Diary of an Expat, Part 43
Biking in the rain, muesli I guess
The ten-day forecast for Berlin continues to consist of rain, which is perplexing and not a little irritating, I have to admit. It's now the middle of July; yesterday, the high of 17 never materialised. We wound up at 14 instead.

My vague recollections of last summer in Berlin — late August and early September, anyway — were of a place that was hot, and sunny, and more than a little sticky. And it's true that Berlin is uncomfortable hot. But I grew up in the desert, and it's really very bizarre to have a summer that consists of nothing but heavy rain.

On the plus side, this probably keeps the streets a little bit cleaner; plus, it makes everything look a little like a noir movie.

On the minus side, I have been sick more times in Berlin than I have in the last five years of my life put together. I was feeling fine last Saturday; Sunday rolled around and it was like I'd been hit with a brick. At the moment, roughly a week later, I'm feeling better, although I still sound like the character in a period piece who is dying from "consumption."

I don't exactly know what the reason for this is. It might be something to do with the chill, and the damp. It might also just be that Berlin has coincided with the sudden collapse in my immune system, which would be unfortunate.

I biked up to Rewe today, which is a German supermarket. There I picked up some more peaches, and some sausage, and also some muesli bars that were on sale:
Not corny, do you understand?


If this promise holds true, and they really are corny free, they would be the only things in Berlin that are, so I guess that's something?

I left my apartment and biked around for awhile, when it was grey but not yet manifestly unpleasant. Fifteen minutes in Rewe was enough to remind whoever controls the sky that they needed to get their act together, and I emerged to find it raining cats and dogs (well, dogs at least; I don't see many cats in Berlin).

I biked to the market, however, because this is something you can do when you have a bike. I have to say, as an American who, five years ago, would not have really imagined a grocery trip that did not involve an automobile, being able to throw ten kilos worth of groceries into your panniers and then bike off merrily into the sunset/torrential downpour is actually really, really useful.

I was talking to a coworker about the process of coming to become a Biking Person, particularly where the rain is involved, since the presumption on the part of essentially everyone is that biking in the rain is miserable and you should not do it. I have expressed this sentiment myself, in the past.

The reality is that it's not actually all that bad, and it it can be kind of fun. There's something ever so slightly outré about doing something like that — like you're doing something that civilised people would abhor. And it's fun to listen to the sound of the water beneath your tyres.

Less fun is listening to the sound of the water in your eyes, but this is a solvable problem with goggles, or glasses, or even a helmet. So there is really not a terrible downside to it all, and there's a pretty substantial radius where you're almost guaranteed to get to wherever you're going faster than everybody else. And you don't have to carry an umbrella.

So I don't mind. Alternatively, I am suffering from an incredibly specific case of Stockholm syndrome.

Time to have a schmaltz-free snack and think that one over.
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