Berlin and her Lines
You can find lines everywhere in Berlin, from the sharp edges of the concrete buildings that set off against the blue cloudy sky till the colourful plan maps of the U + S Bahn every tourist bends over from time to time. The waiting line in front of Mustafa’s where a man is waiting hungry, mouth watering due to the smell of the Kebab he is awaiting to eat after a long day of work. On a Saturday the family queuing lines at the Lidl who have to get their last groceries for their Sunday dinner or brunch in the park. The line between the west and the east which divided this concrete city with only a thin 15 cm thick Mauer less than 30 years ago. The lines in front of the endless clubs, where the guard decides if you are going to have the time of your life in his club, or an other. The lines on the face of the homeless woman who is sitting on the street with her dog next to her and an empty carton cup in front of her, hoping for some money a random passerby might give. And even though all these different forms of lines exist here in Berlin most of her residents can’t even say the line: ‘’Ich bin ein Berliner’’.
Until now I have met exactly 4 people who are originally born and raised in Berlin. Most of us are all import citizens, from the outskirts of Germany and the world, trying to feel at home in this busy, noisy, and multicultural city. Where you hear the clattering of the U-bahn ride over the steel bridges when walking down the street and the honking of the cars when newly married Turkish couples and their entourage drive down Karl Marx Strasse. Where you are trying to place the smell of smog, garbage, rain, metro brakes, spices and herbs but later realize it is just the mixed scent of Berlin, her people and her variations of foreign restaurants. It is barely possible to walk a straight line from your house till the shop without passing a vietnamese restaurant with little lanterns hanging outside, whilst listening to reggae which the street artist is playing and cleverly promoting by selling his CD’s at the same time. All nationalities are represented in this concrete jungle and I believe that this is the reason why people, including me, can feel connected to Berlin. This city is multicultural, diverse, free and arty in so many aspects that even a stop at a flea market will let you travel the world in 10 min. A fur coat from Russia, air plants from Belgium, Wooden Rings from Colombia and at the end the Berlin based pretzel seller who still manages to sell this simple, basic, delicious salty piece of braided bread with all its German heritage to everyone who walks past him. And this is also such an important aspect of the city, it still has her German touch to it, the unpronounceable german names of stations and streets Görlitzer Bahnhof — Neukölln, the politeness and persistence of people speaking German back to you even if you reply in English. Everybody is still drinking German beer on the streets and in the metro, bought at the familiar but dodgy späti on the corner of the street where you see the same people behind the counter as hanging outside any day, anytime.
This city has so much to offer, museums such as the famous Bauhaus, C / O Berlin next to historical museums such as the Berliner Dom and the Bode museum. And even when you are on your way there inspiration is everywhere, pink, blue and yellow lines of graffiti’s grab your attention immediately when walking down the streets, 2 kissing men on a canvas that once separated 2 lovers is imprinted on the relics of the walls. There is even the face of Berghain doorman staring down at you from an entirely covered wall of a concrete building lets you wonder if your are wearing enough black to fit into the fashion line of this cities crowd.
But the truth is that crossing this line is almost impossible, waiting for the Ampelmann to turn green at the crossing of Potsdamer Platz gives you a second to look around you and stop for a second. And in that split second a businessmen will cross your sight as well as a 60s ties style teen with a polka dot skirt, a hippie mother who is holding the hands of her 2 kids whilst telling them to always look to both sides of the street, a gothic grandma who just did her fruit and vegetables groceries at the local market, a transvestite who is asking her friend which dress to wear tonight to her date, a punker who is listening to bach. Not to forget the occasional fishnet dressed party animal on his way home who just saw the sun for the first time today with a Dunkin Donut in the one hand and a cigarette in the other.
Berlin has no boundaries, in Berlin there is no right, straight or correct way to be nor correct line to follow. Berlin consist out of lines with breathless lengths which will always lie equally with respect to the points you laid out yourself, whether that was queuing in the line for that tasty kebab, taking the U-Bahn to Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg or that one line on your face which is connected to an everlasting memory of a fragment of your life in Berlin.
Written by: Janne Leo