The only thing I will get in line for, EVER, is Siebert’s Berliner pfannkuchen mit kirsch. The line (‘queue’ for those who don’t speak Yank) outside of Siebert Bakery and Konditorei in P’berg is brutal. They sell the best baked goods in the known universe out of a shop smaller than my bathroom. Really, more people could fit inside my bathroom than inside the Siebert shop (not that I’ve tried it). So don’t let the line of a dozen people or more standing outside fool you. They simply cannot cram everyone inside all at once. But if you would really like to experience a pre-1989 communist bread line, go to Siebert on Saturday morning. They close at noon on Saturday and do not re-open until Tuesday. And since they mix crack cocaine into their flour to ensure a growing throng of junkies outside the shop at all times—you’d better wake up early on Saturday if you want your donut fix before night time.
Today I woke up at 9am. This is the earliest I will ever wake up unless somebody is paying me to take photos at this time. It had been at least two weeks since my last donut fix and I was getting awfully twitchy. I was getting the DTs (donut tremors) and it was high time I had my high. Really, they put crack cocaine in the flour. I’ve seen ‘em do it. A cold wind chill bit at my ears; the Berlin winter is coming fast. Which most of us would agree is unfair as we had no fucking summer whatsoever in Berlin. Mother Nature is robbing us blind. Bitch. I got in line after peering between the first two bodies near the door—I needed to check the window display for my drug. Someone sneered at me. No, dear Deutschbag, I’m not trying to cut in line. I’m doing inventory. Get over it.
Twenty or more people were in the line. I stood there watching the back of the neck in front of me. Dark gray jacket and light gray scarf. The pale skin of One Who Resides under Gray Skies. Once again Berlin reminded me of the foggy city of San Francisco., where two things are out of place: Cowboy hats and sun tans. They wore a lot of black and gray in that city as well when I was living there. Except for the god damned hippies. Tie-dyed and bushy tailed tofu eaters. Rainbow people.
Someone once told me they didn’t have the same kind of communism in the DDR—that the infamous bread lines only existed in the Eastern Blok countries under communism. I always thought that all commies lived solely on canned meat, vodka and potatoes. Period. History and urban mythology, traditions. Siebert Bakery has a century-long tradition. And a fierce logo: Two fire-breathing lions are cutting coffee beans and carving pretzels with broad swords. Then they present them to the king. And they’ve been doing this since 1906. Uninterrupted? I wonder. Eastern Germany and East Berlin were walled off from the West for nearly 50 years. Surely they didn’t get donuts and free flats AND free Trabants under communism. I’ll be sure to ask the nice bakery lady to clarify that. And if it’s true, I’m officially quitting capitalism and joining the communist party. Tomorrow.
Siebert Backerei / KonditoreiSchönfließer Straße 12, Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg