So I’m packing clothes into a suitcase today, and I’m hit with the strangest of thoughts.
I’m folding up an old crappy t-shirt that I remember I used to wear back in Britain, and started to worry that I might have had it too long. “Will it look weird if I go home with some of the clothes that I brought over with me? Will people notice? Will they have forgotten? Or will they say things like ‘But you were wearing that jumper [sweater] before you went’. Having a definitive time period of three and half years is making me think about all the things that have gone on in that time.
Most of all, it acutely brought into focus a whole bunch of technology-related thoughts. Developments that have happened in my time here. Things which are now part of my daily routine that weren’t before I left.
Facebook didn’t exist. Ok, well it did because it was dreamed up in 2003, established in 2004, and really took off (mainly in US universities [colleges]) in 2005. But I didn’t get on board until the end of 2006/beginning of 2007. And since then, there’s rarely been a day gone by that I haven’t checked into my virtual world of friends.
And there’s a whole little conundrum waiting to unravel there. How much will I really care about American friends once I am back in the UK? Sure … all the time that I’ve been here, I always knew that I would (one day) return back over there and have the reverse of keeping track of people in England that I didn’t really see. So will my virtual world become unbalanced once I’ve gotten back into the swing of things back home? I’d like to think not, but you never know.
Staying with social networking technology, what of Twitter? That definitely didn’t exist in May 2006 when I first moved here, but by the end of 2007 I had signed up to it. Strangely I was one of the few people that got in before it became popular, and when I was first on it – it seemed like no one else was, and I dropped off for a while. Come the beginning of this year though and I started tweeting again, and am now writing a book entirely based upon my 2,000 tweets from my travels around the 48 lower states of the USA this summer.
But I have never tweeted back home in London. London is a city of 11 million people, compared to the smaller 200,000 that Charleston has to offer. I bet people don’t tag #LDN for London there like they do with ‘#CHS’ for Charleston here, because the scale is so much different.
I’m going to have adopt to a whole new twitter lifestyle, and wonder if I really want to know the chatter about local Charleston events, whilst getting my head around my new home back home. But that shouldn’t be any different to me trying to get my head round what’s going in London now, whilst I’m still currently here. Should it? Either way, looks like the new list feature could come in real handy for me, just in time.
I’d never Geocached in my life until I came to Charleston. Now – in my last week here I find myself that I’ve set the goal of trying to get all the regular-style caches within the I-526 area. I’ve got six more to go. Looking at the Geo-Google-Cache Map of London brings up hundreds of caches. What do I do? Try and do all the ones within the M-25 area? The mind boggles. A world of geocaching in England awaits. I am practically salivating at the thought of it.
I worked for two media/news organisations in my time here. The Post & Courier newspaper, and the rather wonderful Digitel news website. In the same way that I religiously checked the BBC news website every day that I was here, will I care about what is going on back in Charleston? How often will I click on websites to keep my finger on the pulse with what’s going on? When will I start not to care?
And you know, the iPod Touch and iPhone didn’t exist in my previous British life. Now I move back in the week that Orange get on board as O2 lose their exclusivity deal, and I can’t see myself having anything but an iPhone now upon my return.
And whilst in the iWorld, it occurred to me as I lay I bed last night listening to a podcast that I have downloaded every week for the past three years here, that I never used to listen to podcast back home in England. I felt like I didn’t really need to because I could listen to as much current radio as I wanted to. Here, it was all about the podcasts – subscribing to the one for Spurs, and my favourite technology related one. I always felt like I was a little outpost 4,000 miles away grabbing a lifeline back home when I lay in bed in the small hours of the morning, unable to fall asleep listening to them. Now I’ll be back home downloading them. How different will that be?
All that to worry about. And I still don’t know if it’s okay to wear clothes that I’ve had for more than three and a half years, dammit.