This is the last night in Stuttgart. I have an early start tomorrow. I just packed my suitcase, always unpleasant: on my way out, it is always neatly packed with ironed clothes tidily arranged. On the way back it is crammed with bags of dirty laundry, crumpled shirts and trousers, books that have been read or that will not be read during the return flight, leftover clean clothes carefully packaged to the one side so as not to be contaminated by the dirty ones. They will all smell of hotel, however.
Stuttgart is a place I would like to explore and return to soon. It is open and green and parts of it are vibrant with people enjoying themselves. Some women look breathtaking. Almost everyone on the street looked happy and relaxed, maybe because of the weather, unlike standard Europeans.
I am overcome by a feeling of tiredness, quite an inexplicable one, too. I also feel lonely, not because I am by myself here, but because — at this age — I realise that it is just Jod and me. It is not just Outpost isolation: I feel I can hardly connect with other people because of my towering awkwardness and shyness, both so well disguised, that they come forth as aloofness and even eccentricity. I also am a loner deep down, it seems, because I feel I always impose myself on people. Maybe if I were a real loner, I wouldn’t mind being alone. I would go for a bar crawl, or whatever.
I also pity myself: the slightest insult or harrassment by even the most irrational and disturbed people can throw me off course. I partly spent my time here agonising over the email responses of a highly unpleasant person on a trivial matter. I would have hoped I would have become a slightly stronger person after all those years.