i was in line to get one of the worst burritos of my life when i saw this. it felt like the good lord had smiled upon me lol

I have not had my own balcony in a long time . . . and now I do!

Yesterday I walked to the späti near my place to grab a package that had been delivered there. In Germany, the delivery guy will give your package to someone else if you’re not home (and oftentimes even if you are), usually a neighbor you’ve never even heard of before. Otherwise they take it to any nearby store that accepts deliveries, which is pretty much all of them. I’ve had to pick up packages from hair salons and coffeeshops. But more often than not, they drop them off at the closest späti.

A späti, which is a cute nickname for spätkauf (literally “late shop”), is a sort of corner store. It’s a Berlin Thing. There’s a späti every thirty feet or so, many with their own unique personalities, and they resemble American gas station convenience stores. At minimum, they will have food and drinks and sell cigarettes and lotto tickets and aspirin and condoms and iPhone chargers, and on and on, but sometimes you find a really nice späti that has hot food and beer on tap. There are spätis with full-blown restaurant areas or little rooms in the back where you can play slot machines and smoke cigarettes with old dudes until the sun comes up. Most of them will have tables and chairs outside, and people really do hang out there, especially on weekends. In the US, there are signs posted everywhere saying you can’t loiter outside a 7-11, for instance, or else suffer the police . . . but in Berlin, chillin around a späti is an honest-to-god Thing To Do on a Friday night.

My neighborhood späti, which is about a hundred feet from my front door, is named after an insect and is run by a small family. They have fresh pastries every morning and an espresso machine. Usually in the afternoon there will be a bunch of old dudes in there playing chess or cards. You can always find the neighborhood homeless dude drinking coffee there too. And all day every day, people sit on the picnic tables outside as though it were a cafe in Paris. Listen: I love it.

For whatever reason, this particular package was not sent to my späti, but to the one next to the looming cathedral by the U-bahn station. I had never been to this one. Inside, a nice lady behind the counter said hello to me. I asked her in German if she spoke English, and she said, “Of course I do.” I told her I had a package there and handed her my Austrian ID. She looked at it, then raised her head up to compare it to my face, and smiled. She leaned down and pulled out a small package with my last name written on the side.

She said: “I remember this package specifically because you live in the same building as my mother. I’m there all the time, so I’m surprised I’ve never seen you.”

I told her I lived like Count Dracula, and unless she was in the stairwell after midnight, it wasn’t likely that she’d have seen me. I said: “Well, I’m on the fourth floor, so if you ever need me to check on her, just let me know . . .” And you know what: I meant it. Why not?

I said goodbye and went back out onto the street. It was so beautiful outside that I wanted to cry. It was breezy and balmy, a real summer day. Despite being utterly cursed until the day I die, and a sort of disaster of a person in some regards, I have somehow fallen ass-backgrounds into living in one of the nicest neighborhoods I can think of. And I don’t even pay much money to live here! I thought this as I walked down tree-lined streets filled with happy people and lined with restaurants and coffeeshops and pet stores and spätis. I thought: “You really pulled it off, you dumb son of a bitch . . .”

Anyway: It’s always nice to have a reason to visit another späti. I have so many of them within a half-mile radius, some of them quite nice, and for god’s sake I want to see all of them. As someone whose only weakness is the sun, I of course like stores that stay open real late, and so of course I love spätis. Seeing one glowing in the darkness on an empty street in the middle of the night is a source of comfort when you’re feeling rotten as hell and wandering around, AS I AM WONT TO DO. And knowing that I can stroll inside at 3 am ripped out of my skull on psychedelics and buy a €2 beer and a novelty lighter that says “Livin’ el Dream” without judgement? Well baby, then aloha~

the sun rises at like 4:30 am here in the summer . . . it drives me nuts. those are my dracula hours!!

also, why not: here are two quotes from THE SUN ALSO RISES . . .

It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.

and

I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what is was all about.

i’ve done this with shirts :,-)

it is such a sweet feeling to miss someone in that way. i wish i had that in my life again~

I am terrified of taking out my recycling during the day because ONE time my landlord made an offhand comment about how there is a nosy older lady who lives in my building who is super picky about how everything is separated, and I have let this unconfirmed rumor completely dictate this little portion of my life. And so tonight, I obeyed my irrational fear of this person and took everything down just after midnight. By the time I unlocked the gate to the courtyard out back where the bins are, I realized I was completely blasted out of my skull on the edible I’d taken twenty minutes prior. I noticed also that it was quite warm out . . . I checked my phone and it was around 65 F, or 18 C for you civilized freaks. It felt like such a waste of a night to go back upstairs too soon. Lured out by the warm nighttime breeze, I went walking in my pajamas, and after some time I ended up two blocks from my building at the foot of an old fountain that dots the center of star-shaped roundabout.

The fountain is of course ringed with naked cross-legged cherubs, and I among them now. I had climbed over the the rim and perched myself there in the same pose as them. So powerful was the current of utter stupidity flowing through me, I did not have a single thought in my head just then. It was beautiful. I sat there silently for a half hour or so, watching my neighbors as they walked their dogs along the adjacent path leading to the cathedral, or else overheard their phone conversations as they encircled the dirt path in the grass around the fountain . . . and just before I left, two people whose common language was English appeared to be at the tail-end of a date that seemed like it was going all right. No one seemed to realize I was a real person sitting there.

Eventually I stood up from the fountain, which was dry for some reason, and began walking again. There are certain buildings in my neighborhood that I’m always interested in seeing at night because one day I hope to live in one of them, and I like to imagine what mine would look like at night. Sometimes people are really good at making their apartments look especially cozy at night . . . you see a place like this and you wonder at it. Tonight I saw this:

I mentioned last night that I’m watching the THREE COLOURS trilogy . . . and, for god’s sake, there they are in the windows! Blue, White, and Red! Tonight I had planned to watch White, and you really should not ignore signs like this, so I figured I really ought to get home and get to it. I turned the corner and kept walking. There was absolutely no one else outside and I felt that dreamlike feeling from yesterday again.

A block from my building, I saw a cat chilling on the sidewalk. I stopped and chilled with her for a while:

Back upstairs, I made coffee and poured a liter of cold water into my thermos. I sat down on the couch and watched the middle film, which I took to be The Funny One. I was into it. It was also the 111th movie I’ve watched since 2024 began.

(Wow! That’s the Palace of Culture and Science, which I saw with my own two eyes last weekend!)

The sun is now shining hatefully and at full blast behind my black-out curtains. Once again I have stayed up way too late . . . this makes the 150th day in a row. By the time I wake up, it will be almost 80 (26.5) degrees outside. Oh well! Time to keep practicing those ridiculous Polish Z’s until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore . . .

My sister and my friend Isabel and I walked to the grocery store at sundown . . . the temperature was perfectly warm, like the kind of warm where you can’t feel your own body in it. And the sky was yellow and pink and blue and there were hardly any people on the sidewalks. If you stopped and stood still, it was almost completely silent out. The sky darkened and warm air blew through the streets as if just before a rainstorm. I said to my sister that everything had that dreamlike feeling just then. It was so strange. There wasn’t anything ominous about it, just a sort of calmness. Nothing was wrong. Anyway, many hours later, the strange feeling I felt has persisted. It’s 5:45 am and I’ve covered the windows and I’m excited to go to sleep because I want to dream. Everyone keeps asking me about Poland and I keep thinking about Poland. I’m going to Belgium the weekend after next. After that I don’t know. I need to wake up tomorrow and finish this long letter I have been writing and finally mail everything I have on my desk. I need to hang curtains and buy a huge rug for my living room. I need plants and things to hang on the walls as well. What if a girl came in and saw that I have no plants and nothing on the walls yet? She’d think I was a total loser!

Tonight I started watching the THREE COLOURS trilogy . . . I’m going to finish the other two over the next two days. I was pretty moved by the first one. I myself am also in a “drag a bare knuckle across a brick wall on purpose until it bleeds” phase in my life, so I got it immediately. Man, it was really good. Kieślowski was the master.

Though yeah: I really ought to sleep. I feel so odd. I feel a way I have not felt in a long time.