Monday, November 12, 2012

An Upstart Crow Discovers That Ennui is Not a River in France

And there's no cure like travel
To help you unravel
The worries of living today.
When the poor brain is cracking
There's nothing like packing
A suitcase and sailing away.
Take a run 'round Vienna,
Granada, Ravenna, Sienna
And then a-'round Rome.
Have as high time, a low time,
And in no time
You'll be singing ‘Home, Sweet Home’.”
-Cole Porter, “There’s No Cure Like Travel”

Well, it’s happened. I was afraid that it would and indeed it has. I’ve tried my hardest to avoid it and despite how much I really love this country and this city and the overall vibe here, there’s no denying it anymore.

I have gotten bored.

I’ve tried to reactivate and stimulate my mind. I’ve tried to experience new things. Last week I got up at 5:30 in the morning to stand in line for tickets to The River, the new play by Jez Butterworth that’s playing down at the Royal Court Theatre and will probably end up winning him another Tony in a year or so once it makes it to America. It was all cold and miserable and then I got the ticket and felt like a champ and I went back that night and saw the play and it was brilliant and the acting and the directing and the writing were so good that they’ve now caused me to start writing in really horrific run-on sentences. All the same, after the play was over I came down from it really quickly, like when you stay up really, really late drinking until you’re out of beer and there’s only a handful of people awake and about two hours after you’ve stopped drinking all of the sudden you’re no longer drunk but just really, really tired. That was the feeling.

So I decided to try something else, so I went to the Tate Museum of Modern Art (I’d post pictures, but I didn’t take any. I have a real problem with people who take pictures in an art gallery.) and figured at the very least I’d be weirded out and, maybe even have my mind blown. So I went, and I saw just about everything in there that didn’t cost extra to go see. I was definitely weirded out and I thought for a second that my mind might have been blown. But then I got to the very top floor, which is where the really weird stuff is and I had that immediate come-down effect again around the time that I saw that someone had roped off a load of air-conditioning ductwork and stuck a plaque next to it with their name and a really pretentious title. Maybe it’s leftover trauma from the really unpleasant job I worked two summers ago at an HVAC company, or maybe it’s just my natural dislike for that brand of “Well, I say it’s art, so it’s art, so there” pretentiousness but at that point I’d had just about enough.

Couple that with the way the real world has been surreptitiously sneaking its way back into the corner of my eye what with its cattle-call audition applications that I have to fill out, and its classes for next semester that I have to sign up for, and its elections that I have to stay up straight through the night to see the results of, and all of those other things, and suddenly I feel like I’m missing out on something. That’s the main reason this post is later than usual: I literally couldn’t come up with anything that was impactful enough to fill out an entire post. So I thought about it and I realized something:

London has become home.

Now, this would be a good thing for just about anyone else, but when I start to think, “This place is home,” that’s also the moment I start to think “I need to get out of here right now.” You can ask my parents. When I come home for breaks I am nearly impossible to live with. That’s one of the reasons I’m so keen to get a summer job/internship/apprenticeship that will take me away from there this year. So when I finally worked out the real source of my problem, that’s when the song I quoted up at the top of the post popped into my head. And I realized:

I need to take some more trips.

It’s been awhile since Barcelona and I haven’t gone off on my own since, so I’m making up a plan to do some cheaper trips inside of the UK for the next few weekends. First off, this weekend I’m going to do the two big university towns: Oxford and Cambridge. My mom lived in Oxford for almost a year, so she’d pretty much kill me if I didn’t visit, and a friend from middle/high school is doing a semester at Cambridge so I figured I might as well visit her. Weekend after, I’m going to go visit another friend in Wales and we’ll go from there. I want to see Edinburgh at some point, though I might do that at the end of term on the way to meet my family in Dublin and I’d also like to do one more international trip to Paris just for a day or two, so we’ll see how those shake out. For now, though, I think the thought of a change of scenery might get me through this week and hopefully I’ll have a cheerier entry for you all soon.

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