I’ve been thinking about the man who was working at the laundromat in Bari, Italy. When I met him, I’d been biking for about three weeks and had just spent a couple of days riding trains, and I felt filthy! (We’d been riding in baggage cars with our bikes.) The man (he told me his name, I’ve forgotten it) was reading when we came in–he had a desk and stool and around him in this small scene were washing machines. He was reading The Portrait of Lady. We told him where we’d been and where we were going (Greece). He was eager simply to speak. He used a very polite form of English. He said, “for you must” and “therefore” when he told us where to find something to eat, and we followed the old streets to a little cafeteria full of people on their lunch break, and I had to point to what I wanted because the men in white hats could not understand me, and though I didn’t get what I thought I wanted, what I did get was so good, I sometimes still try to imagine what it might have been–and when we got back to the laundromat, our clothes were folded into two piles that smelled like the first full day of health after a long sickness.