This article was originally published in International
Have you ever caught yourself staring at your phone, pitying the desperation of anybody who could post #Tag4Likes, and yet, so perplexed by the absurdity of modern life, you consider doing something similar yourself.
What’s wrong with trying to get a bit of attention in this big lonely world?
Wait, wait, wait… it doesn’t have to be like this.
Call work and tell them you’re sick. Remove the SIM from your phone, fold it until it breaks and stuff the pieces down the side of your seat. Then take the subway to the train station, a train to the airport, better still, sell your stuff and buy a VW camper. Feel the engine purr as you put your foot on the gas. Turn left. Drive towards the east. Keep going. That’s good.
Now, lose the wheels and take the U-bahn to Schlesisches Tor station in Kreutzburg. Five minutes along Schlesische Straße, at number 16, there is an establishment with a graffiti-decorated, pink and violet façade and a neon sign saying “Barbie Deinhoff’s”. Go in.
The place is dimly lit in pink, it’s smoky, and the décor is junk shop fun and funky. The music is loud techno and the people are artists, students and intellectuals, rubbing shoulders (and anything else that gets in the way) with cherry-lipped drag queens or those clad in BDSM gear. Welcome to Berlin.
Get a drink. The cocktails are cheap and cheaper still during happy hour. Turn and speak to the person on your right, tell them you’re a friend of Franz (or any other name you can think of). “Life is a canvas,” she will tell you with a voice like ground coffee in a heavy German accent, “unt you are ze verk off art!”
The drink is tangy and fizzes in your mouth.
You reach for your phone and take a selfie with your new friends, Ziggy, Hannah and Tariq. You start to think of a haiku, a simple three-line poem to express the beauty of the moment (did I mention, you have become a poet?). But you can’t post either the poem or the picture because your phone isn’t connected. Perhaps breaking the SIM was going a bit far. But you feel good.
As the night unfolds, all life’s complexities seem to unravel. And like the shiny legs illusion doing the rounds on Facebook, you cannot unsee what has been seen.
You could move to Berlin, or you could set off in the VW Camper and drive round the world. You could even chose to come back to your life, safe with the understanding that, no matter what happens, you cannot un-live the evening you unleashed your mind at Barbie Deinhoff’s, Berlin. Everything’s all right. You are free! Thanks Barbie