I could talk to you of paranoia, of people watching me from the sky, and I would be telling you the truth. And I wonder, as I pee in the bushes beside my wagon and listen to hard-hatted men yelling to each other from the construction site behind our wagenplatz, if those manning the cranes watch me from their steely heights. I flip them off, just in case.
What is now frozen muddy construction was once a part of this wagenplatz. It used to be wild and green. There were blackberries and elderberries and so many snails that one resident described walking to the bathroom “like walking on cornflakes.” Once upon a much longer time, there wasn’t even a road dividing the two plots of land.
Back then, after the road and before the current construction, it looked like this:
Today, it looks like this:
(In favor of my point is the fact that the first picture was taken in spring, while the second was taken in winter. However, I doubt that the construction site would look much different either way. There would be more brown and less white, is all.)
They’re not building on the land where our wagons once stood—where the guest wagon where I spent my first night in Mainz used to look out across a grassy field at the chemistry building—but on the land next to it. They needed the other bit of land, they told us, to park their bulldozers and metal container offices.
So we moved wagons and the university “gave” us (read: sold us) another piece of land a kilometer away for the displaced wagons. Is it an improvement? A defeat? It’s hard to say for sure. I can only hope that one day they are finished and that the land they destroyed for a temporary construction parking lot, for another steel-and-glass borg-ship architectural atrocity, can be taken back.