Britwit asked why I like Berlin and as Sparky has been on this damn machine all day, I started to think about it. I lured Sparky off this damn machine by leaving contraband Nestle chocolate chips on the end of the bed and jumping into his place when he went to gather. Men and cats are really more alike than they’d admit.
So Berlin. I need to preface this post with a little insight to how I work. I have always wanted to be a spy. A real cloak and dagger spy. I love espionage and secret meetings. I love knowing things others don’t. My only problem is my inability to keep secrets. The boring stuff is no sweat, like “please don’t tell so and so such and such”. No problem. However, if its juicy, like “Jimmy is boffing Sarah, but really it’s the other way around and Jimmy has this fetish that is so bizarre and you’d never know it, (it involves ducks*). You would not believe what he wears under those J. Crew sweaters”, forget it. It’s a good thing I’m married to someone who really does not care nor remember most of what I say. This way I can “tell” my secret and not get into any trouble. Well, almost no trouble. And I do make it a point not to have any personal secrets. I’ve tried. Ten minutes later I’m blabbing it to Sparky.
I’m a disappointment to my entire family line. I am the only woman on my mother or father’s side of the family that is totally honest with my spouse. I don’t buy stuff and say it belongs to my sister. I’m not having affairs. I don’t start drinking at noon and hide the bottles. I don’t have a secret past or a love child stashed away in a boarding school in Switzerland. Really, I’ve had to become quite boring simply because I cannot lie and I cannot keep a secret. So that pretty much nixes a career as a spy.
How does this relate to Berlin? Well, my first time there was in the dead of winter, February 2004. It was colder than a witch’s tit. It was the coldest cold and the sharpest wind I have ever felt. And we arrived at night. Sparky had a conference the next day and we had to leave directly after so it was Berlin by night or not at all.
It started to snow. A drifty windy snow as we hit Checkpoint Charlie. Let me just say, I could not have planned better cold war ambience if I had tried. Other than the schwag stands, I could totally picture Post-war Berlin. We walked all over, down deserted streets and past war memorials. The streets were almost empty because the smart people had all gone inside to avoid hypothermia
Then I read the sign about how great America and her soldiers had been in World War II and everything she did for the Berliners. I felt proud and sad at the same time. Proud of what my country was capable of and sad at what she had become.
It was during this play that I felt the heartbeat. San Francisco is the only city I’ve been to where I could feel its heartbeat. And more so, felt connected to that heartbeat. (I’ve never been to Manhattan.) Berlin is the second. It almost felt like coming home in a weird way, like I had been there before.
The next day, I fell in love and it had only a little bit to do with finding my favorite shampoo (MOP Glisten) that could not be located ANYWHERE in Hessen. The people were warm and friendly. It just had the feeling of a real city. Boweltown might have city status, but as a bonafide city girl, Boweltown is the biggest village in the middle of freakin nowhere.
Berlin has the best Italian food I’ve had in Germany; they used garlic! It had a breakfast place where I could get both an omelet AND potatoes. The head of the committee that had invited Sparky to speak at the conference gave us great recommendations for everything else.
And maybe it’s because Berliners have better things to do than stare at you, but I didn’t feel conspicuous there. I felt like blended in. That was nice.
I’ve been back there numerous times and haven’t even been to the museums yet. I’m always too busy walking around and sucking up the city smell. I’d take car pollution to horse shit any day, my friend. Any day. The only thing is, if I lived there, I think I’d be pretty tired of all the memorials and monuments that go up. They’re everywhere.
There you go, Britwit. I hope that answered your question. Please remember, I don’t live there, I just get to visit and that bitter, bitter cold that is fun for me is really, really cold. Dress warmly.
*Stephanie Plum reference – Jimmy and Cousin Vinnie have a lot in common. Names have been changed to protect me.