May I offer you my services? I speak French, German, and Italian, and I can assure you that this great oaf of a bartender will speak some one of these. Ah, Europe! To be served an ice-cold beer by a man who did not completely high school but who nonetheless can converse reasonably well in a handful of languages – that is the promise of democracy personified. It is not education or employment which makes us equal, but the ability to converse. Without it we are blocks of wood. But may I sit? Here, let me order for us. Whiskey? I only drink whisky when I travel, and never when I am at home. I believe that one should associate certain foods and drinks with activities or time periods in order to best develop memory and concentration. Port when I read. I simply cannot start a book or begin a page without a thimble-full of port by my side. Whisky for traveling, as I said. Gin, now, many years ago I made a conscious choice to associate the Queen’s favoured drink with the death of my mother, so that the smell and taste would always remind me of her. And it worked! The dear old lady is recalled perfectly in all her odious, cantankerous, stubborn glory whenever I dare to sip – and I only ever sip, just one, on anniversaries or sad days – and I can safely say that I have captured the essence of things by pairing them with a drink. Ah, here they are! To health? Or, better, to European democracy! Or, best, to the memories of travel! Do not tell me why you are here, in this enormous monstrosity of commercial travel and leisure. How brightly lit these places are, and how little privacy one can truly have. But from the look of you I say – not a lawyer. That’s too easy. I am somewhat under the impression that you are sufficiently sophisticated enough to fly. Correct? And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I, too, see the young women in bikini tops and the men in singlets and shorts, but let them have their fun. Respectability is a game for the old, the serious, and the pompous, and if you don’t fit into one of those categories, then just leave it be. Me, I am old and pompous. Never serious. You don’t believe me. You smile. But it is true. I am terminally unemployed, I have nothing stable to my name, but I want for nothing and I spend my days and nights in airports and on planes.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.