So, there I was, stranded in our garden with my Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte and a cup of coffee, the cake on Spode, the coffee in IKEA, but with no place to have it—after all the rain, the gusting wind, and cold of these last autumn-like days the garden looked a bit dinged up, like it had been in the wars, leaves everywhere, all kind of leaves, some of them from trees that don’t even grow in our garden, branches from God knows where, and dirt in all places far and wide, the garden really was a bit under the weather, even now the sun had come back. But I don’t give in, never, and if I wanted to drink this coffee while it was hot, I did have only one option, just like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, to get along with the circumstances, however unpleasant, and have my Nachmittagskaffee in this utter mess.
But please don’t feel sorry for me, I’m already looking at the bright side of it. You see, after coping so successfully with this afternoon’s tribulation—the cake was really good, by the way—I’m pretty sure now that I can cope with everything the future will bring.
It’s hard to find a place without any trees in Berlin, they’re everywhere, even important buildings like Humboldt University in what used to be East-Berlin – the Berlin featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, a place much less horrid than the film, he must have been drugged throughout the entire production, or even at the time when he was reading the script, why would anyone shoot such a boring mess, anyone, I ask you, but I wildly digress – anyway, even this architectural gem is partially covered in leaves and blossoms of a majestic chestnut tree, actually, all of Berlin is covered in trees, up and down every place and street, they’re flourishing so opulently you can’t make out the trunk at times. I wonder who planned this urban jungle, some green spirit way ahead of its time – whoever he was, I proposed a toast to him today, with my little bird friend and my soy caffè latte venti at a very treed Starbucks.
If you’re suffering from an architecture deficiency, there’s only one cure: Paris. You better take the next plane to Paris, store your luggage at the hotel, don’t waste time unpacking, there’s really no time to be wasted at all, you may re-spritz your cologne though, and make it to the nearest bar-tabac, café, brasserie, restaurant or whatever place with a table on the sidewalk, install yourself, order coffee, p’tit noir or au lait, and there you go. Enjoy your view. Paris. Haussmann. The Middle Ages. Renaissance. Louis XVI. Empire. Belle Époque. Art Nouveau. Art Déco. Everything. You have it all in front of you. You can even touch it. You can breathe again. The agony is gone. You will smile again. You’re cured. Isn’t it great? By the way: Any additional coffee deficiency will be cured as a side effect.
When I walked through Paris in the good old days before the iPhone, I was a much happier person, I just didn’t care that in winter when you walk on whatever street or avenue you’re walking on, the instagrammability of this walk will stop at around four, tea time is deadline, at the very latest, you might still enjoy walking, but what’s the use of it, you won’t be able to take one good postable picture, it’s madness, we’ve been to the moon and conquered it, but the sun is still playing dirty tricks on us, and not only from the moment on when it decides to set, no, that would be far to easy a situation to cope with, no, it starts way earlier, all day long it’s “watch the shades”, “it’s too bright now”, “wait, the sun’s shining towards the camera”, “it’s too cloudy now”, “you won’t take a good picture now, let’s have a coffee some place”, “hey, where’s all the light gone?”, it’s no use, you won’t make it, you’re a disgrace to photography, but one can’t capture every single moment, or building, or church, can one? So, you better order a glass of Bordeaux and baguette rillettes and forget about it all, there still will be enough good shots left (not perfect, alright, but you’re not working on assignment anyway, are you?), but, truth be told, even when that Bordeaux kicks in, you will never be as satisfied with your day again, believe you me.