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I sit in the office after lunch. Little of my calls get through to those I aim to talk to, so I get busy with the creative part of the work-day. I fold my sleeves and let my head rest, start monitoring my thoughts, just like in yoga class. I calm my breath, put my earphones in. “Doves” – Last broadcast is on and it makes me relax.
I open different tabs on my laptop as I think about the major article that is bubbling in my head and need to start preparing. I need time for it to grow and for me to get a good grasp of the problem. It is a current hot topic, as a bad journalist would call it. So many people are talking about this current issue from all around the world, so many people have written their opinions. I am trying to “feel” a niche, a prospect that has not been exploited. Or a recount of the stories to write that is not an end in itself.
Sigh. Writing takes time.
I close my eyes and I’m in Pompeii. Wondering around the streets that were founded a looong time ago (VI or Vth century), later (IVth c.) found and dominated by Rome and tragically destroyed on the hand of nature. The cobblestone streets start from the Forum, which was reserved for selling goods in the Roman Empire. We can almost hear the vendors’ enticing shouts about their fresh produce turn into screams of panic at the feel of the eruption.
One of them must have been a vendor who sold wine in jars bearing what is apparently the world's earliest known marketing pun, Vesuvinum (combining Vesuvius and the Latin for wine, vinum).
The sun is hot on our skins, our lungs breathe in the ashes that cover the streets, a trace of what it was after the eruption. 4-6m of ash and pumice. We are in a labyrinth of streets, just round the corner is a Spanish group of tourists who marvel at something. I beat Jay to the place and find myself in the middle of a house (or what seems to have been one). “The house of the Tragic poet”. The name entices me. I fall to my knees and try to get a feel of the tragedy of this poet.
Snap. Frame it and put it on the wall. Entirely different era we live in. The “tragic poet” adorned his walls with elaborate frescoes and mosaic floors depicting scenes from the Greek mythology. A warning “CAVE CANEM” – beware of the dog is nicely telling us that the considerate poet warned us that we are entering at our own risk. No dog though, except on the floor – a fresco.
Someone laughs out loud. A tourist? No. A colleague. I am back in the office. Not only 1,024km far from where I was but some 20 centuries ahead. Time travel. They chat about going out to the movies, and I turn the volume up and sink in the amphitheatre.
I will tell you about this some other time. Better rush for the bus.