Discomfort Zone

2018 2

(Freezing grass)

It was absolutely freezing when we got up this morning. It was also literally freezing… outside the van. Luckily it was over the 4℃ necessary inside to keep the drinking water inside the tank. We decided in spite of the lovely electricity, Ourol probably wasn’t the place to be, altitude wise. So we headed south down the mountain and closer to Portugal. The weather didn’t initially get better, it got worse hitting -3.7℃! …and then the fog came back.

2018 3

(Sitting outside in the sun!)

Now we’re in the Spanish city of Pontevedra. The old part of the city is very attractive and the weather is very attractive too, 15℃ (am I very Irish, talking about the weather all the time?) we were even able to sit outside and top up our vitamin D. We found another lovely free aire close to the river and the old town with cafes and shops. As it’s Saturday most of the shops are closed – Saturday afternoon closing. They will probably be closed tomorrow too. The restaurants close in the afternoon and open from about 9pm to 11.30pm – the Spanish eat very late.

2018 4

(Convento de San Francisco de Pontevedra)

I mentioned in an earlier post that there was one week in March when we need to be in Lisbon and that’s because I am attending a workshop. I was very excited about attending until the pre-workshop homework arrived. Nah, I’m only joking, I’m still very excited! But there is one assignment that has me concerned. I have to take a picture of a person. A real live person. I only take pictures of streets and buildings and trees and flowers, I don’t take pictures of people. They don’t like me taking pictures of them. I really don’t want to upset them…

2018 8

(Huge cross…)

So I need to ask their permission. Of course I could cheat and take a picture of Denis, but something about connecting with a stranger, another unknown human takes me so far from my comfortable picture-taking that I think it might actually be a good idea to try. As we walked the old streets of Pontevedra today I began to look for people I could possibly, maybe ask. The first person was an older man wearing a knitted hat, he was walking towards me down some stone steps. Just as I reached him he sat down on the steps, I think he was tired. I kept walking. I can still see his face and that hat… Then I saw a young man wearing a tan apron, walking purposefully while smoking a cigarette, for some reason he made me think of a shoemaker. I didn’t go up to him. Then I passed a woman in a pale pink fake fur coat, I was so close to asking her but I kept walking when I realised she was sitting in a wheelchair. I thought I might offend her. I can still see her too and the thing is, her wheelchair was a beautiful blue. It’s a really good picture… in my head.

2018 9

(Nature in the city)

I think I’m (definitely probably) going to start asking people, I just hope it’s soon. Because now I’ve put myself into a discomfort zone… And the discomfort is growing. There’s the discomfort of asking someone can I take their picture and now there’s the discomfort of not asking them.

Do I have to wait for the discomfort of not asking them to exceed the discomfort of asking them? Mairead.

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