It is. In fact right now I’m sitting at a side walk café, watching people go by across the street at a fantastic outdoor market filled with beautiful charming things. Tonight I have a gig at my favourite bar, the one that welcomed me immediately when I moved here. But to be perfectly honest, I’m not really cool enough for Berlin. I don’t have the cultural capitol necessary to get what one gets out of it. Sure I want to walk into the vintage record shops and peruse old 45’s pretending I know what I’m looking for, or at, but I don’t. I was never a record geek. Everyone who is seems cooler than me. I just never could keep track of who it was that sang which song it was I liked that one time I heard it. (Let alone who the bass player was and why he was on that recording but not another… the year the producer wore the other jacket to symbolize his disdain for… etc.). Facts I don’t remember.
I like the vibe in the stores, though, knowing there’s all this music there, personal histories of heartache recorded in musical histories of studios, engineers, producers, pressed into vinyl – worlds of sounds in stacks of vinyl, and cool people dressed in cool vinyl-lover outfits, who know what’s what, perusing them. Not me, I like the colours and patterns of the jackets, the mysterious seeming cover photos, I like the physical feeling on my fingers of flipping through them but I can’t say I want this over that, I don’t own a record player, I don’t even have an apartment, I’m not going to listen, I just wonder which collection would be the coolest to have, think of the people who might be impressed. But if I was once the kind of woman to fall in love with a man because he could impress me with his record knowledge, I am now the kind of woman who knows there are plenty of record loving men with music encyclopaedia brains out there. So I hover for a mere moment and then move on. Why pretend?
I walk by the side walk bars and cafés, Cool people everywhere, I have no idea what they’re talking about, but they seem cool, engaged in conversation, smoking cigarettes, smiling. They have a reason to be out, and friends to be out with. No, I never think of it the other way around, when I happen to be meeting someone at a café and others are passing by looking in. I have a default pang of envy sometimes, in my ‘floatier’ days, seeing the folks in the cafes so, trying to remember what its like to be part of some place, but even when I was part of someplace, I seldom went out in groups. I am usually on my solitary walk, catching glimpses of them.
Some are cooler looking than others. I judge by the outfits: punk, anarchists, anarcho-punks, hippies, bohemians, People who give the ‘I don’t give a fuck and I’ll punch you if you question me’ look its due. People who have interesting lines on their faces I once found (and still kinda do) attractive only to have come to realise these are usually the lines of addiction. People with lots of tattoos and wild piercings. Though, frankly, on first sight, people with too many tattoos and piercings, bewilder me . Not in the, “I think they’ll hurt me” way, but I don’t understand what kind of inner anger or need for expression makes them take in needle-fulls of ink, and what’s wrong with their god-given face anyway? And why don’t I want to chase physical pain the way they do, and why can’t I commit to an image I wanted burned into me the way they can?
Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are full of tattoos. Sometimes I wish I had their courage, instead of turning my rage into quiet-turned-stomach ache. I’m just way too chicken. I’m just not that cool. Then there are the all-too-pretty people with too much make up and corporate fashion, and their trendy trendiness, and their successful successes, and them I find even scarier as if theirs is a freakishly repressed rage, nothing a few new purchases cant fix. Both of these extremes elicit an inner Charile Brown-esque feeling of, “I don’t think they’ll like me,” though it’s me who’s casting the first stone of judgment, not them.
You’ve Been to Berlin?? I Hear it’s Awesome! Part 2
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