The Grand Tour

We set out on an epic journey. Within the first twenty-four hours, we missed our connecting flight, got accused by the Portuguese police of breaking and entering, and slept with one eye open in an apartment crawling with spiders; and still we were undeterred.

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Urban Greetings

Every morning, the same bum would greet her by the stoop in front of her apartment building. His salutation was always the same, to the point that it functioned much like a “hello” now, thought it sounded a bit different: “You think I’m paranoid, don’t you!”

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Aristocratic Blur

He always felt strangely envious of people poorer than he was. He considered it a curse that for people with too many choices, there could be a kind of paralysis expressing itself in their aimless drifting, such that luxury overwhelms their abilities to express themselves distinctly in their own lives.

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Her mother asked the young girl what sort of relationship she hoped to have when she grew up and was surprised by the force of her answer. It was as idealistic as it was demanding: “I want something inevitable, ineluctable—the rest is settling.”

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Still Unenlightened

One morning in Cordoba, brushing my teeth, I thought again of eternity and of absolutely ceasing to exist and I admit I cannot exist conscious of either inevitability—the only way in which I can function is to distract myself from how we all must end. That this idea came to the surface again only proved to me I see the end of this trip—on some level—as a little death, a preview of the real thing, the end of choices, the irrelevance of regret.

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He resolved that he should just find someone to live all his life out with him and be his physical (if not emotional/mental/spiritual) source of comfort. Then he immediately resolved that that was like taking a person like a drug to ease the pain of reality, and that he didn’t believe it and hadn’t believed it even when he first thought it.

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When traveling, she loved the big cities without the best museums or theatres. There was something very comforting about generic urbanity: streets crowded with disgruntled locals late on their way somewhere else, the seeming superfluity of two of the same shops appearing on the same block, and the convenience of cheap cafes.

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Unintentional Patriot

Anytime she was in Italy and ordered a cappuccino after ten a.m., the barristas heckled her mercilessly in their mother tongue and said amongst themselves she must be German. She always just barely restrained herself from explaining to them that she was not, in fact German, but rather she came from America: a land in which no one had the power to arbitrarily regulate what you could and could not drink at any given hour of the day.

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He was completely exhausted and falling apart when he reached home. Although his first thoughts of the trip were painful impressions left by strangely uncomfortable moments, he felt contented when looking back over the photographs he had taken and could only attribute this to the inexplicable effects of nostalgia.

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