Things are fine with the new job. More or less. I haven’t started yet, so I’m getting restless. What will I do with the time? I don’t know, maybe write, read and keep setting up the home library? While I was gone, I had someone set up some bookshelves while he was housesitting for me. I’m already in need of a fourth bookshelf though, thanks to my going to Portland and buying too many books at Powell’s.
I do have a hard time writing without the balance of work during the day. I feel like there are remnants of my younger self that will start allowing myself to stay up until the sun rises and then to sleep when it sets. I feel that I have a tendency to fall apart a little bit without the organizing and monetary security of work.
Anyway, apparently my job has put the start date on hold as one of our clients went through a reorg. So hopefully, this doesn’t screw up things on a grander scale. What it continues to mean is time off for me. I’m really wishing I’d stayed in Europe longer. But I just didn’t know how long I had.
I was reflecting on Glasgow today. When I was flying in from London, I was feeling remarkably run down and on the verge of illness. I managed to sleep on the plane for a brief while, but towards the last bit of it, the Scottish flight attendants came cheerfully down the aisle collecting donations for something charitable. We don’t have this in flights in the states, so I was rather surprised. They were rattling off what we could donate to in their beautiful and friendly Glasgow accents, smiles on their faces.
It was really quite a casual flight. Everything felt laid back. No one came sternly by to bark at me about my seat being reclined. I went ahead and adjusted it before we landed, but the mood was strangely jovial. And off the tip of the wing, I caught my first glimpse of the very Southern end of Glasgow suburbs. I took a photo to mark the first time I saw Scotland, which has been something I’ve wanted to do very badly for about 25 years.
Nothing spectacular from the air, but it was meaningful, even if I did feel like I was ready for two days of sleep instead. It was not dramatic or fraught with color and passion as perhaps Durrell would describe something, but Durrell fled the British Isles for The Middle East during a romantic time to do so. When travel to places was more hard won, and because of that, the contrast between a mysterious landscape like Alexandria and London was probably a sublime vision to behold for the first time. He sexualized what he saw too. As if passion for another and passion for a city was inseparable. Which is how I often feel. Even about my first glimpse of Glasgow.
When I emerged from the plane I made my way through the tiny airport. I had already called from London for a cab to fetch me. Much to my embarrassment, I had to ask a few times for them to repeat their questions to me, but it worked out.
The cab wasn’t hard to find. Only two people were waiting in the area to be picked up. A Pakistani fellow with a thick Glaswegian brogue was my driver. And soon he had me to the address I was to meet my friends, in G42 (I suppose this is a postal code of sorts, never really found out) and in a half hour, we had dragged a round table into the emerging sunshine (already I’m getting a completely strange first impression that Glasgow’s foul weather is just exaggerated) in the midst of a beautiful front garden and were immersed in catching up and sipping wine. The fatigue on my end, starting to temporarily fade.
The first night was really a swirl of input for me. After convening at the flat for a bit, we were off across the Queen’s Park with S. leading the way for a proper night out, which by the way, somehow involved us landing at a posh bagel shop. But one that sold whiskey. S. had chosen it because music was playing at an attached theater, but we were too focused on catching up and, in my case, in meeting new people….namely G.M. and S.G.. Here we all are, including myself, now slightly tipsy and still wondering if I were becoming sick:
The evening rounded out at a proper Scottish pub where the denizens were drunkenly singing, then after we finalized it at the flat we were staying at by telling stories, drinking a bit more and getting acquainted or reacquainted. The feeling I had was that this was a very friendly and warm city. One that was welcoming. I was already wishing I had just pulled the trigger on a proper two week trip. When I feel asleep that night, it was deep and fairly dreamless, the jet lag having started to play havoc with my throat and my head. I was determined not to let it win.