Yesterday, invited a dinner party in London, I decided to walk. The first part of my several hour walk followed the river, along the Thames Walk.
But then I turned inland, and found myself far away from the tourist parts. I passed by the sorts of shops, markets and casual hangouts you see in real life, far from the somewhat constructed fantasy of London that tourists often see.
I can best describe it as the London equivalent of neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Equivalent, but definitely not the same.
For example, at one point on my journey I encountered a gray fox. We both stopped, the fox looked at me, I looked at the fox, and then we each went on our way. As far as I know, there are no gray foxes in Brooklyn.
There is something about the sights, sounds and smells of everyday life that sets it apart, that gives it a special place in our experience. No matter how advanced virtual reality becomes, I don’t think we will ever want to give up on the simple quotidian pleasures of picking up something at the market or sharing a beer down at the local pub.
And that’s a very good thing. We should never take for granted the wonderful and glorious immersiveness of the ordinary.