outside my window
Outside of my window, they’re building a new Metro station, as well as a couple obscure sorts of office buildings. Since I’m seven floors up, the noise isn’t too bad, and I can sleep through it during most parts of my sleep cycle – in fact, all the parts except the one I’m usually in when they start up at 8 AM, at which point I’ve slept enough (roughly 6-7 hours) to be awake, but I haven’t really slept enough. Blah.
In addition to lots of noisy yellow shovels and things, said construction site is also home to a variety of military types. Their presence completely mystified me (what, are they going to use the new bridge to invade Sweden?) until recently, when I learned that I live about 50 meters away from an old Nazi weapons testing ground (it was also used by the Danish military in the 60’s… but that’s not quite so exciting). Unlike many other cities, Copenhagen did not have the crap bombed out of it during World War Two; it’s easy to forget that a war was fought on this soil within living memory.
And: last night I was talking with a girlfriend of mine who had just split a week between Vienna and Budapest, as well as a guy who was actually from Vienna. He mentioned that even though Budapest was a mere three hours away, he hadn’t been there until just a couple months ago. Even though the Iron Curtain is long gone, a trip to Hungary still felt like a much larger undertaking than a comparable visit to Germany.
Now, I grew up in Iowa. Despite hearing from someone, somewhere, that Cedar Rapids was for some reason in the top twenty list of military targets in the lower 48 states, these kinds of political realities have never had much of an impact on my life. My vacations have been limited by time and money, but never by the presence of the Canadian border. The last battle fought anywhere near my hometown was over 200 years ago, and happened mostly by way of smallpox.
Like many Americans, I have a healthy disrespect for the distance from one European city to the next. The lower population density of the United States has a lot to do with this, as does American car culture. As does the fact that I’m sheltered as all fuck.