Bluster.

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I like St Andrews more each time I visit, and I already liked it a lot the first time. There are great people there, and books and learning and junk, and also videos of sneezing pandas. To commemorate my deepening affection for this place, here is a really fancy postcard that it took me all day to make.

cheap postcard

Or my iPhone did it in about two seconds.

Walking to the market last night, I was gently picked up by the leaf-addled wind and set down a few yards in front of where I started. Since it was generally in the correct direction, I saw no need for alarm. This happened about four more times on the way there and back.

Bluster. I forgot about proper bluster! Such polite people excused themselves as they bounced all over the walk. Every once in a while, I caught a glimpse of someone’s head suddenly spasming backwards. The old leaf to the eyeball, I nodded knowingly. And then got a leaf to the eyeball.

I don’t know how I got it into my head that Scottish people don’t eat chocolate chip cookies, but I had, and so I was craving them horribly. Then I found chocolate chip cookies in the market. Gluten-free ones. Why did I ever doubt Snackland?

The part I hate, the paying part, happened. I couldn’t postpone it any longer. So I milled around near the line for the till until the nicest-seeming clerk was free, then stampeded her. She was, in fact, very nice, and so I bought groceries in a non-humiliating fashion for the first time since arriving here. This also had to do with the use of my debit card instead of fumbling through a too-deep wallet for unfamiliar coins. I’ll take the sad little victory, thanks.

Will it ever seem natural for me to say “cheers” instead of “thanks”? The Midwestern “a” that haunts my “thanks” makes me cringe. I will try to be understood and to fit in — trousers, not pants — but some words still seem affected when I say them.

Sometimes the world is so beautiful I forget to be self-conscious. I am just an awed human in an ancient place, and it feels wonderful. Then I realize, as I did last night, that while gaping at the stone spires silhouetted against the flannel sky, a small line of drool has escaped the side of my mouth.

Nice to meet you, world. I am all class.

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