Cities give me one trouble when it comes to other people: there are many of them.
On the one hand that's nice, because I get to see a lot of faces, and not just faces, actual living people doing whatever they're doing, so we can also interact.
And it's small interactions that are already fun, like stopping to look at a sidewindow hanging down from a car door together with the guy who is apparently thinking about how to fix it and starts explaining to me what he thinks in Catalan,
or looking into the face of a man who is standing opposite of a chaotic school, apparently waiting for his child, who returns a look that seems to be saying “yes, this is how it is” – and I immediately feel present in his reality,
But I keep walking, help a guy lift an oven onto a shopping cart, which seems way too easy and fast to earn an honest first bump,
And I keep walking until I'm back at my car, brushing my teeth. And ahead of a walking light in the dark appears a dog with a big branch in his mouth, which he lays down right behind my car to wait for his human.
It's fun to briefly meet all these beings, but it's also sad that without staying I will never know their stories or participate in their lives.
And I bet that each of these people's lives are interesting and I could learn something from them.
In this sense, cities are also overwhelming, but I suspect it's also simply the condition of traveling.
Because in Llançà, which is rather a small town or a well developed village, I had the same feeling – with the owner of the coworking space, for whom I barely had any time, the other people who otherwise regularly work there, the people in the restaurant, and the German couple who wanted to know so much about my car and my journey, but whom I had to leave because I still wanted to see the light of the sunset.
All of these people's stories, at least from my perspective, fell victim to my limited time (and attention).
Maybe that's why watching animals is so calming – because their stories seem so simple and there are not many more possibilities beyond living alongside each other peacefully. If I can give way to a pigeon and it keeps walking in front of me like a human would, that feels pretty much like we sorted everything out.
But we didn't miss anything.