Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 22- to Porriño

German father and son left before 7. We got up at 8. Spaniards soon after. Bum Knee was still snoring when we went down for breakfast, to finally finish the cereal I'd carried since Porto. By the time we went back upstairs, everyone was gone. We left at 9:15, one of earliest starts but it wasn't early enough for me. With the time difference, it was 10:15 in Spain and we were already a little late.

It was a very foggy morning. It's fortunate that JH and I walked around last night because everything is hidden and we are disoriented. The fortress is just shapes, the trees are boney fingers snatching away our sense of place and time.

Even in the fog, JH found a shop and asked, "Should we buy an umbrella?"

I said, "no", knowing immediately that it was the wrong answer, delivered too quickly.

"You always say no", she huffed, forgetting that I'd been very helpful and supportive buying a tablecloth that I have to carry for the rest of the trip, "we neec one. Why don't you want to buy an umbrella?"

This was just the latest in a series of umbrella skirmishes. I love walking arm in arm with JH but she is impossible to share an umbrella with. I hold it too high or too low. Or the angle is wrong and rain hits her cheek. Or if the wind shifts, I'm not quick enough readjusting. It's not pleasant. The problems are reversed if she carriers it. So, she was correct that we needed one to replace the one Gyueon wrecked.

My reasons for saying no and what I said are very different. I just didn't think this was the best time to buy one. In my mind, we were behind schedule and we hadn't even gotten going yet. And I know that JH is incapable of quickly buying something. At groceries stores, the time she takes considering which orange juice to buy is greater than the time it takes to grow an orange tree and make juice from the harvest, adding more choices and taking even more time. Time calls a time out when she shops.

In my mind, this quick umbrella purchase has already played out. She'll look at all of them on display, even the golf umbrellas with Playboy logos, and ask if there are anymore. Of course, there are more. She'll select 5 or 6 that all look the same to me and ask, "which one do you like?"


"Which blue?"

"Um, dark blue."

"Really? The brown is nice."

"Ok. Brown!" I say, too enthusiastically.

"Hmm. The plaid one is nice, too."

"Any one is fine. It doesn't matter much."

"Alright, purple plaid."

I don't want purple plaid but I'm happy that a decision has been made. This went faster than I thought. Then she'll check it and find a minor defect. The whole process starts again.

Finally, a final decision. A pink umbrella. I don't point out that we already have a pink umbrella because I can't suddenly care now.

Price is given. Money comes out. Free!

"Say, you wouldn't happen to have this in a compact size, would you?"

I swallow the big golf umbrella and open it. Free at last!

What did I say instead just calmly explaining that we'd have time later?

"I don't know."

A very bad answer. So bad, it wasn't even wrong.

We spent our last final 10 minutes in Portugal in silence. It gave me time to think about how I would go about buying an umbrella. I'd get rained on, run in, buy the first cheap umbrella I saw, pay, run off, and find out that the umbrella leaks. But look at the time I saved!

As a result, I was 20 steps behind her and Gyueon over the bridge to Spain. The fog was all-encompassing. For a minute, I couldn't see either shore. For a 30 seconds, I couldn't see JH or Gyueon.

I wasn't anywhere, going anywhere, coming from anywhere. Time had no meaning. I only had now but what is now without past and future? Holding that thought gave me a past. At that moment the fog shifted a little and I could see JH and Gyueon. I took a picture to preserve the moment and to look at it in some future time. Back to reality.


1 in front of the albergue

2 the Fortress in fog.

3 crossing over to the other side.

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