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Quiet Sunday - The Lyorn's Den

Mon Mar. 14th, 2011

02:11 am - Quiet Sunday

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Had to get up early again -- this is starting to become a habit, and a very annoying one. Our choir had a performance at an International Women's Day event organised by the local women's group of the Social Democrat Party. The folks who are usually at these events know us and we know them, and they are always a nice and appreciative audience that it's fun to sing for and easy to relate to.

This year was also the 20th anniversary of the Turkish-German women's club, and to celebrate that, a local Turkish-German filmmaker showed a movie about a hairdresser's studio run by a Turkish-German woman. The studio did a lot of bridal hairdos for young women of Turkish origin, and there were some interviews about jobs and family, customs and expectations with regard to marriage and life. Unfortunately, the projector and the sound system were a mess, it was very hard to see or hear enough to make sense of it. Twice as hard for me, as I have no frame of reference for that at all, it's a different world. You understand, it was not horrible, no bad stories about forced marriage, abuse and murder. Those girls expected to find their way between tradition and freedom. Still, it gave me the heebie-jeebies, and I felt deeply grateful for being born to a life where I never have to be in anything even resembling their place.

Of course, if I weren't born and raised the way I am, I would probably regard my own life with the same horror or at least complete alienation that I regard theirs, being who I am. Identity is strange that way.

One old German woman who had her hair done at the studio was interviewed, too, and spouted the usual nonsense, about woman's lib in Germany having gone too far, about women being unhappy with it and men being weaklings. You old cow, my grandmother, who was older than you was an MD, and one of my grandaunts had a PhD in pharmacy. Do you live under a rock? And weak men were always weak men, and it's much better for everyone involved if they do not have to live up to some stupid image of masculinity that they can only reach by putting others (women, usually) down.

Plus, "gone too far"? The theme of this year's women's day was that women in Germany still get paid only 77% of what men get, one of the worst numbers in the EU, that even when women hold the same jobs as men (instead of badly paid women's jobs) they get paid only 87% of what a man gets, that women are still expected to only supplement the family income, that this is politically promoted by the tax code, by promoting "Minijobs" that no one can live on, by expecting more and more flexibility from workers while child care has only become minimally more flexible. When I was in kindergarten, it went from half past seven in the morning to half past four in the afternoon, Monday to Friday, no flexibility at all. But there were jobs, even full-time jobs that could be done in that time span. Not saying the past was golden, in fact, it sucked. But progress is blazing along like a bored turtle in peanut butter.

Argh. Meet Ms Ranty McRant of the clan McRant. Until I typed that I was not aware how frustrated the whole thing made me.

Anyway. Not me. Not my life. Not my place to judge. Still. Heebie-Jeebies.

We sang "Gabriella's Song" from the movie "Så som i himmelen", which is kitsch if you ask me, but no one asks me, and contrasted it nicely with Rammstein's "Engel", and a filked tango. Next set (after the inevitable speeches, which weren't too bad this time) was "Three Gypsies" (where the Alto solo singer was a whole beat behind the soprano one, but managed to catch up), the "Joik" (fail at the offbeat clapping, also first Soprano going too fast), a new filk on "Lollipop" (where we forgot the stop at the end of the next-to-last chorus). It wasn't nearly as bad as I make it sound here, we kept our cool and made everything look like we did it on purpose.

Then came more talks, and the film, and then we sang "Bread and Roses", which always makes me cry. Which is stupid. My new way to keep myself from crying is to imagine a black and white cow looking at me in mild surprise.

And off we were for coffee and cake, as the chairwoman of the choir-as-seen-by-bureaucrats turned 60 (third in five weeks!) and had invited us to a nearby café. I was suddenly very tired and couldn't get coffee fast enough to stay fully active. Of course, as soon as I got home, the coffee kicked in, and I went about Sunday's usual housework very energetically.

And after that, I didn't do much, though I meant to. Off to bed now.

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