As part of COVEN BERLIN’s current issue LABOR OR LABOR, we asked freelancers and artists to share their weekly working routine with us following Louise Trueheart’s work week sample, a detailed description of one random week in her life. In reaction to it, this piece was submitted by one of our readers.
On the 2nd of January I quit my under-the-table café job in a torrent of flames after my asshole boss fired one girl for having depression, and another for speaking out against his decision. The job was slowly sucking me dry of all vitality, my soul resembling a translucent wisp of nothingness. It was a leap into the dark, into the world of freelancing and financial uncertainty, but by that point, anything seemed better than shitty café work, where you’re underpaid and worked to the bone. No regrets.
Sunday, 10th April
09:00 Woke up next to Nance with a hangover after a Birthday Party which began at Twin Pigs and then back home for a smoke. Described out loud the trippy visuals we were having. I was showered in electric blue rain, she was riding on an infinite plane.
9.10 Returned to dreamland
12.00 Made coffee and peanut butter toast, waved good-bye to Nance.
13.00 Started writing application for job as communication and office manager
13.15 Sexted with J, got all hot and distracted
13.20 Arranged to meet J in the evening, went back to focusing on application
15.00 Chatted with housemate in the kitchen and complained about our dire financial status. Contributed a pepper and some cheese to the stir-fry he was making.
15.10 Continued with application. WHY DOES IT TAKE ME SO LONG?!
17.00 Submitted application. Whoop!
17.30 Started shift at Deliveroo, spent first half hour reading Chiara Baldini’s comparison of Dionysus and Shiva while sat on a bench on Simon Dach Str.
18.00 Deliveries, deliveries.
19.00 Hung with the other ‘Rooers at Boxhagener Platz
19.30 Bought a chocolate-mandel cake with my 2 euro tip
21.30 Finished work on time after lots of deliveries and tips, a good evening. Sped to J’s place as fast as the wind would take me.
Monday, 11th April
8.30 Waved J off to work and snuggled back down for a few more hours of shut eye.
10.0 Startled J’s housemate after emerging from bathroom with wild hair and make up all over my face
12.0 Got home to prepare for Content Editor phone interview
12.15 Checked bank, still not paid by Deliveroo. It’s been six weeks now, what’s going on? Considered the pros and cons of becoming a webcam girl.
13.30 Quick march around the block with power tunes blasting and coffee in hand, getting pumped for the interview
14.0 Awaited call
14.15 Still waiting for call, quickly ran to the toilet while holding phone, praying that they wouldn’t call mid-piss.
14.20 Still waiting. Started to doubt myself. Frantically double-checked I’d put the right phone number on my resume.
14.45 Began phone interview, chatted absolute nonsense for 30 minutes.
15.15 Feeling low, lay on sofa under duvet
15.20 Decided to re-watch an episode of Broad City while Whatsapping Rois in London about her love life and cheating girlfriend. Sent waves of strength her way despite feeling like a wilted prune
15.45 Power nap
16.15 Snoozed alarm
16.25 Snoozed alarm
16.35 Cup of tea and fag out the window, while vaguely planning Remi’s English lesson for tomorrow
17.0 Discovered latest articles on COVEN BERLIN, decided to start writing work week sample
17.16 Arranged to meet potential new student tomorrow
17.18 Got ready to go meet my old teenage love and gap year travelling partner, Dee, who is in town.
17.45 Went to copy shop to print the homework for Remi’s lesson.
18.0 Waited at Warshauer Ubahn for Dee, listened to busker and donated 20 cents
19.0 Sat and drank beers in Gorlitzer Park with Dee and some Bristolians. Met a friend of a friend who has started a cultural magazine in Berlin and swapped contact details
20.0 Drank whiskey in bar
21.0 Found out ‘Roo won’t pay me this week (again) because of a supposed bureaucratic error.
21.10 Tried very hard to write a diplomatic message expressing anger, hunger, and frustration at employer
2.0 Cycled home
Tuesday 12th April
9.0 Woke bleary eyed and a little hung-over
9.45 Refreshing cycle through Volkspark on way to meet my student
10.00 Taught English class
12.0 Returned home, smoked out of the window, and imagined I was sending plagues to Deliveroo
12.15- Ate meager leftovers
12.34 Begrudgingly paid BVG a 60 Euro fine for not having a bicycle ticket on an empty tram. 40 Euro left in my account.
13.35 Snoozed alarm
13.45 snoozed alarm
14:15 Scrolled Craigslist and Indeed for jobs. Nothing.
15:00 Met with potential new student at Frankfurter Tor, it’s terribly unprofessional but he is one hot piece of ass. At least I will be more motivated to prepare lessons for him than my old racist, sexist student, who, after going on holiday to the US for two weeks has decided not to return my calls. OH WELL. You might have been my main source of income, but you can suck my dick.
16:00 Dropped in at the Pablo Neruda library for more teaching materials and picked up a simplified Doestevsky book in German, finally something interesting to try and read!
16:30 Spent the money I earned this morning on lentils, kidney beans, and all kinds of frozen wonders so that I can survive while waiting for those fuckers to pay me.
17.16 Updated my dear friend Peckles in Texas about life, and got excited to hear that she has already started buying books for the Chicago grad program she’ll be starting in September, so proud!
18:00 Started proofreading chapters for UN document for some random craigslist job.
19:30 Roasted potatoes and chickpeas
20.14 Made some GIFs with the pics from the visit of ma janky gurl Rois
21:00 Worked on Alchemical Dreamtime text
22:00 Continued working on crazy hard jigsaw puzzle with housemate
Wednesday, 13th April
8:45 Awoke to a beautiful sunny morning, lay in bed appreciating the rays that poured through the windows. Made a conscious effort to not immediately check my emails.
9:30 Made my way to Wittenburg Platz to meet with student D
10:30 Met with D, a Brazilian PhD student who works for the Max Plankt Institute. He wants to improve his conversation skills so normally our classes consist of wandering around near Zoologischer Garten or sitting in MCDonalds discussing philosophy, morals, quantum mechanics and politics. I hadn’t seen him for two weeks, so he was excited to report about his holiday in Athens. Our lesson went on for two hours rather than one.
12:30 I had planned to go to the library and Finanzamt on the way home, but decided to seize the day and head straight back home to work on writing.
13:00 Received email from craigslist employer to say they feel they should give their original editor another chance, but will pay me for the work I had already done.
13:30 Received email from dT, a startup who had interviewed me a few weeks previously. Their original candidate had backed out, so they offered me a job. My rumbling stomach immediately said yes.
13:45 Given the great news and sunny afternoon, I embraced life and arranged to go urban exploring with J
14_30 Met J at Warschauer and headed to Bernau
15:30 Began our journey by tramping through undergrowth to get to some abandoned barracks
16:00 Wandered through the massive complex, admiring the art gallery of beautiful and not so beautiful graffiti
17:30 Rolled around in the woods beneath white cherry blossom trees and the evening sun
18:30 Continued our explorations, the complex is huge and there was so much to see
20:00 Took the train back to town, feeling rejuvenated and exhausted, with muddy toes and grass in our hair.
20:30 Kissed J goodbye and floated home. Will see him at the party on Saturday
21:00 Quickly made a spinach, feta, and chickpea pasta bake while arranging to Skype with Peckles in Texas
21:30 Skyped with that wonder woman, gave me so much powerrrrrr
23:00 Bed-time spliff, wrote in diary and realised that today is my one year anniversary in Berlin. What a perfect day to commemorate this moment.
Thursday, 14th April
10:00 Decided to have ‘a day off’, i.e. forsake all bureaucratic duties so I can complete my half finished projects before starting at dT.
10:30 Coffee and fag while planning lay-out for Sorcery of the Self book, which I want to have available when giving Tarot readings. It’s raining and the unfurling buds on the tree outside my window look greener than ever.
11:00 Removed Tarot Deck from their black velvet bag, and Warrior Woman (five of vessels) lay on the top, a vestige from my last reading with Rois. I buried her back in the deck, shuffled and felt for a new card to draw. Oh look who pops back out instantly, goddamn WARRIOR WOMAN. Feeeel the power. Standing topless beneath the moon, with her head held high. Arm raised above, clutching a dagger. Strength and defiance in the face of great adversity.
11:10 Discovered I have already done a lot of the writing for SotS zine. Get in! Continued working on it
14:10 Decided to get dressed
14:50 Received an email about Content Editor job, I’m through to the next stage of interviews and have some editing tasks to complete
15:00 Started working on tasks for job
15:45 Arranged to meet Nance for cheeky coffee at Frankfurter Tor later
17:00 Good coffee and catch up, arranged to dance this weekend
17:45 Back home, feeling sleepy, chatted with sister
18:15 Mars Bar
18:30 Made cuppa and ate cheese straight from the block. NO REGRETS
19:00 Began chopping veg to make a cauldron of lentil soup curry extravagnza to power me through the weekend
19:45 Lovingly tended to the vegetable brew
20:30 Skyped Rois while munching, schmoking
21:30 Cancelled lesson with D tomorrow morning, decided I would have too much on my plate and don’t want to get stressed out
23:30 Ended skype and thought, what a time we live in, when I can spend an evening getting fucked up with my best friend, who is 600 miles away
Friday, 15th April
10:00 Awoke to beautiful sunny morning, decided I should hurry up and get out into the world
10:15 Spent a while writing SMS auf Deutsch to my housemate, asking if he has any garden shears
10:20 Housemate came from next door, no shears but a large penknife
10:45 Headed to Volkspark, going to appreciate this spring morning and get some leafy treats to refresh my altar
11:30 Stealthily hacked off a few branches from a white cherry blossom tree at the park
11:45 Climbed the mountain and sat in the sun for a while, listening to the birds sing and the leaves rustle. All those colours! So refreshing
12:00 Headed home armed with a carrier bag of flowers and branches
12:30 Set up altar, it is looking dreamy, and feasted on a pile of lentil curry
13:00 Submitted content editor test after proof reading a million times. Those words feel as though they’re etched into my eyeballs
13:00 Hot steamy shower, ahead of meeting at dT. Nothing like an afternoon wank to get you powered up
14:00 Took the tram to Mitte in the rain, clutching coffee and getting pumped
15:00 Met with CEO of dT, there were only 3 people in the office, seems like a pretty chill place to work, I’ll start on the 2nd of May.
15:45 Headed home, realised I needed to break my 10euro note to get a tram ticket so went to Rewe to get essentials – muesli, milk, and tealights
15:50 Stupidly realised I was given a 5 note and 1 euro at the shop, USELESS. So had to invest in a pfann kuchen and I gave homeless guy who was sitting in the rain 80 cents.
16:30 Home, quick cuppa and fag before going on the Roo. Spontaneously burst into dance in the kitchen at the thought of a stable income. No webcam porno for me! (for now)
16:45 Made sandwiches and packed my huge bag
17:00 Set off on my bike to Mitte, wearing black power suit, the sun’s out after all that rain, hopeful prospects on the horizon.
17:30 Decided to explore ‘Do You Read Me?’ on Auguststr. while waiting for orders. SO. MANY. MAGAZINES. Was completely blown away by the choice and variety, it was inspiring. Why don’t I submit my writing to more places? But most of them were arty farty, and I doubt any of my zines would ever make an appearance on their shelves.
18:00 Still no orders. Sat on a bench to eat my sandwich and observe all the wonderful and weird posh people in Mitte. Wondered what they do with their lives, how they can afford to be around here. My first, and somewhat envious reaction was ‘rich parents’! But then I realized I shouldn’t be so judgmental, they probably work hard and I always assume that people have family money to excuse myself for being such a failure.
18:30 Still no orders, the sun disappeared, so I headed to the Spati at Rosenthaler Platz to see the Roo gang
18:35 There were about 15 Rooers all sitting at the Spati, a quiet night. Went on tirade about my lack of payment. Was warned to behave, because rumor has it that people are starting to get fired (clearly, there are too many of us these days). Don’t give a shit any more.
18:40 Black storm cloud on the horizon, the clouds of Mordor approach.
18:45 Thunder clapped, accompanied by the PING of Roo orders. Shit weather = work for us, everyone began to disperse and head out into the torrents of rain
18:50 Got absolutely soaked on my way to pick up a burger. I may look like the hottest delivery person in this city, but a black power suit ain’t practical for the rain.
19:00 Delivered burger, sopping wet up 4 flights of stairs, no tip. Decide to fuck Roo, mentally counted how much money I’m owed, and whether I could quit now and head to bed. My proposed excuse ‘Sorry, I have a flat tire and without payment, I’m not sure how I’ll be able to get it fixed’
19:15 Rain stopped, I decided to wait a little longer before running away, since the clock is running and pennies were heading my way
19:30 Another burger order, the customer was very friendly and gave me a 3 Euro tip! The rain stopped so I decided to continue with this shitty job for a little longer. It takes more to break me!
20:00 Hung around Oranienstrasse where there was a lone football in the street. Observed as people got excited and kicked it as they walked by, or avoided it.
20:15 Reaaaaally wanted chips, so I gazed into various takeaways clutching my 3euro tip, the only money I had on my person. Decided to smoke instead so I could wait and really appreciate the feast I had planned for myself, I didn’t want to risk getting an order half way through
20:30 Walked back to spati, whistling and gazing in windows along the way. Not many people around.
20:45 Another order, the journey was far but it took me towards home
21:10 Dropped off the food near Eberswalder Strasse, another Euro tip to add to my feast money. Score! Hung around the area, gazing at menus to see if I can get a cheese burger and chips for 4 euro.
21:20 Continued walking towards my house, everything is way too fancy and expensive here. By then I was praying I wouldn’t get an order, and was determined to find a cheese burger and chips for 4 Euro
21:30 Clock off. Wahoo! Feast time
21:40 Found a small imbiss that had my desired dinner for 4.50, managed to find 30 cents in my bag, haggled with the owner who was more than happy to feed me. SUCCESS
21:50 Tucked in to my feast surrounded by middle aged men speaking Turkish, who all seem to know each other and the owners. I was the only other customer and it felt a bit like being Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max, stuffing my face with burger, giant Roo bag at my feet , wearing my black overalls.
22:30 Home at last, was supposed to be having drinks with a friend by they cancelled because ‘they got wet’ on their cycle home. THEY DON’T KNOW THE MEANING OF WET. Was soaked to the bone, so I dove into bed and watched a film, (Whiplash, as recommended by Student D), while admiring my refreshed altar with its new cherry blossom branches and candles.
00:30 Film over, should I have a spliff? My body was asleep but brain alive. The colours outside my window looked so inviting.
00:40 Couldn’t even move to get my weed, it must be bed time. Bis Morgen!
Saturday, 16th April
06:30 Woke up, itchy as fuck, lots of insect bites from the romp in the woods
06:35 Window fag, the sky is blue with pink clouds. RED SKY IN THE MORNING…SHEPERD’S WARNING. I decided to ignore this adage and returned to my bed
11:00 Caught up with friends on FB, was supposed to meet Radz today and go to comics invasion, but she flaked.
12:00 Still in pyjamas, felt the need to plan Remi’s lesson
13:00 Lesson planned, lounged around some more and read for a few hours
15:30 Disco nap
16:00 Headed to Comic Books Invasion at Urban Spree with giant Roo bag
16:30 Explored all the stalls while shuffling through crowds with giant bag
17:00 A woman approached me outside, asking about my bag. She is a fellow Rooer, and she hasn’t been paid either. We connected on hipchat and planed some collective action in case next week went unpaid. Felt like a relief to not be the only one. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
17:30 Clocked on for work, stayed at comic book fest
18:00 First order of the day, time to hop on my bike
19:30 Sat a Frankfurter Tor in the blazing evening sun reading Homer and eating peanut butter sandwiches
20:30 Hung around Warshauer Str. Observing the pigs (the police) and drinking a beer. Remembered this thing I wrote:
Piggy, piggy piggy, walking down the street, harassing every brown man you have the chance to meet! Stupid little piggy says ‘we’re not all the same, it’s just a few bad apples who really are to blame. ‘ Oh silly little piggy, hear me as I scream – the whole system is corrupt and you’re a cog in the machine.
21:30 Spontaneous whistling duet with the guy working at No Hablo Espanol while waiting to collect a burrito
22:30 All went quiet in the Land of Roo, decided to slowly head home and get ready to party
23:00 Arrived home, still logged into Roo, prayed I wouldn’t get more orders
23:15 Logged off, no more orders. IT’S TIME TO PARTY
23:30 Nance arrives, we had a few pfeffis and lines to get in the party mood
00:00 Arrived at party, most are already quite sozzled
02:30 After knocking back many gins and an absynthe, the bedroom sonnen brillen party begins.
02.50 – Spoke to Yas about potential job at her fashion startup. She’s so enthusiastic it sounds too good to be true.
04:00 Rounded up the troops to head out.
04:30 Waiting line!
05:00 Aaaand we’re in. Became enveloped by the warm embrace of thudding techno. Good bye time and space, I’ll be seeing you another day
12:00 Decided to forsake my weekend bonus and cancelled my Deliveroo shift, was supposed to be working at 17:00. Luckily lots of replacements were available. Disposable labor!
16:30 Emerged into daylight, disorientated but glowing.
17:00 Sat under a tree near Warshauer, basking in the sun and listening to the birds.
17:10 Persistent drug dealer wouldn’t leave me alone. Was first polite, explained that maybe he should ask the fresh faced people if they want drugs, not those who are already wild eyed and gurning. After ten minutes I started madly shouting at him to leave. It worked.
17:20 Almost fell asleep on the street. GO HOME YOU FOOL
18:00 Home at last, dove into bed a sweating stinking mess, oh how wonderful it feels to be buried beneath a duvet
20: 00 Where the hell am I?! Takes me a minute but I am back.
21:00 FINISHED THE GODDAMN JIGSAW PUZZLE in a frenzy. Left three pieces for housemate to finish.
21:30 Rolled a little spliff and wrote about the past 24 hours while gazing lovingly out of the window. I can still hear the thud of techno in my ears. All those images, imprinted into my mind. A tension was exorcised from my body, expelled through the stomping of my feet. I was stroking the fabric of the universe.
23:00 Crawled back into bed feeling thoroughly revived. This truly is a wonderful city, and even though I now only have 29 euros to my name, I feel utterly privileged.
Text by Daria Daria
Edited by Louise Trueheart
Photography by Daantje Bons