From across the pond

So I’m in London, or now outside London, on a train that just left Paddington Station, and it’s Saturday, though when I post it it’ll be Sunday, or maybe still Saturday, what with the time zone and my complete inability to figure out this WordPress phone app. There are these gorgeous green velvet swaths of countryside (my mind is screaming ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE! ) out my window. Sometimes it looks like Wisconsin and sometimes it looks like a movie, and sometimes the transformation takes place in front of you like a passing cloud.

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The train is to Bristol, where I’ll meet Chris. Yesterday I took the Tube into central London with my cousin and while she was at work I walked around the city in that sort of travel-daze that you get when your level of curiosity about a place is disproportionate to the amount of actual working knowledge you have about it. And also totally disproportionate to the amount of sleep you’ve gotten. So you wander from block to block (and by “you” I mean “I,” though traveling can make one feel so disconnected that it hardly matters) seeing one gray ancient fascinating wedding-cake of a building after another and each time you think is that something I should see? Each time you try to get behind the moment. I went into the British Museum and saw the Rosetta Stone, and marble statues, and a bog man, who was really nothing more than a leathery crumpled heap. Then I left and walked some more. Traveling in a strange city is like being in a dream where the nightmare elements are just barely kept at bay—little wisps of fear and disorientation that don’t show up in the snapshots.

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The memories of this trip aren’t here yet. I’m typing on a crowded train where I had to argue with another passenger to get my proper seat and there is a girl in the vestibule crying on a cell phone and the landscape is a blur. Wish you were here.

Comments

  1. says

    True story: the concept of the wedding cake stack was inspired by St. Bride’s church in London. So you might have spotted that very wedding cake steeple!