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Trudging through the city I feel like an outcast. Hiking boots, sloppily layered clothing, hair in wild disarray. We squeeze past women in summer dresses, men in trousers and button-down shirts. At shopping centers, the doormen look somewhere above my head. I slink by. What do they know--I could be shopping here. I buy MAC makeup, I am not averse to fingering a silk scarf. I belong here, too, I want to tell them. If this time I'm coming just to use the restroom, you can't say next time I won't buy a pair of jeans or, well, at least a pair of socks.

And when we pass a fancy restaurant, that sense of being shut out grows more acute. Gulping, I need to remind myself, we could afford to eat here if we wanted to. We could belong to that world--those people aren't just strangers, blurry faces in fancy clothes. I have fancy clothes. I could walk in there right now. There's no sign...

I never confess these thoughts to Chris, who would find them ludicrous. But we can't afford it, he would say with a laugh. We don't belong. We're outdoor creatures and we belong outside with the pollen and the fleas and creamy, lingering sunsets and mysterious birdcalls and moist night air. No overpriced dinners for us. (No tinkling teacups and elegant spoons and wine glasses so thin they look like they would break on your teeth and small desserts served with small dessert forks all drizzled in fruit compote and pristine tablecloths and snooty waiters and innocuous contemporary music playing in low volume no we don't belong to this world.)

That's the city. It seizes me up. All the places we can't afford to go. Suddenly I long to be something other than the bystanders we've been for the past 12 months. Give me a role, life! Or. Well, on I go.

* * *

Group sneeze at our campsite in Milngavie (pronounced Mull-guy, apparently)

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland

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