Shevek (shevek) wrote,

Lost in an American urban jungle, I can only think of London as a simple village. I have no sense of where I am - the satellite navigation computer gives me no sense of direction or location, and all the roads look alike.

I am eating in an Indian restaurant in the spitting image of an old frontier town. The names on the menu are the same, but the flavours are alien, mild and assimilated. The faces are familiar but the accents are different, almost surprising until I become used to it. The restauranteur tells me that I am in old town Fairfax. I see the time and leave in a hurry.

Outside, the streets are lit with real gas lamps. I have never seen one in a street before. The buildings are lit by powerful electric bulbs which flood the street with blinding white light and spoil the effect. I still feel foreign. People stare at me as I walk - what have I done wrong? Have I tied my hair in the wrong style? Is my shirt the wrong shade of blue? I keep saying "roundabout" and "tube" and "lift" until I find myself doing it consciously to remind myself of home.

The air is still warm, and after a brief argument with the disembodied voice of the navigation computer, I am on Interstate 66. The automatic gearbox shifts exactly when I wouldn't, and I accidentally discover the button that opens the roof. The satnav is careful not to insult me as I deliberately take a wrong turn, but I turn it off anyhow. It's been right twice and wrong thrice, and I'd rather get lost under my own steam.

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