We are the giants. I wander around my proscribed 1 kilometer radius and suddenly the world is revealing itself on another scale. Yesterday no one was on the orangey sidewalk except me and a bee. I walked by and then thought, no, that’s not a good place and so I let it crawl up on my sleeve and deposited on a weedy flower where maybe it could have a second chance. The sidewalks in Toulouse are not grey but sort of brownish orange. I think this is something to do with us being in la ville rose but I have not been able to google my way out of this profound question.
And yet I am so thankful for my kilometer of roaming space. There is much to be seen. Yesterday I waved at an old woman reading in a window. People here don’t do that, they are still all being very polite and restrained. She waved back happily and then, fake out!, she pretended to adjust her hair when she realized she didn’t know me. I’ll keep waving. Adventures in micro social norms. I’ve also started raising a hand, like Caesar, or trying a little nod with the very, very few people I pass in the street. Tiny anthropology going on here in this bourgeois neighborhood.
The whole neighborhood sounds different. There are hardly any cars or trains and every day I can hear children playing somewhere nearby, someone down on the street saying ooh la la on the telephone, a neighbor hammering away on something. It’s nice. And the birds that I hear are more complex and seem to be completing their chirp sentences, not always truncated by a machine.
I can’t believe I’ve lived in this neighborhood for five months and there are so many things I never really looked at. The canal path, my favorite, is technically closed so I’m off to walk around and around my streets. There’s the tiny one with blooming trees named after a mathematician who had a very short life and then there’s the pretty big one named after the hipster dashing Paul Crampel.
He married a woman named Paule and she stayed home and illustrated his accounts. But I haven’t found anything named after her. Maybe I should go out and add some e’s. According to the BNF she lived for 100 years and she made some lovely pictures.
Micro history. I have only begun to scratch the surface of my allotted space. Every day nature is slightly different as well. Micro biology as I watch the wisteria poof out its flowers, the magnolia drop hers and the unmown grass, ah, it is turning into a weedy lush jungle while the schools are closed.
I walk around still trying to imagine 120 nanometers. Bringing my attention from all the wild pings and pongs around the world to one kilometer has felt like an enormous recalibration. If you didn’t watch the video, here is the math. If the width of my hair were the Empire State Building, that’s a hard one to squeeze out of the brain, but if it were, then 120 nanometers would be just a few inches! Yep! The entire world is changing because of something so, so, so tiny. Luckily here we are on the decimal system so I can start doing the math. It’s tiny time.