One of the great parts of the Camino is meeting all of the interesting pilgrims from different countries. However, while sharing a meal and a glass of wine is a fascinating experience, sharing a sink and a toilet at 6:00 am is slightly less exotic. To cope with the constant intrusion on my privacy, I have created the concept of bubbles.
When we are walking, we are never alone. There are always pilgrims ahead, pilgrims behind. Some walk quietly alone or in pairs, others walk in cacophonous groups that must be avoided. So I have instituted walking in “the bubble”.
John sometimes tires of my insistence that we walk between groups, in our own quiet space. But the bubble allows me to hear the birds, see the butterflies and rationalize the benefits of constant walking. We do let people into our walking bubble. For instance, today we ran into Jesus again. He was having a coffee on the way, sitting cool in a black jacket and sunglasses. He expressed surprise that we had caught up with him since he claimed to have put in a 52km day, but then he acknowledged that he had rested to recover and partied for a few days.
As for the albuergue bubble, it is much smaller than the walking bubble. Joy is having your own private, shower stall and a sink with some kind of ledge to put your stuff on. The bed bubble is quite small, oh, the size of your tiny bunk bed. You hold it dear, this is your space made quieter and more private with eyeshades and earplugs. Sacrosanct. I try to be a good pilgrim but….one early, early morning all the eager pilgrims are packing their bags and zippering their infernal zippers at 5:30 am. It’s ok, I am in my eyeshaded, earplugged bubble. I am practicing hard my pilgrim zen state, when suddenly I feel that my noisy, pre-dawn waking neighbor, from the top bunk has had the audacity to sit on my, TO SIT ON MY BED, to put his boots on. The bubble reaction was swift and unrestrained, I kicked him…hard…off the bed and shouted “get off my bed!” The satisfaction was intense and immediate, my bubble…defended.
I will continue to work on my balance…on being a good pilgrim…on not judging my fellow pilgrims…but stay out of my bubble! -K