The Truth About London – A travel Confession – Part 1

Part 1    People On The Move

There are two kinds of folks on journeys—my opinion.  Travelers, and Tourists. By my definition, if you’ve flown a thousand miles to spend three days somewhere, you are a tourist. Nothing wrong with that. I am myself a tourist now, but used to travel in my youth. As tourist, I am here to see the sights, the monuments and castles. Subway bound —the tube, with wives and cameras, sometimes kids.

The travelers are mostly single, often younger, with no jobs, perhaps between jobs, less well healed than tourists, but the trip is less expensive. There is time to learn one’s way around, the price of things, and what’s worth having. Fewer baths, and Spartan beds—long rides on shaky buses. Learning to relax amidst the unfamiliar.

Lots of things are unfamiliar to me in this digital, technology—like cell phones. Mine defies me, always wanting updates or a code a I can’t remember. Others use them without thought. Facebooking madly. “We are here now.” There are photos, maps. Friends know exactly where we are. There was a time when no one knew where in the world I was. Now I prefer somebody does—just in case. Survivors get more cautious as we age.

I have digressed. Where am I? Tourist, London, with my wife. My birthday—eighty years.

The trip begins. A three hour ride. Wife’s driving with some kind of cell phone app. A woman’s voice instructs us, “In 300 meters, turn right onto Route 53.” Amazing. It’s unreal. We never miss a turn and it’s a complicated drive. No problem. We have reservations, pre-paid parking fee for days we’d be away, and airline tickets —Ryan Airlines—gets you there no frills, far less expensive. All this done on Internet and cell phone. Wife made all of these arrangements. She has been a long time traveler, and still good at it. She’s Swedish, can’t remember if I’ve told you.

We sleep over at the hotel airport. Nice rooms and free breakfast opens 4 a.m.  Airport in walking distance, then the wait. About two hours and then another in line waiting to get passports checked. Wife says to slide my passport through the slot along with Swedish ID card. Confusion. Why am I traveling with a U.S. passport? A long discussion begins. I had not thought to bring my percent resident card—ten minute hassle. Those in line behind us are unhappy. I have become one of the people I have cursed. “What the hell is wrong with that guy? What’s his problem?” At last a superior is consulted and we are let through to wait in another line, the last before getting on a plane with less legroom than planes with no leg room and non-reclining seats. We’re thirty hours into the trip and still not there yet.

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Postcard From Smoothy-14 April

In case you want to know what’s going on in Sweden.

As you can see, we still have a lot of snow on the ground which makes my paws wet and I’m not in love with it. In the photo below Mio is telling me something about the weather. I forget what is was.

Next picture is me looking to see if the sun is still out. We have had sun for three days in a row here, which is a miraculous event in Sweden.

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Regarding the Truth

From The Art of FictionParis Review – Summer 2017

Taken from an interview with Ali Smith.

“We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means nobody gives a shit whether somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to find out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.”

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An Interesting Thought


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The Crises of freedom

At present in our country there is a general experience of suppressed panic: anxiety not only about the hydrogen bomb and the prospect of atomic war, but about uncontrolled inflation, unemployment, anxiety that our old values have deteriorated as our religions have eroded, about our disintegrating family structure, concern about pollution of the air, the oil crisis and infinitum. The mass of citizens react as a neurotic would react: we hasten to conceal the frightening facts with the handiest substitutes, which dull out anxiety and enable us temporarily to forget.

The Crises of freedom        Rollo May

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On Marriage


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Snow Tires

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