Do give a dime

A friend of mine, who came to Berlin from Romania, told me once this story: she was walking on a sidewalk when she witnessed a band of Gypsies sitting in a coffee shop. She greeted them and they indulged in a little conversation. What are you doing here, they asked. I study, she replied. What instrument, they inquired.

I love Gypsy music. It reminds me of Kusturica before he fell in love with himself. Gypsy music in Berlin means even more as it marks the official ending of another horrible winter. This was one of Maya’s first associations: when she heard the trombone and the accordion, she knew it was time to ask for an ice cream.

It is quite amazing for me that in the past month I encountered two incidents where riders in the train had asked a band of gypsies to halt their music. First, their music brings some life into the morbid soundtrack of a train ride. Second, their music, as opposed to many memorials in Berlin that were built to make Germans feel god about themselves, is a vibrant and living memorial. Don’t kick them out.

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