Tuesday, January 8, 2008

this skipper has sailed

What kind of numbskull would bother living in a city that has barely any public transportation running after midnight? And what's that smell? The local drivers are keen to demonstrate their profound lack of driving skills, and alarming impatience. People are loud and garrulous, but maybe I'm just noticing because I can understand them. On the other hand, 24-hour diners serve breakfast at 2:00 in the morning, keeping alive the holy tradition of the bottomless cup of coffee. Self-service laundromats are cheap. This bed is pretty comfy. Seems sorta familiar...hey, wait a sec, I'm home!


Twenty-four hours of transit on a bus, the Underground, two airplanes, and a Kia Rio got me from London to Oakland. I had to leave early, and London was still strewn with festal detritus.


With spare time at Heathrow, and a few extra pence in my pocket, I seized one more opportunity for cheese (two, actually. I also bought an aged cheddar sandwich). Okay, it's a packet of snack crackers, but given the deep love of Britons for packaged nibbles, is fairly appropriate to the place.

For the last few nights I've dreamt I was still traveling. I don't know where, I just felt like I was Somewhere Else. I tend to fall asleep with the lights on; a result of whatever personality trait I have that makes me try to do more than I'm really capable of accomplishing in one day. I must have been staring at things in my apartment while still technically asleep, and even though they are all familiar objects, they morphed into something foreign and I didn't know where I was. When I woke up it took a few minutes to realize I was home. There's some nice things about being home. I no longer need to have a wad of toilet tissue in my pocket at all times. I have drawers full of clean underwear and socks. I can use a nice fluffy towel instead of the lightweight rectangle of chamois-felt that I've been carrying around, and can run out the hot water without feeling guilty. I no longer need to rotate between my two pairs of trousers. I can buy groceries without limiting myself to only items that I can eat in two days. And I can spread my things around without worrying that I'll leave something behind or that someone will swipe anything. But these are all small things, minor conveniences. I'd still rather be wearing the same shirt for three days, not understanding what the person in the grocery store is saying to me, and being in new and different places every few days.

A rug salesman in Turkey – the one who didn't try to sell me anything – taught me a nice word over tea: inşallah. Literally translated, it means if god wishes, but it's not necessarily weighted with any religious sentiment. It really expresses the sentiment of I hope. Potentially sappy, but it's poetic enough to avoid any saccharine wallowing. I hope I get another opportunity to go out and see the world. There's a whole lot out there that I didn't get around to visiting.

Thanks for reading this blog. It's been fun, but challenging, challenging, but fun. I may try it again the next time, but for now, I'm going to go read a book in the bathtub.

Toodles!

5 comments:

DMBY said...

Welcome back and thanks again for sharing!

Jen said...

It sounds like you had a fabulous trip. Glad you're back safely! Thanks for writing about it -- your descriptions were great.

bootiecall01 said...

YEAH you're home! Welcome back Elise!!!! I can only imagine the transition is like a drug experience. Take it slow. No rush to get back into the routine in SF. And hold onto that wonderful vacation feeling for as long as you can. It's precious. You are such a talented writer. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.
A fan,
Michelle

Trky said...

that was just great
thanks for all the laughs and insights

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