Back from long, twisting but cheap airplane routes when my body temperature was scanned and I saw a man I knew years ago pinning his pants back together with a safety pin. He could have bought a new pair of pants and there's a certain lunacy in ignoring an airport full of clothes stores for a cheap box of safety pins and a ten hour flight that connects you to another, but we all make choices in our lives, good and bad. I had a surreal conversation with an eighteen year old on his first solo flight to New York to attend a My Little Pony Convention. I had no idea they had revamped the show. I had no idea it would appeal to people. I had no idea they would want to put horns on their foreheads and fill their ipods with fan made My Little Pony music. But apparently they do and apparently there are four thousand people who do.
And eventually, I came back. Back from the South, where I had my first real experience of what you could call culture shock in the US, of drifting through flea markets, pawn shops, gun shops... of a truly excellent second hand bookstore where both N and I spent too much money and I, for some strange reason, ended up with a pristine, 1975 hardcover edition of Stephen King's 'salem's Lot for seven fifty. I'm not a huge King fan, but I'm running a course on modern horror, and I'd never read this and I thought the book quite attractive--and you know, sitting in the South and reading it, it made a little more sense to me, it was a little more American, somehow, a little more Bradbury than I thought, a little more ambitious for a book that has had a huge influence on modern horror (and is still quite flawed despite its interesting structure and populated by uninteresting and poorly developed characters)... and, you know, I ate a lot of bad food and listened to people tell me how hot it was and saw so many huge churches next to run down trailer parks and houses and next to upscale houses and clean trailer parks, and somewhere, I decided to taste all the candy with peanut butter in it.
Yes, I did.
And now I am back, back in this peanut butter candyless land.
Back through long flights, through bad plane meals, back to the sight of Sydney spread out and lit up at night in a huge, beautiful mess on the shore, back to learn that Amina was kicked off Masterchef and I now no longer care about the show, back to bills and cheques, one of them, even, for Black Sheep, which still sells, mostly to Germans who read an excerpt in study guides, I assume.
So, I'm back, yes.