We’re in Berlin! Swinging on the subway pole, giggling, I’m delirious with the rightness of this city. “Who are you and what have you done with my depressed wife?”, my husband wants to know.
Who is this jolly person who walks for miles exploring, who carts home bags of groceries and cooks actual meals and even sometimes washes dishes? Who is this person who goes to the club at midnight second night in Berlin and says “Suzanne- I’m on der list”, and cruises past the waiting Brits? This giddy creature thanking the punk rock tweens on the subway for their compliments on her hair and replying, “Die rot mascara ist on point!” This grateful animal whose instincts are no longer in collision with her environment?
My true self, an urban animal, that’s who. Free of the car, loose and easy in a real public transit system, safe in a city that stays up all night, where you can get a decent espresso on the subway platform and the streets are full of people living ordinary lives. It is a miracle to be here, to be transported to this place where people live like people, like the New York of my childhood.
When I would leave our Chelsea apartment and go out to walk the city in the 80s I would feel like i was slipping into my true skin, like the city was an armature I was happily donning. It amplified my strength and fed my energy; I could tell the whole world, “Get away from her, you bitch!”. Here it is the same. After a quarter century of little cities, the buzz of correct urban density is electrifying. I feel right size, a single cell in a healthy body.
You can meet anybody here. I told the Italian guy who was making our pizza my name, and he said I had to listen to this song from when he was a kid, and the Polish guy pulled the video up, and we watched it while the Argentinian girl folded pizza boxes. Then he invited me to see his band play at a club in Kreuzberg.