Spring is here! The sun, which so many of us thought would never return, has come back! It is still cold enough to have to wear long underwear under your jeans, yes, but it is not so cold that every little part of your skin that is exposed to the open air automatically starts to hurt! Going outside no longer makes me want come back inside and sleep! My body is again gaining vitamin D! The sun is back!
Last year, winter in Berlin was difficult for me, but I had the fire of new found love for a man and a new city to discover. This kept me going. Now, it's been awhile. Though I'm still relatively new to Berlin, I've lived here for over a year. A lot of the initial glitz and glamor has worn off. To some extent, this happens with relationships, too. None of this is bad. I'm just saying that there was no cushion this winter. And while the Berliners all said that last year's winter was mild, they said this year's winter was long. I thought it was going to kill me. I'm a California girl. I've never really experienced seasons. Yes, San Francisco was gray, especially in the Outer Sunset. And the beach was windy and cold. But the gray and the weather there, it never made me need to sleep all day. It never made me physically ill! Sure, I used to compare the gray sky of winter to a smoker's lung, but this Berlin gray? It's like nothingness! If Crayola made a crayon this color, it would be called Depression. Seriously, this Berlin Gray could suck the joy out of a club kid on 5 hits of Ecstasy. It was a hard, hard winter. I don't think I saw the sun one time from December 23rd to February 28th. No kidding. No sun at all, just a big, gray sheet of sky and cold, cold, cold. I was sick a lot. And even when I wasn't sick, I still just wanted to sleep.
But now there is sun! And with it, people's attitudes are nicer. Three days ago, I was running for the bus, which I was sure would pull away from the stop without me. An African man much closer to the bus than myself ran to it, grabbed the door, said something to the bus driver and pointed at me. This man asked the bus driver to hold the bus! For me! A total stranger! When I finally reached the door, he smiled and walked away. Berlin, what's up? That's just so unlike you. I mean, it's just so friendly! Everyone smiles! I speak more German and folks are more forgiving of my bad grammar. Things don't seem as dark and desperate as they once did. There is sun. There is hope. But there is also another thing. The dark piles.
|A dark pile. Notice how part of it has been stepped on. It was probably hidden under a layer of snow for WEEKS!|
See, in Berlin, people have dogs. And they love their dogs. And since it is a large city, many people live in small apartments. With there dogs. And they walk their dogs on the street so their dogs can do their business. And then they don't pick up their dog's shit! Seriously! Can you imagine leaving the house to walk your dog without even one plastic bag? You can't? Well then, you must not live in Berlin! So, though Berlin is a beautiful city, it is a beautiful city covered in dog shit!
In the winter, it snows. And people walk their dogs. The dogs shit in the snow, and then the dog shit freezes. And gets covered by more snow. This cycle lasts all winter: Dog shits, shit freezes, snow covers frozen shit, and on and on. Until Spring comes. Then all the snow melts and what is left? A bunch of thawing dogshit. Dark piles. Dark, smelly piles of Berlin.
If you live in Berlin and have a dog, please, pick up it's shit. Help stop this awful epidemic. Please, I, my nose and my shoes beg you. Put a dent in dark piles of Berlin.