Thursday, March 22

Ich moechte wandern… in an art gallery. First I would watch other people: some would be watching the art, others would be looking, trying to grasp something tangible from it. Others would be students, set assignments on specific pieces, clipboard and pencils in tow, perhaps a shoulder bag or one of those little folding chairs which are like the sort people have for camping. (I would be able to articulate them a little better, had I been entitled to camping in my childhood, but, you know, deprived childhood, of course – where was the camping? It was not! But I digress, as per usual, as you can predict and rely upon me doing…) And I would watch the people prancing, bambi-style, or like tennis and badminton players do, then swinging on their heels or the sides of their shoes as they examine the works. (Do they do this deliberately? Some do, I think.)

I would get bored of watching, and go to sit down on one of the benches. The sort of benches that are really very comfy, but without a back, and so there would be the temptation to lie down, and sit on my side, scrutinising something. No doubt I would be asked to sit ‘properly’ should I try this, so it is more likely that to resist the temptation I would have to get up and do something else. I am of a fidgety disposition, after all. To the window, to look out over the city and the people hurrying. But not hurrying like Londoners, no. The window would be an old one, hung quite low to the floor, the sort of windows I always wanted when I was younger, imagined putting into our house (despite the obvious ludicrous nature of such an idea), and I would think about maybe putting a window seat in (they really would add to art galleries)… Then it would be back to people watching, to the families, where one kid was interested, or one partner, or perhaps not really anyone, but the parents thought it would be a good, educational idea. In theory. Not when their kids begin trying to open stuff that’s encased in glass, or terrorising other visitors, or running into other people’s legs, mistaking them for their parents. (Oh dear.)

I might then actually look at the art, and maybe if someone who seemed interesting or pretty was also looking at it, I would smile at them. And then if they were to smile back or comment, a conversation would evolve. I love conversations with strangers who are mildly bizaree, or knowledgeable without pushing it onto yourself, only revealing it so much when you get really into a discussion, and when that discussion confirms your initial thoughts/ excitement. Especially when they initiate them… then we would drift apart again, easily, and perhaps, as I wander around, I would here someone speaking another language. I would try to get the gist were it French or German, or maybe just enjoy listening to it, the fall and rise of the sentences, the words they miss out but that we are taught to say, their accent, the way their mannerisms vary, the strange sounds which only their language has, which I miss when I’m not in some way involved with French or German. I would watch, amused, as people mull in and out and through and inbetween, and as the security people patrol.

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