Startups, ups and downs

I’m writing this during my lunch break, in a half-empty social area of the shiny Berlin Startup. In the office next door you may find another fancy company, which makes a real money using the irresistible charm of the main Berlin buzzwords: healthy food, hand-made accessories and organic cosmetics.

Mine is more technical, humble, diverse and demanding. No buzzwords, no detox teas, no loud parties or hookups with young interns. Only with the old supervisors. Joking. Or do I?

Our team is sitting in the right and conservative wing of the building, and their team is slowly taking over the left wing, including the ground floor. They are growing, we are trying to preserve our fading resources.

Like everything in Berlin, our office life is full of surprises. And I’m glad to be part of it. Even though sometimes it seems that i will never climb this hill. Or the hill will turn into sinking sand or a rabbit hole.

“Berlin is a trap” — that’s what my one-night-friend told me after we smoke a joint together. “It’s a trap, but not for the people like us — because we already have our backpacks, our experience, our brains wired for survival”.

He dropped from school at 15, got arrested for the graffiti at 26, got me drunk at 30. He works for the other Startup, in a quality assurance department. It’s all about Startups here. Or is it all about reassuring people?

Would I agree with him on a “trap part”? More or less. This is my favorite construction to use for now. “More or less”. Xavier , who is called by colleagues (thanks to his communication style) “No filter”, called me “More or less”. And it’s very good definition of me, being uncertain and unstable most of the time.

I moved to Berlin 6 months ago. Sounds like eternity, but for me time was flying fast. After Saint-Petersburg and Moscow, it’s my third big city to settle in. And most of the time It feels that when I’m trying to guess or explore Berlin, he keeps exploring and testing me.

When I came to Berlin for my second job interview, I stayed with the Couchsurfing guy. We didn’t got along, and I was too tired, and unkind and didn’t like his notions about life.

“Perhaps one day you will need to visit the places you left behind. The city where you were born, the town, where you grew up. Because they all still define who you are. And they always will”.

I didn’t agree and we were fighting for a minute or two.

Why past would ever make sense? Now I see. That the Couchsurfing guy, and my night friend, and my dates and flatmates, and my fellow students and my colleagues — they all are about right.

Because in this place of the pervasive randomness, nothing is happening by chance. You collide with the Universe of the Other, you discover the ways you can get through this life and the paths that you failed to take.

You meet people, that have questions, and you meet others, that may have answers. But sometimes, like today, they have answers you don’t wanna hear.