November 10th, 2009


Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell?

...20 years ago yesterday?

I was in the Netherlands. I was twelve, and glued to the TV for the first (and one of the only) times ever. I remember:

- People cheering. Great joy that I wasn't really part of but got caught up in anyway. I didn't even know any Germans close to my own age for another four years, but that hardly seemed relevant then.
- The unknotting of a tension I didn't even know I carried around: a tension based in waiting for the bombs, in half-caught whispers about airplanes blowing up ("And he was on board with his pregnant fiancee! Who expects such ruthlessness?"), in a part of the world pretty much between my two home bases being blocked off, mysterious, and its airspace guarded ("I heard the plane drifted into their airspace, and -- :hand on gun gesture:").
- Wanting a bit of the wall, and then hearing my father dismiss all that "stupidity" because "they're just pieces of concrete, and you don't even really know where they come from".
- Our school not making us buy new atlases any more, because they were redrawing country boundaries too fast for mapmakers to keep up for a while.
- Going on our year's week-long geography/biology field trip to Germany instead of West Germany (though our workbooks still said West Germany cause they couldn't all be reprinted.) The holiday spirit and the many excited comments about being in Germany, which sounded like something out of a history book.
- Deep optimism for a little while.

...I think my brain just put together the excesses & escapism of the 80s and the lack of said optimism. It's rather like the excesses & escapism in Bollywood at times when India didn't have much optimism. And other places, of course, but that's the one I sort of know. I remember my mother saying, after I sneered at a Bollywood movie, "What's wrong with people being happy for a few hours? Some of them don't get to be happy any other time." That was in... 1987-88 or so? I think. (Not positing causation, just noticing a correlation that's probably obvious to everyone else.)

So! Where were you, friendslist? What were you doing? What d'you remember?
(I know some of you have posted; that's what got me to ask)

Note: evilprodigy is not allowed to answer this question *grin*