It does NOT go without saying that I miss my friends, and I look forward to seeing you soon after I return.
But the statement is WHAT I miss. I miss America's breakfast culture. I haven't had what I think of as a real breakfast since July. I look forward to going to Harry's Roadhouse and Real Food Nation almost as soon as I return.
I miss riding my bikes. On the quiet roads of Eldorado and Old Las Vegas Highway. And I pledge to do more of it, not because I should (but as an environmentalist and old fat white guy, I should) but because absence has made the heart grow fonder.
I miss wrastling with Boz, and visiting the dog park and touching the other dogs (and talking with my friends there, but I covered that in paragraph 1). And wrastling with Boz. I hear my house sitter has taken exemplary care of him, so I expect my homecoming to be met with a shrug from Boz, which is as I would hope.
Berlin has most of what I love about life, and I have sought it out here. You know, beer . . . Also, it has what I've come to think of as the scarf culture. Once the weather turned cold, everyone with any style began wearing big scarves, diaphonous scarves, bright scarves, serious scarves. Also, women's shoes here . . . I never notice women's shoes at home. And men's shoes here are nothing special, either. But women's shoes and boots are - pardon the expression - fabulous. Not to mention their stockings, which are richly patterned with the clear intention (or so it seemed to me) of demanding that you notice the legs. And so I have. Love Berlin. Hamburg, too.
Berlin is not green Mecca. They still wrap their fruit in globes of plastic. But they take recycling seriously, and do little things like stop the escalators if no one is near; when you approach, it starts right up again. Same with the lights in some, but not all, hotels. Hallways are dark if there is no movement. Enter the hallway and the lights near you come on, and precede you down the hallway. And their bike-friendly traffic rules, bike lanes, and bike-friendly mass transit all make it silly for most people to own cars, much like in New York.
And then there is Berlin's Leute, the people. Stern of mien at the outset, but accessible. They resent Americans' too-easy vapid excuse for friendliness, that asks "How aer you" without making eye contact or waiting for an answer, but they are ready and willing to talk about serious things and to make friends, if you really want to. I'll return to Berlin. Soon. But first, I need to get some breakfast.