I know I’m not really THAT old, but …

In Tübingen I have found myself in student housing. With five undergrads — currently four, but that is as it is. The fifth allegedly arrives today, but the day is nearly done, and I’ve seen no evidence of his existence. He’s probably actually a figment of everyone else’s imaginations.

So. Undergrads. It seems this is the first semester at uni of one flatmate. He must be 18 or 19, then, right? The others seem to be in the early 20s. Well, how old are you if you’re too young to remember Hanson? I’m not saying that remembering Hanson is a sign of sophistication. More of age, and that’s nothing compared to being able to remember, say, the Guess Who their first time ’round or something. Anyway. That is as it is.

The flatmate with whom I share a wall is certainly living the undergard lifestyle. At some point after midnight he goes to bed. I don’t know when. All I know is that I was grumpily awakened by his TV at 11:50 my first night here. I get up between 7:30 and 7:45. He is already awake. And seems to be as bright and bushy-tailed as ever. When I was 21 I would often function on 3 h of sleep. I would also sometimes fall asleep in lectures. Once I moaned in my sleep and woke myself up.

But I don’t live like that anymore.

The loo is interesting. In the centre of our flat is the common area. To the left is a hallway with three rooms, a loo, a shower room. To the right, up some stairs, is the same reality. That’s where I live with one flatmate plus the mysterious unseen fellow. That’s not interesting.

What is interesting is the decoration. Done by permanent marker. Graffiti-style. Full of odd little in-jokes and German I don’t understand. And pictures. And multiple references to someone called Bobo. Yeah. So there that is. I feel like it’s the sort of thing that the successors of being cool in high school would have been totally into in uni. The sort of thing I’d think was cool in someone else’s loo.

The sort of thing I find totally lame today.

Last night, two of my roommates went out to some sort of DJ konzert/party or whatever. It was hip, repetitive electronic dance music or whatever you call it. They left after 10:00. I was about ready to go to bed at that point, myself. So there’s that.

The door leading into my end of the flat has a large Jimmy Eat World poster on it. The back of the main door has a Thelonius Monk poster. The front of the door, which greets guests, has old posters inviting people to parties long-past.

The recycling badly needs to be taken out. Mostly I say this about the dozens of beer bottles I keep tripping over, although the heap on the landing in front of our door calls for removal as well. If I were to do it, could I claim the deposit as payment?

I mean, I’m not so very old. So naechste Freitag bin ich dreissig Jahre alt. That won’t be so bad. It’ll be like being a real grown-up, right?

But it comes home to me that I am kinda old. I don’t really define myself by that oft-repeated question from the years 13-25, ‘What kind of music do you like?’ Which is nice, because you always feel either old or like a loser when you have to tell your new friends/flatmates/acquaintances/whomever that you like opera, folk, classic rock, and klassisch Musik — Beethoven, Brahms, Bach.

I go to bed before/around 11:00. The imaginary goal is 10:30 — the enforced bedtime of my teenage years. Not 2:30, the voluntary bedtime of my undergrad years. In Germany, I’ve been getting up before 8:00. The day feels right and fresh when I do that. I prefer framed images to posters from bands I may forget or stop listening to in the next decade of my life (when was the last time I listened to Third Day or … umm … what music did I even listen to 10 years ago???).

I am an almost-30-year-old man. I am married. I treat my studies like a proper 9-5 job. I enjoy quiet and opera and sitting with a nice glass of red wine while I read Cicero before going to bed.

I think I’ll do that now.


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