. Aha!
Walked home again (so good for your figure. No need to do weight-training or running on the treadmill that day).
"You seem to be a bit uptight, a bit jittery", remarked my beautiful young Italian massage therapist.
"Too much coffee", I mumbled.

PS: All in all I seem to be getting onto the driver's seat, so to speak (or is it 'into'? 'under'?).
And I found another photo from the Elvis exhibition: "TCB - Faith, Spirit, Discipline".
I think I might need them all...

©Brigitta Huegel


  1. Your beautiful young Italian massage therapist... a man? Be like us men - assemble and use the complicated machine before you read the instructions - it's so much more fun and time-consuming.

  2. Of course a man, Tom - with beautiful blond curls; he even offered to teach me Italian too :-) I could prepare an espresso and café without an instruction, and cappucchino with the help of the leaflet - but Latte macciato - there I threw in his towel.

  3. I like "onto the driver's seat." It is adventurous and commanding.

  4. Actually Elvis' letters are TCB. They stand for Taking Care of Business. He tried to use it to remind himself of what should be important. If for instance he made a gift to someone he did not know and they thanked him he would let them know he was just taking care of business.

  5. This machine sounds more trouble than it is worth - maybe a rocket science degree would help - I hope you feel the coffee is worth it after all that.

  6. Thank you for the enlightenment, Emma! I will copy TCB at once - shall remind me..

  7. Elaine: I needed coffee after the initiation, for sure - thus the manufacturers TCB (as I just learned from Emma).

  8. I have concluded we live in an age of amazing conveniences that give me the permanent jumps.

    1. As coffee does, Geo., and something new to conquer.

  9. Britta: May I meekly suggest you might consider returning this thing?

    1. Sue: would you say that to someone learning to play an instrument or a language? I have a very strong will (and laugh about a lot) - so: no way. Cat&I will TCB together.

    2. Britta: After a pause to thin,, what would I do, I would say this: if it seemed that the effort was turning out to be all suffering and no joy, I might offer a little query to see if another pursuit might change the balance. And I might well receive a response, like yours, here, that indicates, au contraire, you warm to the challenge!

    3. Dear Sue,
      thank you for your kind answer! I have thought a while about my blog (and writing in English): as you know, I studied literature, and am an author.
      Now, for the first time I recognized here, that - when I use a form like satire or something similar, with hyperboles, extremness etc - this is not seen by my blogfriends.
      Seemingly I have not reached my intention, geez, missed my aim to make you laugh. And it must have been my text - because most of you have reacted the same way.
      So: I'm really at a loss whether I will continue (in Germany, where I wrote professionally over 200 columns, they know that one should take my texts with a pinch of salt).
      But it is very good for me to find out now - I really have to think.

    4. Britta: I hope you will keep writing in English, please, as I enjoy reading what you write, and my German is almost nonexistent. (I'm also very bad at catching satire in writing, so I'd say here it's not your writing, but my reading that's at fault!)

    5. As you saw, Sue, I already have written a new blogpost.
      It is so difficult with irony - it sometimes reminds me of a book title by Dashiell Hammett, "Zigzags of Treachery" - that's the way irony works: in zigzags - and when I saw the blank face when I read my 'story' out to husband (he is one for humour, but lost to irony) I knew I was at fault. :-)

  10. I predict you will soon be at the effortless ease stage with it, Britta, and your dinner guests will marvel and sip their coffee with enthusiasm and perhaps start calling round to your place a bit too often.

  11. In thar case, Mise, I might follow Tom's suggestion and open a Literary Café, (though Berlin has so many coffeeshops already, and more than one LC).