Bath is a Place

Some quick notes that struck me as I wandered the (eminently walkable) streets of Bath, UK…

Form Follows Function. Language Follows Nothing Whatsoever.

It occurred to me after several days here that the city is full of people of all shapes and heritage speaking every language, and when they open their mouth it’s impossible to predict what language will come out. Asians speak French. Scandinavian blondes speak with a Scottish accent. Folks with clear African heritage speak german. My assumptions are wrong as often as right. 

Written in Stone

Many of the flagstones on the floor of Bath Abbey are carved with names and dates in memoriam of bodies buried beneath, some as early as the 1600’s. In many cases such a stone has had a square chunk carved out of it and replaced with a smaller, bright white marble stone commemorating someone more recent – and removing most of the name that preceded it. No matter; most of the stones are deeply worn, by generations of worshipers and more recently by an endless parade of tourists. The stones are so worn that many have become entirely unreadable, venerable and nouveau important alike. This is part of the church philosophy, it was explained to me: each of us participates in the history of the place, all of it evolving and changing in time. Then he leaned forward and more quietly confided, “besides, when they remodeled in the early 1900s, they didn’t keep track of where everything was, so when they put it back they moved everything anyway. None of them are anywhere near where they’re supposed to be.”

I Want That

There is little in human experience as profound as the delight in the face of a child as a waitress delivers a large plate of ice cream. 

Beauty and the Dude

An unshaven man in a t-shirt and Keds slouches into the restaurant, followed by an elegant woman dressed in a sleek black dress and heels. They choose a table and order champagne. They begin to sip without ceremony, but as they talk she leans forward, gazing at him adoringly. Then she reaches across the table and brushes her fingernails just against the hair of his crossed arms. Instead of taking her hand, he makes a joke and reaches for his glass, breaking contact. He is either a cad, or sweet and terrified. Minutes later the truth is revealed, as their hands join across the table, and for the rest of the dinner they do not break contact, physical nor eye. The world has disappeared, and young love is ablaze. They are kinda adorable. 

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