Ina Maria Vogel

The truth is that the earliest active memory I have of my father is him sitting at the kitchen table in our suburban townhouse one weekend morning. I was toddling towards the kitchen counter looking for breakfast when he, out of the blue, told me that my mom had decided that she and I would be moving out. I was about four years old at that time and could not make sense of any of this but sure enough, a few days later, I found myself reorganizing my teddy bears in my great-grandfather’s house. It was an old and cold building that my mother and I would live in from then on.

Meanwhile, my father had moved into a depressing little apartment in a shabby high-rise on the other side of town. While I was still puzzled as to why my parents would choose to leave our lovely little townhouse and garden and trade it for these two, very uninviting, separate living situations, I was told that my father would come and pick me up every Sunday from now on. What I hoped would be fun-filled quality days, in which he would make up for not being there on a regular basis anymore, soon turned into events that were accompanied by an anxiety that began days prior. I could never be sure if these visits would happen at all, as he would – ever so often – call to cancel with an excuse that was too farfetched, even for a child, to believe. Well, to be fair, I did believe them for a while, as he had always had the benefit of the doubt with me. That was until he once told me he had to work on a Sunday to supervise a new computer system his employer had to install over the weekend. Since I knew the phone number of the landline phone at his office by heart, as one did in the 80s, I called him on that very day with the intention to cheer him up while he was, as I believed, slaving away on “our” Sunday. My call went unanswered, but my aunt told me the next day that she had seen him in the local pub when she went to pick up lunch.

That pub, as well as the obligatory Sundays, soon became my nemesis. If those Sunday visits ever took place at all, they were sure to follow the very same routine, with few variations: He would meet me at the corner of our street because he did not want to run into my mother at the house. Then we would go to have pizza with shrimp and garlic at the same little spot in the suburban strip mall, followed by a visit to that pub. We would sit on stools right at the bar, while other people were having lunch in the seated area. Sometimes, a couple of his drinking buddies were already there, red faced and slurring their words by 1 pm. Sometimes we were the first of the “bar crowd” to arrive. He would order a Hefeweizen, a German wheat beer, for himself and a child-friendly ginger beer for me. I would be bored out of my mind listening to him and his beer-buddies making meaningless conversation with the bartender, whose livelihood depended on their presence and who therefore reluctantly chimed into the hometown blabber. Depending on the mood my father was in (he was mostly in a depressed mood, but some days more than others), he would then challenge me to a game of pool in the backroom of the pub which at least came with the single positive side effect that my pool performance was pretty decent already at a young age. If he was not in a pool-kind-of-mood, we would just continue to sit at the bar until dusk when it was time for me to go home. He was supposed to walk me home but most of the time roles got reversed and I was the one walking him, all the while pretending not to be completely overwhelmed by the responsibility of guiding a grown man stumbling over his own feet.

Occasionally, the pub was closed on Sunday for a private event, which meant we would spend the afternoon at his apartment instead – a place that smelled like cold, stale cigarette smoke and leftovers from several days prior. The coffee table was usually loaded with newspapers, old dishes and an overflowing ashtray, so we would sit on the floor and play a round of “Risk – The Game of Strategic Conquest.” Once the game was over, my father would retreat to the sofa for a long nap to sleep off his alcohol binge from the night before. Ironically, the bulky leather sofa looked like a giant grey elephant in the small living room. Since the rest of the apartment was at least as uninviting as the living room, I was reluctant to do anything but stay put in front of the TV until he woke up. In a nutshell: I was never one to share other people’s excitement about the end of a school week. For me, the week was the weekend.

(…to be continued…)

Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent

January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)

June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)

July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)

August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)

September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)

October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

November: To be announced – (hopefully) Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world

Credits (clockwise from upper left-hand corner)

Berlin, Germany – Sakuras in the spring – Pani Garmyder (Shutterstock), Berlin, Germany – In the U-Bahn – Werner Spremberg (Shutterstock), Nuremberg, Germany – Old town square – Ark Neyman (Shutterstock), Halle, Germany – The tram – ArTono (Shutterstock), Munich, Germany – Getting of the subway – Nemanja Petronje (Shutterstock), Cuxhaven, Germany – The bus – Bjoern Wylezich (Shutterstock)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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