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Coming home again (I think about you now and then)

An immigration official wearing a turban. Another airport official doing something .. airporty, who it was obvious to me that English was not his natural born language. Hello home.

“Who let the chavs out?”
I txt’d to my mate Janet (Who then gave away my ‘secret’ trip in her facebook status update for all to see). The West Ham fan (bald, tattoos, I looked twice to make sure it wasn’t my brother in-law) yakked away on his mobile phone, oblivious to the ‘Do not use your mobile phone in this area’ sign about 10 metres behind him. Hello cultural England.

Timberland shirts, a FILA cap, Reebok trainers – a Virgin flight had pulled in at the gate next to my US Airways one, and I hoped that they were package holiday makers back from somewhere cheap in Europe. Hello Gatwick Airport.

I’m sat in the Apple Store on Regent Street right now, but before whipping out my non-Jobs laptop to type this, I sat and people watched for a few minutes, taking in my surroundings. Moments before that, I’d sat and people watched perched on a wall on the junction of Oxford Circus, again – just soaking up my surroundings. Terry with the megaphone appears to have been replaced by a bo-peep style crazy lady, complete with frilly dress and a hooked staff to shepherd her lambs home later. Even though I’m sitting just a few feet away, I can’t actually make out entirely what she’s saying. Something about God though I think.

Prior to that, I’d done it again at Victoria, down in the tube on the northbound platform. I let 6 or 7 trains go by, consuming in the atmosphere, the smell, the buzz and the vibe of London, wishing I could somehow tap it, edit it, and serve up a portion of it here on the webpage to share with y’all. I’ve missed you London, and it’s nice to be back.

Here, people look British. In the same way that as over there, they look American. I’ve decided that you could pick a group of random people from each side of the pond, mix them up in a room, and I’d be able to tell at a glance who was who, no problem.

I do keep looking at people, because I feel like they’re looking at me. Or perhaps I’m trying to see if I can catch someone that I know. Charleston? 90,000 population downtown – no problem, odds are that most days I’ll run into someone that I know. ‘Downtown’ Greater London with several million? Yeah .. less so.

I’m tired. 5 hours of airplane sleep (even if it was first class – more on that on a retrospective post) hasn’t done well to adjust to time difference, and I’m confused as to how I am, to where I am. Even moreso, there is this deep unsettling feeling that I don’t know where I’m supposed to be either. Here, or there?

UK or USA where there are good and bad in almost equal portions. It now feels like I’ve split my life in two, and that when I say ‘home’, I don’t know if I mean here or there or anymore. It’s both. And neither. All at the same time. And that is deeply unsettling.

19 responses to “Coming home again (I think about you now and then)”

  1. Isaac Hunt says:

    Sounds like you need a pint, mate. Give us a holler.

  2. Chris says:

    Hmmm. Melancholy moods. Sounds like a CD that would have Enya on it, inappropriately.Understand what you’re going through mate… For what it’s worth I miss London too, seeing only Twickenham and Brentford these days, neither of which quite has the buzz of ‘town’. Pop in if you have time. Meet H.

  3. […] Geoff visits home, but is no longer sure exactly where that is. […]

  4. rick says:

    Considering how much time you spend telling us about how awesome the UK is compared to the States, I’m surprised that you’d have any confusion as to where home is. I guess you’re there to try and figure that out, though.

  5. Richard says:

    You could look on it as having two homes for the price of one.

  6. Caroline says:

    Ah, Geoff…I thought as much…

    I think that you are actually in a great situation…the situation that allows you to choose…some don’t have that option. The biggest questions to ask is: “Where do you see yourself growing into a better and most fulfilled person?” “Where will you be your best, happiest, and comfortable self?” And yeah, here here to Rick…you put down the US all the time…is it just patriotism…or is it that you really think England is better? You will be fine no matter what…I have confidence in you, and I think you should too.

    🙂 Enjoy your trip, friend.

  7. Shon says:

    You are going to be you wherever you are, I promise!
    I’ve seen you do it!
    You’re REALLY good at it!

    Hope that helps 🙂

  8. Geoff's Mum says:

    Welcome to your birth country, even if only for a few days. I’m scared to say ‘home’ anymore in case it starts you
    off again, and you are reduced to a babbling wreck. There are many strange, evil and annoying things about this country, but having just come back from the USA recently, I recognise that warm feeling as the plane starts to land in that lovely Sussex countryside that signals your descent into Gatwick. Only you can truly know where your heart is, and where you wanna be.

  9. J-Ro says:

    Home is where there’s head on a warm pint, mushy peas, ‘proper’ brown sauce, chavs, born and bred brits in turbans at immigration, polish plumbers, bulgarian bartenders, aussie accountants, bad weather, salad cream on chips, no fries, old man pubs, queues for no apparent reason, fights on buses, football in pubs, fights in pubs, football on buses, football everywhere. Love London…been in the pub all afternoon…can you tell? See ya tomorrow, choob geek x

  10. Leslie says:

    I’ll be in London next Wednesday! Though I’ve never lived there, so I don’t have that confused feeling there… It’s when I go to Holland or Prague that I get freaked out.

  11. tami says:

    Home is where you really feel that “lost feeling” when you aren’t there anymore…

    when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
    — Samuel Johnson

  12. Moley says:

    What a great quote.

  13. D-Ro says:

    Or, to follow up on J-Ro, American Style:

    Maybe home is where there’s a cold crisp beer on a hot sunny day, kick ass, cheap Mexican food, the British food selection at World Market, road trips, new horizons, excellent weather, beach days, french fries with ketchup, Moe’s, Poe’s, satellite tv and radio for the footie and Chris Moyles, and a place where people fawn over you for your accent. You won’t get any of that in England….

  14. zuzula says:

    so sorry i missed you – come back! x

  15. Mum says:

    It is possible to have more than one ‘home’ surely, the home town/country where you grew up will always be your heart home. The memory is often better than the reality tho. Then there’s the home you actually live in, that’s your head home, where you are currenty laying your head and earning a living. After all our English Queen has several ‘homes’,( I bet she’s confused.) Imagine being homeless, when you you have no place to call home, now that’s unsettling.

  16. michael says:

    just wanted to check on your whereabouts. very refreshing to see your admitted ambiguity as far as where home is. I always thought you considered England to be the obvious land of higher moral (and intellectual) standing.
    I, too (sure, maybe less so than you), am confused about home. Wanting to leave Charlston but at the same time very happy with the small group of friends I have her at “home”.
    I guess, end the end, home is where you feel most comfortable.

  17. Garion Allen says:

    Didnt you do any challenges on the tube Geoff? 😉

  18. Isaac Hunt says:

    Home is where the heart is …. on the bus.

    Zappa F.

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