May 1, 2016 – Julie (drawing titled “Pause” and book #287)
Tim and I rented the city bikes in Copenhagen. They came fully loaded: storage racks, electric motors, and a GPS to keep you from getting lost. The rack helped share the load of my heavy bag, and the electric motor made Tim’s limp nearly unrecognizable. The only problem was that we were lost. A GPS only works when you know where you are going, other than that, it’s pointless. It showed a list of ‘popular attractions’, and would tell you the quickest way to get from A to B, but that’s it; the quickest way to arrive at the popular attractions––no personal advice, and no relaxing scenic routes.
Standing on the corner of a busy intersection, straddling our bipedal tech-horses, Tim and I were stabbing our fingers into the display screen, arguing about where we were and where we should go.
Crossing the street, a woman passed us, stopped, turned around and said, “Do you guys need help finding your way?”
One of us answered with a soft, “No,” and the other with a harsh, “Yes!” (I can’t remember who was positively negative and who was negatively positive). It didn’t matter. “Eventually, we need to be at Østerport Station. But we’re not sure where to go in the meantime.”
“I see,” she added, sensing our instability. “Can I recommend…if you want to avoid traffic and have beautiful view, you could follow the water up to Amalienborg Palace, then St. Alban’s Church (where there’s a fantastic park). From there, you could swing by the statue of the Little Mermaid, and you’ll be very near Østerport.”
Our faces perked up in agreement.
“The trail starts over here.” The line of her arm merged into a bike path fifty meters in front of us.
We said, “That sounds perfect.” “Yes, thank you so much.”
“It’s no problem. I’m glad to help.” She waived and walked away.
There we stood, same place, different mood. “We need to stop her,” one of us said.
We spun the bikes around and pedaled off to catch her. Weaving our way between the crowd of people––trying to pull out a book and a piece of art from the bag––trying not to run anyone over. “Excuse me, miss. We have a gift for you.” We gave her the art, thanked her for her advice, but the real gift was yet to come. The path she chose was absolutely breathtaking. Technology was no longer needed. It was quiet, peaceful, free of traffic. And the view, was nothing to argue about.