Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Woke early and tossed in bed. It's hard not to wake early these days, as the sun rises around 4:30 a.m. and doesn't wink out totally until going on 11. And it's hard not to toss in bed. My time in Oxford swirls around the drain and I have so many things to do before we leave: sell excess possessions (bicycles, printer, digital keyboard; make me an offer), arrange car rental, pack up, clean the house. Oh, and give my final presentation (today at noon at the Reuters Institute; feel free to come).
I used to think I was good at the mental part of moving, a legacy of moving every three years or so as a kid. And yet this upcoming move promises to be the most disjointing. As I get older I feel less in control of my thoughts, the first steps toward my eventual dementia, no doubt. And so about three weeks ago the visions of Washington started. Oddly, it was mostly images of commuting that crowded my brain: I-66 backed up near the Beltway, Georgia Avenue in the broiling sun, the great trade route of Rockville Pike, clogged arteries all around the city slipping unbidden into my consciousness. Perhaps my subconscious was preparing me for the change from carefree bicycle rider to embittered driver. Whatever it was, the message was clear: You're leaving.
Moving is a kind of death. As I walk (and bike) around Oxford these days I think, "This is the last time I'll see that pub/garden/building/person." They will vanish for me as surely as if someone had dropped an atom bomb on the Sheldonian. The fact that they'll still be here for others is scant comfort. Then there are the things I haven't seen and done. And isn't that why we despise death, because it fills us with regret at what we could have done but didn't?
I've a few more days, anyway. Blogging may be a little sporadic as I wrap myself in a chrysalis, preparing to re-emerge next week in the hot D.C. sunshine.
Quick impressions of Ireland: breathtaking around the edges, kinda boring in the middle. New houses everywhere. Not many Irish people there (at least in service jobs). That accent is a hoot. More expensive even than England, if such a thing is possible. Hurling may be the strangest sport ever played.
My "people" left there. I've no idea why or from where, but I can see that if your ambitions went beyond a tiny island you'd be curious about life over the horizon.