shu and joe

from the window

Published on March 17, 2006

From the 10th floor you can look down at a maze of demolished courtyard houses, their gaping shells obscured by a curtain of dust. They say this wind blows in from Mongolia, kicking up rubble and dirt and bits of trash. “Stay inside today,” an altruistic co-worker advises. Down below people in windbreakers and polyester suitjackets ride miles on bicycles hauling everything from timber to toilet paper to ladies’ shoes across town. They push against the wind with half-closed eyes, saying silent prayers to ward off reckless cabbies and aggressive buses. Their wrinkled skin belies their age, adding years to young faces that might rather be facing books or television sets or computer screens.

From the 10th floor you can hear children singing across the street at 10:30am in the morning. Every morning. Some sort of uplifting, government mandated incantation that readies the young students for their day, fortifies them, reminds them of their role in this great universe of China. It must be difficult growing up here, with the pressure of knowing you are one in a billion and that success is a luxury and not a given.

Filed under: Berlin

Leave a Reply