We’re at City Lights bookstore.
The school is having some sort of an event.
It’s like poetry and stuff.
We’re upstairs – up the wooden staircase paved with historical pictures framed on the wall.
Collette is reading a poem she wrote.
Something about kissing boys in Chinatown.
In my head I’m just thinking:
Wait, people have started kissing already? I thought we all just got here? I thought we were all still trying to make sense of this new environment? Trying to find our bearings in this San Francisco place?
Kissing? In Chinatown?? What??
I’m lying on the floor. It’s a wooden floor. The entire room is made of wood I think. Brown shiny lush-looking wood. It feels so nice to lie on.
I’m the only one lying on the floor. Everyone else is sitting on something. I’m not really bothered. It feels nice. Plus I don’t think anyone finds it weird.
I’m talking with one of the asian classmates. She’s Chinese.
Her name starts with an X. A number of female Chinese classmates have names starting with “X”s. In fact one has like three “X”s in her name.
I don’t get it. It’s strange. They have names like “XinXueXie”. Like what?
Another thing that’s strange is that people find my own name weird. Especially the full name.
There’s this Isreali-American guy that jokingly pronounces my full name as “Obolowolomolo…”.
I’m talking with the female Chinese classmate whose name starts with an X. We talk about literature for a bit. She says Jack Kerouac is her favourite writer right now.
I say mm interesting. I don’t know too much about Jack Kerouac. I read about him briefly on Wikipedia sometime ago, but that was it.
The room is aglow with warm yellow electric lights. There’s some poetry in the air. Poetry with the mischievous sexual charge of adventurous teenage girls.
This is very exciting.
I am in an ice cream shop along Adalbertstrasse.
There is a lot of pink in the shop.
There is a giant ice-cream cone on one side of the room.
I think there is also a giant ice-cream man somewhere.
I am across a small table from Ivan.
We’re having ice cream.
Ivan is saying something.
All I can think in my head right now is how weird his face looks.
His face doesn’t look weird because it’s weird. Ivan’s face isn’t weird.
His face looks weird to me because I haven’t looked at anyone’s face this closely in a long time.
I am just realising that.
His face looks weird to me because he is not my girlfriend. Apparently I haven’t looked at anyone else’s face up close in a while.
And so this feels surreal. It’s almost like my brain is expecting to see something different, and so it’s disorienting and trippy looking at these unfamiliar lips moving in an unfamiliar manner on this unfamiliar face.
I feel like I am in a dream.
I am at the Burgermeister at Kottbusser Tor. I am getting a burger.
There’s this guy on the queue. I think he looks interesting.
I tap him on the shoulder or something. Something to get his attention.
He turns around.
I mention that I think he looks like Idris Elba.
He laughs and blushes.
I ask if that’s something people generally tell him. He says not really.
We talk for a bit. I get my burger.
I ask if he wants to go sit somewhere and have a chat.
He says he’d love to, but his girlfriend is waiting outside.
Of course. There has to be a girlfriend somewhere that’ll ruin everything.
I say okay.
He turns towards the door.
Seemed like a cool guy.
I am on the U-Bahn.
I am headed to Krumme Lanke.
I’m not sure what exactly I was searching for online, but I learnt about this cool lake and I felt it would be great to go for a swim.
It’s late autumn and the water is going to be pretty cold, but I’m not thinking about all that now. I just need to land there.
There’s a couple sitting opposite me in the train. They look like they’re in their late forties or something.
They have smiles on their faces.
They look very happy.
I ask if I can take a picture.
They say sure.
They seem like such nice people.
There was this day.
I had just left an event I attended with my girlfriend. I think it was the Maker Faire.
We were on this bridge not far from Station Berlin – the location of the event. This bridge that arched over a river or something.
I’m not sure what we were arguing about.
I don’t think there was any actual thing to argue about – it felt like she just invented a reason to pick a fight. Concocted an argument out of thin air and began saying things I had to get annoyed at.
So there we were. Arguing on this bridge over a river.
And there was this couple walking by. This old German couple.
In that moment I was wondering what was going through their minds as they passed by us arguing.
I was wondering if there was possibly some profound relationship wisdom I could extract from their brains as they walked by.
I visited City Lights bookstore this evening.
It was really nice. Warm glowing ambience. And lovely woodwork. Very lovely woodwork.
I walked through the different shelves and categories of books.
I think I read an entire book on Banksy while I was there.
I bought a book.
I have some money now.
Well not that much money, but I’ve been working more hours and earning more internship money during the summer holiday so I have more spare funds.
I bought a book written by China Achebe. “Girls at War”.
It’s not a very large book. It’s pretty light.
I’ll take the time to go through it later.
I also bought some stuff at Chinatown.
I bought some pillows.
And I bought this strange wooden thing with rolling spikey stuff that tickle the underneath of your feet as you roll them over the spikes.
It feels really nice.
I am on the U-Bahn.
I am headed somewhere.
Autograf’s Future Soup is playing through my headphones.
I recently put a picture up on my Instagram. A picture of the sign that had the name of a station – an U-Bahn station.
The caption was something – some allusion to Schrodinger’s cat.
These days I’m not even comfortable making Physics puns on social media.
I’m worried one of my classmates’ll see my posts and be like:
“Why is this guy pretending to know Physics on Instagram? He’s failing in class!! He’s failing woefully!!”
I don’t understand anything anymore.
Nothing makes any sense.
Nothing makes any sense at all.
There’s this book we’re reading in Physics class. Something about this guy on some adventure in some quantum world. There’s something about a leopard that’s unusually long due to some strange quantum phenomenon. Something like that. Something about wavelengths and wavefunctions or something.
I’ve been thinking about that and how one could possibly draw an analogue to the shutter speed of a camera. Taking a picture of a moving leopard with a low shutter speed could give an effect similar to the strange quantum phenomenon that lengthens the fictional leopard.
I wonder what parallels exist between the mathematical underpinnings of both scenarios.
I don’t know what to do with the idea.
I don’t know where to put it.
These days there are a lot of things I don’t know where to put.
I can’t put it in a Physics assignment, that’s for sure. The last time I tried something like that, the Physics professor said it was “outside the scope of the class”.
These days practically everything I’m interested in is “outside the scope of class”.
Nothing makes any sense.
Nothing makes any sense at all.
I’m somewhere in Berlin.
I’ve been skateboarding around, practicing ollieing up curbs.
I think Aesop Rock is playing in my headphones. Or Chiddybang.
There’s a playground close by.
I head towards it.
There’s sand, there are things to climb on, and there are swings.
I sit on one of the swings, contemplating life and rocking a little from front to back.
A woman just arrived at the playground.
I think she came to pick up one of the kids or something.
She looks sternly at me and says I shouldn’t be on the swing. That the swings are for kids.
Says I should not be using kid’s swings.
She’s talking to me so sternly.
I don’t understand why she’s being so stern.
I back away from the swing.
I’m thinking about the implications of her words.
Am I an adult? Is that what this means? Am I a grown up? Is that the meaning of all of this?
Have I now gotten to the point in life where I look completely out-of-place in a playground?
What does all of this mean?
As I head away from the playground, skateboard in hand- I think to myself, No. No I am not an adult. I am not an adult please, I’m a baby. I’m a freaking baby, I’m a kid. I’m a kid please.
I am not at all ready to begin to think about the heavy connotation of responsibility and pivotal life decisions that comes with “adulthood”.
I am not ready for any of that at all.
Image: Upstairs at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.
This post is one in a series. The other pieces in the Series can be accessed here.