The Bristol Diaries
The cab driver made it very clear that he wasn’t from Bristol. As did the man at the bank. As if there some secret I was not aware of. A reason a person would not claim Bristol as his own. This triggered my already nervous temperament. It made me wonder what I had gotten myself into. Less than twenty-four hours in the city and people were already denying they lived here. Why? I guess this will be my quest. It will be up to me to determine whether or not these people are eschewing the title of Bristolian for legitimate reasons.
I was walking around the Broadmead area this morning, before most people were out. I liked the look and feel of the pedestrian only areas. I passed by two, not just one, stand that made soft pretzels. I relaxed a bit when I saw that. Perhaps things would not be so bad. There were pretzels, after all. Alongside the pretzels came a candy bar in the middle of the street. I grinned to myself, as if I was in on an inside joke. Eventually I walked past hipster Mecca, otherwise known as Urban Outfitters. It was calming to know that should I crave a pair of galaxy tights or a silk-screened wolf crop top it was merely minutes away. A man stopped me on the street and called me beautiful in a way that made me smile not reach for my non-existent mace.
As I waited at the bank to set up a new account I was offered tea and a biscuit. When in Britain… Already the question of why I have chosen here of all places has come up. I have no real answer for them. No tangible thing that will make them nod their head in an understanding way. For some reason I want that. I need someone to validate that this was the right decision for me. That it was worth it. But I know no one can.
At the hostel, the common areas are filled with people staring at their smartphones or doing something on their computers. There is a lack of urgency here. The people possess a lethargic quality to them. This is a new phenomena to me. When I first moved to Australia, about 6 years ago, laptops were rare, smartphones not yet in existence. People were much more willing to talk and share. But times have changed. Everyone is on Facebook. They are here yet they are also in a hundred different places, with their families, friends, coworkers, etc.
The thing I forgot about traveling and moving around is the allowances you have to make. The extra few hundred dollars that disappear on things like excess luggage or unlocking your phone or replacing items you have lost. The money that you can never account for. The money you feel cheated out of.