I am a huge nerd. I sit in front of my computer every day designing logos, making websites and creating original illustrations for my clients all around the world. My hobbies include reading, writing and avoiding social interaction at all costs. Given the chance, I will remain hidden in the shadowy corner of my home office and never allow the sun to touch my tender, vampire-white skin. The noisy hustle and bustle of the outside world makes me cringe in fear, and the laughter of children is like shards of glass exploding in my eardrums.
My wife, however, is a beautiful, outgoing, social supernova. She’s a Gymnasium teacher, you see, so she has no problem whatsoever spending every day among the noisy, smelly, repellant savages running amok outside the safety of these four walls. She even enjoys venturing out into the chaotic unknown — especially for cultural events occurring in other cities. In fact, she has the excess energy to drag me along with her, even as I hiss and claw in impotent rage: “Oh please take us home, Mistress Extrovert! Take us back into the sweet embrace of darkness and silence from whence we came! Oh God, the light — it burns my eyes! The heat — it sears my flesh! Look there! I see humans! Horrible, ugly humans with smiles on their faces and happiness oozing from every gaping orifice! Sweet Christ, into what sort of nightmarish hell have you thrust me, woman!?
So anyway, knowing her misanthropic husband needs to get out of the house from time to time, my wife ordered tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Stage Theater Neue Flora in Hamburg — 2 hours north of our home in Hannover, Germany. A week later, the tickets arrived in our mailbox and my wife held them proudly aloft, announcing the fact that we would be spending the following weekend watching Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical spectacular in a strange and unfamiliar city:
“We will go to Hamburg and then we will see
some different wallpapers!”*
*From the German expression, “Dann haben wir einen Tapetenwechsel,” which is a hilarious way of announcing the fact that you’re about to experience a dramatic change of scenery.