July 2015 Archives

Fri Jul 31 09:13:14 CEST 2015

Good Weird

Thursday morning i had an "early" meeting via video-conference (09:30 CET), so i attended from home, and felt late for work as i left the apartment about 10:30.

As i was walking down my street, about two blocks from my house was a "German-looking" guy with glasses, long, mostly-grey-white hair pulled back in a pony-tail. He was crossing the street towards me. Not really on an intercept course, but on a "pass next to you" course. And he was smiling at me. So as we got within a few feet, i said "Guten Morgen" and he nodded, and stopped, and then started speaking German faster than i could follow, and pointed in the direction of my feet.

It's above 10C, so i'm wearing shorts, and when i looked down where he was pointing, i saw what i usually see, a pair of grey shoes, and mismatched socks.

I laughed and nodded and said, "Ja..." and then started trying to figure out how to say "I always do mismatch my sox..." in German, but he started speaking (German) again, a bit slower, and i was pretty sure he was not talking about my socks, but my shoes.

I must have had a befuddled look on my face, because he switched into English, "Ihre Schuhe ... your shoes, I remember, you did this with your shoes..." I nodded... why yes, of course i did, i used to mismatch my shoes every day (Converse Chuck Taylors of different colors), but... my train of thought went off in a series of confusing directions: i hadn't done that in at least 10 years... so this is just some really weird coincidence that this guy is saying this. Did he see me in Austin? If so, why wouldn't he mention that? Maybe there's someone else here in Berlin that looks like me, and who mismatches his shoes? Maybe this guy is a little crazy... ("ha, says the man who used to mismatch his shoes!")

"Oh Ja, i used to do that... in the past... uhh Alt?" [That means 'old'... come on brain, i know it's early, but make an effort, what is the word for "before"?] I started gesturing over my shoulder to try to indicate the past. He smiled, nodded, and as he started on his way, said, in English, "Repeat Performance!" -- twice. He seemed satisfied he remembred the English, and that i seemed to understand.

I laughed, not very confidently; a bit unsettled. And then started walking, thinking, "How did he know i did this? Maybe he mistook me for someone else?"

About 3 minutes later, i realized i was briefly in Berlin in Nov. 2002, during the period of mis-matched hightops. Hell, me and this guy even had a conversation about my shoes, then -- i'm doubt i'd remember it if we had. But could someone recognize me from 2002? I'm not sure i'd recognize myself from 13 years ago. But what other reasonable explanation is there?

I'm am no stranger to these odd coincidences, though recently i had somewhat sadly thought that i'd accidentally escaped them when i moved to Europe, because i hadn't noticed them much the past few years. Initially, long ago, these events (coincidences, mostly) used to nag at me once i started noticing them; i documented them in a journal, and felt compelled to try to unravel some deeper meaning (which i never divined). Now i'm just glad i perceive them, because they're pleasant in a strangely familiar way, like old friends that i've never met.


Posted by johan | Permanent link

Sat Jul 4 13:45:59 CEST 2015

Hotter in Berlin than Austin this Weekend

Today's forecast for Austin is a high of 33C (about 92F). Here in Berlin, seven hours further into the day, it's already 35C, and forecast to hit 37C (99F) today and tomorrow. Thankfully it should drop down to about 20C (68F) at night, so i won't just lie awake all night, sweating. Today's high in Brighton will be 22. (sigh)

Other than the oppressive heat in Berlin this weekend, life here has been good. We had a very enjoyable visit from both PL and US family a couple of weeks ago, and got to do a lot of touristy things, as well as see Anne-Sofie Mutter play a recital at the Berliner Philhamornie. We were in the very last row of gallery D, but Mutter's sound carried quite well.

We went to a lot of museums in Berlin, which are not nearly as full as those in London, perhaps because most of the major museums here charge a significant general entrance fee, compared with gratis in London. (Special exhibits usually seem to be an additional charge in both places, of course). This is a picture i took of the Golden Hat in the Altes Museum in Berlin. it's not directly related to the temperature being 37F today, but apparently it was used as a ceremonial tool to calculate (predict) important seasonal and astronomical events.

I've really been enjoying watching the Swifts swooping and screeching past the windows of the apartment. I don't really have any pictures of them -- they go much too fast. :)


Posted by johan | Permanent link | File under: berlin, Music