Last Thursday night, The Gallego invited me to his laser/synthesizer show near Potsdamer Platz in a beautiful old building with a great view overlooking a large reflecting pool. Looking out, I couldn't help notice someone playing on the ice, running and sliding, and I thought of my ice skates which are still in California, probably rusting away. I slipped out after the show during the schmoozing-with-fans routine and went to check out the ice. It was maybe a foot and a half deep and frozen completely solid, so off I went, skidding and sliding across, following the ice skate marks. What I somehow didn't notice in the cold darkness of -8 degrees Celsius was that something had changed, and suddenly I tumbled into knee-deep water. I had enough momentum that I had to put my hands down to avoid falling and ended up soaked up to my upper thighs and past my elbows.
The cold didn't hit immediately, bundled up as I was with three layers of clothes. But every American read To Build a Fire in high school, and we know that there is only one option in such cases: to keep moving, quickly, definitively. So I hustled back onto solid ice and off to the Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn, passing three second-generation teenaged boys (clearly of immigrant extraction for the liveliness with which they were laughing their heads off and calling out to me). But I had no time to interact; after the relative warmth of the S-Bahn, I would have to deal with a tram that runs only every ten minutes. As (bad) luck would have it, that tram was just pulling away as I exited the S-Bahn station, so I struck out on foot, covering 3 stations until the next one arrived.
Life, in my case, has been something like that reflecting pool -- solid ice for the first quarter century, then an ever-increasing series of cold, hard dumps into reality. Said reality has been difficult of late: my oldest friend from California murdered just a few months ago in Mexico... me turning out to be not so special to that special someone... and, unbelievably, my oldest friend in Berlin kidnapped by pirates in Somalia a couple of weeks ago.
I made it back to the Lively German's place where I was house-sitting, coat frozen into a solid sheet of ice up to my waist, boots squishing out water that hadn't frozen, solely due to the warmth robbed from my body. It was into the shower with me, feet too numb to feel the warm water for a good five minutes, thighs beet red with cold, sensation slowly returning, and with sensation, thoughts. I put my thoughts down here, on electronic paper, because they are so sad, and sad people just don't seem to move fast enough, before the ice finally closes over their heads.