I think another part of it is i feel like i have become a bit of a broken record when it comes to the self-analysis of journaling. It's a lot easier to journal about stuff when your life lurches from one "omg crisis" to the next. Or even when you have to deal with day-to-day shit that pisses you off. These days, not much shit pisses me off. From time to time something will happen at work or someone will say something to me that makes me feel stressed or embarrassed or down... But i just shake it off, think "fuck it", and move on. I just can't be bothered getting worked up about things any more. It's not worth my effort to get in stupid internet fights or get involved with interpersonal drama or try to make a stand on something or whatevs. At work i am assertive on the verge of being bitchy and fight very hard for what i believe is best for the company and our customers, but i'm paid to do that so no regrets there. And outside of work, well, fuck it. I gotta better things to spend my time on. Like marathoning Top Chef, or getting drunk, or eating a brötchen, or dancing to some electronic music.
I did have a week-long reminder of how my life used to be, though. Completely out of the blue M messaged me a couple months ago saying she'd like to come visit me in Berlin. As you all know, i don't like having people over at my house even for a few minutes, much less a whole week, but since i hadn't seen her in ages and coming to Berlin was one of those things we always said we'd do together i said sure. It turned out totally fine. A lot of the weirdness that went on in our group a couple years ago is ancient history and we could just enjoy each other's company in a chill way. Well, if you can call "chill" partying as much as possible and spending the rest of the time wrapped in blankies nursing hangovers. I took her to a few of my local haunts that hopefully were a bit more interesting than just visiting the techno tourist highlights, and she left with i think quite a different understanding of what the scene here is all about. It was really neat to see her again, although i did have to call in "sick" for a couple days after she left to let my body recover, and to kind of spiritually re-ground myself. I felt a lot more comfortable hosting her than i expected i would, but after she left i also realized just how very important it is to me that my house is my own private bubble.
I finally went to the crown jewel of Berlin nightclubs - the Berghain. And, well, it was underwhelming. I guess when people hype it up like it's the most amazing place in the world you are bound to be disappointed. M totally loved it of course - it was the highlight of her trip. But to me it just felt like any other superclub, just with techno instead of house or trance. Without a doubt the main room is a pretty awesome space, and it has a great sound system, but to me that sound system is completely ruined when you play distorted, crackly, deliberately-lo-fi electronic music over it. I know that's what "techno" is all about to the purists, but to me it just sounds like shit. And then in the Panorama Bar, where the music is at least slightly closer to my taste, the acoustics are all messed up so even with amazing speakers you get a hollow echo that ruins it anyway. It might have been at least visually entertaining if the people were as debauched or outrageous or freaky as the stories suggest, but perhaps living in Berlin has changed my expectations a little bit. Yeah, there were topless bears and shaved-headed girls with tattoos and piercings and the odd nudist, but for the most part it was a sea of uniform black pants, black t-shirts and earnest black scowls. They were so "underground" it hurt. I left M there after about 6 hours and walked to Kater where the music was clean and fun and everyone was smiling and i saw a hundred different people in a hundred different outfits through smoke and colored lights and confetti and champagne. Totally, totally different vibe. I'm glad i got to see what all the fuss was about, but it's safe to say i won't be going back unless i feel i owe it to a visiting friend.
On a very different tip, i did however visit the Tresor. Now THAT was a techno club that reminded me of the old days. None of this artfully-reverbed, modular-synthesized, pretentious wank they play in the Berghain. Just very hard distorted 909s. Low ceiling, tons of smoke and a relentless strobe light. That's it. Even though everyone there on Wednesday night was a British tourist without the slightest hint of "underground" cred, the club itself was so loud and dark and in your fucking face that it didn't matter. In the strobe, in the smoke, you can't tell who's a tourist. In fact, you can't really tell anything - it's just techno. Having gone to "real" underground techno parties in Europe in the mid-90s, this place captured the vibe better than anywhere else i have been. In Berlin, or anywhere. Of course, the music itself is not really my style, and what i love about my favorite clubs here is that they are a lot more laid-back and good-humored and quirky and whimsical, but imo if you really want that true "underground" techno experience, the Tresor fucking shits on Berghain from a great height.
So it was neat to experience a bit more of Berlin. Having a friend over encouraged me to explore a few places that have been on my list of "stuff to do someday", and it was definitely nice to have someone to talk to when i went out instead of flying solo and just bumping into people randomly. But man, it has also been nice to get back into my usual groove of work hard, play hard, make one "check in" post on Facebook every Sunday to let my family know i'm not dead, and then just get on with life. I live a relatively humble and very simple life here, but it's a good one, and i'm glad i've finally been able to go ~18 months without any drama or bullshit. I might be in a bubble, but it's a happy bubble, and it has good music and cheap champagne and a warm bed at the end of the day. What more could you want?