Monday, November 9, 2009

That Berlin Wall.

I was there. When it came down. With my brother. Twenty years ago, today, I'm pretty sure. It's confusing; there were tiny little Trabants that sounded like poorly-tuned lawn mowers driving around; they'd stop, a towering blond man, an equally towering blonde woman would get out, invariably dressed in acid-washed jeans and clutching bananas. Often, a little child, roughly my height, would also somehow tumble out. Clutching an Alf doll. Always. I can't find any of my pictures.

The West Germans were surly; the East Germans were bewildered. The Russian guards were huge, and had seemingly-all set up little tables where they were selling their various medals; they always had their truly terrifyingly-looking but actually quite sweet German Shephard guard dogs. According to the guards, the dogs were never vicious, but were just used for the visuals. Dunno. I got one of my brothers' a wonderful frock-coat styled military jacket.

There were a number of amazingly annoying (all blonde, don't ask me why) American female college students, all talking with high voices, and all complaining about their accomodations: "My hotel doesn't have an elevator!" "My elevator was slow and scary!" "You can't get a taxi!" "I got served liver last night and I swear it didn't say 'liver' on the menu!" "I don't like the butter." (That last comment is totally bewildering, I'm guessing it was because it was unsalted.)

"It's cold!" "Why do they only play bad euro-disco everywhere?" (Ahem, those last two are me.) It was cold. I lost my big down coat in Duisberg, where I was working at the time, and so was wearing a tweed jacket of my brother's plus all other clothing items that I owned.

I think I saw Frank Zappa, filming. I didn't bother him, except to notice that he'd cut his long hair.

A West German woman at a bus stop told me how upset she was about the "easties" because she was convinced her children would never be able to get apartments of their own. A bevy of long-legged West German under-dressed beauties (don't they worry about chest colds?) were handing out pamphets complaining that the East German underdressed long-legged beauties were undercutting their prices.

Actually, there were many surly West Berliners handing out pamphlets complaining about the easties.

There were many people from Eastern Europe with suitcases full of money (actual suitcases full of actual East German money) exchanging it for hard currency.

I did't feel much love. All the excitement was at the wall. All those excited seemed to be foreigners.

My memories. Hey, James, what do you remember?


james said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allie said...

Were you just randomly in Berlin, or did you go specifically to see it torn down?

djinn said...

We were already in Germany, when we heard the wall was about to come down we hightailed it out to Berlin.

Anonymous said...

I love hearing your memory of it. Glad to hear an on-the-ground account.