Cyclist on Simon-Dach-Straße
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But my dream on waking was of being home

It’s Saturday morning, and my first load of wash is in. I have no other clothes as the first, and, thankfully, only problem of the trip was that the bag with all of my clothing was lost. My landlady, Marianne, assured me that this was the best news: once found, a delivery service is responsible for hefting the nearly 70 pound bag up the four flights to my door.

I am gleefully naked in my Berlin apartment until then.

Yesterday’s departure was a mix of things: a heavenly and joyous morning followed by…well, exhaustion. My plan of relaxing through the afternoon, haunting Busboys & Poets for tea and comfy furniture, never materialized. Instead, I reacquainted myself with my cleaning supplies. The refrigerator, the stove, the bathroom, the floors… When Vicki came to pick me up for the trip to the airport, I closed the door on some other apartment entirely. New shelving, rearranged furniture… Well, I hope that Jennifer loves the place as much as I do.

There was no traffic on the beltway or I95 despite our 6 p.m. departure. There was something about the dark sky, the last phone calls goodbye… I said to Vicki on the drive out to BWI, “I could change my mind.” She reminded me about Jennifer. Burned my bridges behind me. Nothing but onward.

I fell asleep in the middle of takeoff and woke only for the dinner and snack breaks. It went by so fast that it felt as if I simply materialized in Heathrow. Although I do recall a spectacular plunge from a blue and sunny sky through a bank of clouds and into the gray landscape of the British Isle below.

I had a long layover in Heathrow so, after navigating an unexpected series of security checkpoints, I made my way to a coffee shop and breakfast. There, I listened to a fascinating podcast of Open Source Sex by Violet Blue. Violet was interviewing the famous porn star, Nina Hartley, about her most recent instructional video release, “Nina Hartley’s Guide to Erotic Bondage.” (Um, can I put that on my Amazon wish list?)

The interview was less about that video than it was about the entire context of community obscenity standards, sex education, feminism and the sex positive movements, and female sexual empowerment. Favorite quotes:

“I never have bad sex anymore, and it’s no accident.” – Nina Hartley

“I’ve always been about sex so this gives me the perfect cover. I would not get the respect I do talking about sex if I had a day job as a banker.” – Nina Hartley on her sex education lectures

“… just because they don’t know what a reverse cowgirl is doesn’t mean that they are stupid.” – Violet Blue on popular misperceptions of sex ed consumers

“I like men! I like penises, thank you very much!” – Nina Hartley on the “barnacle” of men-as-predators perspectives that latched onto the women’s sexual liberation work of the of the 70s

Hm. I’m reminded of some items in my missing luggage…

My landlady, Marianne, was a real gem about picking me up at the airport. She waited patiently while I filed the appropriate luggage claim (blessedly, in English) and exchanged some currency. She drove me to a T-Mobile store (cursedly not in English) and even went in for me when my own bad German yielded nothing. (I did get the gist of it though—“no SIM card for your phone”—so Marianne just verified that’s what I heard.) And she didn’t mind joining me for dinner before going up into the apartment.

This has become a lengthy post, so I will end on this: I live in a BEAUTIFUL place in a HIP neighborhood. Seriously. Four Indian restaurants within two blocks, and the one we ate at is right next door. And next door to that is the bakery. And next to that…

And did I mention my balcony?

I remain stunned at my luck.

Photo: Fridolin freudenfet via Wikimedia Commons

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