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"Nuthin-particularly-special, but plenty and enough."

Berlin feels more like an extended suburb than a world capitol. It stretches from horizon to horizon to horizon to horizon, hardly rising from the horizontal plane. It clearly ain't no New York, Paris, London, Prague, Vienna, or Rome. It looks like more of a Gary, Indiana sort of place with a few canals and a small river thrown in. It once, like many other capital cities, aspired to become the capital of the world, though by aspect alone, it hardly could have ever realistically consummated that romance. It fell, hard, dividing itself instead, a cautionary tale for any place defensively lusting after becoming some place more special than they were. It holds few treasures and more cold memories than any similarly-sized space on earth.

The more affluent neighborhoods have populated their sidewalks, making them appear no different from any other yuppie enclave anywhere in the world.
The hipsters ride bikes and sip craft beers, their piercings glinting in the evening light. Friedrichstrasse features more shops and currywurst stands than I can credibly perceive. It all seems like a big blur as I pass by. The wall stood here, my dear friend reports, and I see a NuthinSpecial street sided with new construction covering what was once just another No Man's Land in a town ringed by No Man's Lands. No Man's Land developers moved in as soon as the wall fell down.

The town celebrates thirty years since that fall with Trabants parked in odd places around the streets, but my friend says that thirty years on, few will really celebrate the fall. Many East Germans hold resentments, for the fall meant they lost their jobs in unviable industries and were displaced. The West brought competition which undermined the whole premise of the East's economy. Nazis now lead portions of that part of the country once liberated from Nazis by Russians, who have since been similarly liberated from their communism. Liberation ain't all roses and crumbling walls, and even freedom can feel every bit like an alternate form of repression when its forced upon those unprepared for its inherent cruelty. Survival of the fittest leaves out many NuthinSpecial folks, who grow resentful in response.

Any city or country divided against itself cannot simply stand around enjoying the blessings of freedom. They must seethe for something, seeking to resolve by means other than simple resolution but by serious forms of repression intended to straighten out the other fellow while leaving one's self intact, producing a seething time bomb. My dear friend Bastiaan commutes here from the other side of Germany for work. Finding this job was a miracle for him. He fulfills its responsibilities in disarmingly responsible ways, speaking uncomfortable truths and pointing out logical impossibilities. His bosses hanker after culture change and he tries to explain the futile impossibility of mass behavior modification with stories which fall on ears which cannot afford to hear. The German Federation's aspirations still play out in corporate boardrooms and corner offices without apparent acknowledgement of what long history might have been trying to impart.

The Muse and I came here specifically to see our old and dear friend, a miracle worker of man hampered only by his personal struggle to genuinely believe in miracles. Embodying a miracle's not sufficient to firmly fix any belief in them, for belief in miracles cannot be rationally resolved by any explanatory story and remains fundamentally irrational by nature. German industry became famous for carrying Taylor's notions of rational efficiency beyond rational bounds, believing that mere logic could out-perform humble miracles, and they were right in the short run, which ended up running much shorter than desired. Rationalism's necessary pushes and shoves inevitably turned into fights which evolved into a degrading total war where everyone lost pretty much everything. Only a miracle started bringing them back, but a country no less than a NuthinSpecial person, might struggle to acknowledge just where and how miracles compete.

Bastion and I feed off each other, which is to say that we nourish each other by reflecting our individual experiences. We inspire each other, and inspiration seems the true source of most of the miracles in this world. Eventually, the exhausted rationalist succumbs to the inescapable logic of them. One lets go and lets miracles come, easing back on the natural resistance to anything so odd and irrational, and they come. They simply come, appreciated or not, they come. The Muse and I came here expressly to recharge our appreciation for how this world really works. Here, to this capital which seems so un-capital-like, we came to firm up our belief that with the unrelenting help from a few good friends, we're plenty and enough. Nuthin-particularly-special, but plenty and enough.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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