The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Morning Routine: Vienna

A woman on her balcony turns her back to the street and raises her arms in a wide V overhead. She stretches at her reflection in the balcony windows. She reaches for the sky again, twice more, then bounces in a set of jumping jacks, her arms up and down, her perfectly styled bun unmoving. She wears a long sleeved black shirt and observes her lean leaping frame in the windows, quitting after a brief, invigorating set.

She turns to face the street and delicately lifts a white mug to her lips.Β  A moment later, she replaces the mug with a toothbrush and cleans her teeth overlooking the street. From time to time, she spits into the boxes of plants and flowers that line her elegant balcony. She sips from the mug, brushes, and spits. Over and over.

I spot her from below, standing on the platform as I wait for the U4 subway train.Β  During the jumping jacks, I rifle through in my bag for my notebook and pen. As I scrawl her morning routine, a couple to my left gaze up to see what I see, step a bit to the right to get a better view. An old man who fails to read over my shoulder finally looks up to see for himself. We spend five minutes waiting for a delayed train, watching the thorough public toothbrushing. Unaware of her audience, the woman moves inside. As her balcony door closes, our train arrives and we go our separate ways.

–Vienna, Austria

Art Deco, Vienna, Naschmarkt

…balcony changed to protect the innocent.


23 comments on “Morning Routine: Vienna

  1. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    July 18, 2012

    Imagine if every balcony owner in the building had a separate routine. It seems so interesting that this one person chooses to conduct her morning routine in full daylight while the rest of us would rather hide in our bathrooms and kitchens. That makes her even more intriguing . . .

  2. gingerfightback
    July 19, 2012

    Really enjoyed that – thanks

  3. Bob Othman
    July 23, 2012

    Wow, what fine talent you have. Elaborating such mundane things and making it worth the read. Fabulous.

    • Thanks for the kind comments. I seem to have a knack for taking note of the mundane! I think that’s why my neighbors were so curious. “Why write about that?” So it goes. Thanks again!

      • Bob Othman
        July 25, 2012

        Yeah, why would you write about that? hahaha

  4. fgassette
    August 19, 2012

    I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for visiting my blog.


  5. Lilly Sue
    September 6, 2012

    Enjoyed reading πŸ™‚

  6. adventurousandrea
    September 18, 2012

    How very interesting! I greatly anticipate my return visit to Vienna.

  7. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    January 4, 2013

    Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    A big day, mulling a few different stories. In my indecision, we’ll take a trip back to Vienna…

  8. Enchanted Seashells
    January 4, 2013

    What a moment in time. How precise. I really love your writing.

  9. allemeineleidenschaften
    January 5, 2013

    as always my dear: it was very very interesting and I enjoyed reading! Thank you:)

  10. Vienna – A favorite city – you do her and her people fine justice.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 6, 2013

      πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, Sheri! I loved my time in Vienna, though I don’t miss those long, gray winter months!

  11. petchary
    January 5, 2013

    These little details of human behavior are so fascinating. Very evocative! And she didn’t know she was being watched. (By the way, cleaning your teeth outside the house seems to be a common habit in Jamaica, especially among young men. It has always puzzled me)…

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 5, 2013

      Perhaps I shall also clean my teeth outside…actually, I bet the HOA people have rules about that. πŸ™‚

      • petchary
        January 6, 2013

        I wouldn’t be surprised!

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