I left our local pub after 10pm on a Saturday night in order to get some supplies to get us through the weekend. You see, in Germany, some dumb fucks decided that we can’t buy things on Sundays. I didn’t have my usual grocery backpack with me when we went to the pub, so I was ill equipped to deal with shopping. ‘I’ll have to buy one of those plastic bags to carry the shit home,’ I said. ‘Why?’ she said. I explained: ‘I can’t be carrying beer, wine, booze and breakfast in my arms through the throngs of punks parked outside of Rewe on a Saturday night. It’s a gauntlet I’m getting too old to run.’
There were no punks outside the Rewe on Schivelbeiner. Weird. Normally they form groups of Mohawks and dogs and beer bottles at each entrance and beat their beggar drums loudly. They Fuck The System yet take handouts from those that don’t. Convenient. Play a fucking instrument and I’ll give you a quarter, you fake-ass white spoiled sons of bitches from upper middle class families. Rebellion my ass.
I grabbed my basket and proceeded to shop for the German Sunday tornado shelter situation. Right away I noticed a small flood of water pooling from one of the frozen food containers. A punk and his punk princess trudged Docs through water, splashing. Shouts and laughs. I continued and saw broken six packs of beer bottles lying in the aisles, various smashed soft drink bottles, a pink pool of yogurt oozing from a dropped package and generally no staff members whatsoever interested in the idea of cleanup. I passed staff members stocking shelves, counting inventory, generally looking bored and underpaid as is custom for unskilled labor in a post-communist, pre-divided city like Berlin. ‘CLEAN UP! AISLES 4, 5 AND 7!!!’ screamed through the imaginary store speaker in my ex-American mind. Instead, store jazz/elevator music gave us the grand soundtrack for the Evening of Anarchy. I made several passes through the aisles of dropped food and drink to be sure. Nope, nobody gave a flying fuck.
I felt at home, strangely. I could take my time, walking around and over and through the Deutsch detritus without feeling the usual stress I feel whenever I’m in a crowded, prime time supermarket of any kind, anywhere in the world. This was a world without care. Me and my punks and freaks waltzed through the anarchy. I guess they didn’t hear the elevator music.
We all met at the front in a desperate mass. There were only two cashiers ready to handle the chaos. One of them closed his register and skulked away. Pussy. There are only 20 or 30 of us freaks here. We only want our beer/wine/booze/sugar/caffeine/nicotine. That’s what you do when you have a store full of freaks after 10pm on a Saturday night in Berlin. You close the fucking register. I won’t quote everyone in the massive line at the suddenly single register, but the word ‘scheisse’ figured prominently. That and one dude who kept making horse sounds with his lips. And muttering ‘Deutschland’ in exasperated tones. But that could be from the football month going on.
I got to the front of the line. The single remaining cashier called for help on the store mic twice to no avail. It was Him vs. The Freaks. He said something to the aging freak in front of me. The guy slammed his back pack on the checker’s table and pounded it with his hands. Then he lifted his arms and slowly spun around in a mock frisk ritual he must have been overly familiar with his whole life. Beep, beep, pause, beep and the groceries slipped and slid away.