Saturday, December 13th, 2008 https://adamkhan.net/rambles/short-circuiting-place-based-longing
f there is one tangible benefit to having lived in a variety of places it’s that it furnishes evidence of the futility of longing to be elsewhere. Because places that I once longed for are now more or less where I am, and the places where I did the longing are more or less where I long for now. Seeing this laid out in my mind’s eye enables the short-circuiting of the longing process. It’s not the place necessarily that I miss, rather instead I’ve become habituated to the practice of longing for another place. Alone it doesn’t stop the longing, but it does provides strong armor against longing should I remember to pick it up.
Signs of the Old Times
Monday, December 8th, 2008; Strathclyde, Scotland
Last Monday I travelled with my Dad on a cheap Ryanair flight from Bournemouth to Glasgow for a day. We drove from Prestwick Airport to my old town, Newton Mearns, and stopped at the garage opposite the Mearns Cross Shopping Centre to fill the windscreen wipers with water. This shopping mall was my prototypical one, the primary, the mythic; it’s here I entertained myself while my mother shopped for vegetables at Imrie—still there 30 years later!—and it’s here my Dad had his own shop, with the accompanying atmospherics. And yet, perhaps because I’ve waited too long, or perhaps because of the miserable grey weather, or simply because the human magic ineluctably fades with age, but today I saw the place as a rather ugly and anonymous periphery of a rather harsh city, Glasgow.
Miserable-looking Yet Mythic Mearns
Monday, December 8th, 2008; Newton Mearns, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland
But this very lack of excitement can and should be harnessed. Newton Mearns is the place that I used to sit and daydream about in Israeli school after we moved away. While the teacher droned on I’d sit and draw maps of my hometown and imagine I was walking the streets near my house. I’d imagine there was a portal that I could walk through and be on those streets and then walk back through it again to come home to where my parents now were for dinner. Perhaps this is when longing for elsewhere became a bittersweet solitary pleasure; at least it exercised my imagination, which in itself is one of our great pleasures.
Hadassah and Vine
Sunday, June 20th, 2004; Even Sapir, Israel