Tuesday, 20 March 2012


I wonder about easy as an insult; so often easy curls around me like the plume of a cigarette. It doesn’t have to be difficult. The streets are wide here. The traffic stops for the crest of a bicycle. There are separate traffic lights that let you cruise across a waterfall of traffic like a pike angled to the direction of the current.

Yes, my metaphors today are fish. Perhaps because I have been to the Badeschiff, a barge which floats in the Spree and is filled with pure, clean water to swim upon. In the winter, they cover the Badeschiff in a giant bio-tunnel and build saunas. Everyone is naked and surrounded by Swedish wood. When you tire of the dizzying heat, you leap into a covered, fresh-water pool. But here is the thing: at each end there is are plastic flaps forming a barrier between you and the city. The kind of flaps that luggage passes through on a conveyor belt at an airport waiting to be returned to your own possession. When you duck under these flaps, there is a small pool area open to the stars where you can duck--naked--and stare at the Berlin needle tower in Alexanderplatz. Where you can giggle at Jupiter and Venus making eyes at one another. Where you shiver and head back inside to the brightest turquoise that ever existed. And then splash your way the other side. The silver statues that guard Friedrichshain’s borders, the river swelling and chuckling at your goosepimples.

It is a good thing here, a city that whispers “don’t strive”. You think that everything needs to be tricky to be meaningful; I tell you it is possible to float, tits to the stars, and grin. I do not need the tug of congestion and the Tube and bustling city bars, and though I know the “eee!” of those streets, I am easy. I have always been easy. I buy a 2.50 euro bottle of cava and I recline on a runway where the airport gave its pavements back to our kind. We drink, and toast to a sky devoid of traces. We drink, and propose a future that pads like a kitten’s footsteps. We drink, to ourselves: a thing that doesn’t need to try.

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