Werner Herzog’s Note to His Cleaning Lady

Today I walked into our apartment and YIKES. Not a tidy place.

This is unfortunately rather normal when things get busy. Which is often.

It is at these (frequent) times that I wish I had access to magic, or Cinderella’s mice & birds, or at least a maid.

But even then there’s potentially that issue of expense, privacy, and things not being taken care of to my liking. I am simultaneously fond of putting off tasks I don’t feel like doing and judging how others accomplish those same tasks. How productive!

The truth is I would not complain if someone stepped into my home and waved a wand. There exist, however, people who are far pickier than I. The following fictional note is the perfect depiction of such a personality, cast as one Werner Herzog, German film director, producer, screenwriter, author, actor and opera director.

And ferociously particular soul.

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Here is his note to the maid, “edited” by Dale Shaw:

Rosalina. Woman.

You constantly revile me with your singular lack of vision. Be aware, there is an essential truth and beauty in all things. From the death throes of a speared gazelle to the damaged smile of a freeway homeless. But that does not mean that the invisibility of something implies its lack of being. Though simpleton babies foolishly believe the person before them vanishes when they cover their eyes during a hateful game of peek-a-boo, this is a fallacy. And so it is that the unseen dusty build up that accumulates behind the DVD shelves in the rumpus room exists also. This is unacceptable.

I will tell you this Rosalina, not as a taunt or a threat but as an evocation of joy. The joy of nothingness, the joy of the real. I want you to be real in everything you do. If you cannot be real, then a semblance of reality must be maintained. A real semblance of the fake real, or “real”. I have conquered volcanoes and visited the bitter depths of the earth’s oceans. Nothing I have witnessed, from lava to crustacean, assailed me liked the caked debris haunting that small plastic soap hammock in the smaller of the bathrooms. Nausea is not a sufficient word. In this regard, you are not being real.

Now we must turn to the horrors of nature. I am afraid this is inevitable. Nature is not something to be coddled and accepted and held to your bosom like a wounded snake. Tell me, what was there before you were born? What do you remember? That is nature. Nature is a void. An emptiness. A vacuum. And speaking of vacuum, I am not sure you’re using the retractable nozzle correctly or applying the ‘full weft’ setting when attending to the lush carpets of the den. I found some dander there.

I have only listened to two songs in my entire life. One was an aria by Wagner that I played compulsively from the ages of 19 to 27 at least 60 times a day until the local townsfolk drove me from my dwelling using rudimentary pitchforks and blazing torches. The other was Dido. Both appalled me to the point of paralysis. Every quaver was like a brickbat against my soul. Music is futile and malicious. So please, if you require entertainment while organizing the recycling, refrain from the ‘pop radio’ I was affronted by recently. May I recommend the recitation of some sharp verse. Perhaps by Goethe. Or Schiller. Or Shel Silverstein at a push.

The situation regarding spoons remains unchanged. If I see one, I will kill it.

That is all. Thank you for listening and sorry if parts of this note were smudged. I have been weeping.

Your money is under the guillotine.

Herzog.

Edt. Dale Shaw

If only it was real.

Message me asap if you have an interest in a cleaning party at my place!

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