looking back

Even with my mind still fogged up from jetlag, I want to put down a few observations about my experiences here and there. And what HERE and THERE does to me.

This morning, I found a quarter on the street. Actually, I find money a lot around here (Portland) and almost NEVER in Europe. On one hand, I think that America in general is not such a rich country and it surprises me that people lose money on the street. I have found mostly coins, sometimes as many as 2 Dollars in one spot. Europe on the other hand is rather well off and one could think that people over there might not lose sleep over a few lost coins.


Now that is one theory. Then it occurred to me that people in Europe use wallets to hold their coins. Wallets with a (zippered or buttoned) coin compartment. Over here, most coins (especially guys’) live in a pant pocket. Maybe that is the reason they tend to fall out and end up on the street for me to find. The question remains why people leave them there and don’t pick them back up.

Another observation about ME is that I seem to have become a lot more cautious. I do consider myself a trusting person and a risk-taker. Yet, at the same time, I am realizing that I suck in my breath in various situations where I would not have done it before. Especially around children… I fear they might fall, stumble, get lost, get mistreated. In Europe, kids roam a lot freer than around here; they ride the bus by themselves, play out on the street, dig holes and climb trees.  I guess I do not see that many kids by themselves here.

Driving fast scares me now. What has become of me?  I used to be a night cabbie racing through the streets. Am I just older and wiser or has the constant fear media around me made me anxious? People in Europe seem to be a lot more self-reliable than people in the US. They blame themselves for not looking out if they stumble over a hole in the ground. People around here seem to be constantly nervous that somebody might break into their home or that something awful could happen to them. I guess that has made me more aware of things that MIGHT happen. Over 20 years living here will do that. And I am not even watching TV. That’s why I had to laugh at myself when I discovered that I had left the key stuck in the front door over night. Blame it on the jetlag..


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