Hi, friends and readers:
It’s a beautiful evening here in Berlin — sunny and cool with a bit of a breeze.
My friends, Sarah and Marcus, who got married three years ago, have invited me to their son’s first birthday party on Saturday. Everyone will meet at a nice public park for a picnic, and we’ll toss a frisbee or pass a soccer ball back and forth. I’m sure it’ll be a fun time, as I know most everyone who will be there and I just hope the weather’s good.
So … what does one buy a one-year-old boy? (Too old for a rattle, too young for a tricycle.) I finally spoke with a friend’s mom, who made some suggestions, and today I took the bus to the Kurfurstendamm, Berlin’s glitzy shopping district. I visited Karstadt, a huge and very nice department store, and when I found the children’s toy department my jaw dropped. It was huge. I had so much fun looking at the merchandise I didn’t want to leave. (I know, I should grow up, but I couldn’t help myself.)
I found a pelican that a small child pulls around on a cord. It talks and plays music and does all kinds of cute stuff. It helps the child perfect his/her walking skills. Perfect!
While I was at Karstadt, I wandered into the men’s clothing department and browsed around. Two years ago, when I spent the summer in Berlin, I saw young Asian men everywhere, wearing decorative scarfs around their necks. Yes, it was summer, but the scarfs were light weight and the boys wore them with a T-shirt and jeans and they looked so cute. I thought about buying a scarf myself, but I told myself, “H-m-m-m-m, Martin. You’re not a lovely Asian lad. Act your age.”
Well … This summer in Berlin all the guys are wearing scarfs: gay guys, straight guys, and every ethnic group in town. I rode the bus a few days ago with a shaggy-haired, eleven-year-old boy who wore one with his death-metal, rock band T-shirt, holey jeans and Converse sneakers.
At Karstadt, I came across an entire rack of men’s scarfs — dozens of them — on sale for ten Euros, and I told myself, “Screw it, buy one.” So I did and I love it. (Mine’s a bit more masculine than the one in the photo I’ve posted here. It looks kind of like that head scarf the late Yassar Arafat used to wear. Remember?) I bought one for a friend back in Florida, too. Now I need someone to teach me how to drape the darn thing. It seems there are certain techniques, and I am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, so I’ll need help or I’ll surely get arrested by the couture police.
Have a nice Thursday, everyone.