The year is 2010. My mind has turned into a giant Hellscape. I am barely on my feet anymore, as depression and anxiety kept getting worse. I need an escape. A break from the raging chaos in my mind. Peace. Something to divert myself from the hurricane.
I have two weeks off. Some of these days will be spent in “my” city, the place I’d already called “home” before I moved my ass here for good. I plan to be all tourist-y, visit the zoo, some museums, stomp around the city and take in as much as possible. Anything’s better than the constant war inside.
Little do I know what would await me whilst my little city trip. An experience I shall never, ever forget in my life. Something that still makes me grin all those years later. A moment in time. As fleeting as it may have been, it’s still stored safely away in my memories. And if you take a look at the picture that goes with this post, you will already guess what I am talking about …
One morning, I woke up in my hotel room, checked the news on tv (didn’t have a smartphone back then, they were only JUST beginning to emerge) and saw that SYLVESTER STALLONE would be in the city to promote his latest action flick “The Expendables“. Uhm …WHAT?? Since most of those movie premieres happened at Potsdamer Platz, I was a bit reluctant here. Moreover, at that time, I already had major issues with crowds, people coming too close and all that, resulting in anxiety attacks. I spent some time debating with myself, should I pass or go?
The answer was handed to me on a silver platter while I was having breakfast in a restaurant near the hotel I was staying in: there’s a cinema next to said restaurant, and I was able to watch some guys fiddling about with all kinds of barriers, red carpet, the whole shebang. That was the moment when I thought, “Screw this, you DON’T get to see an actual Hollywood icon in the flesh every day, so get your short ass there!”
I spent the day waltzing around the city, playing tourist, meeting someone I had gotten to know on a message board back then, getting soaked, and still had NO idea what was awaiting me in the evening.
By the time I arrived back at Ku’damm, there were already some folks there, and I decided to throw my fear of crowds out the window for the time being and enjoy myself as much as possible. Mind, at that time, I only knew about Sly Stallone being there, had no idea of the rest of the movie’s cast, I just wanted to catch a glimpse here. While I was waiting with the other folks, the crowd obviously got bigger and bigger, and of course, it also started pissing down again. Soaked to the bones, Round 2. The things I do …
… because by then, I had heard another name of those who were on the “Expendables” cast: no other than fucking JASON STATHAM. An actor I had been a bit of a fan of for some years, and actually something I shared with my late Dad. He and I enjoyed the “Transporter” movies immensely, and would always watch them together. AND NOW THIS GUY WAS IN THE SAME CITY AS YOURS TRULY!? Someone pinch me, please!
A bunch of B- to Z-list VIPs show up, I am somehow thanks to some pushing and shoving now in second row, just an arm’s length away from the action. Excuse me!? All of a sudden, there’s DOLPH LUNDGREN, whom I for some reason didn’t get to take a pic of. *hrmph* Not too long afterwards, the Man Himself appears. Oooooof.
No, I didn’t get anything signed. I was entirely unprepared for that. BUT! You see the photo? That was taken by Yours Truly. I couldn’t – and still CAN’T! – believe my luck that evening. Second row. Fucking CLOSE to one of my favorites who’s not in music or sports. Absolutel UN. REAL., y’all.
Yes, I did see Sly, too, but only got a pic of him from behind. Didn’t matter.
My grin that evening was as wide as the Mississippi Delta. I was entirely out of order and shaking like a leaf. Because adrenaline. Because of this close encounter. Something I never thought I’d pull off. And yet, I sort of ticked something off my Bucket List here, although I didn’t know it back then. (The whole Bucket List thing only came to mind some time much later.) I remember that I called my parents to tell them, because I had to share the excitement. HAD. TO. And even my late Dad was excited, because as I’ve said – we liked watching the Transporter movies.
Now, all those years later – a whole damn DECADE, actually – I still hold this moment dear to my heart. Even more so since 2020 is a Shit Show and dumpster fire combined. And as craptastic this year is, it has also taught me once again to appreciate the small things. Those moments when you’re glad to be alive, you remember that life is worth living, even if it’s tough as Hell sometimes. Those impossibly awesome, “someone pinch me, please!” moments. Moments of happiness. Of disbelief because it feels absolutely surreal. And yet, IT HAPPENED. It may have been a short moment, gone within a couple of seconds. But it lives on inside your memory, your heart. It helps you struggle through.
Embrace those moments. Enjoy them while you can. Life is too short to let them slip by.