yellow subway cars of the BVG
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Stumbling in RL

StumbleUpon is a nifty little program really, the double-click ‘Net answer to channel surfing. Click click. Darwin. Click click. Cooking. Click click. Porn. A community of wanderers.

I’m bored.

Click click. “X number of ways to reduce stress.” Leave the house early. Give more love than taking. Reduce caffeine. I open the StumbleUpon link to view comments left by other wanderers. I leave my own idea: ‘Log off?’ I need a little kick out the door. I shut down, wash up, and go.

The day is not as bright as the small bit of light that had filtered through the window. The day is warmer than I expect, sure, but the wind is fierce, and pulls at my coat like an insistent child.

But I want to walk, and need it after all these days cooped up with my cold. So I skip the brunch spots of Friedrichshain and walk to Kreuzberg. I cross the Oberbaumbrücke, pass a little cafe (mmm, sehr lecker) and drop into my favorite Italian restaurant.

Is French onion soup French? A silly question and it hardly matters. I rave about this restaurant’s soup. It’s always served piping hot in a deliciously-spiced broth, topped with a thick onion ring and smothered under a bubbling-brown crust of cheese. I wolf it down, but have room for more (no doubt the body’s rebound from being sick). I order the steak and broccoli plate.

Yum. Broccoli seared in whole green peppercorns and olive oil. A nicely browned steak with a rosy-pink center, albeit drenched in a peppercorn sauce that I have to scrap away. The blood of the beef pools in the sauce. I pretend not to notice.

I make sure to eat all of my broccoli, but the steak is too much. I sigh a bit from the guilt, as if some fussy mother were sitting across from me at the table. (The waste! There’s a child starving in Africa!) I stab it a bit with my knife. Give up.

It is not that I have anywhere to go. Martin lives nearby, but there’s no answer to my buzz at the door. I amuse myself with visions of him drunk and weary from Petra’s birthday party or, alternatively, waking on the other side of town to some woman he doesn’t plan to see again.

I imagine his frown when I tell him this.

I am aimless and wandering in the wind.

It’s just 15 minutes to Treptow, but everything is closed there and, worse, the rain and wind have picked up. I am pushed, pulled and pushed again.

Fuck it. I run for a passing bus, flash my pass and hop on for a short trip right back to where I’ve started.

Still, I don’t go back to the restaurant but head for the little cafe. No smokers today. Nice. And the big windows let in all the available light, for what that’s worth.

The train rolls by on its elevated track, bright yellow happiness like a determined perky blond. (It *will* be a beautiful day today!)

But it’s gray gray gray. And on the walk back — across the bridge, up the hill, past the station — the wind whips into a frenzy. Little yelps as people clutch their coats and each other. An older woman wrestles with her torn and warped umbrella. I worry that the wind is strong enough to lift and throw me up and over the railing — a useless flapping of green wings then down onto the tracks below.

Not so impossible. The new main train station lost a metal girder — SMASH! — in a crash of iron and glass. I am, in comparison, a feather.

The jewelry store, the video store, the next cafe.

Why am I not at home?

Click click.

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