Archive for May, 2010

To and fro (a special 382-word entry)

May 31, 2010

Last week someone at work someone needed, for bureaucratic reasons, to know my travel schedule – the dates I’ve flown from London to Los Angeles and back again. I looked it up… and discovered that I have yet to stay in London for more than four weeks at a stretch. Perhaps this is why I sometimes feel a visitor in my own apartment. And strangely at home in a hotel. (Of course, it’s easy to feel at home someplace where they make your bed every day and deliver your clean laundry in a little basket, swaddled in tissue paper.)

I know it’s silly to complain about my jet-setting style. And it’s true that I still enjoy traveling, especially on the occasions I am permitted to fly business class. (Last time Sasha Baron Cohen was a few rows back from me, and I used the bathroom right after him. He didn’t stink it up, and put the seat down.)

But California has a weird hold on me. It’s especially tight at the end of the day, when I’m on the cliffs above the ocean: listening to the faraway waves and the oddly similar roar of traffic on the PCH, watching the sun lower into the ocean, with the lights flickering across the curve of the bay – it is hugely, ridiculously, heartbreakingly beautiful. I don’t know why, but it gives me a feeling that’s vaguely similar to the feeling you get when you’re kissing someone, and you really mean it, and you know they’re going to leave you.

In London, the beauty is on a more manageable scale. I try to really see things, instead of going around on auto-pilot. Today I noticed a number of wrought-iron fences with an acorn motif. And a door knocker shaped like a fish. Yesterday I heard the breeze in the trees above the canal.

It can be hard to believe that the world contains such different kinds of beauty. California and London. Pacific Ocean and door knockers. It’s a little overwhelming.

I’m sure a wise person would just fly back and forth, like a dandelion seed on an uncertain wind, letting California go, and then letting London go, and then letting California go, and then letting London go.

But I always find myself trying to hold on.