Jo, César, Max, Marko
"Watching you skate for 10 minutes was the most relaxing thing. The constant movement looked like a dance! Super nice. Thanks guys."
How did they react?
Laughed. Said, "You are most welcome!"
How did I feel?
Berlin's streets strike in your face. They constantly move. Smelling of Kebab, dog shit and fumes they mix everything. The more the merrier. Dandies, dancers, dirt, drugs- all there, waiting to be seen and played with. Looking for inspiration? A quaint encounter? A momentary escape? Awesome. Go outside. It'll be your lucky day 24/7. Trying to arrive at a destination? Not so much. You have the BVG- not reliable. A car? Forget it, no parking spaces. The answer: A bike. Hell yeah! I know. Biking rocks. And yes, Berlin does, too. Especially when riding your bike! Theoretically. The city is mountain free. There are bike trails almost everywhere... And on a day like today- biking in the sun. A great soundtrack in your ears (any suggestions?). What on earth could be better than that?
You see I don't even mind a couple of near death experiences per day. Some car almost knocking me over reminds me of what I really care about in life. Or at least of all the swear words I know. Either way there is passion. I have always considered traffic an aggression release space. Plus choosing your bike over the BVG keeps you in shape: Calculate 40 minutes per route. After a few months your legs will be plain steel. And you will be down for going to that filthy bar around the corner whose smokey air used to kill your lungs. Who cares? The air pollution has painted them black anyway.But regardless of the full win win there is in Berlin biking I just can't get over this one thing. It waits for you when you flip the coin of the inspiration fountain on big B's streets. Remember? The atmosphere that once dragged you into the city, the sounds and winks and incidents. The stories, the moments, the variety... They turn a one way bike ride into a lot to take in. And a whole bike day into over stimulation at it's best. Today I experienced the latter. For the gazillionth time. 7 hours outside, running errands, meeting friends, Riding from A to B to C back to B... And C again. Countless smiles, 23 overheard languages, about 23403248394738947983462 red lights, 5 almost accidents, 3 cusswords. Old people, kids, couples, groups. Bratwurst, coffee, bread, chocolate. Honk. Green, blue, yellow, grey. Music, Screaming, phone melodies, sirens. At 7:30 PM I was in Mitte, walking down the Invalidenstraße, in desperate need for a bench in the sun. I wasn't tired, I was exhausted. Suddenly I heard a sound I hadn't noticed all day. I turned my head and saw a bunch of skaters practicing at a skate park. And a bench! I went over, sat down and- stared into space. Relaxing my eyes. At some point I started watching them. Five minutes later my shoulders started to soften. A smile made it's way on to my face. I dug their movements! They flowed through space, one after another... They had found a system in which at least one of them was constantly driving. It looked like a beautiful choreography to me. I breathed simultaneously to their movements for a while. I don't know how they did it but they helped me reconnect (probably the sitting down helped, too). I felt like saying "Ouuh... yeah..." after each of their tricks, no matter if they succeeded or not. They spread a friendly vibe by applauding every time one of them mastered a stunt. But at the end of the day I cared about the beauty of their subtle movements and the flow that didn't stop most. I interrupted them for the compliment. That was easy, too. They took it gratefully yet they stayed cool-After all they were skaters! When I left one of them said, "You know where to find us next time you need someone to calm you down. Just stop by." Thanks a lot! Will do! And thank you for making me realize: Berlin takes up all my energy if I let it. Yes. But as soon as I sit down for a moment I might get it all back through a bunch of skaterboys.