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tales from an ordinary world


I was just making my way through the office, as usual, when I was hit with a particular memory I'd completely forgotten about - once upon a time, I became a regular in a bar, in some other city, just for a few days.

It wasn't so long ago - in recent years - and I was visiting this small city by the sea for a few days just to look around, to relax and recharge. I got to my hotel just before the rain hit, and feeling no particular need to go wandering in the wet I decided I'd eat in the hotel restaurant. I watched out the streaky window as the evening light faded, looking at cars passing by below on the main road, down which I'd come in the taxi not too long before.

After dinner, I wasn't feeling quite ready for the confines of my room, so I strolled over to the bar, perched on a stool and ordered a drink. The barman smiled under his grey moustache, friendly and slightly fox-like as we made usual small talk about where I was from, and what I was doing here. The sport channel silently showed fields of green, with multicoloured players who were probably tussling over a ball. The endless back and forth. He handed me my drink, and an ashtray, and that's how the evening went - not at great speed, but at a slow, relaxing pace.

During my days I aimed to cover as much ground as possible, to walk as much as I can and see what there was to see. Aircraft occasionally circled overhead, and some navy ships had docked for a few days. Girls pointed and giggled at well-dressed sailors in shopping malls. I found a cafe to sit in, somewhere I could watch out the window and see people crossing the street, concerns on their brow, laughing and joking with friends, or deep in mobile phone conversations. It was warm, not hot, but warm enough that you could work up a bit of a sweat if you'd been walking around for hours.

In the late afternoon I'd return to my room, shower and change clothes, and head out in the early evening to find some dinner. I'd walk up and down a few streets, examining the restaurants on offer, and sit at a table for one. I was content with this, with my random strolling about, without any particular agenda to follow or things I absolutely had to see. I could hop on a bus going nowhere in particular, and hop off at some deserted backbeach on a cold and windy but also cloudless and sunny morning. I could go up the hillside, and look down on the city below. Buildings and streets and cars and people and trees and pavements going up and down and around. Later, I'd pass small parks where people sat under trees, reading. Schoolkids waiting for their buses at a large terminal. Shoppers, hands full with bags. Happy and unhappy people, all together.

After dinner I'd walk around a bit more, but I'd always end up back at the hotel bar, for no other particular reason than its sense of familiarity, I suppose. It wasn't far to my bed afterwards, so I didn't need to worry about how I might get home when the day finally caught up with me. The bartender would tell me stories of his life, about when he used to be a taxi driver, or where he lives, a short drive out of town. He'd ask what I got up to, and nod approvingly as I mentioned the various places I'd been.

It's a nice little city. I'd like to go back some day, though I know it won't be the same.

Sometimes I listen to a song by The Church called Louisiana, because it evokes that faraway feeling, of a yearning for times spent in some other life.

..end transmission...

other times

days : (<< 2002-06) 2002-07 : 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 11, 11b, 13, 14, 16, 16b, 17, 18, 21, 21b, 21c, 26 (2002-08 >>).

months : (<< ) all of 2002-07 ( >>).

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