20170104 I am everywhere and nowhere, everywhen and nowhen. I am physical and virtual.

I seem to be losing track of time.

No, delete that. I have lost track of time.

Once, I think it was recently but I'm not sure, I could tell the time without a watch. My friends thought it fun to ask me the time and for me to be, usually, within a minute or two of correct.

Yesterday, I had to ask someone what day it was. Not date... day.

Today, I noticed it is January. That means that, somewhere, in the recent past, there has been a Christmas and a New Year and I haven't registered either.

I vaguely remember people wishing me Merry Christmas and me absent-mindedly responding in kind but I don't remember actual Christmas. And I remember a firework display in the city on the horizon a few days ago, so I suppose that was New Year's Eve.

And so, today, I opened up this website and found that it's a month since I last looked at it.

I've tried to remember what I've done in that month, but I can't think of anything material.

So, here I am, writing a "commentary" and thinking "what can I write about?"

Is there anything interesting in my life? Only, I suppose, that I seem to be able to do nothing each day but eat, read, sleep and, occasionally if the opportunity presents itself, get laid. Every city, it seems, has that opportunity, without paying for it, if you are nice to women you meet in passing and don't pretend you are going to be in their lives tomorrow. There's no need for tinder or any other assistance if you are prepared to invest time in finding out something about an otherwise lonely woman.

And I can move on if and when I feel like it. Or there is some kind of pressing need to get out of town.

I'm kind of backpacking. Kindof. Of course, I'm not going to travel the world with only a back-pack, hopping onto and off trains and buses and going wherever they go next, stopping wherever they do. And I need, or think I need, more than a back-pack's worth of stuff.

But equally, I'm not a middle-aged couple or a pseudo-hippy in a camper van.

Instead, the boot of my car is my suitcase, my bed is a sleeping bag on the lie-almost-flat passenger seat, my hotel is the side of a road and my office, insofar as I need one, is a café with wifi where I can pick up e-mail and WhatsApps that hover in the internet like a glorious, virtual poste restante of days gone by. I can drift like Hemingway and never need to give a pysical contact point because I am both everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. I am, genuinely, omnipresent while being genuinely omniabsent.

I meet people in the real world and while they will always be different because they met me, I will always be the same because, mostly, they are inconsequential. This isn't arrogance: it's because they have lives of routine and I disturb that. I am disruptive and, therefore, memorable. But I have no routine other than to be somewhere, meet someone, move on. Therefore my only constant is change and therefore change is unremarkable, it's standard operating procedure.

I have gone south for the winter. Now, in the hills above the Mediterranean, it is chilly at night but still warm in the day. I spent last night in the house of a woman I met in a bar. She took pity on me and offered me a bed for the night, a shower and breakfast with a strict caveat that there was no room for a liaison and she was simply affording a traveller some physical comforts. It was nice, to wake up, shower and sit on the balcony with hot coffee and fresh bread and juice hand-squeezed from oranges pulled from the tree in the garden below and, most importantly, no reason for the stilted conversation that follows after spending the night with a stranger. I could, I realised, get used to this. Fast. So I have to move on, to another village, another bar. Long ago, I realised that it's not only women in bars who are lonely. Mostly, it's me, hoping, wishing, dreaming that one of them will assuage the pain of being alone, stop the feeling of drifting with nowhere to be and no one to be anywhere with. Perhaps, I have to accept, it's me that's the sad case and the women are preying on that when they take me to their beds.

And it's the fear that, one day, my trailing anchor might grab a rock and make me stay, that keeps me moving in ever deeper water, in places where I speak none of the language and in villages where it's unlikely anyone speaks much English.

So, with the horror that I was enjoying it too much in the house of the delightful widow, I tossed my overnight bag into the boot of the Mercedes that is my mobile home and drove for an hour through the beautiful sunshine amid the high peaks, on winding roads clinging to the hillside, GPS off, top down; on to the next adventure.

Play, repeat, no markers in place or time, no recollection of the names of the last x villages, no clear idea of borders crossed, no idea that another year has passed.

Now, in a small bar with wifi, writing this, one thing comes to mind.

If I keep burning my bridges behind me, how will I ever get back to where I truly belong? Or perhaps this is it, I belong nowhere, nowhen, virtually everywhere, practically nowhere, every day represented by transient acquaintanceships and places that spend as long in the rear-view mirror as they do in my life.

If you see me passing, the stupidly, entirely unnecessarily, powerful engine idling as I let the roads take me where they will, the big fat tyres barely registering undulations in the road, the wind hardly rustling my hair, you can wave if you like. I might wave back, but probably not. And you'll remember the rude prick in the big car and I'll have no idea that I passed you by.

And for that, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you as I go through life like a leaf on the breeze.

 


 

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