Y'know the nearer the destination, the more you're slip slidin' away.
The Berlin winter hit fast and furious this year with snow and ice and -15C. Today was a mild minus five, but the deadly ice was in place under the Christmas crunch last minute shoppers' feet. I saw two people fall down on the sidewalk today at different times and places. When it happened--once to a guy and once to a girl--they each winced, shook their heads and got up. Then they proceeded with their previous walk at full tilt boogie speed. Damn! They must be locals.
Each winter, whenever I fall down on the icy sidewalks of Central Europe (Czech, Germany, same frozen winter wasteland, different languages), I twist a knee or an ankle. Then I sit there for a while cursing and waving my arms around. Then I slowly get up and proceed to limp for the next 3 weeks. This is because A) I am not a local; B) I have California legs (I am bloody Barishnikov on beach sand--I don't fall down or NOTHIN'); and C) The bigger you are, the harder you fall. I am 6 foot 5 inches of donuts and beer.
So today I slid along, shuffling my feet, shifting my weight, staring at the ground. Every year when I do this, I have to wonder why they put the tiny pea gravel 'anti slip' rocks UNDER the ice. I can see them there under the thin layer of sidewalk ice, suspended like little black bugs in amber, useless and dead. Some business owners throw dirt over the ice on the walkway into their shop. This is because having dirty icy mush tromped in all over the shop floor is de rigueur in Berlin's trendiest shops. But every inch of the 50 feet of sidewalk between the shop entrances is an iceberg waiting to sink my personal Titanic. So every winter I slip and slide around Prague or Berlin, flail my arms, hold onto walls and miss the days when I used to drive a car. In a sunny place.
But at least I finally know the meaning of a White Christmas.
Happy holidays, however you celebrate them.