There is a Japanese word for forest-bathing. Shinrin-yoku, being calm and present among the trees.
In contrast, I am city bathing, on a rare night off from childcare. I watch people like a playwright on the cusp of a great breakthrough, as opposed to a half shit-faced banking lawyer.
I am people watching in Exmouth market which is like 19th Street in Yangon. Three twenty-something girls sit next to me. They start talking loudly among themselves but suspiciously referencing things relevant to me in the way that being in a group next to someone on their own gives you confidence to discuss them as if they can’t hear you. I’m ok with it because I can hear them and I like to listen. I am drinking red wine.
“Oh I can’t drink red wine.” The loud, self-assured one who has humble-bragged how hard she finds it working home alone four days a week. “I have never even had one glass. It gives me a UTI.”
Then they are talking about my phone out on the table.
“That totally happened to my cousin in Dulwic…