After the familiar anonymity of Charles de Gaulle; the subtle streaming smells of humanity and the omnipresent waiting. Waiting for the customs processing, waiting for the 4 Euro French Press Starbucks, waiting for the toilette and wondering how the line will order itself this time.
Finding the mid-walkway business pod encased in ecru faux leather single chairs and L-shpaed corner units populated with more women then men. I slide into a single chair across from a mid career business man speaking words I do not understand through a wired Iphone headset. I text my oldest son in Hawaii. I transcribe an overdue document for work meandering in the haze of timezone unconsciousness before planing and deplaning to my final destination.
After the incredulously simple Uber ride with driver Ricardo, “I love the American people. They think about things, they have opinions and speak it. Not so comfortable as here in Portugal, where people have good life and don’t question. But America! Those American people”, I arrive in Colares, 30 km outside of Lisbon. The late afternoon sun warms the terra cotta roof tiles blanketing the village with 1000 years of familiarity.
This is the familiarity of Europe. The space knows what to do.
The white stucco houses stud rolling hillsides. The people tuck themselves in and out of the landscape in timeless patterns. The flooring inside houses is frigid. Always. “Bitte ziehe Hauschuhe an” I hear my grandmother voice, begging me to put on slippers as we walk around her German apartment. Village sounds permetate the now evening air; something large and metalic collapses, inside a distant window someone practices the trumpet, doors clang open and shut resounding in the centuries of entrances and exits. Somewhere a group of American toddlers and their mother loudly shout safety rules into the dusk. I wonder why Americans abroad are so loud.
I coast into the covers using the final droplets of waking energy and turn 1 page of Nicole Walker’s Quench Your Thirst with Salt. The 300 year old wood encased window streams the living room lights of the hillside. The lanterns of quietude.
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