Staying positive in the big city: berlin mobs nana mouskouri

Getting up early, listening to your favorite song and the birds singing – everything could be so beautiful: If it weren’t for the dear fellow human beings.

That’s what makes riding the streetcar fun! Photo: dpa

Every morning at 6 a.m., my smartphone wakes me up with "Good morning, sunshine" by Nana Mouskouri. I’ve liked the song since I was a kid. Shower, coffee, the newspapers, Twitter. Starting the day positively in the morning is very important to me.

On the street, I’m greeted by the intangible scent of linden trees. Then the birds, the flowers, a smile settles on my face, as a bicycle thunders just past me. "Hey, that’s a footpath," I meow just as the second one brushes me. Grumbling, I arrive at the streetcar stop. The train pulls in, a treasure trove for people who like to make observations.

What I hate most are the guys with backpacks. Which, of course, they can’t possibly take off. Then the guys who spread their legs until they can’t anymore. There’s a free seat next to one of them. Oh no, he hasn’t, he’s put his smartphone on it. "Pardon me," I say to the manspreading passenger, he’s like, "What’s up?" Sure. "Oh, nothing, baby," I think, "Just have a nice trip," still Nana Mouskouri in my head.

But there are also crass women. Who, for example, in the beautiful old yellow subway cars with the narrow rows of seats, cross their legs and talk on the phone, you want to hand them a cup of coffee to go with it. I ask permission to pass their legs. Madame, however, seems to be from the high nobility and eyeballs me sourly before slowly, really slowly moving one of her legs out of the way.

And then there are the looks of those who see me that I do not belong to them, that I am not German, this condescension attached to the tightened corners of my mouth. "Who are you?" I think to myself and keep walking. Because in Berlin, you should never mess with anyone. I learned that in my first year here. The likelihood that your counterpart hasn’t learned anything about the basic rules of civilization is just too high.

Please follow the rules

The road traffic regulations are very important in Germany. But basically, everyone still has to quickly cross the red light. The bike lanes are always parked up, but mostly only by DHL drivers who have to move on quickly anyway. For that, I like to use the roadway to get past clusters of people blocking the sidewalk. It’s tiring to lose all the nice, positive energy you start the day with to your fellow man on the way.

Maybe I really need to move to a small town. Because I keep wishing that everyone would play by the rules beautifully. Life would be a celebration if people would just … okay, I got a little carried away. Anyway.

Sweethearts, city life means keeping certain things in mind. Just like you keep everything nice and clean at home, I hope, and don’t get on your neighbors’ nerves. That’s it.

Translated from Turkish by Oliver Kontny

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *