«...On my first trip anywhere - it was 1957 and I landed in Edinburgh with the roaring of the plane's four mammoth propellers for days afterwards embedded in my ears - I rode a red airport bus to the middle of the city, out of which ascended its great castle. Is is a fairy-book castle, dreamlike, Arthurian, secured in the long-ago. But the shuddery red bus -hadn't I been bounced along in an old bus before, perhaps not so terrifically red as this one? - the red bus was not within reach of plain sense. Every inch of its interior streamed with unearthliness, with an undivulged and consummate witchery. It put me in the grip of a wild Elsewhere. This unexceptional vehicle, with its bright forward snout, was all at once eclipsed by a rush of the abnormal, the unfathomably Martian. It was the bus, not the phantasmagorical castle, that clouded over and bewildered our reasoned humanity. The red bus was what I intimately knew: only I had never seen it before. (...)
This is what travellers discover: that when you sever the links of normality and its claims, when you break off from the quotidian, it is the teapots that truly shock.»
A incomparável Cynthia Ozick, que viaja ainda pior do que eu, descobriu assim a minha cidade. Ofereço o seu testemunho como esclarecedora adenda e lúcido epílogo à minha passagem por Bruxelas.
(Nota: o texto completo está incluído na recolha de ensaios Metaphor & Memory, de 1991)
(Nota 2: não me vou casar com Cynthia Ozick, apesar dos seus pedidos insistentes)