“I should have bought a folding bike. Yes, definitely a folding bike”, I kept repeating to myself while I tried to get that monster of a bicycle up the stairs from the cellar onto the ground floor. I already had a feeling that my life here, as well as my future blog posts will have stairs mentioned in them quite often.
That is exactly why we have to become strong and independent women, so that we can carry our bikes up and down the stairs easily when there is absolutely no man in sight. If there has to be a female independence issue in this feminist world, it should revolve around being strong and independent in order to GET THINGS DONE on one’s own and not about telling men that they are worthless because it’s not like they are. Some women just feel better that way, believing they have escaped the role of ‘the smaller and weaker one’. It should be about not having to ask someone (man or woman) for help 24/7 because if someone agrees to help you that does not always mean he or she really wants to help you. Sometimes it would just be extremely rude to say no (at least in this society) so people go ahead, help you and hope they never see you again so you don’t ask them one more time.
Still surprised about what turns my thinking can take once busy lifting heavy stuff, I finally made it to the entrance door to the building. I felt so drained by then that I almost turned around and brought the thing back down, concluding that this was enough of a work out for the day and it was time to get back to Haruki Murakami on my Kindle. However, it was time I learned how to ride a bike again if I wanted to get around quickly in this area .
The first few meters were quite shaky. Had a policeman spotted me, he’d probably check if, at this early hour, I didn’t possibly have any of that strawberry wine they sell at Kaiser’s for €2,99.
When did I become so insecure on a bike? There was a time when I biked through Berlin on the side of the road with cars rushing past me without the slightest hint of fear on my part. Maybe it’s because I have become older and grown bigger? One of the signs of growing up in this city is that you are no longer allowed to cycle on the walkway (even though some people still do) but have to take the special red path or ride on the side of the road if there is no red path available. Being little felt so much more compact. I could cycle anywhere and get through almost any gap. Now I am of average height but still feel like a dinosaur trying to make my way through a village for ants on two wheels. Now I finally saw the point of the mandatory bike driver’s license in grade four. Now I also knew why the kind police officer failed me at the practical exam back in the day.
“Good morning! Practicing, aren’t you?” asked an elderly lady who was walking her dog past the playground.
“Good morning. Yes, indeed I am”, I replied, surprised by the fact that a stranger would just randomly greet me in a park. This wasn’t Bulgaria after all.
“Well, have fun then. Good luck!”
Parks are an ideal place to observe the coming together of nearly all generations of a society. German, Turkish and Arab parents watched as their children played together by the slide in a huge sandbox. “Children!” I thought in excitement. “Maybe there is still hope that by the time I am 67 there will be enough young people to pay taxes so that my generation can retire in peace? Let’s hope so, because now it doesn’t even look good for the current generation 60 plus.” A soccer tournament took place in the stadium across the road. As I tried my best at not doing any harm to the joggers, I passed by a group of people playing a tennis match. Elderly men and women armed with Nordic Walking sticks ( a not so uncommon sight here) took a break in the shade of the trees before continuing their walk and little kids followed their parents on bikes into the direction of the nearby forest.
“It will probably take a while until I am fit enough to take the road to Denmark but at least I am a better cyclist than a driver”, I concluded.