Tuesday, October 10, 2006
It’s a grey and chilly rainy morning in Austin, very unusual weather for a city in the desert. It’s the very weather with which I used to castigate myself, on almost a daily basis, for choosing to live in London year after year wondering why I would sentence myself to days made even more depressing by the lack of sun. That weather is now an instrument on which I play the tune of homesickness. I recently talked to both Roxanne and Sarah who each are pining for London. Is it because we miss our friends, well certainly that is an ongoing emptiness we face each day. It is, I believe, much more than that. We each have definable and indefinable reasons why London calls to us. I miss the pub culture, meeting with friends over a drink or, as most often happened, too many drinks. The bars in America seem to be highly defined by the pervasive class system of age and job title with a strong whiff of a meat market mentality. I loved the fact that local pubs, in Ireland and the UK were a place that welcomed people from young to old, rich to poor and that they all talked to each other. I remind myself that there are good things here for me, the nearness of Thea of course, and the fact that I can live on part-time wages, can even afford my bijou studio flat with its necessary veranda. None of which were achievable in London. As much as I thought I detested the crowded streets of Central London, I find that now I hunger for throngs of people and feel as if I am truly living in a desert when I am in downtown Austin and the streets are virtually deserted. I do not miss the cacophony of traffic outside my window in London and treasure the relative quiet of my flat in Austin, broken generally only by the thriving wildlife although sometimes the noise of those various species is so persistent I feel as if I am living in a jungle. I do, however, choose the jungle sounds over the incessant and maddening sounds of the automotive engine. Politically there is not much to choose between, as always power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I do wish the American people would awake from the nightmares encouraged by the current administration, would that they were more like the people in the UK who recognized early on that the war was an unnecessary waste of money and lives and that the best reaction to terrorism is to get on with one’s life. Most of all I miss the poetry, the venues like Shortfuse and express excess where I could read my work and where I could be inspired by hearing so many other poets. I constantly miss the after gig, after hour’s drinks with people who shared my love of words. I feel as if that part of my life, the best part, has gone. Will I ever return to London? I think about it often but know that I could never leave Thea again. I suppose I must start playing the lottery in hopes that I will someday be able to afford to go back for a visit. In the meanwhile I send a bang on the ear to all of you that I love and miss, please hoist a pint for me.