I take this route twice a day everyday from home to the architecture office where I work. I live in the former East, and the office is in the former West. Even twenty years after reunification, the differences are just as marked; the more so because much of this daily route happens on the U and S-bahn. The quickest way to get to Deutsche Oper U-bahn station from Nordbahnhof is to take the S1 or 2 down to Potsdamerplatz and then switch to the U2 line. Somehow, I've grown accustomed to coming out of the S-bahn station, into Potsdamerplatz, to go back underground to the U-bahn station - even though there is a connection underground. surfacing for just a few moments for air every week day at 9:30 am, I see the same people in the Balzac coffee shop, reading the newspaper. In the winter they are inside, and as the warm weather approaches, they slowly, group by group, start to move to the outdoor seating. I see the same punk boy with his dog begging for money. We definitely recognize each other, and I venture to say that we have an understanding. For one, he no longer asks me for money. In the event that I have to wait for my connection, I inevitably stare at the pastries in the little bakery on the subway platform. Also inevitable, I will resist buying anything until I reach the bakery at the Deutsche Oper station. Resistance, afterall, is futile. The trip, taking approximately 45 minutes has allowed me 1.5 hours of reading time every week day. John Irving's 'A Prayer for Owen Meaney,' has the unique status of being a book that I read only on this journey.