Tuesday, July 12, 2016

People watching/talking

I love people watching, but even more I like people talking.

I’ve been busy doing both since leaving Argelès for a few days in the UK. When you talk to people it is a connection if only for a moment.

English woman at airport
At the Carcassonne airport I sat next to a red-headed woman and her red-headed daughter. Because of the next flight being headed to Stansted Airport, English was about the only language being spoken. I asked her the time (a great way to test for conversation willingness. I try not to pursue conversations with those unwilling to talk,)

“4:22 but that’s UK time. I never changed my watch.”

We chatted about her stay in Carcassonne near the château. Yes, my favorite cookie store was still there and they had the same pleasure in going bin to bin to select cookies or biscuits as she called them. There next trip will be to Arizona.

 Man on plane
The man next to us on the plane was thin, bearded and wore a straw hat. He was probably in his late 50s and was reading Annie Prolux Barskins. He said his relatives had left France for Canada and family legend had much in common with the book. We compared family histories. Originally from Detroit, he’d spent 40 years in the UK having followed a woman there. He had been in visiting a friend in Mirepoix and said, yes he thought the hotel that was a converted 13th century jail was still there.

Polish waiter
My host and hostess took me to lunch at Bill’s a wonderful restaurant in Cambridge complete with a library corner. Our waiter, a tall thin, dark-haired man probably in his mid-twenties, was from Poland but he was truly an international also being of Russian and Czech origin. His Czech family have just been rediscovered and they are planning a visit to explore the connections.

Poetry reader
On the underground, the car was almost empty. A man near to us was well-dressed in khaki pants and a light blue shirt. His hair was well cut and with a slight wave. He had a book of Seamus Heaney poems. Years ago I heard Heaney read in Geneva. This time I didn't speak, content to merely watch as people filled the car eventually blocking my view.

Muslim family
A Muslim man with a stroller and three young children got on the train heading back to Broxbourne. He deposited his children in three seats, told the boy to stand and stayed with the carriage or pram since we were in the UK. The children talked quietly until their stop. Looking out the window we saw the little boy who was maybe eight at the most helping his younger sister.

I doubt if I will ever see these people again, although I am still in touch with a Chinese girl I met once on a train to Argelès almost ten years. It doesn't matter if we do ever connect again or not for one special moment our lives touched.

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