As I wander around in Berlin, in search of the fame and fortune I feel are my due, I am often struck by how much of the place looks like Shaun Tan drew it. This is probably because my own experience maps so closely onto the story of the nameless protaganist in The Arrival - I don't speak the language here, people are generally nice to me, and I left my own country because forces loyal to the government were threatening to destroy my way of life.
I don't understand a lot of what goes on here, and this is not limited to what happens outside my door. In my very bathroom, for instance, there exist inexplicable alcoves and strange extrusions of pipe and wire, the purpose of which I can only guess at.
This cupboard, for example, looks relatively innocuous, if inscrutable.
Upon opening it, however, questions arise.
It is filled with ashes, and it leads to a hole in the wall that appears to be bottomless. That's fine; clearly it's just a portal to another dimension. What I don't know, though, is the precise species of the fire-breathing lizard creature that obviously uses it for a nest. Not knowing its species, I can only guess at its habits, and I'm worried that all of my guesses will be hopelessly antipodean. In New Zealand, of course, the fire-breathing lizards nest in late winter, and are usually off on their annual migration by high summer - is the pattern the same this far north though? Should I leave the cupboard open, so that the lizard can fly out the window and catch mice for its young, or should I leave it shut until the rainy season starts and the young metamorphose into the aquatic stage of their life cycle?
Perhaps it is time I left the house for a while.