Yesterday I had two unfortunately typical Berlin experiences that reminded me how much Berliners sometimes remind me of the Grinch. I don't mean the hating Christmas part (I suppose Berliners like or dislike Christmas just about as much as anyone) I mean the part about his heart being two sizes too small.
The first unfortunately typical experience happened in the LPG health food supermarket on Mehringdamm. The shop was pretty crowded as everyone is apparently doing their X-mas organic food buying. I was wandering through picking up a few small things for dinner with Mia pushing the child-sized chart. Anyway, right in front of the meat section, where at least five people were waiting in line, I fell. I don't mean I stumbled a bit, I mean I dramatically slipped and landed hard on my ass. But do you think anyone helped me up or asked me if I were ok? Hell no. This is Berlin. If no one had noticed that would have been one thing, but every person in the meat counter line a few feet away was staring at me like I was some sort of strange bug sprawled out on the linoleum. "Sehr freundlich," I said when I managed to pick myself up and limp over to Mia who was, of course, a little bit upset. When I told Jasper about it later he said how strange it was that most of those people were buying organic meat because they cared about how animals are treated but when they see a fellow human in need they couldn't care less. "I'm ashamed of my countrymen," he told me.
The next lovely Berlin experience happened at the post office. I was struggling to open the door with my long-ass double buggy filled with two babies in tow. A man walked toward me but did he help me? No. He walked through the door I had managed to open halfway and, staring me right in the face, didn't say a word. Luckily a woman, probably visiting from Cologne or Wuppertal or somewhere else where people are actually decent, came and helped me open the door.
I know what you might be thinking. Berlin is a big city and this is the way people are in big cities. But, no it isn't true. I've spent time in other big cities and it was never this bad. Something is simply wrong here. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but a lot of native Berliners are just heartless jerks who actually pride themselves on not being "friendly for no reason." My first husband was a native Berliner. I know how they talk and feel. But don't worry. Berlin is also a city filled with foreigners and Germans from other cities. Thank God. If not, the city would have gone down a long time ago.
Berliners, in the words of Your a Mean One Mr. Grinch, I sometimes think I'd rather choose the Seasick Crocodile....