The first time I went to England by myself it was a Big Occasion. It was 1985, and I was heading to London to spend the summer doing a literature program and going to plays. It was the week after the Air India bombing, and there was no real security yet. My mother and grandparents took me to the Detroit airport and shepherded me through the hand searches of luggage, and then went with me to the bar and furtively bought me a drink. (I was of legal drinking age in Ontario, not in Michigan). I have photos of my healthy, tanned grandparents and mother, smiling and thrilled with my going Off on a Big Adventure.
Yesterday, I left my house before 730 am, took a cab to my meeting, with D, led a group through a pretty intense 8 hour meeting….
Being concerned with sexual health, the group’s version of a creative vision involved a visual of a uterus….
… and after trying to help them move forward, I changed, waited for my limo while talking to the client about how the day had gone and went to Pearson and on to England. Commuting to Lancashire.
Not feeling so adventurous this time, but I still drag too much stuff with me. This camera bag weighs about 16 kilos.
For my little one week trip to Finch’s, I have: Canon 7D with three lenses, binoculars, two macbooks (an Air and a Pro, since the Air’s wifi is dicey at Finch’s), my Lumix compact camera, my ipad and my iphone. Also my noise canceling headphones. I think I’m carrying this tech thing a little too far.
On my first trip to London my only technology was a transistor radio, and I learned what UK radio stations sounded like from the tinny little box. The place I stayed, in Bloomsbury, was across from the back of RADA, and right across from me, people would come out onto the back balcony to smoke, in costume, in between scenes of plays. I went to Ireland after my course, by myself, and realized no one in the world knew where I was, exactly. I missed my friend Rachael’s wedding, and I called her from a payphone, coins dropping, pips going, the translatlantic call an Event.
Today, in Heathrow, between flights, I I text my sister, listen to a podcast, answer my email, post on facebook, and IM with a friend in Toronto all at the same time. Curled up in that sweaty little room in the college in Bloomsbury, sink in the closet, bathroom and mineral-encrusted kettle down the hall, I read my first lesbian mystery novel picked up in Charing Cross Road, smoked out the window into the cool night, discovered a city for the first time. Life was focused, full.