Tuesday, August 04, 2009

London Trip, Day 4

My last day in London was anti-climactic after the DNA opening the night before. I tend to be more of a morning person, but not when I’ve been out late at night. So, it should be no surprise that I wanted to sleep in—difficult to do, given that the hotel cleaning staff apparently begins their rounds at 7:00 in the morning. Why they cannot stay away until a more sane hour, like 10:00, is beyond me. Give everyone a chance to get out for the day, for heaven’s sake!

I spent much of Tuesday doing work in the British Library, which was down the street from my hotel. I’m working on a couple of larger fiction projects, as well as a research project on early Church history, and I hate to get behind on those things. Yes, I know it was technically vacation, but I really don’t like to get out of the groove of working—it’s nearly impossible to get back into the groove, or at least it takes me a lot longer than it should.

London is a city of paradoxes for me. On the one hand, whenever I go there, I feel like I belong there. There’s no sense of being a foreigner or a tourist. On the other hand, when my time is up there, I’m anxious to leave. I have a latent anxiety about the city. I don’t think I will be able to adequately describe it, but I feel like there’s a danger in staying too long. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because I’m not uncomfortable there, nor do I feel threatened in any way when I am there. One of my conversational threads with John Foxx the previous evening had to do with the perceived danger of the city. “London is really very safe,” he told me. “You can walk around at night with no problem.” I haven’t experienced otherwise, so I do have to agree with him. But the “danger” I feel doesn’t have anything to do with being threatened by anyone—it’s just an undercurrent of anxiety. Perhaps it is part of the “feel” of London, the prospect of losing oneself in the city, being swallowed up. I think I consciously repress that feeling for most of my trips there, but by the end I’m worn out and anxious to get back to business in the States.

On this trip, I learned about the Picadilly line service to Heathrow. 4 pounds to get my tush to the airport in the morning sounded a lot nicer than 20 pounds, between the Tube and the Heathrow Express (more if I’d decided to take a cab to Paddington). Of course, that service takes almost an hour, and you’re basically on a Tube train, so if you have a lot of luggage it can be a tad inconvenient. But I left early Wednesday morning, so it was no problem. When I got to Heathrow, I’d discovered that I had finally achieved Elite status with Continental, which was a bonus. Of course, the rest of the day went downhill from there, as I descended into a chaos of faulty communication, botched gate assignments, delays due to overbooking—and then apocalyptic weather over Newark Airport, which resulted in my arriving back in New Jersey 9 hours late. I didn’t crawl into bed until 2 am—I am sure I drove home, but that drive was a lacunae—I cannot remember it. I then had to face two vengeance-bent cats, irritated that I dared to leave them for a several days once again. I was supposed to drive to Annandale-on-Hudson the following evening for Musty Chiffon’s set at Bard College, but between the flooding in that area and the fact that I still had trouble driving between the lines on the road all those hours later, I decided it would be prudent to stay home, with my sincere apologies to Dini Lamot. Annandale-on-Hudson is two and a half hours away, and I heard that the Metro North trains were shut down due to flooding, so that wasn’t even an alternate option.

On the whole, this recent trip to London was rewarding, but also exhausting. It’s funny how one can be caught up with things prior to a trip, then return to find themselves so far behind in everything once again. One of these days I’ll be fully back on track, but I haven’t really gotten there yet.

Last night I attended Anthony Peake's lecture on his new theory of consciousness. I was very interested, and have many thoughts about it. But tomorrow is another day...

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