The World as Seen From Copenhagen
By JP Richard
Tonight I discovered the real world. I found it in the railroad station in Copenhagen. It wasn’t in the hustle and bustle of Paris’s surrealistic Charles de Gaulle airport through which I had hurried earlier in the day, nor in the din and clamor of London’s Heathrow. Everyone there was worried, rushed, harried, trying to come to terms with those flying giant canisters that would soon be carrying them or their loved ones across the skies. Nor was the real world in the pub in the King Frederick Hotel in downtown Copenhagen where everyone seems to be searching for something elusive at the bottom of their glass. It’s really to be found here – on a rainy night- in Copenhagen’s bustling Central Railroad Station.
It’s in these great railroad stations of the world that the “real” people gather either to start their journeys or to rest between phases of a longer trek. I first notice it in Copenhagen because the “clop-clop” of the clogs resounds on the hard, cold cement floor of the station. It’s like a percussion section gone wild, so constant it becomes a persistent drumming, fed by the footfalls of scores of people, all intent on their own destinations.
The clogs make the loudest noises, those Scandinavian designers’ creations that owed their design to the Laplanders. Most of the younger travelers are wearing them.
There go three blond, laughing Danish girls, happy to be alive – fresh out of a Scandinavian travel poster. There go a quiet couple in clogs, hand in hand, but not happy. They both appear serious, even preoccupied- a quarrel perhaps, or a problem has masked their faces and slowed the life-flow in their veins. Yet it will probably pass and, in retrospect, it will seem like such a minor problem. That young man traveling alone- I can’t tell whether he is going home or leaving someone dear behind, but his small bag indicates he hasn’t yet accumulated a lot of possessions to cling to, only some memories to help him move to his next challenge.
Every one of these people is wrapped in an invisible cloud of likes, dislikes, emotional connections and past experiences, all unique to each person, all contributing to their vision of the world, to their reaction to these surroundings. I myself have my own cloud around me which makes me interpret what I am seeing in my own way, different than anyone else’s. Yet it is real for me, as real as each person’s unique perspective is to them.
J.P. currently lives in Virginia Beach, is a member of Hampton Road Writers Group and enjoys writing about his experiences. J.P. has previously published articles on disability topics in Exceptional Parent, has written a column on Federal Procurement for a DC professional journal currently teaches technical writing and does selective market research.