The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Nervous Vienna Notes.

Well, I confess: I’m working on a longer something-or-other that may-or-may-not be book-shaped, and it’s been taking a lot of my energy. I found this week I wasn’t really watching strangers. Instead, I’ve been going through a notebook from 5 years ago when I first moved to Europe. I hope a bit of my candid and nervous self-talk might count as a nice break, and perhaps an introduction to yours truly.

Thank you for reading the blog! Merry Christmas!


Vienna, Austria. 2008.

A man walks and makes percussion songs for a Katy Perry song. I follow him for two blocks just to be sure I could name that tune.

A couple holds hands while riding bicycles. A waiter stands outside his cafe and smokes, seemingly lost to the world until a beautiful woman passes. A skateboarder falls in front of a pack of tourists, then hustles away, his cap low over his blushing face. I’m with him.

I’m so ashamed not have the nerve to try German, despite two years of lessons, despite all that reading. I go to a bakery in the train station, thinking they are accustomed to people who are clueless or strange. I ordered a pastry I couldn’t identify and I ended up with a cappuccino. Still, the clerk takes pity on me by essentially ignoring me, and the woman sweeping the floor accepts my apologetic smiles while I write. It’s as good a place as any to hide and collect my thoughts.

Later, outside a shop, a child pleads with her mother for a toy in the tone of pleading, but in words I don’t understand. Nonetheless, I get her drift. I feel myself beaming over any sense of the universal. Over here, I will grasp any straws necessary until I can keep my cool. It might take forever. Or, it may be tomorrow.

Vienna Christmas

16 comments on “Nervous Vienna Notes.

  1. petchary
    December 20, 2013

    Beautiful photo, lovely observations. I hope you have tried out your German, by now! 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 20, 2013

      Yep, this was when I first arrived, so I warmed up to it. Though I would say I was terrified to speak for almost 6 months. It was a remarkable experience for someone who usually can’t shut up! 😀

      • petchary
        December 20, 2013

        Good, I am glad you took the plunge. I love the German language, but it’s years since I have spoken it. I envy you!

  2. inavukic
    December 21, 2013

    Merry Christmas Paige and have a wonderful New Year!

  3. hughcurtler
    December 21, 2013

    The Happiest of Holidays!

  4. roughwighting
    December 21, 2013

    Wonderful observations – of strangers as well as yourself. Now, you should do that same walk, go by the same cafes and shops, stop at the same bakery, and see how your observations may have changed! Merry Christmas!!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 21, 2013

      Thank you! 🙂 I think that’s a great plan. When I go back in 2014, I’ll try and retrace my steps! I’ll post a supplement.
      Merry Christmas!

  5. Kavi
    December 21, 2013

    What an interesting bit of prose! Wishing you a happy holiday 🙂

  6. The Wandering Gourmand
    December 21, 2013

    What was the Katy Perry tune?

  7. Kathleen
    December 21, 2013

    Stunning photo. Love the observations, too. I need to pay more attention.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 22, 2013

      Thank you, Kathleen! I have this habit of always seeing these tiny things. Perhaps it’s a part of traveling unaccompanied? Perhaps!
      Merry Christmas,

  8. niasunset
    December 22, 2013

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, love, nia

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 22, 2013

      Nia dear,
      Çok teşekkür ederim! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well! Thank you for your blog this year, you were a highlight for me!

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