Dreams Of Escape
I dream of escape all the time. Even when immersed in work, I've got twitter open in one browser window and googlemaps/streetview open in the other, looking at some landscape of the mind and letting my imagination slip away, anywhere that isn't here. Pricing holidays. Pricing what it would cost not to go on holiday for a week, but on some kind of... sabbatical for several months, a year. And then what?
But didn't my recent holiday to St. Ives with my mum prove anything? Hasn't my entire life of just getting up and running away, another city, another continent, another school, another job, proved anything? The demons are in your head, not in a location, you take them with you. That's true, but although a place can't make you happy, a place, a situation, can make you *unhappy*.
But that's what it is, isn't it, the situation? I'm bored, lonely, depressed. Again.
The bored bit, that's easy to understand. I'm a spoiled brat, I have an overpaid job where I'm absolutely unchallenged, in a field I find morally repugnant. The depressed bit grows out of that, as explained so utterly perfectly in this blog. I could, perhaps, with a lot of effort, and a lot of strife and standing up for myself, enough of a sense of ownership and direction to make this *role* somewhat enjoyable. But the problem is, as always, in order to *do* my job, I have to not think about what it is I actually *do*. Like a vegetarian working in a slaughterhouse, an atheist working for the Catholic church - I have to accept again and again that the product of my work supports something that I believe to be deeply morally indefensible. And if I think too hard about it, the cognitive disconnect starts blowing large chunks out of my psyche.
So there I go, stumbling on, knowing that the way my brain works, the only way for me to enjoy the path is to look up, see the play, the systems, the whole map of the terrain kind of thinking that makes me love what I do (data analysis) - but if I look up, I see the blood everywhere, and the realisation that I can't go on doing this.
So instead, I just dream of escape.
When I quit my job, I'll rent out that millstone of a flat in South London whose mortgage keeps me tied here. I'll take my savings - and fuck, I accidentally have a lot of savings - and go live somewhere remote, somewhere cheap, and just paint paisley and record weird radiophonic burbles until the money runs out.
What is there to keep me in London? I mean, seriously? You know the old addage, "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life itself." OK, hands up, I *am* tired of life itself. There was a time when the culture - the gigs, the art, the whole multicultural whirl of food and music and experiences to be had - outweighed the obvious massive irritations. (It is expensive, crowded, stressful, uncaring, alienating, the sheer volume of people, literally, in your face, your armpits, crushed up against your skin which makes you start to think of people not as human beings but simply as irritating obstacles to be overcome - you can see why London makes people cruel, unfeeling, manipulative.)
But none of those are the truth of why I loved London. I loved London for the *people*, for the friendships I formed and the connections I made. And where have they gone?
Some of them were just transients themselves, ex-pats and emmigrants, just passing through, went back to where they came from. London is not a place you come from so much as a vortex you pass through, that attracts the young and ambitious and creative with a magnetic force before spinning them around and flinging them off, elsewhere. And even my closest London-native friends are leaving, have left, bound, ironically, for the States. (Which makes me wonder, was it me they actually liked in the first place, or just the veneer that 15 years in that country gave me.)
And the others. The guilt. I am not a nice person. I am not an *easy* person to be friends with. I'm difficult and complicated and demanding, emotionally and intellectually. I *exhaust* people. I exhaust time and patience and goodwill. I'm like the unfixable project, a black hole, and no matter how much energy or effort you pour into being friends with me, yes there will be good times and worse times, but I will never, ever be *fixed*, I will never be *better*. Walking around the coast of Cornwall, you round a huge bay and then another mass of rock, and as you scramble desperately to the top of the headland, you look out and see... another headland, and another one beyond it, endlessly into the shimmering distance.
Without the people, London is nothing. I'm tired of making new friends, only to lose them again when I fuck up, in the unfailing way I always do. I want to be a recluse. A real one, not just the crazy neighbour who scuttles away when next door's door opens. I want to be alone, just me and the sky and the sea and my understanding of god. Anyway. I don't even know what I'm saying any more. The end.