Monday, October 1, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Ten

Lennon went back to Kita today after his false start a week ago, just before the bronchitis incident. Kita is more akin to American preschool than day care, but the children can start well before preschool age. In order to orient the children when they first begin Kita, one of the parents must be present with the child everyday they are there, for the time they are there, lasting four to six weeks. Of course this depends on the child, but for parents who thought their child going to Kita would give them a few hours to themselves—well, it might eventually, but until then—take a seat. Nicholas, being home on school break, went with Lennon and I to Kita this morning. He was the in-room parent today while I waited in the hall, trying not to be seen by my little attached boy.

My husband and I were both dragging ourselves around today, exhausted. It was challenging to get myself out of the house to celebrate. Around 3pm, I made my way down to Alexanderplatz to finally conquer TV Tower. There was about a twenty-minute wait in the ticket queue after which I was told there would be an additional hour and a half wait to go to the top of the Tower! After a quick conference with my husband via iPhone, I decided to just make it happen. Luckily, I had a gift certificate for the tower entrance given to me by one of Nicholas’s teacher colleagues who moved out of town before he was able to use it himself. He received it as a gift from his classroom parents. I’d like to thank everyone involved for making this Birth-Day event free of charge.

Elevator Tour Guide at TV Tower with the most marvelous hair

I was distinctly told by the ticket clerk who processed my gift certificate that I am not meant to spend my hour and a half wait in the lobby of the TV Tower. I took advantage of their paging service that would text me when I was 30 minutes out from my Tower “appt” and dragged my exhausted self across Alexanderplatz to the Galleria Kaufhof department store. Completely unmotivated for purchasing, I aimlessly browsed every floor. In the stationary section, I found a gold foil embossed “40” meant for cake or gift decoration, but I had to leave it behind when I got my text. I had initially skipped the floor with the men’s department but then realized it also housed ladies’ shoes. I vowed to go back but even that had to be forsaken for the call of the Tower.

Of course, once at the Tower, worried I’d miss my time, I sat and waited some more, but this time welcomed. I indulged in a small, expensive bottle of seltzer water and tried to figure out what languages everyone was speaking. I shared a small piece of Karma with a couple as we all began to line up at the lift. They had the very worst spatial awareness and stood far too close to me and made me anxious that they were somehow squeezing me out of line. In addition, the male portion of the duo had an unfortunate nasal issue that resulted in extremely unpleasant sounds. We rode the elevator together. Once at the top, I scurried away and found an opening by the window. A minute later, the same man and his female companion brushed against me, also choosing to stand at that exact spot, seemingly oblivious to our constant connection. This happened one more time, at a different location by the window, convincing me that somehow, we were destined for one another.

I always have grand expectations of high places, and I’ve been to a few: The Empire State Building, The Eiffel Tower, l’Arc De Triomphe, The Seattle Space Needle—but never are my expectations met. Somehow I want to feel like I’m floating over the city, or on top of it, or queen of it—but most of these tourist sites are built too safe and enclosed to generate that type of exhilaration. I’m a jumble of contradictions, however—the MOMA in San Francisco has a floating, glass bridge that runs over the lobby. Little kids love it because to be on it feels like walking on air. I won’t walk on it for fear of death. In any case, the TV Tower observation room is like a fish tank that’s been upholstered half way up and down the wall, leaving a stripe of a window in which to see Berlin. You absolutely can see all of the city, and while it wasn’t transcendent, I’ve never had a more clear visual of the topography Berlin. Also, I was there to watch the sunset. I watched the sun set from the top of the TV Tower.

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