Posted by: David Weimer | September 3, 2010

Excerpt from upcoming book, “Born to Wonder”

Here’s what I wrote on the S-Bahn on the way to work in 2001.  I worked at a German warehouse, shipping and receiving for a designer office furniture firm, Lampert & Sudrow.

From the Hauptbahnhof underground station beneath the Königstraße in Stuttgart, I’d board the S-4 and ride forty minutes to Benningen, one stop before Marbach.  This town was fascinating to me, in particular, for one reason.  If I went down a set of stairs and walked through a tunnel under the tracks and then, after passing through a park, walked a few minutes, I’d find myself at an oddly cobbled patch of ground about fifteen feet wide and roughly seventy feet long.  It was the understructure of a section of Roman highway.  While renovating an adjacent office building, the Germans found these odd stones and someone was eventually called in who recognized their significance.  So they made it into a little outdoor museum park-like place, with an information plaque.  Putting myself on that road, two millennia ago, always struck me.  The juxtaposition with the setting I saw around me, which, to me, was a foreign, aged, historied place.

On the way to the warehouse, the countryside would flow by and I’d find myself on a train that grew less and less peopled.  I liked the journey to my job there.  I worked for Lampert until Andrée and I left for France in October of that year.  I never thought of writing a book of this sort, but I did think it was valuable, to me, to write down what had happened to me—now that there were a few years between then and now.

By riding my bike down from Schützen Straße 11, I’d go entirely downhill, across a bridge spanning a city ring roadway, into the edge of the Schloßgarten, over another footbridge, across a park to Königstraße, along this street to a bike rack not far from the steps leading down to the main train station.  The station was much more than 100 feet below the surface.  Once at the station, I’d walk to a stand and buy my lunch snacks and a coffee.  I’d drink the coffee and read a book until my train came, then I’d board and sit among a lot of commuters.  The smooth riding train would glide along underground for five minutes before emerging into the open air.  I remember each of those stops well.  Different crowds would get on and get off at the same stops.  Students, professionals, laborers, me.

After Feuerbach, I’d get out a small notepad and start writing.  I’d intended to write a more complete account, but the following is all that I came up with…

In April or May of ’96 I had been in a period of mounting extremes.  Extreme highs and lows.  I had been pushing more and more into trying to figure myself out.  It was hell and a lot of other things.  Looking back, it seems like I was crazy.  I certainly was obsessed; the more hell or trouble I got, the more intensely I pushed into trying to figure it out.

Every day was turbulent soil.  I had revelations into my own nature every day.  Two or three significant revelations.  And every day I was suffering like hell through interpersonal interactions with others (co-workers, people on the street).  And, simultaneously, this extreme inward push to know.  And the internal machinations of a mind furiously working at a mountain of sand with a sieve.

I was walking in rapture at the profound.  I was walking barefoot through the glass shards and burning coals of my reactions to others and myself.  I was like a beehive in an earthquake.

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