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Incognito: Acting Sober in Berlin

Berlin contains a cacophony of environments suited to a wide expanse of narcotics. When in these pocket utopias, it’s hard to believe there exists a place where such a state may be frowned upon. However, these spaces exist and I have found myself facing the terror that comes with been physically and mentally unable to synchronize with the reality one faces outside these drug-friendly Berlin bubbles. And today I share these situations with you, so you can combat them better should they eventuality appear in your lives:

Scenario 1: The Club/Condemned Hotel Rave.

Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation cuts through the smoke and condensed perspiration hanging in the air long enough to catch the dilated pupils of everyone in its path. The music has held the same repetitive beat for 5 hours, the MD is heavy in your blood stream and you have spent the past hour stroking the head of a guy/girl with hair of the smoothest silk only ever described in Greek myth. Then you see her/him. Disenchanted with the music, tired, bored. Everyone is high apart from this one person. But they are beautiful and their hair glows nova supergiant blue. You approach, getting your breathing under control, stop your jaw from swinging and speak:

“I was stood over there and your hair turned into a lion and roared at me so I thought I’d come and talk to you.”

Rule 1 in appearing sober - don’t say anything weird.

Scenario 2: The Pub.

After 20 minutes of speaking to a guy about his new pizza business, he expresses passionately that there are no true Italian pizzerias in Berlin other than his. He is stern and brings up statistics and examples and at some point you realise you have ended up in a bathroom cubicle with two other people ready to snort a line. You leave and find your original friends who only came out for a quiet drink and speak about the people you had just met, you try to explain the pizza business and find a fire rise up within when they fail to understand your point. I mean it’s simple, right, your point is… the point is, erm. The bartender asks you to quiet down and you go over to speak to him to explain you were being quiet and return to find your friends all gone with no goodbyes.  Meanwhile you wonder why. Rule 2 - keep calm.

Scenario 3: House Party.

Lethargy has taken your body, deep thoughts your mind. Music ceases to be a set of complex beats which your body moves to and instead becomes a lexicon of precise information through precise beats and lyrics. But what does it mean? What does life mean? You find yourself in intelligent conversation and almost get caught up in the passion but remember the second rule. You try to open your mouth but remember the first rule although eventually people want your opinion. You have had your chin resting on your chest for the past half hour nodding. What were you thinking? Such concentration on your face, what were you thinking? They goad you. You crack.

Have you ever realised there are more nipples in the world than people?,” you ask.

Rule 3. If you can’t think of anything normal to say, don’t say anything at all.

Scenario 4: McDonald’s.

 Kann ich Ihnen helfen? 
“Ja,” you mouth without sound.

For the entire night every time you’ve spoken a word it left in an increasingly inflating bubble. You have kept your mouth shut in fear of the words getting trapped in your throat and choking on your hallucinations.

“Heisse Schokolade?” interprets the cashier.

Lips pursed together, you nod. All you want is breakfast but lack the basic motor functions and strength to order anything as infinitely complex in German.

And so as you sit outside awaiting the Ringbahn, finding the final and most important of all the rules when trying to hold the appearance of sobriety when most of the city never is. Rule 4 – avoid all human contact.

By Joe Mullings

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