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The Port Edge

Sunday, the day deserved the name because we got more than enough sunbeams. I didn’t want to chill out at home, I wanted to do anything and grabbed my camera bag to go outside. I had no plan and walked straight to the city. Arrived and near the harbour, I heard the cheering of a crowd and a soccer moderator. How could I forget this, it’s world cup finale and there was public viewing. I saw the large screen and thought I go there, but security demanded that I keep my camera bag at the entrance. I wouldn’t even get a number, so how can this security dude remember all the bags? Even if I would get a number, no way! I won’t drop my camera, I’d rather skip the spontaneous idea to watch soccer, and that’s what I did.

I then roamed around in the harbour area and found a nice spot at the port edge. I saw many people sitting at the edge, enjoying the sun beams, reading a book or chatting. Some were alone, others were together. I thought I don’t always have to be active, yes, just sitting at the port edge doing nothing, that didn’t seem to be a bad plan either. You don’t always need action, you can also just enjoy the time and a good place. So, I sat down at the edge too, cross-legged…

port edge

I watched the yachts coming in and out, or the tourist boats. I watched the gulls and pigeons and hoped to see other birds like cormorants, but that didn’t happen today. I took pulls from my e-cigarette a few times and enjoyed the small bottle of water I had with me. I noticed a woman on my left side, she was reading a book, and it seemed she enjoyed it too to just sit there at the port edge. On my right I heard two people speaking about our city but in English, and I wondered where they come from, but I was too shy to ask because I didn’t want to be intrusive. I hoped they would ask me something, because my verbal English is not good and it would have been a way to test myself. But also because I always like to have a good chat.

It was sad that none of my friends had time today, because I liked the place and then it would have been even better. I didn’t start to feel lonely, I still clearly heard the TV moderator of the world cup match, because the large screen was on the other side of the channel. I wondered about the score, did France or Croatia lead the match? I could see the screen, but I couldn’t see the score with my eyes, it was too tiny for my eyes. I previously heard the crowd a few times and I thought the moderator would give some hints about the exact score, I would just need to listen.

But then it came to my mind that I had my Tamron 70-300mm with me. I opened the bag and the woman on my left asked me “Can you see the score with this huge camera thingy?”. I laughed and replied “I asked this myself in this moment!”. I took a photo and used the display zoom button to see the score. Minute 78 of play, France shot 4 goals and Croatia 2, I replied. We probably could have used our phones to ask Google, but if you ask me, I like the moments when you forget that phones can do this type of magic. We got into a casual conversation on this way.

I do often complain how smartphones turn us all into zombies, and how conversations with strangers are today much less likely because everyone’s brain is attached to a phone display. But I must admit, it’s not that alone, you sometimes need to slow down, just sitting somewhere in the public with nobody you know. For a moment it might feel awkward, but if that is the case, then just because our brain is not used to it anymore to take a time out from all the information’s we consume. You might feel lonely in this moment, but the reality is, you’re not.

If there is anything that makes us feel lost in a moment of silence, then it is the fact that we are not habituated to a downtime anymore due to the constant bombardment of information’s. I think feeling lonely for a moment, that is perfectly fine, it always has been, we just forgot that. And if that wouldn’t be ironical enough, if we start listening again and open our eyes, most often the contrary comes true. I liked it to sit there at the port edge, with strangers that seemed to enjoy the time and place as much as I did.

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3 Comments »

  1. I like doing that too, the water, the sunshine, the gulls. It’s very relaxing. It’s often something like a sporting event that will bring strangers together to chat for a while. In late December when the Hobart waterfront is busy with people looking at the racing yachts that have just arrived from Sydney or going to the big food festival nearby there is always a big screen in a nearby park which often broadcasts live cricket as there is a Test Match in Melbourne that week. If I’m in the city and have time before my bus home I’ll often go over there and I may ask a stranger “What’s the score?” or maybe someone will ask me and we’ll chat for a few minutes.

    • Most of the time when I am outside, I have a target, like hiking from A to B. But yesterday, just sitting there with strangers, that was actually not that bad. I should do this more often too. It’s great if friends come with me, but what does prevent me to go alone if they don’t have time? Yesterday I realized again that this can lead to interesting chats with strangers because others around you are less shy to ask you something, because you’re not there with a group.

      What I find interesting too is that we often think time flies, and I wonder if we think that because our brain is constantly busy, reading things, watching videos, or doing important stuff. But in a moment like yesterday, 30 minutes felt like 2 hours. It was the opposite. I often noticed the same in the nature. It’s like our brain has problems to notice the here and now if we are constantly busy with something. It’s probably about attention, because when you do nothing special except sitting there, looking around… it’s like you start to experience the time, the day and the things that happen around you. 🙂

      And right, having a chat with strangers that slowed down too, that is always interesting.

      • I think that is the reason some people like to travel alone. They are more likely to talk to strangers and experience the places they visit than when inuslated by being in a group.

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