The Matrix experience from Mini´s Jacket

Posted on 25 May 2020

My cousin introduced me to Mini a cold October morning. I had just arrived to Karlsruhe, Germany, was crashing at my cousin´s  crappy flat. Bernd was busy and had to leave early but he´s a magnificent host, so he sent Mini to take care of me . Bernd though that I needed a urgent update of my very rusty German and the fast track way he found was for me to hang around with Mini..  Bernd and Mini met at the University and a mutual curiosity made for good friendship . Mini is very German.  Speks almost no English, no Spanish at all, drinks coffee and smokes like crazy and is an absolute motorcycle weird.  Yes, small guy, that’s why they call him Mini. Shoulder length blonde hair, huge forehead and nicotine stained teeth…but always conversational, interesting, involved.

Mini moved around exclusively on a motorcycle. No tram, no bicycle, no cars, even no foot. Guess that he needed every single excuse to ride. And ride he did. At that moment his bike was a NSU 250 Max I really never knew what year. It was certainly not a restoration project. It´s an awesome, legendary bike (at least in Germany) that he bought on a student budget and he did all the wrenching to keep it alive. The NSU was his passion. You know, when you see beauty in ugly things.


He rode this NSU all year round no matter what in the less than ideal German weather. And I never knew that Mini had a crash. Ever. And he was a dam fast rider, precise, always in control. Never riding over his head. I hardly could keep up with him.

He kept thing simple: The NSU rolling in spite of the ugly rusted tank and fenders, and the usual attire seldom changed. The white summer T shirts replaced the winter flannel long sleeve shirt, but the old jeans, heavy black leather boots, long black gloves and the black leather jacket was always exactly the same no matter what. Black on black. Timeless. Practical. No brainer.

That jacket was heavy. Purpose built. No known brand, just utterly functional. Very German.  Only Mini could wear that thing with  him drinking coffee, dispatching beer after beer in the Kneipe, attending classes and barbecuing in the family black forest cottage. And riding.

Once or twice he lent me the jacket for a quick ride or something. And I swear that this piece of leather got into my brain…you zipped closed Mini´s jacket and similar to this Matrix scene where Keanu Reeves is brainwashed or “trained” via a helmet full of cables, I saw myself dragging the pegs at night in the middle of a deserted black forest back road. Or racing to the cottage through secondary roads among wheat fields and apple farms. With a load of steaks tied to the backseat. The NSU screaming…to suddenly change to a smoke filled Kneipe with ten empty Pilsner beer glasses in front of me and rolling the tenth cigarette of the night.

I had a hard time following the local dialect so I missed a good deal of the info that the jacket was feeding me….my German certainly got better but I never mastered the local dialect…You unzipped the thing and everything back to normal. I Swear.

This jacket had memories. The Asphalt reminds me so much to Mini´s alter ego…

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