[actual nomad, from tibet]
I had never been good at drawing or designing stuff, so me thinking I was going to be an designer of buildings was really the sort of dream constructed from thin, hot air. There was some kind of shiny prestige I was grabbing for here, but it got soiled to the point of irrecognizability once I picked up the ink pencil to do some “technical drawing”, during the second year of secondary school. I never knew how the smeared splodges ended up among all those sharp, lovely lines signifying abstract geometrical bodies but there they were, incontrovertible evidence of my lack of talent. [I wonder what is nowadays digital equivalent? A polygon defying the rules of CGI?] I wasn’t inconsolable or anything, I just got to know my limitations very acutely. Moreover, a building is such a monumentally static affair that it has little to nothing to do with my shark-like urge for motion. It was probably at that time I decided I need more time to figure out what-to-make of myself, in case there was anything to be made, abandoned any intentions of apprenticeship [what a wreck I would have been, pitty the master] and set my sights on middle school.
I rolled over from the Tribschen side of the hill, that lushly green hump where Wagner went on sabbatical, to the Alpenquai one, which amounted more or less to going from vaguely intent on a pragmatic profession to teenage indifference/diffidence. [What’s this? By looking backwards I will be able to make a forward move? Hopefully, let’s see.] There I was taught certain secrets of science, history, modern languages and mathematics that were intended to make the pupil feel him- or herself to be part of the national elite: the mental Swiss gold minus the dead Jews&SouthAfricans. Not quite. The education was fine but the indoctrination into elitism was shunted into some different part of the teenage circuitry, the one which is also responsible for grand behavioral patterns such as: teenage rebellion, blasé apathy, unwarranted superiority complexes, existential ennui and all the seven million ways of a youth in desperate search of a so-called identity. A search that for myself, like most everybody else, progressed through music, trips to unnamable places along the Mediterranean and the fluted shape of piff and not-so-piff-at-all.
[By Janus, what makes the journey metaphor so flipping attractive anyway? The teleological carrot of a goal line? The Buddhist cliché of the way being the goal? The facility one experiences in using it in this 21st century of hyper-mobility [never 4getting certain rigid restrictions of nationality, skin-color and account-depth]
Irregardless, if Kanti was the highway, I was pretending hard-as-hell to be MadMax in vintage FrenchPhilo-vehicle who could give ½ a flying F if whether he would crash&burn or not [mind you, this was b4 I knew that some such a mind as Foucault or Badiou had laid down a few important points about how things are]. Which, of course, at every other pitstop or X-ing or minor speed bump was unveiled as so much youthful poseurship. Meaning: my grades were not all that bad [young, existential Mr. Infected One was not above trying to get good grades], the prospect of an one-week suspension from school scared the bejesus out of my swaggalistic self to the point where I made a craven promise to a triumvirate of teachers [crossXamining/ grilling me for my own educational good] to never act below my intellectual station in class ever again and just never really letting my [imagined] nihilist impulses get the majority-share of my soul [and whatever that tragically leads to in people of a certain demographic]. I kept my sleek, indifferent, self-loving little ride on the tarmac, aiming it straight at the big ramp at the far end of five years of HIsKOOL: matric.
Which turned out to be as anticlimactic as a red-light after a green wave. It seems that I then changed my means of transport, at least it certainly seemed like it for the first two years of university of zurich which were the epitomy of “smooth sailing”. I didn’t even realize I had any sails up in the wind, billowing, nor that the clement breezes that were transporting me across the academic pacific were, simply put, the cantonal scholarships. Not to mis/represent my former self altogether: I was no party-head, I did work a regular student job even bothered to commute regularly from LU to Z and back.
[despair not! future episodes to be imagined…]