False Sunlight Consciousness

Neukölln view
                                                                            Neukölln view

There are some buildings in Berlin that stand alone. The surrounding area is like a clearing or in some cases a former airfield or an expansive train track and if you live high enough, the only thing in your view, the top of trees in the distance. If you have the whole apartment, sunlight, that rare Berlin delight floods in causing a false sunlight consciousness as it allows you to experience those rare times before 6am or after 4pm, deluding you.

Looking for a new room, I visited one such apartment during its golden hour, when a warm orange light was bronzing the white walls. A native New Yorker and a man from Spain had turned a rundown Neukölln apartment into a rustic New England B&B. The walls were some parts plywood or some parts styrofoam (I think) both painted a stark white with hardwood floors and low ceilings. No piece of furniture was too big for the rooms, no item within presenting an asymmetric conquering of space whether it came from books or plants or too much table. There was harmony and a quiet beauty I could never design into my rooms. My room was always a pile of stuff without real furniture, a messiness due to a poverty of objects to put the mess in.

Then I began to wonder, is the apartment nice because it had the perfect light fixture, a Spanish heirloom, the right number and size of plants. Petite sofas that broke up the space just so, cabinets from ebay classifieds from a German girl who started sanding a dark wood piece and then realized it would take too much time. But if you took that all away and I put all my ikea crap and ton of books into the space, would it just be another rundown Neukölln apartment.

Inside a Neukölln bar

Two unemployed former colleagues commiserating . . . its hard to say who won the battle of the down and out.

We’re sitting at the bar right in front of the mixologist.

Former colleague: “I can’t order, I think that bartender is too hot.”

“I really hate ordering because they can never understand me but okay” I catch the eye of another bartender.

“Zwei rot Wein Corbieres” as I am saying Corbieres he says “Gran Passione”

“Nein, Corbieres”

“Corbieres” correctly in French.

Another bartender enters the picture and looks at me asking me what I want. I want to say in German I already ordered 2 red wines but the only thing that stumbles out of my mouth as I point behind him where my wine is being poured is “die zwei rot Wein” (the two red wine)

He looks at me with understanding and grabs a beer glass and says “Ein Rollberg” (a Berlin beer called Rollberg). Then I start laughing uncontrollably as the guy behind him brings over our wine glasses. The other Rollberg bartender sees this and also starts laughing and then the first bartender is like why is everyone laughing.