South Park Self

my favourite bathtime gurgles

Oh, my. I am home, and despite the fact that that was generally a wonderful trip, I can feel inner bits of me spreading happy tendrils to occupy familiar space properly, and wriggling in sheer joy. That was 24 sleepless hours of travelling, encompassing walk-with-suitcase to bus, bus to Heathrow, plane to Frankfurt airport (tentacular, and in possession of Tardis-like corridor lengths longer than actually possible given the building size, they must snarl like spaghetti), plane to O R Tambo (whose signposting is abysmal), six million miles of OR Tambo in search of the non-signposted domestic terminal, plane to Cape Town, and an extraction professionally arranged by stv. The moment of stepping into my own personal shower, with all its hot water in heady amounts, was epiphanic. Celebratory. Practically religious. You don't realise how absolutely essential oodles of hot water delivered with force over a wide area actually are to mental health. (The last B&B had a horrible, lukewarm, trickly shower which had to be activated with a giant button, and which produced unbelievable amounts of groaning, bubbling noise which made a late-night pre-bed shower an exercise in shrinking guilt).

I also arrived back with not only the usual sense of indefinable grime attendant upon 24 hours in aircrafts and airports without sleep or shower, but with the exacerbated version created by a week in London water, leaving one subtly scaly and with heavy, lank straw for hair. God, London water is horrible. If I had to live in London I suspect I'd bath at vast inconvenience via a Heath Robinson contraption supplying bathing water out of a rainwater barrel.

I am also slightly weirded by the practical perambulatory successes of the trip. Despite all these complicated multi-country transfers, the presence of the Paralympics in London, the exigencies of public transport, the unfortuitous confluence of a Lufthansa strike, and the absolute necessity of giving a double period seminar on campus three hours after stepping off the plane, I managed to navigate all of the above without any flight being late, and with my luggage following me docilely, like Rincewind's but without the psychosis, from point to point. I suspect I'm still riding the wave of karmic backlash from the Australia trip, which was rife with flight delays and clouds of ash in addition to its more melodramatic medical upshots. (And I didn't get sick at all this time, which is lovely! Usually the sinus inflammation caused by twelve hours in aircraft aircon mutates into something Sid-related at the earliest inst.)

Also, the double period seminar was, possibly because sleep deprivation breaks down inhibitions and allows bizarre levels of free association, probably the best and most lively I've run this semester. Go figure. Possibly it was also the post-conference intellectual buzz. Marina Warner, eeeeeeeee! But my inbox of doom is rather exponentially more doomlike than usual, so I should probably kill some email. Sigh.
  • Current Mood: groggy tired, prodigal
(Anonymous)
Ah, proper showers. An envious sigh. Yes, London water is dreadful. I recently spent a month back home in a country of plentiful hot water delivered at adequate pressure and I'd almost forgotten how horrible London tap water is to wash with, not to mention drink. Back to braiding it is then - a good plait hides dirty hair for a couple of days. I've also started to rinse my hair with diluted cider vinegar. If it works for kettles... -T.
Welcome home! Reading your posts has made me happy these past few weeks. Marina Warner!
Congratulation on the safe travels. It's getting properly Autumnal here in London now. You left just before that.