Shortly thereafter, I stopped off at a Sachsenhausen winebar. I found myself obliged to pass below an archway and through a roofed passage in order to reach the seating area where ten or twelve wooden tables and benches stood to either side. On one table at the rear, the silverware, condiments and containers lay at the ready for the evening crowd.
No waiter came into view at my approach, so I hesitantly made my way right and towards the back of the covered seating area where I had spotted another archway, rather lower than the first. Once through, I came upon a waitress who listened with considerable patience as I explained in my halting German that I hoped to sample one of their drier house applewines. She invited me to go back and to take a seat where I liked.
I positioned myself at the back of the seating area, so as to put as much distance between myself and the curious as could be reasonably hoped for. This left a considerable gulf as well between my table and that of a local family come to have an early dinner, from the looks of the heaping platters of sausage, cabbage and bread. I examined my applewine against the light filtering in through the plexiglass ceiling above; my eye met with a pleasing sort of golden depth, abubble.
Comfortably seated, I took a few moments put some order in my thoughts and pursue a few digressions to which I had been, as of yet, unable to indulge fully. I entertained, for instance, how Nietzsche had always struck me as a self-help author, enumerating our flaws and speaking at length on new heights. Yet his particular brand of self-help writing deemed us, if not entirely, at least largely, incapable of helping ourselves to attain such heights. Blame lay with our very constitution. On such a crude reading, we could at best hope to drive ourselves mad.
There then came to the fore another crude paradox which I had been mulling over for some time. I was sorely tempted to term said paradox, for lack of words or imagination or indecency, the German city paradox. From what I saw of the large German cities, I would not know that war had come to these places, were the traces of war not surrounding me, staring me in the face at every turn within these anonymous cities, glass-girdled, steel-set. For reflection led me to judge that those conditions which had made the post-war German city amenable to the contemporary citydweller owed in part to war.
All turned on the ambiguity of a single word, that of the city’s razing and raising. Of this ambiguity, I found the mirroring in a statue set before an old city watchtower. Two men passed through one and the same revolving door, one going in, the other going out. Yet so opaque was the single panel separating them that they were otherwise unable to see one another and this despite their making each other’s inward and outward movement possible. From this passage turning about on itself was born Bankfurt.
At that point, my thinking could no longer bear its own weight, and I noticed that my wine had, in short order, finished itself.