There is nothing quite as disruptive or confusing to the mind as a house-move. Like the result of a blind re-write of a horror movie or the worst-case scenario from last-minute holiday escapes, house moves set free all worries in the mind at the same time as the hammer of reality is breaking holes in every surface between you and the end of the street. At the best of times I can evoke memories of the most mundane events from the past by just glancing at a particular CD or hearing the chorus from a certain song; walking through the empty house returns entire months of rollercoaster moments in a single up-load. By some trick or as-yet unknown escape my mind has not exploded.
There is no Internet access at home, hence the need to book in advance grabbed hours at the local library. A Czech man struggles to write home on a QWERTY keyboard to one side of me; at the other side of the library two girls giggle over Facebook photos. At home I have learned that going “cold turkey” with on-line activities has left me feeling somewhat weightless – my usual glances at Sky Sports News has grown into gorging on hours of repetition and vague updates from county cricket matches. Now that every programme has an on-line extra presence – when exactly did “send away for our factsheet” die out, anyone? – the missing elements of so doing at home leaves my hands twitching for any alternative activity. For the first time in weeks I have concentrated on reading something from a book – The New Helen by Oscar Wilde – whilst my mind occasionally darted to its usual habitual concerns of checking email, photo comments and blogs.
Meanwhile a dozen boxes lay dust-covered in the spare room, my intake of tea outside working hours as increased to that already health-threatening level inside the office, and every item of clothing never worn in months has been evaluated for future use. I do not need so many stone-washed jeans torn around the ankle; or quite so many grandad jumpers. Or for that matter an all green polo neck with an unflattering “doctor’s smock” look to it. Oddly I do not employ the same brutal “keep or chuck” premise to CDs and tapes (yes, tapes, both cassette and video), which means the music I listen to via Media Player or Spotify will come with regardless of actual use. I will never (ever) listen to “The First, The Last, Eternity” by Snap! this side of the Second Coming but its existence is connected to the “evoking memories” alluded to earlier. Ditto the one Counting Crows single I felt attracted to at some low point in my teenage years. I know, I know…
But this is the dawn, I suppose, of a whole new “all growned up” situation. Hence the sense of weightlessness and boredom and waiting; all the usual feelings of weakness and tension and stress are simmering while I maintain constant checks on the heat beneath. When all this falls apart and I’m found crying at the bottom of the Old Tram Bridge with a suitcase and three dozen copies of Private Eye you can quote me on anything said here or elsewhere about being able to cope.