Everyone in Berlin is cooler than everyone I know. Sorry, Everyone-I-Know, it’s just true. They roll their own cigarettes and carry pints of beer in their backpacks and ride their bikes with no helmets. Even this guy, who drives a meat truck and is terrible at parallel parking, could kick my ass in a Who’s Cooler contest.
No amount of “yeah, I live in Manhattan” or “I don’t know, I just wanted it green” will make you cooler than them. Stop trying, YOU WILL NEVER GET THERE.
*The “green” thing was a reference to my hair, which was green at the time I wrote this. Looking back, I realize it’s way less “cool” and way more “desperately clutching to youth” to be a 35 year old woman with stupid green hair backpacking through Europe. SMgH.
I came to terms with my lack of cool a long time ago, and I’m fine where I am on the spectrum. But even if you’re well aware of where you stand, Berlin will remind you. “Hey man, if you’re thinking you’re cool, you should stop thinking that: you’re not.”
It’s not a dick about it though. It’s like the super-nice cheerleader who has no idea she’s the most popular girl in school, and who makes you feel special by asking to borrow your eraser in math class AND using your name when she asks. You pray every night before you go to bed that God will make you just like Berlin. You write it in your diary. Sometimes you cry about it.
Part of what makes Berlin so cool is that it doesn’t try, even a little bit. It doesn’t pull at its clothes or check it’s hair in shop windows. It doesn’t feel bad if someone doesn’t come to its party. It can sit in a restaurant and eat dinner alone and be perfectly happy.
Berlin does not give a shit.
“Yeah, we’ve got bushes. No, we’re not gonna trim them. They’re fine the way they are. They’re fucking cool, in fact.”
“So, there’s graffiti all over everything. What’s the problem? Have a beer and stop asking questions.”
Everything Berlin is, just IS.
I was told more than once that Berlin’s cool isn’t actually Berlin, it’s the people who live there. Now I know a lot of cool people. New York is full of them. My dad is Santa Claus. WHO IS COOLER THAN SANTA CLAUS? These people (sorry Dad):
Mario The Bartender
Torsten The Philosopher
Hari The “Life Artist”
Anika The Filmmaker
Patricia The Now-27
Vincent The Songwriter
Logan The DJ/Painter/American-turned-Berliner
They’re fucking cool.
Cool and kind and humble and unbelievably generous. And Un-Freaking-Complicated.
Three days with Berlin and I understood suddenly that everything in my life is simpler than I make it. “Why manicure it? Let it be what it is.”
Right. Thank you, Mario.
Go to Berlin, if you can. Let the cool rub off on you.
Don’t do this:
Or waste time looking at this:
It’s all bullshit.
Go to a bar and hang out with these people.