Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pilgrim Spotting

It´s funny to find the pilgrims in the big city. It reminds me of high school Opera Club trips. You can pick them out easily. Tell tale signs:

*convertible pants
*probably no shopping bags, or only those containing food or pharmacy items
*wearing flip-flops or crocs (the latter should be mandatory for every breathing human who wants to walk this trail. people try to buy mine from me about once per day.)
*walking with some kind of limp (as soon as the boots come off, the limping starts)
*something red. everyone owns something red.

It reminds me of The Sixth Sense. Even if we don´t know each other, we exchange glances. Ah, yes. You´re one of us. We´re in it together.

The recent W&M alums, and I agree that there are some Williamsburg parallels. There are pilgrims that you know but you don´t really know. You just kind of know who they hang out with and generally what they wear. (Also, in the towns, many people treat pilgrims in the same way that W&M students treat DOG St tourists. We pilgrims aren´t exactly invisible, but there´s no particular reason to acknowledge us.)

I find myself resentful of clean looking tourists wearing dresses and carrying purses and buying books. I can´t go into bookstores because I´m afraid I might end up carting around 5 more pounds.

Many people who I have been spending time with recently did not take a rest day, so I will have a whole new crop of pilgrims to move forward with in the coming days. People tend to travel about the same distance from day to day. That means that a loose group develops, though it seems verboten (even amongst those who aren´t German) to try to stay in touch in any formal fashion. Exchanging email addresses indicates some kind of giving up, as though you just know you won´t see one another again. There are plenty of pilgrims whose names I know and with whom I have spent time, but most of them took off today, even the people I only have a nodding acquaintance with.

It will be interesting to meet some new people . . .

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