Showing posts from October, 2010

Welcome back to Denmark

It’s 1:26 AM and we’re home on a Friday night. I would’ve thought that 1:26 AM would be a fine time to be at home, all hygge and happy, and yet for our neighbors one floor down, there seems to be something distasteful about a quiet night at this hour. And so I enjoy what appears to be a mix of polka, Louis Armstrong, and the voices of alcohol-lubed Danish youth creeping through the floorboards. Now they’re laughing. I know it would take a particularly virulent kind of crank to get mad at other people for laughter, but I think laughter has to be one of the least pleasant things when you’re not in on the joke. There’s nothing like hearing a group of people at the table next to you in your quirky little coffeehouse cracking up to make you realize just how joyless your life is, and how much duller your companions are by comparison. Make no mistake: laughter, music, and good times are all fine things, as long as you are the direct cause of each of them. Surely these strangers in apartmen

Hitler's Car Park

While in Berlin, Sarah and I took a free walking tour. The tour guide stopped at a car park. About 8 meters below us, Adolph Hitler shot himself 65 years ago. And right after his guards found his body in the bunker, they all lit up a cigarette. Apparently, Hitler hated the smell of smoke, so all the soldiers were prevented from smoking in his presence. But with him dead, and the war going as badly as it was, a cigarette must've seemed like a pretty good idea. Berlin's a weird place. There's no way to reconcile its oppressive, fascist past with its fun, vibrant present. It gets even weirder when you layer in a second oppressive regime on top of it, so walking around you can't help but bump into the austere concrete slabs of the holocaust memorial, a fake military checkpoint with fake US and East German soldiers posing for photos, and the most delicious and cheapest pastries and roasted bratwurst imaginable. The experience is like watching TVs that are playing "Sch