An afternoon walk to the eternally green Regent’s Park is to bear witness to London’s human rainbow; a Muslim woman waits at a cross-walk, peeking out at the world from her burqa, the sun’s glare making her squint like a giant black cat just awakening;
two Italian women, full of enthusiasm and laughter, take bad pictures in lousy light to show off to drunken husbands left behind in a pub;
students at The Royal Academy of Music fling open their windows to welcome the warm spring day, flooding the street with the wail of scales from violin, cello, horn;
a waifish young Brit in a blue pea coat splayed on a bench pretending to read a John le Carre novel spies on University students playing frisbee on the lawn, his eyes longing for invitation;
an Afghani man hawking strong shots of coffee poured from a gleaming brass pot chats up several Ethiopian men who add extra sugar and cream to their steaming cups;
a gaggle of giggling Japanese girls in matching skirts skip by, their smiles infectious;
an Indian couple sits cross-legged on a paisley blanket, knees touching, staring at each other, her black silken hair catching the sunlight and making this decidedly American woman suddenly yearn to hear her wife’s laugh.
Walls of aroma interrupt my progress; cigarettes and dope, cheap cologne and expensive perfume, blooming hyacinth and daffodil, stale piss.
The public spaces of huge cities are so … public. Privacy and aloneness are afforded only behind the locked door of an often tiny room, and amidst the noise, constant like a dull ache, quiet and stillness are to be found only in the heart and head. Museums, parks, cafes are an extension of one’s living room, where a guest is encouraged to order tea, linger, people-watch, daydream.
#england #london #citylife #meltingpot (at London, United Kingdom)