Berlin: A Boyfriend Monologue.

I met this girl.

I met her in the laundry room of one of the Adalbertstrasse buildings.

Or no, I first met her in this walkway. Off Melchiorstrasse. She was crouched over a small storm drain, seeming to peer into it with complete concentration.

I was curious.

What is she peering at so intensely? What is so engrossing in a drain?

I walked over to see what was going on.

She was drawing the outline of the drain- something like that. For an art course. She was an exchange student from the USA, in Berlin for a semester. I thought she was interesting. We exchanged Facebook contacts.

And then I met her again in the laundry room.

We engaged in conversation while she deliberated on what to do with an occupied but idle washing machine. She needed to use it, but it was full of someone else’s (washed) clothes.

What to do?

We kept chatting while she thought about how to navigate the somewhat uneasy situation.

At some point she was (maybe not literally) like ugh fuck it, and she emptied out the machine into a basket. Whoever owned the clothes could come dry them later.

She has a boyfriend. In the USA.

I also have a girlfriend. Here in Berlin.

But I think she’s interesting, and I’d like to have more conversations with her.

I ask if she’ll be fine with lunch or dinner sometime. She goes hmmm. Says she’ll ask the boyfriend.

I’m in my room. She just messaged me. Says the boyfriend hates the idea. She actually had suspicions that he wouldn’t really like it.

I tell her to tell him that I mean no harm. I myself am in a relationship I’m pretty happy with. I just think his girlfriend is interesting and wouldn’t mind a harmless dinner or something.

He says he is going to kill you

Hahahaha. I like him already.

I look him up on Facebook. He served in the Army. Mm, interesting. Interesting guy. I send him a friend request.

She sends me an amused and bewildered message:

Jesus Christ did you really just send him a friend request???!!!


In about four years when I’m writing this story, I’ll look her up on Facebook to see how she’s doing. Their baby will be doing well. Cute baby girl and interesting woman who was peering into a drain in Berlin and handsome army guy who wanted to kill me. Happy family.

We haven’t talked since Berlin. I won’t message. I won’t know if they remember me. They most likely won’t. I imagine people forget even more significant encounters.

People are usually astonished by what I remember. About the details I recall. I think to them, it feels like a lot. They are usually astounded because I know all of these things about them, that they do not remember ever telling me.

To a certain degree it’s interesting- It’s interesting to see people get so excited about something that’s just normal for you. But past a certain point it gets very frustrating. Nobody is thinking about what you are thinking about.

Don’t immediately ask that woman about how her son is doing. The one who broke his leg while playing ice hockey four years ago and made her anxious about whether she was right in letting him play ice hockey in the first place. First find out if she even remembers/recognizes you.

Do not walk into that office and try to pick up the deep-learning conversation you were having last year with that engineer. About language translation transformers and the paper she and her team got into the Indaba conference in Nairobi. And the paper her colleagues in London I think, got into NIPS. She does not remember. She does not even remember ever meeting you before. Everyone in the office will stare at you- you and your misplaced smiles and unfounded excitement, with suspicion. Who is this guy. Who is this stranger.

Okay you can provide some evidence though. Mention that she hates the air conditioner in the office and only tolerates it because her coworkers want it. And that the second they leave the office, she’ll turn off the cooling so the room is warm and weird and stuffy, because that’s how she likes it.

At that point she’ll have to consider the possibility you guys have actually met before. The coworkers’ll be more likely to take you seriously too, because they know she’s like that.

And so sometimes I wonder how much of past interactions/conversations with people, only exist in my head.

Like you mean, nobody else is thinking about this? About this day? They’ve all forgotten? They’ve all moved on?

Moved on. Whatever that means.

Back to the storm drain girl in Berlin:

But really I think going out with girls who are also in a relationship could be a pretty interesting experience. We’re both in relationships we’re happy with, but are interested in interacting with someone of the opposite sex, over innocent meals.

I think it’s cool.

A Brazillian classmate recently told me she’ll like to have lunch. She’s single. I’m not quite sure what to do. I feel like there could be some appeal to constantly letting your partner know that you’re very much in demand, but I don’t know. I’m not that insecure. There’s definitely some insecurity, but it’s nowhere near that point.

She on the other hand, I’m sure will not hesitate to hammer evidence of external interest in my face. She’s constantly pummeling me with all that stuff.

Blah blah blah blah blah, please shutup.

As a matter of fact, in a few weeks she’ll go out on a date with some guy. They’ll go to the Berlin TV tower. I won’t learn about it until after it has happened.

A few weeks after that, I myself will be at the TV Tower. The school will be having some sort of an event. Interviews and stuff. There’ll be cameras and stuff. I and a number of students will be invited.

I’ll be walking around the bar, taking in the very interesting environment, looking at a couple in their like very early forties sitting at the bar and idly scrolling through their phones. Okay maybe just the guy was in his forties. I’ll be looking down at the interesting historical buildings and very well-planned streets and delightful red roofs that gleam with what I understand to be that general European architectural aesthetic. Every once in a while though, I’ll be disturbed by nagging thoughts about how my girlfriend was sauntering daintily around here with some guy.

She’s definitely someone who gets very jolted by external romantic interest. In addition to that though, I feel like she’s beginning to feel like maybe I’m not really what she wants.

She likes all these guys with very predictable life trajectories.

I don’t think I’m like that. Right now it’s not very possible to align my personal orientation with any sort of existing direction that’s consensually associated with some sort of recognized success.

And the unpleasant effects I’m experiencing through the reality-filter of this relationship, is making me beginning to detest people who exemplify that:

Oh hey look at me. I am a Domain Logistics intern at Jack and Robinson Finance Corporation. By next year I should be a fully-fledged Logistics Representative. Four years after that, I’ll become a Sales and Marketing Executive Associate, but of course still specializing in Domain Logistics. Trust me, you want to choose me because I am set on an established career path, and am unambiguously headed towards guaranteed success. I have such a stable futu—

Please shutup.

Recently I was at Grunewald, taking in the invigorating nature and skateboarding wherever I could find a strip of hard flooring. I was standing at some sort of an embankment, with my arms folded on the railings. I was thinking about my uncle in Dublin and his life story, and how my life was not going to be anything like his, in spite of initial similarities. While I was doing that, I stared at a pretty large inflatable swan floating idly on the lake, wondering what exactly it was doing there.

At some point I saw some guys descending the slope. Looking very motivated and focused, with very spotless-looking suits. They looked like they were headed for some sort of very important business meeting in a booked meeting space nearby.

Standing there in my hoodie and my blonde-bleached hair, skateboard in hand, I couldn’t but think to myself:

These are the despicable guys who are making life miserable for me right now.

On my way back from Grunewald, I met a guy at the bus stop. He had long hair and glasses. I remarked that he looked like some sort of professor.

We began to talk.

On the bus, we talked about a number of things. Science, technology stuff. At some point he told me about his family. About his wife and two children. He talked about how sometimes his family made him feel restricted, with regard to being able to pursue some scientific and other interests. He said his kids were like tent pegs in each foot- he demonstrated this by driving an imaginary peg through each foot. He said they were all pinning him down and that he could neither go anywhere nor do anything.

I wasn’t quite sure what to say, but we kept talking.

At some point we arrived at his stop and he got off. I realized that at the beginning of our conversation I was energetic and invigorated- fresh from the recharging ambience of Grunewald, while he was more listless. But at the end of the conversation it was the other way round: He got off the bus with a smile on his face, looking considerably excited. But I felt almost completely drained. I didn’t quite understand it.

I had to get off the bus a number of stops early to indulge in some ice cream and some other general very sweet stuff. In a bid to regain some of the charge I began the journey back to Adalbertstrasse with.

Berlin: A Boyfriend Monologue.

Image: Somewhere on the U-Bahn.


I would really appreciate some even more perspective on the pieces I put on here. I am aware people read, and I am aware there are people who find these pieces interesting.

A good number of people who enjoy this blog are people I’m in communication with. In person, online etc. And it is very delightful for me, getting to hear what they think of the pieces. Getting to hear their personal opinions on both the content and the writing is a very very lovely experience- for all of the parties involved I’d like to imagine.

I feel like I’d love to also hear from the more silent and anonymous visitors. Please feel free to drop a comment, or even message me privately and let’s just talk and catch up and have fun- that’s usually very enjoyable.




Would you like to talk?


I enjoyed talking with you. I really enjoyed talking with you.


What are you doing this afternoon?


I enjoyed this afternoon. I really enjoyed spending time with you.


Would you like to come hang out?

Just company. It doesn’t matter if you have work to do. I’ll just hang around and provide company.

You know what? I think we’re soulmates.

Will you be my girlfriend?

We’re doing great, we’re doing so so so so great.

I miss you.


I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you so much. Come here.


Why did you do that?

Why did you do that to me?

Stop. Stop, I don’t like it.

You’re not listening.


I miss you.


Would you like to talk?





. White noise .

Skateboarding Berlin.






One more look around the room.

Duvet rumpled. The mind wonders what the girlfriend is doing. Miles and miles away.

Other than that, things in order.

Toe. Heel. The skateboard finds the hand.

Have to move quickly, there is sun today.

There actually, is sun. Today.


The stairs whizz by.

Whizz, whizz.


Turn. Push. Open air. Ahh.

Plat, four wheels on the ground.

Push push.

The sidewalk is rough. And slightly wet. Golden brown autumn leaves are everywhere.

Push push.

The sidewalk is rough.

The main road is cobblestoned.

I hate the cobblestones. You cannot skate on cobblestones.

Push push.



Push push.

No more cobblestones. On to the main road.

Smooth smooth journey from here.

Push push.

Ah there’s the garden.

Memory takes over:

Flashes of lipstick. Red nail polish, dainty white sandals. Golden brown hair. Red lipstick. Smile. Laugh. Kiss. I love you.

Push push.


Kottbusser Tor.

There’s a drainage cap. Sweeeerve. Nice.



Memory usurps again:

Flowers. I’d like a bouquet please. Wait how much did you say? The mind calculates. I have about five euros in my bank account. But the girlfriend and I just had a fight. They say when you fight with your girlfriend you should procure flowers.

How much did you say again? Ah to hell with it. I’d like four yellow flowers and — Wait what? Oh there’s a bouquet size for funerals and a different size for romance?

Interesting. I did not know that.

Give me one romance bouquet please.

Account probably in the red now. Fool for love. Yeah yeah I’m inundated with awareness thank you very much.


Kottbuser Tor.

Push push.

No one skates on the roads here. I’m not sure why that is.

Push push.

Ah sun.

Sun sun sun sun sun.


Push push. Push harder.


Kottbusser Strasse.

Sidewalk draws the attention.

Memory Again:

The girlfriend wants to go out. Fancy restaurant. You know, because. The remote god-family in Italy demands impression. Proud jacket. Beautiful. Yellow hair. Fancy.

Glass of wine please. The brain pinches me. How much money do you have left again? Ah to hell with that. Outing.

The brain is angry. What are you doing here? All posh and fancy. Indomitable mister glamour. Well done.

Can we please rush through the part where we elegantly sip wine and engage in forcefully spaced template conversation so I can leave this place.

The girlfriend is not pleased. I don’t care. I can’t right now, I can’t care I’m incapable of it. The brain is angry.

Good. Good good let’s go.

Way back.

That was not enjoyable. Yeah. I personally felt it was all too fancy. Contrived in its fanciness. And I found myself being an asshole. Sorry.

Wait. I need to wrap you in your jacket, arms and all.

Hah. You look like a penguin. You look like a penguin in swaddling clothes.

Haah. Haha. Laugh. Kiss. I love you.

Hmm. Interesting. Fancy restaurant is not imperative for couple happiness. Should spend some more time thinking about that.

Push push.


Kottbusser Strasse.

The road slopes upwards.

Ah that was where I had pizza with Ivan. Hah. The yellow hair was fresher then.

Push push.

The skateboarder identity is location-agnostic.

The underpinning physics do not really care where you are- what country- what continent- whether or not school says you’re doing well- whether or not anyone says you’re doing well.

The underpinning physics are concerned one thing primarily- your unwavering acknowledgement of their authority. That— do that, and you’re fine.

Push push.


Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Aesop Rock is saying something.

I do not like this place- I do not like what it makes me think of.

Corporations. All of these annoying mammoth companies.

You have to you know, be good. Play by the rules. Graduate. Get a job somewhere. Daddy will be proud.

Some classmates worked at mammoth companies over the summer. Girlfriend likes that sort of thing. They smell like money. I have a feeling gravity would have pulled her towards one of them if my grip was less firm. Of course it’s not her fault. It’s gravity. I completely understand.

I do not like this place.

I do not like it.


Haha. Ollie over your problems.

Interesting proposal.

Ollie. Ahh. Could have been better.

Push push.



There’s a lot of space here.

Push push.

Take a picture.


Ollie. Ollie. Ollie. You know what, I’ll just stay here and practice.

Ollie. Ollie. Ollie. I don’t care much who is watching.

Memory again:

I’m in a knitting wool shop.

There is so much wool. How is there so much wool. Where do they find all the sheep? Says something about sheep probably. Yeah, probably says something about sheep.

I’d like pink please. Pink wool. And purple. She says she wants to knit me a beanie. I like the idea. And I like pink. I love her.

Wait there are different sizes of knitting needles? How are those ones so large? They look like drumsticks. i had no idea knitting needles could look like drumsticks.


Push push.


Warchauer Strasse.

I need directions.

Hello, where do I find a skatepark around here?

Ah skatepark, I show you.

Conversation ensues with young man from Austria. He talks about nightclubs and custom tobacco rolling techniques and marijuana. I’m interested.

He says Austria is all cows and grass. A part of my mind staunchly disagrees. Is that not where some UN building is located?

Ah there’s the skatepark, thank you very much.

Up, down, up down.

I haven’t tried this curved wall thing before— let’s see what it’s like.

Wait what time is it that I have class again?

Ugh, class.

You should have seen my work on the Bloom Filters assignment. I described them  from an elegant algebraic perspective— verging on abstract algebraic even. I am very well near certain my point of view was novel.

But the scoring scheme is predefined, and rigid. How exactly is novelty to be quantified.




Frankfurt was beautiful. I loved every moment of it. Asides of course when I had no money to pay for accommodation and had to secure myself space in the lounging area on the power of my MacBook Pro.

Welldone. Indomitable Mister Macbook Pro.


Dresden. Ah Dresden. No I can’t think about Dresden now, not yet. The last time we spent time together, alone. My heart is still raw from the absence, I’m not touching that now.

I should go. I have class like soon.

Push push.

I should become a DJ.

Set things up at the Rosenthaler Platz U-bahn station.

I should play anti-music. I should be a Noise Cancellation DJ.

I started writing code for it. Noise cancellation code. I was testing it the other night. How did go again, I don’t seem to remember. I’ll check when I get back.

I’m growing older. I’ve had so many dreams. I have so many dreams. What is to be done with all these dreams. What is to be done with dreams in general.

It’s entirely reasonable to think there are dreams you’ll never know you even had. Dreams you’ll have like once, and never remember. Until maybe their memory was triggered by something. Hm how do you trigger the memory of a dream. How do you trigger the memory of a specific——

Mayowaaaa moove move you have class- It is my father’s voice. Einstein Podolski Rosen paradox and you have not done the readings.

What. What sef.

Mayowa has a class and unlike his more serious colleagues, he has not spent hours preparing beforehand. Wow. That’s new. I’ve never heard that before.

Girlfriend always used that to claw at me. I hated it. It was very effective at spoiling my self-confidence. I did not use to read before I met her. It was not that much of an issue. I did not understand why in the name of God it should be one after becoming a boyfriend.


Push push.

Push push.

Wonderful to have gotten some sun today. The paucity of warmth in this place makes going out a punishment. There’s the default inertia to going out, but this punishment poses an additional cost. Outings have to be promising of proportionally more utility to make acquiescing a reasonable course of action.

I should buy Pepsi. Augmenting class with Pepsi has been considerably pleasurable recently. And pizza. Pizza from the Turkish guy. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make pizza. I saw him making it the other day but——




Push push.