Dude! Wher ist Mein Chair?

15Oct11

Au revoir Paris und guten Tag Berlin. We have moved into an apartment in Prenzlauer Berg near the centre of the German capital. Our flat comes very well equipped, lacking only a supportive work chair for Susie who has the occasional twinge of back pain. Chair shortage isn’t a problem for me as I tend to work in a coquettishly horizontal position with a laptop sunk into the forgiving surface of my abdominals. You are being lavished with this exclusive insight into our working styles / furniture situation as it sets up a true tale of Twilight Zone-like impossibility that rips apart reality like an otter with a fish (N.B: this analogy needs work).

A few days after moving in, I was exploring the local ‘hood when I spied a sturdy looking office chair discarded in a pile of rubbish outside a flower shop. I popped in to ask if it was ok for me to take. The guy behind the counter said something like “nein, nein, du kannst nicht, nein, nein” which I took to mean “yes my friend, you may have the chair with my blessing but please remember to mention me in your blog”.

It was easy to carry initially but after lugging it the half mile home my arms were fizzing noisily with lactic acid. As I reached the front door and gratefully put the chair down I noticed it had wheels and could have been rolled back. Good job I’m pretty as I’m clearly not the ripest apfel in the strudel.

When Susie returned later that day I told her she had a present and asked her to guess what it might be. Her whole face lit up and I immediately regretted initiating this game.

“Is it that new Nikon 50mm camera lens I told you about? Is it? Is it?”

“No.”

“Is it the amazing necklace we saw in that vintage boutique? Oh my God!

“Incorrect”

“Ooohhhh is it…”

“I’m going to have to stop you there Suzzles. It’s a battered old chair I found in some rubbish.”

Susie still seemed pleased and immediately took her gift for a spin, happily announcing it was nowhere near as painful as the chair she had been using and was simply mildly uncomfortable. Result! I took the opportunity to point out this was an early Christmas present so best not to expect anything later in the year.

Photographic evidence that Susie has received her Christmas present in case it is forgotten on the 25th December and I face a barrage of tears and recriminations once again.

We are sub-letting the place from a very pleasant chap called Georg who popped around about a week later. As soon as he walked in his eye(s) was immediately drawn to Susie’s new work throne and asked where we had got it. I recounted the tale above but increased the distance I’d carried it to a mile to seem more manly. “This is my chair” he said, placing both hands proprietarily on the arm rest like an otter with a fish. At first I thought he meant the chair had automatically become his property as it was in his flat. I was worried he might continue this process with my other belongs ie. “this is my laptop, this is my suitcase, this is my collection of Littlewoods lingerie catalogues from 1986 to 1993” (I’m looking after them for a friend incidentally). However, he said he recognised the chair as it had three photocopies of conch shells taped to the back. I honestly didn’t dream all this.

You won't find a photo of three photocopies of conch shells sellotaped to the back of a chair at any rival location independent travel blogs so think on.

From here on in the weird-ometer really hit cross-eyed velocity. Georg explained that he had owned the chair for a number of years while living in this flat and had taken it along with his other belongings when he left. He moved to a much smaller flat in Neukölln which is on the other side of Berlin and stored the chair and several other items in the basement of his new apartment building. A few days later he went back to the basement only to discover it had been broken into and his furniture had been stolen. It appeared that somehow the chair had made its way back to Prenzlauer Berg and ended up discarded in the street where I found it and brought it back to the flat it had originally started out in.

I glanced fearfully at what I now thought of as the ‘demon chair’ and it glowered malevolently back. The odds of this convoluted series of impossible coincidences occurring as they did must be something like 2-1 and I began to feel quite giddy. I desperately needed to sit down but wasn’t going to risk ‘Satan’s seat’ as I value my soul too highly.

To try and make sense of the situation I marked all known locations of the chair...

...however, as I traced the route it had taken, the mystery just seemed to deepen.

I have concluded that there is no point looking for a rational explanation. I like to think the chair has an obsessional lust for our landlord and used evil magic to find a way back to him. But then I am of course quite, quite drunk.

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