Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Time Slows Down

Time has been slowing down again. I know why this is. It's because for the past five days experience has been unsystematised, unroutinised; liberated from a fixed expectation of how the future will go.

When we work, live at home, travel through our lives in established orbits the future doesn't present itself as an opportunity, or an open adventure. Instead, it's as if the future has already happened. We know our coming days will be near replicas of our past days. This knowledge instills passivity into our minds; it renders the input of phenonema a process somewhat mechanical, repetitive and rigid, and in consequence fast.

So time passes quickly when we're working and doing the predictable, the already performed.

This, I realise, can be seen to contradict the saying: 'time flies you're you're having fun'.

Which just shows that in many things, it depends.

I speak only for myself.

Time went slowly in Kuwait for the first month, then sped up, as a routine became established. Now, since December 19th, in the arms of vivid activity and uncertain adventure it's slowed down again. Which is good. Very good.

That said, I cannot say I had no plan when I arrived in Blighty about what I'd do. I did, but it was provisional and tentative, as I waited on confirmations of details from friends regarding where to meet me at various places and at what times.

After five days on the road, with a lap top bag and a backpack steadily expanding with xmas presents, I've finally arrived at my brother's gorgeous vicarage in Kent for Xmas Eve; though tomorrow Mum and I will drive to Suffolk for the main event. Especially boxing day, when all the family roll up.

Until now I've spent two nights in Greenwich with my sister, one night in St.John's Road with Liz, one night in Northampton with Lee, and a night in Brighton, with Matt in a public school of which he's a housemaster, if that can be believed. Staying there was like going back in time twenty years to when I belonged to a similar kind of boarding house, at The Leys in Cambridge, though only as a day boarder. You know you've grown up when you get invited to stay on the other side of the Housemaster's door.

Quite an adventure then; certainly as good a time as I allowed myself to expect.

Altogether I'm very impressed with my country and the time it's given me. Whatever negative first impressions I had, have faded. To be frank, I'm not looking forward that much to returning to the desert. Though presumably, as is the way with these things, once I'm back I'll shift into an appropriately altered mode fairly easily.

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