Returning home to a semblance of normality from a journey that rattles one’s bones takes very a long time indeed. In fact, I was in a Fitzroy bar the other night and a nice young chap, who claimed to be an expert on these things, suggested that it would take two years! It has been a year and a half since I got off my cherished 125cc moto, so I am almost ‘there’ I suppose, whatever ‘there’ means.
The main problem with integrating back into Modernista society after a monumental break is that one becomes a messenger, an outsider, an intruder and a stranger. One’s identity changes greatly through the serious engagement with the world and people find it difficult to accept your new hard-won identity as you do theirs. Many people not only fear the world and its people but they also fear those who have had the courage to engage with it on their own terms.
Whilst walking to a cafe for lunch the other day, waiting for the autocratic pedestrian crossing to signal approval, I overheard a rotund, flustered man mumbling about an altercation with a colleague over an office tea-bag. I thought to myself, ‘why does this man exist?’ ‘I wish he would disobey the authority of the pedestrian crossing and suffer at the hands of Modernism’.
It has been a very tough year and a half and along with many people, my global soul has taken a beating. There are a lot of people out there with weak identities who demonise others and aggressively cling to the most reductive and imaginary things at the expense of others. I hope that I haven’t been the beneficiary of a golden age of independent travel and from here on in it is “us and them over and over and over again”.