Tuesday, 29 July 2008

It was a 22C warm night tonight, I cycled home from Gast where I had met up with two ex-colleagues from the magazine we all worked on together, before it went belly-up. I see them, like, every three months or so, their children a few inches taller, started walking, going to 9th grade in school. Both are passionate mothers and passionate working women, both struggling in a good way.
C. is 35, her son only three. Her bloke - husband - is incredibly bright but can't get a job - too bright maybe, so she is the reluctant breadwinner. S. is 45 and a single parent, her daughter 14, they are very symbiotic. I have seen them go through dramas and changes of schools, now they seem to have reached a happy peaceful space. I come away thinking how different we are and how well we like each other: after we all lost our jobs in late 2004, we kept meeting up once a month for breakfast, supported each other, shared all sorts of information about unemployment, all three of us ended up going (state-supported) free-lance, the two of them ended up with jobs in publishing again, me returning to my old London employers as a freelancer.
I felt very free when I cycled home with only myself to worry about - if I am broke, so what. I am of the lucky counter-culture generation who knows no shame about accepting handouts from the state. My generation is terribly maligned now (sour grapes, I reckon), but without us, I was thinking as I cycled past Königsplatz with the open air cinema, people might not be sitting in the middle of the road, laughing about a silly German film.
Just to jog your memory - Hitler built this square for troup paradings. Now it's grassed over and a place where people turn their faces to the sun.

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