Thursday, August 27, 2009



The Conspiracy is complete. It has achieved total and unequivocal dominion over my existence. I now just accept it with a wry smile and a slap to the forehead. The Conspiracy has followed me everywhere I have ever lived in the past 15 years. Whenever I move into a new apartment, within 1 week the construction starts just outside my window. At 7am to 6pm, every single fuckin’ day. Even on weekends.

It’s true that I have lived in some of the worst former Communist Eastern European urban shitholes ever devised. But still. You would think that I would have numbers on my side at some point. I mean, they are not reconstructing every single flat in the city at the same time, are they? No, Dunkin’, just yours. Yes, they have been rebuilding Eastern Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain, but why do they need to drive the iron rivets home just outside my window?

Case in point: my current flat. A sublet, as usual, my 2nd this year. Why sublet? A) Because German realtors offer flats that are completely empty, no fridge, no oven, no stove, no kitchen sink. Not even a single light fixture. For 600 euros a month you get a roof, doors, windows and a crapper. Like prison, only without bars and much more expensive. B) Because German bureaucracy is idiotic. The worst I have ever seen. I used to think that nobody could possibly conceive of a more deliberately retarded system than the Czechs. I was wrong. The Germans sit around devising new bureaucracy daily. Just to piss me off. These Deutschbags sit around devising new bureaucracy and circle jerking. So, while we’re waiting for Gunter and Dieter to answer our fucking emails about available flats (and awaiting the ludicrous shit storm of paperwork to follow any offer), we sublet. (deep breath).

‘Geez, Dunkin’, you’re much more grumpy and cynical than usual,’ you might say. Well, I haven’t slept much this summer. I was almost getting used to the pounding jackhammers, the shouts and screams of the workers (or maybe the workers were merely talking and German ALWAYS sounds like barbaric screams) and the heavy drilling on the property next door. It is a vacant lot that will host a new fancy shmancy building which will house the latest batch of yuppies who will soon be shat out of the ass of Corporate America, England, etc. onto the streets of Friedrichshain.

Construction progress has been slow. With the amount of noise they have generated over the last 3 months, you would think they would have the foundation laid and at least the 1st floor erected. Nossir. In 3 months, this small 300 metre lot has got a thin layer of iron mesh on the ground. They dug the whole lot up and filled it in with dirt again about 12 times. I guess the masons, concrete pourers and bricklayers are all busy filling out their paperwork before they can begin. As you can tell, I know just about zilch about construction work (amusing, since I should be an expert by now if I had bothered to look out my windows over the last 15 years). But they brought in some crude noisemaking machines I didn’t know existed. I’ve seen my share of Caterpillars, John Deers, dump trucks, scoopers, bulldozers, steam rollers and cranes. But they brought in something from another planet. It was a tall, twisted mass of steel with a giant central cylinder with a tank for a base. It looked like an oil drilling rig had fucked a panzer tank and the bitch-on-treaded-wheels gave birth to the ungodly progeny right under my window. I still don’t know what the Evil Beast was devised for, other than to accentuate my personal construction conspiracy and to punctuate my occasional hangover. Every day at 7 am on the nose the Beast went to work. BOOM!!! Thump-thump, BOOM!!!! (repeated for 9 hours with a 1 hour lunch break). The cylinder churned and thumped for a month.

Then one day, just like that, the Beast was gone. But another noise began in its wake. It was familiar, the sounds of the workers in the dawn getting ready to wreak havoc on my beauty sleep (and if you’ve seen me, I need ALL I can get). By the end of the day, a scaffold had been erected in front of my building and my windows were covered in plastic. It’s as if the agents of the Construction Conspiracy were gloating at the surveillance tapes of my misery and decided to up the ante. Fifteen years of metal fire and brimstone right next door weren’t enough: there was something in German on a piece of paper stuck on the wall downstairs. I managed to pull a few words out of it. It said not to open our windows for 2 weeks. There would be construction.


  1. I've been meaning to comment here for awhile...I first read this post awhile back. I like the way your descriptions of the construction equipment and noises sound as if there is an actual Beast (or monster) at work here!

    The Seat Nazis post was funny, too!

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Yes, by now I should be familiar with every sound the construction beast makes, from the chomping jaws to the digestive groans and the bowel grinding excretions... you get the picture. My new flat is very peaceful THUS FAR. I have a very noisy water heater which is on the fritz (heh, Germanism) and I hesitate to call for service out of fear that they will begin an Apocalyptic interior construction project. :o