Back in Germany. Missing New York already. Maybe it’s just because I was visiting, and I noticed them more than I would here, but I miss those funny moments that seem so New Yorky. The jovial “Yep, no sweat” after I thanked a guy for holding a door open; an elderly lady who got up from the bench to try to get on a train which wasn’t in service, and her embarrassed smile when she noticed me watching her slowly return to her seat; another elderly lady with a Zimmer frame who, when seeing me carrying flowers (for Jennifer and Derick, my lovely hosts), said, in a big New York accent, “Fer-laaaah-wuhs! Some lucky lady’s getting fer-laaaah-wuhs!”; the guy getting off a subway train, oblivious to the people around him as he squeezed a spot on his cheek, wiping the pus and blood off his cheek with his fingers, still oblivious to the “eeeuw” looks he was getting; and, in a book store, a guy with a walking stick and a hospital-issue shirt, with plasters and tape on his arm like he’d just disconnected himself from a drip. I pass him and stand a couple of feet away, looking at that new Woody Allen book, and just as I begin to read the blurb on the jacket, he lets rip with a massive balloon-shaped fart. It seemed like the perfect sign that I should just buy the Woody Allen book on the spot.
During my last night there, I had what at the time felt like a lovely dream, but now seems a little bit disturbing. I picked up a prostitute in a park, and it wasn’t until afterwards that I noticed that she looked exactly like Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain. Just with tits and a vagina. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a) I’ve not had sex for a while, and b) I’ve spent a lot of time watching and thinking about baseball. Maybe these two facts are somehow related.
So, after watching six innings of the Yankees v Devil Rays game in the airport bar, and seeing New York take a 12-2 lead and being relatively sure that that would mean they’d win the game they needed to qualify for the post-season (they eventually won 12-4), I came home. Via London’s lovely, welcoming, Heathrow Airport. Non-smokers can skip the next paragraph if they don’t wanna read another rant.
Okay, I get it, smoking is bad for you and me. It’s bad for people who stand near us too. I understand. But plenty of us – your customers – still smoke. And we are used to being made to go outside to do so. It’s annoying, but we’ve generally accepted it. So why is it you seemingly make it as tough as possible for us to do it? Isn’t going outside enough for you? Do you really need to force me – a customer waiting for a connecting flight – to queue up to go through passport control, then through the customs bit, then to the main arrivals hall just to smoke a cig? And not forgetting that also means coming back into the airport, taking off my shoes, putting toothpaste, etc. in a little plastic bag. All in all a 40 minute round trip JUST FOR A FUCKING SMOKE!? Are you sociopaths? Isn’t there some way you can have a fenced-off patio or something, so we can a) smoke, and b) not come into contact with anyone who might give us exploding shoes? Is it really your intention to degrade us into giving up?
Onwards to Berlin, where I had a chatty taxi driver. Just what you need after a transatlantic flight. He seemed like a fun guy, though, for a borderline racist. If you try to imagine a cross between Worzel Gummidge and Jimmy Nail, you’d be close to imagining what he looked like. When he asked where I was from in England, he offered two suggestions in his fake posh English accent, “Oxford or Cambridge?” Then he commented that “there’s lots of Indians and Pakistanis in Britain, isn’t there?” I got him off that topic quite quickly by talking about the bad traffic, which he seemed to have a lot to say about, surprisingly.
Anyway, before I went on holiday, I was starting to feel a tad nostalgic about Berlin, what with my impending permanent departure. Back home for 48 hours and that bubble soon got popped by some stupid German cuntery: the dreaded blue card in the letter box. This is what they leave if there’s an item of mail that won’t fit in your letter box or needs to be signed for. So, I trundle off to the post office to pick it up this morning, only to be told that seven days have passed since they tried to deliver it, thus it got returned to sender. Thanks, Deutsche Post. When I asked what one was supposed to do now, the useless, smirking twat told me that I should contact the sender; but, of course, they don’t write the sender info down on the blue card, so I have no idea who the sender is. Or the other option, he said, was to give someone my letter box key. Now this is all well and good, but you need your passport or ID Card to pick the fucking thing up from the post office.
Grrrr. I’m still quite angry about it. Which, I suppose is a good thing. Being misty-eyed about Berlin isn’t what I need as I prepare to leave. Perhaps I should just focus on the shit things from now on: the miserable grey faces in shops, and the default shitty customer service; the dog shit, ugly graffiti, and broken beer bottles in my neighbourhood; the pony-tailed cunt who lives in the flat above me who insist on playing his double bass in a Kenny G-like jazz style at all fucking hours of the day and stomping along with the music in his (seemingly iron-soled) shoes; etc. forever.
But, I’m more than aware these things aren’t Berlin (or Germany) specific. This stuff probably happens everywhere. It’s just a sign that I’m ready to experience the shit another country has to offer.
Anyway: fluffy bunnies, flamingos, roses, butterflies and lemonade… I feel better now.