A diary about the other side of moving abroad


The shoe lying on the side of the road, trodden and worn out, disgusts us. The very idea that this thing is or has been in someone's possession makes us shudder. Who would want to own something like that? Such a dirty rag?

But if we accompany the rag through its life, we become attached to it. The worn-out T-shirt is loved, the worn-out pair of shoes wants to be put on again. We still remember it when it was new. The signs of usage tell our story. Even the dirty room, the shabby wallpaper, the littered room become familiar over time, despite our initial horror. Once a piece of history has been experienced with an object, the flaw becomes special, the flaw elevates the mass-produced item to something special, elevates it to the personal sphere, because it is my flaw that is exemplified in the object. Our own flaw, the musty smell, is glossed over. We see ourselves through an idealized veil and can never take off our rose-tinted glasses. We have the urge to glorify our flaws, our dirt, our rags and turn them into an expression of individuality. The love-hate relationship with ugliness can only be endured in contrast to our own history. Without history, the forgotten pair of shoes at the streetcar station becomes, from one moment to the next, in the light of the other person's look, un-disposed of garbage that is not ready-to-hand. Although the object does not change, without history it drains into the world of the other and thus into the sink.