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In other news [Feb. 29th, 2008|12:37 am]
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I ended up in Blackrock today.

The story behind it all was that I left the house a bit late, so I ended up coming towards UCD already late for my first lecture of the day. That left me with just over an hour and a half to kill. I knew that if I went to the labs, I'd just mope about doing nothing, and basically I'd been beating myself up lately (not for nothing), I decided to just take a break and just stay on my bus and let it take me to Blackrock.

The journey served to remind me that it probably shouldn't be called a town, and more a village with two shopping centres both touting style and labels over value and utility.

On the upside it was a lovely morning, and I bore witness to a really catchy street-performing band. It got my head a bit clearer, and walking back to my bus-stop I noticed a shop called "The Cat's Pajamas".

I take that term to be roughly on a par with "The Dog's Bollox", but more acceptable in politer social circles. Such thoughts started me thinking, and I tried to literally compare the two... "Pajamas are to bollox as cats are to dogs? No... that can't be right. They're not directly equatable like that, are they? It must be context sensitive... so a cat's pair of pajamas are comparable to a dog's pair of bollox."

This conversation trundled in my head for a few seconds before I realised the obvious truth: If you want to neuter your cat, just remove its pajamas!

How profound is that?

Anyway, back to the travel, it did my head good, and it couldn't help but remind me of the time I went interrailling, or my little pilgrimages to London. In all cases, I went by ferry and train. In the case of my Inter-rail holiday, very few people knew of my plans until I was on the ferry, sending a text telling them that I'd see them in a month.

Why did I do that? Well, I wanted to evoke a drastic change. People knew me for talking a lot about plans, but not really managing to follow through. At that point in my life, there was a lot of shifting about. I'd just started on hormones, but none of that circle of friends were particularly convinced that I was going to follow through on any of it, and my thoughts were (and to a large degree still are) they they'd gotten bored with me. So, rather than have them say "Yeah, we'll believe it when we see it", I just decided to give no warning, make silent preparations and get going within a week.

It was a drastic change - it had the effect of shaking things to a point that they couldn't be the same again. I had asserted a sense of independence, I'd set myself apart from a flock, and I got a good holiday out of it. I came back from that trip feeling so much better, and confident. Yes, it created a gap between myself and certain people, and has never quite closed again, but it might have been necessary.

Now I get the feeling of needing travel, and/or drastic change again (although the two don't go hand in hand - it just so happened that this was the case the last time). You know, I disappear for a while, and then I'll come back. To me, the process will be continuous, but to the observer, the gap allows the contrast of the old image to the new one; I have to look at myself day after day, so I never see the change, others can and will. That said, I doubt the change will affect quite the same areas - I needed to assert my spontaneity before, so the shock was necessary - so the results will be different.

And on the idea of travel, sometimes I've toyed with the idea of buying a bus/ferry/bus ticket to random parts of England, for a day, and busking there. I've no idea why it appeals, but it just sounds like fun.

Of course, when I think about all this, and think of my future in academia (it seems I have one, and it may potentially draw me in) and I realise that the potential for drastic change is greatly diminished, although the case of the taught masters in DCU would allow for me to appear to a new group, but remaining in UCD for the next while... well, it probably doesn't need to be spelled out, the same bus route for 2 to 4 more years, the same people, but with less undergrad connection. At the same time, it makes a career much more viable. Overall, there's less potential to disappear for a month...

Anyway, I'm losing coherence quickly, so I'll stop there.