I shall go to the Mountain!

11 01 2009

That’s right! I’m not going to wait for the mountain to come to me, I shall go to it! Far be it for me to sit on my faulpelz backside anymore, I’m getting busy. I am now doing something, albeit part-time, that I’ve always wanted to do…..work with animals! I’ve free time, I love soft, cuddly things (including Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows) and I don’t want to sit around staring at the white walls. So I’m volunteering my willing hands!

I think I wrote earlier about my first post-school job, working for a call centre. I had a similar ‘OH-OH life is changing‘ feeling back then, and had to endure a few days making sodding lampshade frames at a giant soldering machine before my first proper job came along. In that job, the ‘prototype call centre’ (I have to say that to make it sound vaguely professional, as the reality is, it wasn’t, and we were far from being so) I met one of my future best friends, one of my first ‘real loves’ and a boss who tried to fix us all in our chairs as he regaled us with stories of artificially inseminating his horses. I kid not. The real love didn’t even materialize into anything in the end, but I did spend many a night sleeping over at his, each of us lying in a twin bed in the guest room, separated by the night stand, chatting the night away. So near, yet so far! So cute! So sweet! I loved him, loved his mum and loved his dog. Strangely enough I found out 5 years later that he was dating a girl from Belgium who happened to be good friends with a Belgian friend of mine. Tuscon weird!

I learnt this over a glass of red wine sitting in a dingy bar in freezing Hamburg one December. Me, from England, talking about my English friend, sitting in Hamburg with a Belgian friend. Whose own Belgian friend is now dating my ex-love from England. Continental time-travel, post-modern time/space blurring or what???! I don’t know what really affected me but I actually had one of those feelings you always see on the big screen, when voices sound like they’re underwater, the room slowly starts to spin and you can’t focus. The heartbreak of it! The tragedy! The unrequited love! He’d never be mine!!!!! However, happy ending here, I actually met the girl a while later and I can genuinely say that I really, really liked her. And who can say that about their ex-love’s new crush? I thought she was great! And then the next time I saw them, outside the Japanese restaurant back home, they were wearing matching rain jackets. Phew. Lucky escape.

So after that circumlocution, I should really just say that I hope the temporary lacuna in my life is filled as quickly as the last one and matters as exciting as teenage love come along once more!

I am greatly enjoying all the slush and mush of winter in Berlin. Coming out of Warschauerstrasse underground station last night, seeing the Spree covered in broken patches of ice and the Death Star glinting in the distance through the heavy fog, made me feel like I’ve really found a new home. I’m longing for a bit of urban grit, but good urban grit, and I think Berlin has it. I’m more than happy to tramp through the streets, spraying grey slush everywhere, and I’m happy to just sit on the U-bahn going from place to place. I particularly love it when the train goes above ground, on bridges over the roads, and you can peer right into the rooms of the high-rise buildings. You never get hungry on the train here either; practically every tube stop has a croissant shop and those Schoko croissants are welcome to fill the small, extra ‘croissant stomach’ that I have. Much like a cow, I have more than stomach. One is regular, the other for pudding.

This reminds me of a fourth matter I’d agree upon with a Times journalist, ‘harsh weather makes people stoic’. This is true. And one thing I always said about Berliners, is that they’re stoic. And I like being stoic too. I want to feel a little more alive these days, and this city makes me feel that. I’m not going to claim I’m some hardened ghetto dweller, raised on dingy street corners or anything like that. But cities do make me feel alive; I love wide-open countryside and the sea too, but sometimes I just need a bit of grit, a metaled road under my feet to spark me awake. I’d be happy to buy a rail ticket and just ride those over-ground trains, endlessly peering into uncovered windows, innocent city-voyeur, chocolate croissant in my hand.

Not Berlin, but NYC. Also urban, also grit, also over-ground travel. Also my picture.

Not Berlin, but NYC. Also urban, also grit, also over-ground travel. Also my picture.

This is Berlin. Also urban. Also my picture, or my friend's. We're not sure.

This is Berlin. Also urban. Also my picture, or my friend's. We're not sure.

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