My hitchhiking from Maastricht to Dortmund goes well and I arrive in Germany earlier than expected.
Two hours until I am expected at my host’s apartment – I guess it’s a good time for a celebratory beer.
I find my host’s place to get my aimless wandering out-of-the-way and then head to the corner to grab some suds.
Mission accomplished, I head down the street a few blocks until I find a park where I decide to engage in my number one time killing activity: people watching (and apparently writing).
Here we go.
Swinging her arm wildly back and forth as she walks, an otherwise normal looking woman parades herself around the park as she for some reason attempts to dislocate her shoulder (perhaps she’s got them demons).
Every so often she stops to strike an exaggerated pose that begs for attention and disregards her being in a public place. That arm still swinging violently around, I can only imagine the chemical concoction coursing through her body (I wonder if she’s got any extra).
The air smells of piss and the ground is littered with cigarettes, used band-aids, and what I hope is not human feces (although given my expertise in the topic, I’m fairly certain it is). Directly opposite me, maybe fifty meters or so away, a crowded jungle gym sends screams of youthful exuberance across the park.
“This place will do,” I think to myself as I crack my beer and continue writing.
People appear to be circling the park for no particular reason. And not in the way you would leisurely take a walk around the park – these people are lost (in more than one sense).
Blank stares and wandering eyes accompany wavering heads and misplaced steps as the parade of zombies searched for their next brush with reality.
A woman in front of me ignores a child’s cries as an older boy torments him, repeatedly pushing the child over. I suppose whatever is being screamed over the phone is far more important and entertaining.
I suppose that my pre-five o’clock beer is not helping to contribute to the atmosphere, but how else am I supposed to blend in?
Two zombies stop in front of me.
I continue writing, paying them no attention, silently suggesting that they move along. They are just standing, staring at me. I ignore them.
Insisting that we have an interaction, one now waves its hand down in my line of sight. I remove my headphones and make eye contact.
“German Deutsch German German Deutsch,” he says to me.
“I don’t speak to German,” I tell him in German
Switching to English, “You aren’t allowed to drink beer here,” he says – holding an open beer.
I look at the woman he is with, and without a word she pulls back her jacket to reveal her own (open) beer. She’s got a shit eating grin and a face that says, “I’m the most clever fuck on Earth.
Returning my eyes to the man I ask, “Do you see literally every other person in this park drinking?”
I suppose my observation is not relevant and he proceeds to go on about how the particular bench I have chosen is for some reason a special no drinking bench (at least this is what (I think) I manage to understand).
Regardless of my present situation’s legality, my beverage is nearly finished.
I thank my new friend for his wise words and finish my beer. He bids me adieu and continues his stumble about the park.
Time for another drink.