1. Life Is Full of Cunt
Berlin had been good to me for the best of five days until everything turned to
shit. I wandered the streets of Friedrichshain, gulping in the raw beauty as I
went, met beautiful non-hipsterish bohemians (though this is kind of like the
capital of hipsterism in Europe), finally got to see Mala play live at the Berghain,
shook hands with the bouncer, got into Bar 25 and consumed significantly more
ounces of hard liquor than I usually do in a month. And I'm still uncertain how I
feel about recent events.
It was a hot and humid Sunday, everything that was worth anything was closed
and all there really was to do was admire the street art hand in hand in bottle.
Somehow we made it through the day, and as a bonus of sorts I also found that I
was, apparently, a medical miracle, as all my friends were glistening with sweat
whilst I hardly perspired. Shit was pretty tight, one might say.
We decided to take another shot at Bar 25 as it seemed to be our only option and
hey, the place is pretty damn cool as long as I can keep my friend Robert out of
the river (and away from spiked drinks). The line, as usual, was gargantuan but
we didn't mind because what else if not for queuing is a bottle of vodka for?
Behind us there was a group of girls, Mexican as it turned out, and worried out of
their minds because like everybody, they'd also heard of Bar 25's somewhat
difficult door policy.
They asked us how to get in, so I spewed out all the knowledge I had gathered
from a guy named Ben. You can't be in a big group, you can't be loud, overdressed
or ugly. Also, you can't be Spanish. Would the bouncer tell a Mexican from a
Spaniard? Only time would tell.
My friend Robert was unwavering in his methodology:
"When they ask you something, just say "drei" because you are three people.
Honestly, man, telling you, man, "drei" is the way forward. The girls took it in
and began practicing German numerology. Drei, they said, drei
We were feeling pretty confident, having rocked the shit out of Berghain and Bar
25 only a few days earlier. Also, we were dead wasted when we tried the night
before, so things were looking good. As it turned out, we didn't get in, because
instead of the normal bouncer there was this scrawny fucker with a fluffy hat who
sent us packing, and the girls, and the really chilled locals behind them, and the
guys behind them, and so on and so forth where it began to seem that nobody
besides underage girls could get in. Oh well.
2. The girls inform us that they're going to some punk rock party god knows where
and I want to follow them, but alas, a problem, conveniently named Robert. For
some reason this man has only two states of intoxication: not drunk enough, and
wasted, and he was leaning towards the latter to put it lightly. I spent the best of
30 minutes pulling him off the railings and away from the alluring Spree.
Eventually I manage to tame him enough to get him to lie down on the grass. Keit
and I join him. And I don't know what it was, quite possibly the massive dry spill
I'd been on, but I decided to ditch them and leave Keit to Robert's mercy. She
wasn't too happy about it in the morning as she had to do my job from there on,
and she was nowhere near big enough. But who gives a shit right now.
Problem no. 2: finding the girls. I knew there was a party, I knew it was in Berlin,
I vaguely knew the direction and that was pretty much all I knew. I wandered
random sidestreets until I found Group of Potheads no. 77 who pointed me in the
right direction (across the street).
Problem no. 3: Party's over. That's right, I arrived a minute too late and
everything was awash with squatters inflating their mattresses for a good night's
slumber. I circled the whole area, which was more reminiscent of a junkyard than
a party scene, something I've found to be rather typical of Berlin. Hobo, hobo,
hobo, metalhead, punk, hobo, hobo, dog. No girls. But I thought, maybe, just
maybe if I walk out of the grounds just this instance, I will find them, and I still
don't know why I even cared to bother, but it worked. Imagine my surprise.
The girls recognize me immediately, and take me in. I think I was a welcome
addition to the group, seeing the bunch of loudmouthed Bavarians tagging along
with them. Not bad folk, but kind of like the guys you see at parties going from
girl to girl making Star Wars jokes, desperately hoping for a pity fuck. But
anyway, I knew why I was there, and I knew who I was there for. Don't take this
the wrong way Mexican girl no. 1 and Mexican girl no. 2, if you happen to read
this, but Mexican girl no. 3 was infinitely more alluring.
I offered to take the group to the amazing little squat area on the corner of
Warschauer Strasse, but forgot to take a left at the right point and ended up
leading them all to a dead end street by the river instead. There was a plus
though, the view was amazing, and as all the other drunkards basked in the glory
of the sunset, me and, who had noticeably become my girl, broke away. We talked
tidbits, and I wasn't even trying to make a move on her, for some reason it
seemed everything would somehow work out in the right direction. I give her a
tour of the street art and she's impressed with my English.
"Thank you" I say, "I hope it is, since I'm a writer." A line I usually leave for 30+
singles, but this seemed as good an occasion as any. And it's not like I'm lying, I
do it for a hobby, and I also make a point to tell her this. For some reason, I
thought this girl deserved more than cheap tricks. And I am no conjurer of cheap
3. It worked beautifully, not because it got me instant action, but because it opened
up a side of her that I had not foreseen. a) she had a passion for writing b) she
had amazing taste in books. She likes Latin-American writers, no surprise there,
and I know all too well the way forward here.
"Oh you mean like Gabriel Garcia Marquez?"
"Oh my god, you read Marquez?!" and her face lights up. Bingo. We spend a
good 20 minutes discussing Cien años de soledad because what else but Cien
años de soledad does anybody read these days. After that it's anything from how
do you, or what do you or do you, followed up by smiles, gasps and exaltations of
agreement. So what, not only is this girl beautiful but smart as well? And then
she has the audacity, the bloody nerve to ask me if I've ever read Camus. Fuck me
sideways. Where did this girl come from (Mexico, apparently) and why is she
asking me about the single most overwhelming reading experience of my short
little pathetic meaningless existence.
Skip forward a good half hour, and we arrive at Warschauer street, having also
found the other members of the group who were, by then, pushing each other
around in trolleys. This region is my favourite part of Berlin, the street art, mostly
done by a man named Lake, is like a revolution in itself. The rock climbing area,
the skate park, the outdoor cinema, the outdoor theater, the squat houses that
look like something even a trainyard would be ashamed of, and the small clubs
hidden inside them at certain times of the night, only seen at a certain time past
midnight, kind of like the gates of hell - everything about this area is a revolution
in itself. And they want to tear it down. But that's another story.
We sit down in front of a club of sorts to finish our beer because we can't get in
otherwise. We have a somewhat heated debate with a local about homosexuality
and whether it is normal or not. My girl gets a bit pissed off at the guy who is
telling us, quite blatantly, that it isn't natural, it doesn't happen in nature. Well it
does happen in nature, but at least he wasn't being a dick about his lack of
knowledge. I guess, what he was desperately trying to say, is that it isn't the norm
of orientation, which, percentually, it isn't. He finishes his tirade off beautifully
I'm not saying it's wrong, do what you want, be what you want, fuck who you
want...*moment of ponder* just don't be so up in our face about it, you
know? And on that bombshell, he disappears into the night.
My girl and I get more intimate in discussion, I've been reading her body
language for ages, I know where this is going, I'm just wondering when it's going
to happen. I like to set the stage, go into it smoothly, but eventually she just
jumps me at the corner of an unlit club, to the romantic melodies of Pendulum or
god knows what interchangeable drum n bass it was playing. Immediately a very
hyper overdrugged mountain of a man runs up to us, cheers along and offers to
bring us a couch in case we want to go further. Cheers for the effort, baby boy, but
we’ll pass. We leave the club for another drink, and sit back near the locals. We've
4. been talking effortlessly for a good two hours straight by this time…so we talk
some more. This is where the conversation gets personal. We both talk about our
past love lives (well, mostly me), how shit it's always been, and how weird it is
that we've only known each other for two hours. We both realize this won't be
going on for any longer than a few, and we express our hatred for the world and
its division of population. I can't remember why but I tell her about the only
person I've ever loved, how I never got to be with her, because she was already in
a long term relationship. Not one of those fleeting ones, but the real deal. Even if
I was twice, triple or quadruple the man I am now, I could never be as good to her
as her current boyfriend. I also tell her that this isn't a sad story, it's a happy one,
because even though my passions are somewhat restrained, purely knowing that I
am capable of such overwhelming emotion gives my life some semblance of
purpose. This is also my favourite story that I save for very special people.
She doesn't say much to comment, I just know she understands, it's all over her
sparkling brown eyes, eyes that could never be mass produced. And she tells me
she had something similar with a guy back home, the time old story: boyfriend
goes away, she meets somebody wonderful, boyfriend comes back, she knows he's
a dick and the other guy is better, but opts for the boyfriend anyway.
Did you do it because you thought nobody would ever love you as much as your
boyfriend, I ask
Her voice breaks as she affirms my assumption, and I notice a tinge of reddening
in the eyes. She's breaking down a bit, but kisses me, if not for anything else, then
just for the merit of my observation.
What was he like, I ask. The guy you met.
Like you, she says
except, you know, from Mexico City
And this hurts.
But I offer to help her, because I like her, I like her more than anybody I've ever
known for 2-3 hours, months, maybe years or decades. I tell her since she's single
now, she should go back and find the guy because this shit doesn't come a-
knockin often, and I tell her I will be insanely jealous, but she should do it
anyway, because I might be a dreamer, but reality is quite the fucking whore. She
laughs a bit and feels better. The conversation lights up as we stroll the skating
5. grounds together. At some point we are met by a guy named Gregor, who is quite
obviously used to life in this area. With Gregor we get to talking about normal
things (or as normal as they get in Berlin) again. And my girl, Valentina is her
name, turns the conversation around to something beautiful.
I have a lot of strange dreams, she says. Like...like...I always wanted to drink with
a midget, get all drunk with a midget, and I did it, I actually did it, I got drunk
with a midget in London.
And this still makes me laugh even though right now laughter seems almost
impossible. How many girls actually say that or think that? Do all girls want to
drink with midgets? Because I hope they do. When she said that, I thought fuck
it, fuck it all, I am finding the shiniest stone on the ground and popping the
question, I don't ever want to lose the girl who drinks with midgets. But I decided
it was a useless endeavor.
Gregor starts bothering strangers for fags, and my girl informs me that it is, in
fact, veering towards 10 AM, and she has to go find her friends before her plane
leaves for fucking Florence or Paris or wherever the fuck she’s leaving me for. We
say good bye to Gregor, ask him for his contact information, but forget it. And as
if this isn't bad enough, the story just gets a lot worse from here.
Does anybody know the movie Chungking Express? Of course you do, everybody
should know that movie. It is also, without a doubt, my favourite movie,
something I've watched over and over through thick and thin and completely
integrated into my life. California Dreaming. Just nothing but California
Dreaming. And as my girl writes down her contact information, a couple of books
and movies I should get, and as I write only one thing, the only thing I could
write, which is Chungking Express, a street performer calmly arrives, sits down,
and all of the sudden it's California Dreaming. FUCKING Cali Dreaming. Is this
how I'm meant to say good bye to the most amazing thing I've ever met? To the
soundtrack of that mockery of life that just comes out and fucks you in the ass
6. with a moment yanked straight from your fondest memories, as if.. to emphasize
how good you will never have it again.
Yes, this is exactly how you're meant to say good bye to the most amazing thing
you've ever met. The sentence "you are a very remarkable person in my life" is
uttered in the sexiest voice to accent combo I know. She promises to do as I told
her, I remind her it will drive me crazy, and she laughs. We kiss good bye so long
she almost misses her train and gets hit by the door on her way in, then laughs for
a second, and waves a hand I will never hold again.
Alas, this is the way the world fucks you. Not with a bang, but a whimper. I'm
totally lost. What the hell just happened? To top it off, it's 10 AM, I'm miles from
the hostel and I'm drunker than the 95% of people walking to work. I decide to go
back to the street musician, I figure asking him to play the blues would be a good
idea, but he's already going full blast with she takes...just like a woman, yes she
does, she aches...just like a woman, yes she does, she makes love, just like a
woman, yes she does, but she breaks...like a little girl. Fuck you too, street
musician, I love you so much. I sit down next to him and sing along. I tell him I
was there a second ago with somebody beautiful, and am so no more.
Yeah well, that's what happens in life, man he says and finishes packing up his
So where are you going now that you've finished playing I ask who I by then
To Paris...au Paris as they say and he walks off. I don't blame him, I wouldn't
have wanted to hear about my woes either.
I take the U-Bahn home, and I don't even know my name anymore. What just
happened makes everything seem irrelevant. I start talking to a random Turkish
guy on the way out of the train station. I become that guy.
"Mondays, man, I’m telling you"
7. He nods nervously and shoots off like a speeding bullet.
I get back to the hostel and look around me. Everybody's sleeping. I rip a few
sheets of toilet paper, and automagically, the line "life is full of cunt" makes its
way onto the soft fabric, signed lovingly with "btw, check out at 12". I briefly
consider jumping out of the window, but figure the drop wouldn't be high enough
for any mortal damage, and besides that there was an unrelenting pulsation deep
in my heart that told me life as I had never known it before was only about to