365/24 = 24/7/365

Or 15.20833333333333, if you prefer.


And here you thought my math was bad. And it is. But Berlin’s tourism experts seem to be even worse at it because their new slogan just does not add up at all: 365/24. At least it doesn’t for the numerous people around town making fun of it these days.

It is supposed to imply that Berlin is a way cool place that never closes, of course, but a lot of citizens here don’t really see it that way. Lots and lots of stuff and places that never close are broken/closed/being rebuilt here all the time and it is not at all uncommon to wait around way more than 365/24 for them to open up again. And they aren’t impressed with the slogan’s lack of originality, either.

And while we’re at it (laughing at Berlin, I mean), there’s a new book out that’s got a number in its slogan, too. It’s called “111 Reasons to Hate Berlin.” Here is one of them that all Berliners love, I mean hate: Whether in the summer heat, the snow, the rain or even if it’s just an uneven hour of the day, the S-Bahn craps out along the entire line.

“Berlin ist nicht nur scheiße. Es ist noch scheißer, als es mal war. Und das muss man erst mal schaffen. Berlin gibt Scheiße eine ganz neue Definition.”

Malfunction Is Better Than No Function At All

When Berlin’s entire S-Bahn commuter train system isn’t down and out due to power outages, ice and snow (yet to come this year) or just plain good old fashioned traditional mismanagement, Berliners are asked to show understanding for S-Bahn train drivers who call in sick en masse, about 10 percent of the workforce at the moment.

They don’t do substitute train drivers, I guess, and that 10 percent is enough to cause massive delays on a number of lines here and tens of thousands of commuters to come in late to work, should those folks not have had enough sense to call in sick too, I mean. It’s been about three days now. S-Bahn drivers are sick here, alright. Sick of working. Merry Christmas to you too, pal(s).

“Unsere Personaldecke ist eben nicht hundertprozentig gedeckt, da machen sich krankheitsbedingte Ausfälle sofort bemerkbar.”

PS: Or maybe these guys have just been hitting the Little Red Riding Hood too heavy this week.

They don’t call it the S(tress)-Bahn here for nothing

Only in Berlin? I’m not so sure. Remember way back when (getting on two years ago) when the Berliner S-Bahn commuter trains had to go on a Notfahrplan (emergency schedule) bis auf Weiteres (until further notice) because of massive problems they were having with their brakes (they hadn’t been checked or maintained properly)?

Remember then about a year or so later when there was a Not-Notfahrplan (emergency emergency schedule) for the same S-Bahn system when something called “winter” hit?

Well winter has struck yet again and we now have our next Not-Notfahrplan (irregular, 20-minute intervals for the few trains that are still running–about 200 of a 500 fleet) and there’s no end in sight. Two years on, people.

It’s not all that out of the ordinary if you stop to think about it, really. German Baustellen (construction sites) are generally built to last. And to last and to last and to last. And we have to be fair here too when it comes to these difficult winter conditions: Germany isn’t a country that has ever had to deal with things like “snow” in the past, you know–or at least that’s what one must assume.

Personally, I’m confident that these trains will all be up and running on regular schedule next year. In the spring of 2012, I mean.

“Because we can’t remember the hard winters of the 1970s, we resort to the word ‘chaos.'”