The Game is Over or: Strawberry Cake

I remember Niklas Luhmann once writing or telling this little anecdote: a couple, married since many years … – and the housewife (well, yes, it had been last century, and not at its very end), so: the housewife made every year a “birthday surprise cake” for her husband: strawberry cake. He enjoyed every year, showed his pleasure by indulging into it … Well, and then it happened once up a time … – Listen to her: “darling, I am so very sorry but you know, I have had these problems, couldn’t …, well, to cut a long story short: I had not been able to have your favourite cake for today’s birthday.” She was near to crying, but he approached her tenderly, saying: “Listen, love. To be honest, I don’t really like strawberry cake. But seeing you every year, looking at you how much you enjoyed seeing me eating the cake …, well I didn’t want to take this joy from you.”

The game was over, of course.

And so is my game here – a different one, but still similar to the life of the couple and also with that of my highly esteemed colleague Immanuel, occasionally seen as  “regular verb” not least on grounds of his legendary daily walk.

More or less the last day – and despite some irregularities: wrapping up stuff, final discussions, posting some stuff to Ireland before carrying it with be over the next months the regularities. And in this light, I had been over the last days getting increasingly aware of the play-fullness of many things: breakfast: Gülistan bringing me the most beautiful Turkish coffee, Yusuf getting later the simit for me, and a tea, the daily swim, after the first four hour shift between 6: 30 and 10: 30; going afterwards grabbing something to eat, walking back to the office, eating, drinking the lovely Ayran, getting another tea from Mehmed, before heading to the library …

Later back – “in the public”, there it is where at least for me the routines are getting so clear – clear to me and to the others and in the interaction with the others . The routines getting clear by the questions that do not need to be asked …, and that nevertheless are asked. Tea? Coffee? These questions are asked and they evoke a smile when the reply is the one that bad been expected. …

The end of the game … – no coffee, no tea anymore …. – only breakfast in the morning before a irregular day: going to Ankara, meeting friends.

No, in the simit restaurant here on the campus people didn’t know it –from where should they, we could speak just by gestures, smiles, signs … “This is Yusuf” – the first day I am told his name. “And I am Suleyman. What is your name?” “I am Peter”. Yusuf stretches the had out to me. Gülistan smiles at me.

No, they do not know – Mehmet knows .. . We meet later, this day I had to return to the office, clear up in the office. Mehmet knows. We embrace, kiss the cheeks, like “real men” … güle güle ….  The game is over … . And we both new: not a game – it never had been a game and it never will be a game. And only when we pretend things being one, we can get aware of how serious it actually is.

… like being stuck in strawberry cake.

But I am first stuck in further work for a while …

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  1. […] usual ‘regular verb’ behaviour, the meeting in of the editorial board of The Argument as new field of activities and then the […]



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