Yesterday morning I got off the S-Bahn at the Nikolassee station as I always do, and as I walked down the stairs toward the street I heard a distinctive tapping sound behind me. I realized that “The Blind Tobias,” as Helga once referred to him, had gotten off the train a few cars back.
I hadn’t yet been introduced to him, so it didn’t seem right to go over and greet him just because we’d been on the same train. But the walk to the boathouse is long and quiet, and few cars ever pass, so as loud as his tapping was to me, my footsteps on the stone sidewalk surely echoed to him as well. There are no real destinations between the station and the boathouse, no cafés or shops or even many houses, so it’s pretty obvious that anyone getting off the 9:40 a.m. train walking in this direction must be a rower headed for the 10 a.m. session. Continue reading