The continual changing scenery can be slightly overwhelming at times. Mostly,
as I say to everyone, it’s like I’ve been gone for 10 minutes. Not
even ten days to the Med with holiday snaps to prove. Ten minutes or a really
long and pleasant coma.
As expected, daily life and daily people have changed very little and I slipped
back into a routine of work and play like I’d never left it. I have however
met two eight-month old humanoids who hadn’t even been conceived before
I left and found good friends in new homes without a moving box in sight. My
dad is no longer in his job and has retired via a fairly nasty legal case, two
close family friends have been through cancer therapy and recovered, my brother
has got engaged and bought an apartment. These are all events that I would like
to think I would have been more of a support through had I been here.
Instead, I have been living in a wonderfully simple bubble. One life. Time
moving at exactly the speed it’s meant to. Or rather, people moving at
exactly the speed of Time. Back in the ‘Real World’ (as locals like
to call it), we cram in far too much and rarely appreciate the clouds. It’s
obvious, of course, but all this juggling is exhausting.
I don’t even mean high-pressured jet setting or living the high life.
Kensington-Victoria-Dulwich-Brixton-London Bridge-South Bank confused me enough.
We climb into a transport time capsule and emerge in a whole new place, scenery,
and social dynamic. Add to that the mobile phone that instantly transports you
to some entirely other place, and I feel torn apart. At the pub I meet distant
friends who I haven’t seen for eight years coupled with those I have thought
of regularly during the last year. This weekend I have met up with people from
seven very different but fundamental times in my life. Most Londoners do this
happily within a day, every day. So, the multiplicity of our lives, that is
something, though known, that has surprised me. I can do it… but I don’t
particularly enjoy it.
Other things I have noticed, in the 10% of the time that everything isn’t
- The world has a lot of glare. I wear sunglasses on cloudy days (and other
ex-winterers report the same).
- I have lost my social filter. Talking to strangers or friends is fine but
people-I-don’t-know-but-should-show-an-interest-in (i.e. friends of
friends) is a disaster.
- So much consumer choice is just silly and doesn’t give you any more
- Cash and pin numbers are both wonderful and ridiculous.
- I can only do about three things in a day before losing interest in everything.
- Stars are still beautiful, even in the northern hemisphere, even in cities.
- When it gets too much, turning off the mobile phone and not answering the
door is liberating.
- I can’t tell a story without it taking at least half an hour via
twenty three amusing (to me) diversions and at the end there is generally
no punch line. Or point.
- I don’t think I’m any different from before I left but I’m
going to milk this bubble for as long as I can.
- Shoes are torture. Even the most crunchy granola brands. Birkenstocks and
Ecco have both led to pain. Tell me, is it my foot breaking the shoe in or
the shoe, the foot?
- Faces are fascinating. Especially twins or any familial resemblance for
- I feel colder on wet, miserable days in Britain than I ever felt in Antarctica.
It’s true: there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.