An Average Day: Part 5 of 8

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A fictional day comprised from parts of many non-fictional days while I was backpacking in Europe

I move slowly from the train, letting everyone ahead of me. There are plenty of times I’m in a hurry and it’s an unbelievably good feeling to move slowly where everyone else is rushing about. Climbing the stopped escalator, I feel a sharp pain in my knee, which leads me to think about my health. Besides all the walking around, traveling can get to be a pretty lethargic thing. I’ve found it difficult to exercise being in a new place every few days. I wonder if the pain is a sign of ageing, picture my bones and ligaments growing frail and shudder at the thought of passing time.

When I reach the daylight, over the peaks of old buildings I can see the cathedral’s giant steeple, so I head in that direction. Circling the massive church with my camera out, I look for tourists being tourists and locals being locals that I can frame into my shots. With one memory card full, I buy a ticket and head inside. There’s probably lots of history in here to learn about. I’m sure all these wall paintings and giant stained glass windows and massively high ceilings and hundreds of rows of pews and assortment of alters have got some good stories behind them, but my eyes and ears are the only ones interested today. I pass by the informative handouts and proceed to waltz up the center aisle. Watching people pray and light candles, I think back to my Church days. I wonder if anyone might build a place like this again. It doesn’t seem like there’s interest in such things these days, which I figure is strange considering how many people flock to see them. I suppose that’s the trade off for efficient commerce. Maybe that’s what people want to see, I wonder; what life was like before we traded beauty for efficiency.

After a short but satisfying tour, I’m back to the streets and wandering on. Feeling inspired now, I search for a café where I can get some writing done. I’m on the lookout for table cloths and straight lain utensils, for they’re signs of pricey food. Finding a cheaper looking place with a good atmosphere, I head in and take a seat by the window. Over ten minutes pass and I haven’t had any human contact, so like every well served American, I wonder ‘Can I get some service over hear?’ Time and time again I have thoughts like these, only to remember that I’m not in America. Plus I don’t even want anything to eat; I’m only here for the ambiance and power outlet, so the longer it takes them to serve me the longer I can use their electricity and nice window without having to pay for it.

A waiter comes over seeming rushed. I order something respectable so I can feel ok claiming the seat for a few hours, but as usual it ends up being unnecessary. No place I pick in this country ever gets overcrowded and everywhere I’ve ever been outside the United States seems to let me sit all day long over a cup of tea anyway.

When the food comes, I push my laptop back and devour it, then make a promise to eat slower next time. My head stays down until I get stuck on a sentence. During these breaks my ears go to the conversations around me. Voices are incomprehensible, but I can hear the emotions. My eyes go out the window to people passing and I notice the similarities locked behind our ability to communicate. It’s still strange being so close to people but not being able to talk with them.

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