Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Identity Shift

I left Melbourne for Sydney today, which was a good thing because I was starting to forget that I have this whole life somewhere else and that, in fact, my life in Melbourne is something of an illusion. As the plane ascended my head cleared and I was reminded of an episode of the Twilight Zone in which a woman finds herself trapped in a department store after hours and all the mannequins come to life, seemingly to attack her. It turns out that she herself is a mannequin, and she has just finished her month living as a real human being but she had gotten so involved in that identity that she forgot to return at the end of her allotted time. But then she remembers and all is forgiven.

It's not that Melbourne = real human being and back home I'm inert, but there was something in the character's emotional realization at the end of that episode that I seemed to be feeling.

You can't blame me for forgetting this isn't my real life, because this was the week of reinforcement. Last week I described the wonder of dancing with a Morris team or hanging out with the geeks just as if this were your Morris team or your local geeks. But then how are you supposed to feel when you meet up with the geeks again for a night at the pub, for your regular weekly social gathering? Or when you put on kit and meet some of the Britannia Morris Men at the Dickens pub and drink beer and get up and dance and sing a little (despite the heckling from a drunk patron) -- guys you know, because you've danced out with them? Just a fun evening out with your mates. Because, you know, you live here and this is your life.

Do I even need to mention how perfectly normal work in a foreign country seems by week two? Or how much like home even a hotel room feels after 10 days (by which point you know the laundry room hours and the local pubs and coffee shops)? Stronger souls than I would have succumbed to the enticement of believing this false life to be real.

But now here I am in Sydney, back at the Ardmore House with Peter and Declan. They've had a heck of a week with contractors working on their kitchen, so at the moment there is no gas or water and all of the kitchen cabinets have been emptied, their contents spread about the house. That's not what one usually expects at a guest house, but none of this matters. Declan met me at the airport (Peter had to stay home with the contractors) and I've unpacked in "my" little room and I've started to reacquaint myself with the streets of Newtown. It's nice to be back in Sydney.

I'm here until Tuesday. I return to Melbourne (and the hotel that's now home) for a night before flying back to the US. That way my last evening will be a nice comfortable farewell to Australia dinner with mrrules and Brian Coogan, an early bedtime and a good night's sleep before the long, wearying flight. But in the meantime I've got a few days in Sydney to relax. Sunday I'm going to the zoo with jcoldrey.

Tonight I'll go back to the Newtown Hotel, my local. Oh, wait, no -- it's not my local. I don't live here, not in Sydney, not in Melbourne. But now we're back to where this journal entry started.

Yeah, it's time to go home.
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