Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Half-Unpacked Case

A large part of travelling consists purely in waiting, with all the attendant ennui and depression. - Damon Galgut, "In a Strange Room"

The first thing that I do when returning from a significant trip away, is to try to keep the feeling. The feeling of being there; "there" being the place I have just returned from.

Even on day-one, I am conscious of the feeling, the touch of the place that will continue to fade into a personal and muted history. I always try, although I know it is in vain, to "keep the feeling", to hold it in my mind, to capture the essence of the experience that grows further away ever minute.

I even have tactics, mechanisms to keep my memories alive. I try to keep, for as long as possible, all physical evidence that I have been away.

First there's the luggage. I used to unpack as soon as I got in the door. But now I do so on an as-needed basis. It is now three weeks since I returned from Melbourne. What's in the case? I take a look. A summer dress I bought at David Jones. It'll need to be dry-cleaned and it is winter here in New York; it can stay there a while longer. A power adapter for my Australian mobile phone. No point in removing it. Summer sandals. An umbrella - Melbourne weather! Summer tops. I close the lid. It is getting painful.

Another tactic is not to pick up my paper mail. To do so is a sign of settling back into the routine of being HERE, not THERE. After a week my ingrained conscientiousness gets to me and I collect it from the box downstairs, sort out the junk, pay bills. The mundane-ness of being back. It's too much. I decide to collect it weekly now instead of daily as I have always done before - perhaps my Melbourne-feeling will stay a little longer.

I keep using my manual toothbrush that I took to OZ. My electric one stays on its base in the bathroom - all dried-up. Good!

I remember I'm meant to call my dentist and make a string of appointments that were interrupted when I left. That can wait.

But I know that soon I'll empty the case, start collecting the paper mail daily. I'll even make dental appointments.

For today I had my nails done at my local nail salon. A routine New York event. Back! The nail polish I'd worn to Australia was growing out anyway. It's gone now, replaced with blue.

I chose the color well.


Chinamonty said...

and of course you don't take the airline baggage tag off the suitcase!

Grahame said...

You need a bloody pair of shears to get those things off!

Vanessa said...

Welcome back!!!

Sky Blue toes. There's a reminder, all you have to do is look down and you will see the sky, reminding you that there are places to fly.

Or, considering it is winter here, blue toes might be mistaken for frostbite.

ps Happy Valentines Day!!!

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