What do you learn for life in Berlin? Our author takes stock – and then leaves.
Here, too, the rule is: If you get snapped at, you have to snap right back. Otherwise you won’t be in Berlin. Photo: dpa
No more Berlin. No more Neukolln. No more full beard. No more hipsterism. No more evil foreigners. No more good Germans. No more queerness. No more everything.
Yet this city has given me too much. And I’ve learned an incredible number of things here:
If you get yelled at, for example on the bus, you always have to yell right back. In general, always shout or moan in annoyance. Always. Hate can be productive.
A full beard without a cat sweater makes you a jihadist. A full beard with a cat sweater means hipster. A full beard, black clothes and a grim face means danger – therefore hold on to your bag.
One of the most popular games in Berlin, whether in the subway or in a crowded bar, is called race-to-the-free-places-and-hit-people-around. Always be first everywhere. Running everywhere stressed as if two minutes would kill you. Never stopping.
Saying phrases like, "I’ve been there, I was invited there for the opening." "Nah, it used to be really good there, but now everyone goes there."
The minority oppression Olympics are nowhere as pronounced as here – feminists against migrants, gays against Muslims, lesbians against trans* people.
The Berghain theme always works and creates international recognition. For extra coolness always point out that "we" as good Berliners go to Berghain on Sunday afternoon and not on Friday night like the tourists. Learn the program by heart and know the DJs by name. And always answer when someone asks how they get to Berghain – whether you know or not.
If you don’t have any money, just rent out your apartment on Airbnb and sleep with friends for a while. If you don’t have any money but still want to have a drink, you go to vernissages.
The West is far away. The M29 is the worst bus line ever. Dirt is part of the city. Everything that is clean is scary.
There is a typical Berlin hatred of tourists – even though most people here come from some shitty suburb in the West. Logically, always be against gentrification. To yell at people in nice cafes if need be.
If you want to learn something about racism in Berlin, you should listen to bio-Germans babbling about Neukolln, the occupation of Oranienplatz or Gorlitzer Park.
The city’s trademarks: irony and coolness. But of course critical, political and so fully broken.
The Rollberg Passagen are a dreary place. The Jobcenter Neukolln is the plague. But somehow projects always work.
If you want to find a partner, you go to the organic food store. If you have children, you move to Prenzlauer Berg or Mitte. If you have enough, you move to Spandau.
I’m leaving this city and moving to a new one that I hope I can hate and love at the same time.
So I’m done with Berlin. But never an end to rascals, pizza and amore.