Had a couple of beers last night with yet another person who's giving up on Berlin -- or so he thinks -- and returning to New York at least through the end of the World Cup. (Incidentally, he's trying to sublet his apartment in Prenzlauer Berg, so if you're interested, toss me an e-mail).
He says that in recent months, nine of his close friends here have left. Nine. "And how many close friends do you have at any given time?" He can't seem to make a living, although I'm not sure how hard he's tried, but the stuff he's doing to pay the rent disgusts him, so he's reached a sort of career impasse.
One does hate to see someone in such misery, but I do take some sort of comfort in the fact that I'm not at all alone in this.
Now if I could figure out what that stuff the bartender made us drink before he'd let himself be paid, I'd be okay. It sure wasn't a good dessert for Bohemian black beer, I'll tell you that.
Yes, folks, there is a German sense of humor. One separate from the usual crude slapstick and excrement jokes. Heard today:
"Why do neo-nazis make such lousy DJs?"
"They can't tell the difference between '33 and '45."
It's hit me. In four months I'll be gone, if all goes as planned. It makes it hard to look around the apartment and think, I'm going to have to either pack or get rid of a lot of this stuff. It makes it hard to concentrate on the book proposal I'm writing about my time here. It occasionally give me a twinge of melancholy as I look at something and think "next year, I'll be looking at something else." For instance, the Grüne Woche, the big food trade fair that's been a landmark, a sort of start-of-the-year tradition for me for the years I've been here, opens tomorrow, and I'm making plans to go, but it'll be my last unless chance catches me visiting Berlin when it happens again. I guess I'll be settling for Vinisud from now on. And pining for a Berliner Pilsner.