On the Saturday immediately after the fall of the wall, my family and I headed to the West through the Oberbaumbrücke border crossing. We took the underground to the Zoological Garden, where we were straightaway able to queue up at a bank. The bank wanted to close, but my mother was able to ‘cheat’ her way into the queue. A lot of people were annoyed, as the employees had already done a lot of overtime. And who knows, maybe the bank would soon run out of money! Once we had our 100 mark each, we decided to go back in the direction of Kreuzberg, as it was far too full along the Kurfürstendamm.
What did I spend my money on? I was 13 and, like everyone else in the East, I wanted a skateboard! Until that day, the only option was an ugly plastic skateboard manufactured in East Germany. But even those were so-called ‘bottom-shelf goods’, so difficult to get, and whoever got one was happy with it just because they owned something special.
Unfortunately, my cardinal error was that I bought mine in a department store. I held my brightly-painted board, with lots of neon-coloured plastic details, in my hands. For an incredible 80 mark! It didn’t take long for me to find out that it was actually scrap. It was far too bulky and heavy and the shape reminded me more of a surfboard. I quickly lost my appetite for skateboarding. The difference between what others with proper skateboards could do and what I could achieve with my board was far too big. I also had no interest in buying a ‘real’ skateboard after the monetary union. Maybe it wasn’t the right season to get started either – I was constantly cold. But at least I spent a lot of time outdoors!