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That Obscure Object of Desire spacer Issue 10
That Obscure Object of Desire - Strumpfhosen Himmel
by Miriam de Búrca
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I didn't have one single 'blankie', or doll, or other such object to which I was fixedly attached. When I think about it, I had many, many objects for which I had a deep fascination and love, like the rock full of holes that came from the moon. I, of course, absolutely believed it was a piece of the moon and wondered how my parents got to have it. Then there was my uncle Doddy's mysterious ashtray. It had a tray bit that spun while it lowered into an enclosed bowl bit, G-force propelled the ashes inside. You couldn't see in, and as far as I could work out it couldn't be opened either. So over the years and years that he puffed on his forty-plus cigarettes a day and tapped his ash onto the tray and spun, logic told me once the ashes were inside they disappeared magically. It had the most overpowering pungent smell of ancient cigarette ash, but I strangely liked it, probably because I associated it with my uncle. To this day, the smell of stale ash reminds me of him, God rest his soul.
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My brown woolly lieblings Strumpfhosen. Now they were a wonderful thing. Especially during our winter visits to the grandparents in the Austrian mountains, when the cold would set in and warmer clothes became a necessary nuisance. The arrival of winter meant cumbersome layer after layer, boots and laces, socks, trousers. And to me that spelt utter physical hindrance in my busy comings and goings, precious minutes wasted that could be spent playing. My way around this was to wear my lovely tights instead, my jumper attractively stuffed into them to seal off the midriff. The fact that this allowed me to run around outside without trousers and shoes made them feel all the more wundervoll. They were my ticket to open-air, trouser-less, boot-less heaven. The word soon spread, and woolly tights became something of a must-have cult item with all us children on the mountain.
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Then I got these clogs. They were wooden-soled, black leather, adorned with silver studs. Beautiful! It must have been before we moved from Bavaria to Ireland, because they still fitted me. I adored them. I wore them everywhere and anywhere. In summertime I determinedly suffered them on what seemed like eternally long hikes, in wintertime I wore them with Strumpfhosen. I possessively kept them out of my little brother's reach who wanted them only because he saw how much I loved them. My beloved clogs. Then we moved to Ireland. And, as time would have it, I began to grow out of them. I bitterly watched as my brother could slip his feet into them, and clopped down the road. This period was a strange one. A lot of changes from the life I had before. Making friends in rural Ireland was a culture shock to say the least. I have isolated memories of getting into trouble at some kid's house for eating all their wild strawberries. I then got into worse trouble for locking a couple of the other kids and myself into their bathroom, getting naked and initiating sex games. In this strange land of religion and rain, I became more attached than ever to my old clogs. So when I walked along the road, and passed some girls waiting for the bus into town, I couldn't understand why they were tittering at me. Possibly because I had once more donned my clogs, in utter denial of the fact that they now were only half the size of my feet.
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That Obscure Object of Desire - Strumpfhosen Himmel
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