Girlfriend wants to travel.
She’s talking excitedly about some classmates who recently went to Amsterdam.
I listen only halfheartedly.
I recently decided to keep my bank account at a minimum of two hundred dollars.
It’s a goal I set for myself.
Hopefully my financial rock-bottom will only get higher from there.
She probably has the money to travel. In addition to her internship wages her parents probably send her some pocket money on a periodic basis.
I on the other hand, have just my internship wages. There is no money coming in from Nigeria.
I’m just trying to get by pls
I keep listening to her talking enthusiastically about Amsterdam while we turn a corner at a building with an expansive piece of like purple graffiti.
I am at a restaurant along Adalbertstrasse.
I bought a small pizza.
I’m munching on it while I scroll through my phone, preparing for a class which begins in less than an hour.
It’s an interesting restaurant. Gold-themed. Looks fancy.
I’m the only one here. Munching on my pizza and preparing for class on my phone and feeling cool.
I bought this burger the other day.
From a Burger place. Along Adalbertstrasse.
Chilli pepper burger or something like that.
I was curious what it was going to taste like.
I was heading down the sidewalk, wondering if I should join a fellow classmate in organising computer programming tutorials for students who were having issues.
I did stuff like that in San Francisco. It was pretty cool. People felt it really helped.
San Francisco was good. Come to think of it, San Francisco was actually good. San Francisco was very very good.
This semester has been terrible.
This semester has been extremely terrible.
I feel like an idiot.
Everything has been bad.
Hm, maybe I should organise tutorials in the parts of programming I know I don’t have to study for.
I don’t know. I don’t see how that makes anything better.
It’ll probably make me feel good temporarily.
Make me feel like I’m actually good at something.
Remind some people I’m actually good at something.
But I’m not going to escape feeling like an idiot overall. The academic problems I’m experiencing will still be there.
Plus it’s a completely insensible financial situation. People usually get paid to teach. Why am I paying school fees (however little, given the scholarship, financial aid etc), and then still teaching?
That does not make any sense.
I got back to the apartment and decided to try the Chilli Pepper Burger.
A few bites in and I was like
Oh My God
What did I just do
What did I just buy
How much did I just spend on this thing
What would have happened if I told the sheepily-smiling guy at the Burger place that I wanted the maximum level of Chilli
Another time I bought a full chicken.
From another place along Adalbertstrasse.
I think the first time I ever bought a full chicken was in San Francisco.
It was one of these meal delivery companies that had an incredible student discount- something like that.
There was SpoonRocket. And Munchery.
They still send me emails.
I got a whole chicken at a very good price.
When it arrived and I opened the box, I felt bad.
I felt bad eating an entire chicken.
Just me. One person. A whole chicken.
I felt very greedy.
Growing up in Nigeria I was made to feel greedy for wanting more than say, the one piece of chicken I was given. During dinner or like at a party.
Usually we would make surreptitious plans to procure more chicken from wherever it was kept. We used to do it. We felt greedy doing it- for wanting more than we were given, but we used to do it.
Now I’m faced with a whole chicken.
Not one thigh.
Not one thigh plus two stolen wings.
An entire chicken.
I had to implore my American roommate to join in.
I was not going to be the unimaginably rapacious being who consumed an entire chicken by himself.
My roommate found it weird. Apparently, singlehandedly obliterating an entire chicken did not feel absurd to him at all.
I kept imploring him to join me. He kept declining.
In the end I had to go through the immeasurably shameful and deplorable act on my own.
There’s this Turkish place close to Kottbuser Tor.
Before the supermarket next to the Burgermeister.
I went there to get this Döner kebab thing they’ve got. The one wrapped in bread with lines on it, that looks like it has just been Panini’d.
It was at night.
I was just coming from the girlfriend’s place.
The moment I stepped into the restaurant, it felt like the middle-aged Turkish men over the counter had their eyes glued to me.
I was wondering what was happening.
The room was dimly lit, and the walls were like reddish-brown. Reddish-brown but more reddish.
I made my order, got my food, ate and left.
As I walked out the door I could feel their eyes pulled by my strides across the counter.
I couldn’t really make sense of it.
I just thought:
I don’t know. Maybe I smell like sex.
Maybe I’m oozing with some hormone that makes them think of their Turkish wives at home.
I don’t know.
I should read more on the whole pheromone thing.
There’s this Florist place.
On the ground floor of this building that has scaffolding around it. Like they’re doing some renovation upstairs or something.
The flower shop looks really interesting.
I haven’t gotten the chance to visit.
I mean, I stopped by once.
There’s a manhole in the road- somewhere around the shop.
On the right side of the road if you’re coming from Kottbuser Tor.
I was on my skateboard.
Approaching the manhole cover.
And then I thought oh
Why not carve around the hole?
Head straight towards it, and then cut a curve around it?
The covers are pretty steady, so just skating straight on top of the cover is fine.
I mean, entire cars roll over the covers. I’m just one guy on a skateboard.
But then I thought why not try something different this morning
I got close to the cover.
Close enough to begin cutting a curve.
Then I began to swerve.
Now curve back into your original path of travel.
The skateboard wheels were sliding out a bit, which was expected- there were like 101a.
At some point it was evident there wasn’t enough traction to close the curve.
The curve was too tight.
No the curve was not too tight. Did rain just fall?
Is there some water on the ground
These were probably the thoughts forming in my mind as I somersaulted along the road.
I got back to my feet and tried to make sense of reality afresh.
I wasn’t so bothered by falling- with skateboarding you get used to it.
I was just surprised I fell. I didn’t attempt anything so spectacular.
A kind guy helped me fetch the board from the other side of the road.
I smiled and said thank you. He gave an understanding nod.
I collected the board and walked by the manhole cover again, wondering what in the name of God happened to me.
I’m walking down Adalbertstrasse.
I’m right by this red-brick building that looks like the office of some diplomat. Right before the crossroads. The crossroads where the road on the left passes by a lakefront restaurant on its way.
The lake with swans. And overhanging foliage along the walkways that border it.
Ah, I’ll have to break my $200 minimum account balance resolution.
The girlfriend and I have been having literal arguments over this travelling thing.
We’re going to have to go somewhere.
Rock bottom here I come.
Image: Somewhere in Berlin.