Life, Unannotated

When words stop clarifying reality, imagination kicks in | Non-Fiction | Fresh Soup

Every morning, when I use the elevator in the Berlin building where Shira, Lev and I live, my eyes lock in, as if hypnotized, on the manufacturer’s sticker on the elevator wall, which seems to offer advice and instructions for how to survive an elevator ride gone south. Since I can’t understand a word of German, when I come across a meaningful text of this kind, my mind immediately filters out all the foreign words and punctuation, and concentrates on the only thing it can decipher. In the case of the elevator sticker, the series of characters I choose to focus on during the ride is: “Notfall.”

It’s still unclear to me whether “Notfall” is the company’s name, a mantra for elevator travelers in distress, or just a piece of useful advice for anyone who finds themself suspended between heaven and earth. I like this ambiguity. Somehow when I lived in Tel Aviv and all the texts were written in a language I fully understood, my daily functioning was easier and more successful than it is in Berlin, but my imagination and inventiveness were less active. While here, every excursion from home and every encounter with a notice board holds the potential for an unsolved mystery.

Is the rabbit with the red silk tie a real estate mogul about to take over the Mitte district, or a helpless victim of big-pharma experiments?

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