Yes, I actually heard a thud, just like you hear in the old movie reels. So loud it seemed to resonate in my ears, echoing off the walls of the attic room I was evaluating as a possible living space during my impending three-year secondment in Brussels.
On the floor was my guide, his hand to his forehead, his eyes glazed over in partial coherence; clearly concussed.
At my height I rarely worry about low-hanging beams, but he was near two meters easily. Clearly not paying attention he had marched confidently into the center beam of the room, solid and stalwart in its insistence of that space four inches down from the low ceiling. I had walked under it; he found it squarely.
It wasn’t a bad place, really. Tiny in retrospect, but quaint and old-fashioned in a European sort of way. A simple garret with a single window, though grand in size, overlooking one end of the converted attic. Nice enough, and I was considering it, until it took out the man who had been assigned to show me living arrangements. The decision to not take this apartment became clear just as my guide’s vision was doing the same. We would look some more.
In all we looked at a dozen apartments, some impressionably bad…others less obviously insufficient. At one point I decided on one apartment, only to find that it had been rented in the hours I had looked on indecisively. Even the final choice was indecisive. I had agreed to take an apartment in a new building half a block from the main road that led to my company’s office building. It was the only modern building we had seen, and I looked at two or three apartments there. On the second day of looking I asked to go back there and after deciding on an apartment on the fifth floor, had my guide negotiate the deal. An hour later I called him to renege, though just to take a different apartment, this one on the second floor, in the same building.
The above is a partial of a full article on Hot White Snow, my creative writing blog. Please click on the link above to read further. Thanks.
I’ll have photos and stories from my most recent science traveling trips to Scandinavia and Quebec shortly.
David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently writing a book on Thomas Edison.