englisch Too Much a Fool to Refuel

Too Much a Fool to Refuel

Translator: Ariane Fink, New York
Original title: Zu dumm zum Tanken (14/12/2000)
published in:
Das Schweigen am andern Ende des Rüssels
– als Demo-CD für: Das Schweigen am andern Ende des Rüssels, Hoffmann und Campe, Aufnahme vom 27/3/01


Already I had turned away, hid in my silently glittering Chevrolet, in order to debate with
myself in peace what should be done next, when the voice rang out. A high friendly voice
which poured like a torrential flood of vowels and consonants over me, from a speaker
somewhere underneath the roof of the gasoline station, poured over me, the Chevrolet,
the gas pump, loud and clear, but completely incomprehensible.

At least I again crawled back out of my hiding place, looked around inconspicuously
whether the guy with the hat had returned and due to the lectures I had suffered, burst out
in amusement. Looked around in all other directions whether any other car might stop,
another man with a hat might want to ridicule me. And discovered nobody. But as I was
standing there and didn’t dare reach for the gas nozzle my eye fell beyond the gas pump
to the opposite side of the street: where the pumps of the competition where waiting. That
was it, the solution, and it was so simple. In the twinkle of an eye I relaxed and: drove

Before I started refueling I observed the place and the things: they seemed to be exactly
like the ones whose innermost being I had just before tried to grasp, tailored replicas,
merely the coloring had been rearranged from red-black to red-blue. Lucky me, I was
momentarily the only one in attendance and therefore had the choice between, oh, let’s
see, roughly twenty possibilities: naturally I drove toward the one which to the cashier, at
least from the window where I suspected him – was the least bit visible. Stepped out,
seized the gas nozzle with a casualness, as if it where a $ 10 bill shoved over the bar with
ease, and pushed it – Relax ! Relax ! – into the nozzle of my Chevrolet. Chose the
gasoline sort, pushed the red button, took a deep breath and – took another deep breath
and – had to admit, that nothing happened. Nothing at all. Oh, I could really have howled,
and since that was out of the question: could have just smashed the whole affair to pieces,
and since that was out of the question: tried to calm down. After all it was not the first
time that this country had left me speechless…

– In the face of a pretty hot texmexchic at a pretty “Fuckerware Party” in Phoenix, who chatted me up, me of all people, but then immediately understood that I was a dumb wit who clumsily tried to justify his stammering with “Sorry, I’m German”, and walked away leaving me with an unequivocal “Nazi”;

– in Manhattan, close to the Empire State building, where a nimble-fingered guy shoved around three cards with such provocative slowness – “Where’s my apple ?” – on a cardboard box until I was absolutely certain and: lost $ 20 ante, as the card I pointed to was turned around;

– at the entrance of a dump gorge in LA which I took to be at least the Laurel Canyon during my nocturnal search for a suitable parking space: where early The next morning the sheriff drummed his billy club along the car roof, so that I, awakening, stared right into his colleagues barrel: “No overnight parking, Sir”;

– and again in a Chicago suburb, years ago, I was left dumbfounded, at B.L.U.E.S., where Johnny Dollar & The Scan’lous Band provided the evening program: lot’s of nobody’s, nevertheless better than any Fleetwood Mac or Chicken Shack, whom we had so far thought the greatest. Constantly somebody from the audience went upon the stage and played along, so that there were more and more of them, unbelievable. But then as the three incumbent Background singers glittered before me, Shubidi – a, shubidu – a, probably because I was the only one who hadn’t signed-up for the contest, as they held their three microphones in front of my face, shubidu – a, shubidu – a, but where my mouth was supposed to be, only a horrified unimaginativeness reigned, there –

– suddenly the voice rang out. Rang
out again, the voice from above, the voice from the speaker, rang out again and a
tremendous torrent of vowels and consonants poured over me, loud and clear, yes indeed,
but totally completely a hundred percent entirely incomprehensible again.
As the stream of syllables dried up with a small crack, I stood fulfilled with noble
simplicity and calm greatness, from head to toe grace and dignity whirled through me and
buzzing emptiness, I was nothing but a completed hollow body, a sound box of the
categorical imperative, breathlessly surrounded by the gasoline pumps of this world. (…)