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What Fresh Hell?

Berlin - March 8, 2018

 

I woke up last night – not unusual – I wake up many nights at two or three regardless of wine or coffee – I’ve heard that sleep is disrupted at my age – people joke about it, although it’s not so amusing when it’s dark and one’s mind churns. I try to remember my German lessons, which article, das, der, die – which one adheres to which noun. Then a name becomes stuck. I can’t remember someone’s name a name that would have at one point in the past tripped off my tongue but now it unglues itself and only hours or days later will it pop unbidden into my head and I think I’m coming down with my heritable brand of cognitive decline.

Mauerpark - Berlin - May, 2018

Moments ago Bill just left for a few days and I am in here in Berlin with a bum knee and four days of German class I didn’t want to skip. About my knee – I was working out with weights in the small gym on the third floor of the apartment complex. After finishing with my arms, I was holding in each hand a twenty-five pound weight when I tripped over a barbell. It sounded bad. The weights made a huge clanging crash and there was the matter of my knee and hip. I stood up and rotated shoulders, wrists, lifted each knee, massaged my right hip and diagnosed nothing serious. Only later after walking to the shops and climbing up the four flights to the apartment did the swelling begin and pain took hold. That was last week and now my knee is improving.

I decided I would go to Mauerpark today. It is a huge flea market set up where East and West Berlin butted up against each other at the wall – mauer means wall in German. We’ve been twice before though both times were freezing, wet and muddy. Today is sunny and will be warm, a fitting Mothers’ Day. I am going to finish this post after my visit which will include taking two UBahn trains to get there. On the way home I also plan to buy myself some flowers down the street at Frankey’s Blumen and Pflanzen shop.  One thing I really like about Germany is that all the stores close on Sunday except the flower shops. It makes me think that on Sundays all over Germany people are choosing flowers for people they love or at least should pay a visit.

I am back now – actually, it is the next morning so I didn’t immediately write down impressions about my afternoon. I did buy flowers – I just stopped my typing to look up at them. After returning from Mauerpark my knee was hurting and I decided not to walk the extra block to Frankey’s but picked up peonies, deep pink ones, at the shop across from the Rudesheimer U Bahn. I arranged them. My children called. Bill called. It took him seven hours to finally arrive in Tübingen and he felt the symptoms of a cold coming on. He said it was cold there.

Yesterday, on the way to the park on the U2 train a group of musicians boarded – there was a guy with a tiny trumpet, a saxophonist and they played while the others sang,“When the Saints Come Marching In.” Smiles all around. People opened up coin purses. The flea market was packed with people but the new stuff on sale wasn’t interesting.  It was all the same - tiny necklace charms, t-shirts, postcards - I’ve seen in Brooklyn before or in Fairport. For lunch I had what is called a Zucchini Puffer from a Middle Eastern food cart. I spilled yogurt sauce down my shirt and on my black backpack. I used a napkin and water from my bottle to clean up. I walked across the street to check out the used household items for sale and found again the guy with the table of hundreds, maybe thousands of glasses frames. Heaps of them, made of wire, plastic, all without noses or ears on which to balance.

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