Friday, April 20, 2007

The Boy Is Back In Town

Dearest Friends, in the words of Lionel Ritchie, "Hello."

No, please, don't go! I swear I've not posted anything by that wretched Commodore. Honest.

Goodness, I suppose it has been nearly a fortnight since I last posted. I did, in fact, return home (aside: it still feels odd calling here that) Monday evening, more or less intact. But frankly it's taken until now to wind myself back up to the point of posting.

Why? Various reasons.

First off, I've been recovering from the journey back. I set out from London's Clapham Junction train station at 6:30 AM London time and stepped out of Vancouver Airport at 7:30 PM the same day. That's 21 hours of travelling, some spent variously on a train, most spent lurching in and out of shallow, cramped sleep on two airplanes, and a chunk whiling away a layover in the antiseptic blandness of Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Where you can, if so inclined, by George W. Bush postcards - they're right next to the ones of the armadillos. Poor armadillos...

Yes, close to a full day on the go, coupled with a total of nine hours of time change, or what the French call décollage horaire. I far prefer the Gallic version, for I always associate it --rightly or wrongly, I know not-- with the verb décoller, which counts among its meanings "to unstick." So time comes unstuck, or one becomes unstuck from time. Indeed, if I do the maths, (starting out in Warsaw, 9 hours ahead of Vancouver, then figuring one day needed to readapt per hour of time change), it explains perfectly why, four days after returning, I still feel I'm somewhere in Greenland. Maybe Godthab .

EDIT: Oh, what a delicious mistake! Dearest Civil Servant has gently pointed out that in fact the French for time difference/jet lag is, in fact, décalage horaire, from the verb décaler, meaning to bring forward or back. Thus my Gallic construct has itself come gramatically unstuck. However, I'm not going to let that stop me! Though I shall now henceforth always enunciate décalage, in my mind I shall be envisioning those hours peeling off and floating away randomly...

I've also been reconnecting with the family. Dearest Wife did a splendid job of keeping Darling Daughter and Little Man clothed, fed, and deployed appropriately. But that's really par for the course. Ten days away is a long time for a father to be away - I remember that clearly from the times during my childhood that my own father would travel on business. So it is lovely to be back doing Daddish things.

Since returning, I've also been trying to reflect on the Warsaw trip, to understand what I should learn from it. I shan't bore you with the details of either the visit, or my ruminations. At least not yet; you have all been so kind with regards to my last, somewhat self-indulgent post, which was done rather rawly, emotionally, and in haste. So, more to come, but I still need to sleep on it a bit. I will say that that the trip was largely a good one on many levels, and overall it deepened my compassion. And for that I am grateful.

As for my brief stays in London at either end of the trip, they were a total blast! It was deeply warming to have had the chance to relax and catch up with many of my Dearest Friends, and to finally meet shiny, happy Baby Tom. And last Sunday, which we largely spent hanging out on Clapham Common in a delightful gaggle of grups and bairns under unseasonably warm skies, was simply too marvellous.

My London touchdown also afforded me the worderful chance to meet Dearest Young Tim of Contrast Podcast fame! It was somwhat odd to see a cyberperson made flesh, but we soon grew convinced of our respective reality as we bonded over pints of ale, podcastic conversation, and weekend engineering works on the British rail network. I will have some startling revelations about Tim in my intro for this week's upcoming podcast (theme: Contrast Podcast Introduced Me To...), but rest assured he is, as I expected, lovely. You can read about Tim's account of our meeting here, though I warn you I don't photo well after a few beers, sleep deprivation, and three hours on Polish Lot airlines...

Oh, and of course, there's music!!

Peter & The Wolf - Safe Travels (buy here or e-here)
Yes, I know this has been about a bit in blogland of late. But it is a wonderful, special tune that accompanied me throughout my journey, particarly through a spot of rough turbulence over the Atlantic. So there.

Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks (buy here)
Insaney catchy, and it was playing on Easter Monday at Boiled Egg & Soldiers, the posh cafe on the Northcote Road where Dearest T&F@TLH plus Dearest D&S and I had a scrummy full English breakfast. Plus I saw some German hippy-hoppy types do a tepid remix of it on the telly in Poland.

Elton Motello - Jet Boy, Jet Girl (buy here)
Because my arse is stil all flat and my vertebrae still twisted from spending eons stuffed into airplane seats. But Elton obviously has far more exotic adventures while jetting than I do.

Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town (buy here)
Coz I'm back.

You see? I promised you there'd be no Lionel Ritchie...