In step with today

I don’t know what it is about some days. It’s like they get stuck under my shoe, and no matter how I try, I can’t shake them loose. With every step I tramp awkwardly and feel, for the most part, a little off balance.

I had such a day today.  To say it was frustrating is like saying that Madonna is quite rich. At midday, I decided to try and walk it off. My plan was to take my lunch and go and eat it down by the River Thames.

Having bought my lunch, I walked along a lovely piazza lined by restaurants. I got distracted by a small band setting themselves up in the shade of a leafy plain tree. I sat down in that same shade, and waited to see what would happen next. And the band began to play.

Adam was the lead singer and guitarist; a kind of curly-haired Leonard Cohen. Leonard Cohen on Prozac; slow and poetic, but not as depressing as he could be. He was joined by a violinist and double bass player, and together they played some really interesting, original music.

Soon after I sat down, a young woman sitting next to me lit herself a rolled “cigarette”. I use the word loosely. She took a drag, stood up and put the rollie down where she’d been sitting and disappeared. I watched her disappear out of view, and wondered if I was part of a social experiment. I thought maybe someone was about to come and have a second drag of it, but no. About five minutes later, the young woman returned with a coffee in her hand. Of course.

Next, I saw another young woman, dressed in a bright yellow, lycra, polka dot body suit. She walked past, not without some sniggering from the construction workers sitting near me.  As I looked around for a camera – surely a candid camera moment? – I saw another young woman emerge from the opposite direction on an old-fashioned bicycle with a basket in the front. She had a scarf wrapped around her head and knotted on top, like an old-fashioned washerwoman. She stopped her bike for a short while and stood and watched and listened. She then rode off, with her furry toy penguin strapped in as a pillion passenger.

Adam continued to pour his heart out into the piazza, to very little attention from the lunching majority walking by, or sitting chatting at the local restaurants. After one lively-ish song, a friend of Adam’s shouted out that his last song had sounded “quite happy”. Adam apologised.

Oh, and a chalkboard next to the small wooden stage from which Adam and band played held a stern warning: “No stage diving”.

I sat a bit longer and soaked everything in. I looked at the beautiful late-autumn-sunny London day. The sky was blue, the sun was streaming through the green leaves of the trees, and what I was experiencing could not have been happening anywhere but London. The city that does random, bizarre, funny, unique like no place I’ve known before. I found sunshine in my otherwise grey day, and I remembered the joy of a city such as this.

I walked back to my office. Funny, there was no longer anything under my shoe.

Sunshine signing off for today!


30 thoughts on “In step with today

  1. Oh, I really liked this post, Sunshine! Portland, Oregon, where I live, sounds very much like London. Always something interesting and entertaining afoot. You are so wise to have left your frustration behind and enter into the miraculous world of observation. Wouldn’t it be great if more people would do this?

    Love ya!

    1. Thank you, lovely Patty! I so needed to go and feel refreshed – I didn’t get to the river, but I got just what I needed. You’re right – we all need to do that more often. Take care, my friend xx
      PS Portland, Oregon, always fascinates me – it sounds like such an amazing place. Will have to visit there one day.

  2. YES! Isn’t it funny how a walk outside, in the fresh air, observing people and nature simply going about the business of living, can turn a foul day right?!

  3. Nice post! I was thinking the smoke from the “rollie” might have also calmed you down…:-)

    I could totally picture all of it. New York is very similar in this respect. If you simply sit still and observe for a while, there is much to see and appreciate.

    1. Hahahaha, bsb, you might be quite right – that’s so funny! And you’re right, it’s so therapeutic to sit and observe and notice. I couldn’t believe how much I was soaking in all around me.

  4. Oh it made me homesick. How I miss all those quirky things – but I guess if I look around Wellington I will see some of them. But it’s never the same.
    Thanks for the memories. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Judith. Quirky’s a perfect word for London, and I just love it. Sorry to make you homesick, though … I’ve no doubt Wellington will offer its own kind of quirkiness, but I know what you mean.

  5. It’s always to interesting and entertaining to watch people. Too bad you didn’t get a photo of the bright yellow, lycra, polka dotted body suit. On second thought, maybe you saved all our eyes from being burned! Never a dull moment, it seems!

  6. It always helps to look on the bright side, Sunshine.
    What a bunch of characters. There’s nothing like people watching in a big city where people march to the beat of their own drummers.

  7. Did Seattle and San Francisco in’85. Was surprised to see well dressed women in business attire wearing Reeboks with heels over their shoulders. Ah, the hills , the ups and downs of those cities. Miami is so flat it took me a moment to figure out.

    1. Yes, Carl – you see that all the time here in London; women wearing business suits and trainers. I even saw a woman once wearing fishnet stockings and trainers – it’s all about commuting and walking in comfort, and changing into killer heels when you get to your destination/office!

  8. Hi Sunshine! That is quite a day. Sorry. I do not like being around smokers and I know you have a lot in your neck of the woods. If I’d been sitting there, I’d probably have put it out myself. Well, hope tomorrow is better!

  9. Lovely post Sunshine. You have a great way of making one feel what you are or were feeling and experiencing at the time. I think I need to do a bit of refreshing walkabouting sometime soon meself! Hugs x

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