In Berlin it’s the norm to move into a naked apartment. Meaning if you want to avoid sleeping and eating on the floor, you’d be best to sort some furniture out for yourself ASAP! I found myself confronted with this small dilemma when my one month sublet for Henricks room was up. Luckily, Matthius (another flatmate) was moving out of his room on the same day, so needless to say I decided to take his room, a bigger, more spacious room which comes with a balcony over looking Karl-Marx Strasse. The move was planned for Monday morning.
Rewind to Saturday evening when I was frantically scouting the net for some furniture over a chilled beer and a box of smokes that were quickly disappearing. A friend had suggested to check out ‘Craigs List’, a well known American website where you could do some wheeling and dealing which was exactly what I was looking for.
I saw an advert saying, ‘contents of bedroom must go’. I immediately grabbed the phone and called them up. 20mins later I was around in the English couples apartment claiming my stake on the contents of their bedroom. I took everything except the shabby 1980’s wall paper that by the looks of it had been gradually peeling from the day it was slapped on! There was a massive wardrobe which they offered for free saying it was payment enough just to get it out of there. I knew that Matthias had been on the prowl for such an item but hadn’t had much luck. I also knew he had organized a rental van to move his gear to his new apartment on Monday morning.
The cogs began to turn in my head. If I could convince Matthias to take the wardrobe he could pick it up on Monday morning, along with my newly purchased furniture before heading back to our apartment and dropping it off, then I could help him load his stuff. He gets a wardrobe and I get my stuff delivered free of charge, everyones happy!! I mentioned the wardrobe to him when I get home that night. He liked the idea but wanted to see it for himself, so I arranged a visit back to the English couple the following day with Matthias in hope he’d dig it.
Sunday afternoon we roll on over and he sizes up the wardrobe like a magpie who has just spotted shiny tinfoil. After some close inspection by the tall narrow German the deal is done!! ‘We’ll be here at 10:30 in the morning with a van to load it all’ he said. Delighted with our find we thought it appropriate to go for a celebratory drink…
Rise and shine Monday morning with a thumping hangover after our one celebratory drink which lasted the entire evening, anyway the less said the better! As arranged Matthias went to pick up the wagon at the rental depot. I decided a combination of The National’s ‘Boxer’ (great album) in my head phones and a slight breeze on my face would be the trick to get my head out of my arse, so I took the bike. The soothing sounds and breeze was working a treat, that was until some Turkish guy decides to walk out from between two big vans without looking up or down the street… BANG… MY HEAD HIS NOSE!!! I’m hurdled across the handle bars landing a good 3 or 4 meters away, while he’s in a heap on the road holding his nose as the blood is flowing down his face. I quickly get to my feet and go to pick him up but he gestures not to touch him. A passerby picks up my bike and brings it to the side of the road. There was a state of confusion in the air as I checked my body parts were all still attached. I was more concerned about the Turkish man as he was the one loosing blood, but I quickly realised that he was a hypercondriac of the biggest degree.
He immediately demands my name and address, which I refused to give. Like some lil spoiled child in the play ground, he then threatens to call the cops, as though he was going to get me arrested for his lack of awareness. Tension at this stage is beginning to grow as onlookers gather on the street each with an inquisitive look on their face. In the distance I heard an elderly woman ask the woman next to her what had happened? To which she replies ‘I saw the guy on the bike punch that poor man, he must have broken his nose’. Bloody hell I thought this is a conspiracy!! ‘Go ahead and call the cops, you’re the one who walked out in front of me’, I said. I then thought Christ if the cops are called they’re either going to have a right laugh at the situation, or else going to be pissed off at the fact their time is being wasted, the latter being the most probable outcome .
The shock is beginning to hit me and I feel myself getting a bit shaky, he notices this and decides to exploit it, by asking me for ID. I half heartily reach for my wallet and then say, “No… I have none on me”!! He then walks to the shop window in an attempt to see his nose which I could tell wasn’t a picture of beauty in the first place. It wasn’t broken, I knew that much, as I’ve seen a few broken noses in my time after the local junior ‘hopp bopps’ as a youth, with my dear friend Grealzer being at the receiving end of most impact punches. He got his nose splatted across his face more times than I care to remember. In fact, he’s sporting a broken nose and two black eyes in his debz(grad ball) picture, which is proudly hanging on the wall of his parents house greeting you as you walk in the front door.
He walks back to me having checked his swollen nose and says, ‘give me ten euro and I won’t call the cops’. This was like red to a bull, ‘You cheeky bastard’, I said ‘if anything you should be giving me ten euro, go ahead call the cops’. The crowd growing in size now, I suddenly remember that Matthias is waiting at the apartment with the van as I reach into my pocket and see his name come up on the screen of my phone. Im also thinking, if he calls the cops it’s going to take a good 30mins/hour to sort out this mess, which could easily be avoided by swallowing my pride and giving him the 10 euro. I just want to point out at this stage, it wasn’t the 10 euro that annoyed me, it was the principle of it! I reached into my pocket and took out a 10euro note in an attempt to avoid the delay and hassle. With gritted teeth I hand over the tenner, telling him that he was a fraud and if I ever saw him again I’d run him over on my bike and I certainly wouldn’t be stopping.
Of course I didn’t mean it, but man was I pissed off. He had just put a saddle on my back and rode me like a Grand National prize winner at the odds of 10/1. But what could I do….? If I had the time I would have stayed and fought my corner for sure!!
I got back on my bike and went on my way like a grumpy Homer Simpson, uttering absentees to myself.
I eventually got over my frustration and got the entire contents of my room for 70euro, yep you heard right 70euro. A kingsize bed, desk, 3 chairs, 2 bedside lockers and 2 lamps among another few bits and pieces. So the way I look at it now is, the tenner I got rode for, I gained back on the deal I did for the furniture, so all is well that ends well I suppose!!!