News From the Outside

I’m sitting on a repurposed fishing boat, which is now an art, music, and hacker venue. Last night I toured the guts of it, slipping between shoulder-high engines, the air smelling of diesel and slick oil. Doors hiding computer terminals, and audio mixing setups, and soldering stations, and a lathe so large they must have built the ship around it. Blo letting me onto the bridge, where the only piece of new equipment is the mandated ship locator and broadcaster. The crew asks for your preferred language and then your name when you enter the tiny mess hall, a window cracked for the hand-rolled cigarettes. I now have just enough German to nearly state that for my language, but am still too self conscious, so instead I listen to theirs.

view of Canary Warf from MS Stubnitz

View from my room on Stubnitz

It’s the first quiet time I’ve had in a week, the last being a six hour moto ride through the English countryside. Sheep perched on stone walls, eyeing us as we went by, hugging curves and throttle. Between then and now have been hours of hard work, rockstars of response tech tools building and conversing, finding overlaps and launch points. Between that and the ship were also bombs in Boston, staying up late into the night funneling the energies of people seeking information, freeing up brain cycles to respond rather than question.

And today was Camden Market, strange back alleys and food smells. Wandering aimlessly with no purpose, simply to see and examine, ask and listen. The papers held by passengers on the London Underground all have Boston on their front pages. Half the emails in my inbox are the same, the vast myriad of my social (fingers in) pie (charts) exhibiting ripples. I find a shop that sells mediocre doner and examine horse statues. Tomorrow is Krakow, after the flight to Warsaw and the 3 hour express train. The distraction and calm are perfect in coping with the vast ocean between me and anyone I could be hugging, which is the most I could be doing right now anyway.

Tonight I’ll sit on my tiny bench on Stubnitz, with my too-quickly-ending book, and listen to sounds of an empty banking hub from out my window. The disco balls will hang deep in the ship, refracting light inside the hull; and I’ll daydream about sailing away with them, with spotty wifi and floors to scrub, to write about what I haven’t yet researched.

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