Good friend gave me this when I returned from London.
London was wonderful, chock-full of sights, sounds, smells, experiences. Still, it was good to be home, even though it does seem like home is just where I store my suitcase.
Big cities are kinetic, and while the suburbs aren’t exactly “the country,” I found the space and relative quiet back home a nice counterpoint to the week we spent in one of the most magnificent and historic cities in the world. It was nice to walk into Walgreens to pick up a few things–quiet, no wait, no sirens. At Boots on Piccadilly, the ubiquitous London “chemist,” I saw a three-motorcyle guard sirens blaring preceding a black car carrying a dignitaries to some event or another.
“This happens all the time,” the clerk told me. “Whenever you see the three motorcycles, it’s almost always a member of the Royal Family.”
Sure enough, the next day we were waiting for a light to cross near Hyde Park and saw the same processional zoom by, probably with another member of the Royals. That’s life in London–you never know when someone you’ve read about and will continue to read about in history books will zoom by. I’m still recovering from the Queen driving by us.
While we were in London, Prince Phillip had exploratory surgery. He turned 92 in the hospital. I kept tuning in to BBC and Channel 4 to see if I’d hear more during the week, but, shockingly enough, the British media seem to have respected his privacy. Even the tabloids over there, long known for their intrusive and sensational coverage, were mute. I’m writing this a week after he entered hospital and still no news about what the surgery and biopsies found. What a refreshing change from the 24 hour news-cycle in the U.S., where a famous person merely has to pass gas to be news. Although to be honest, at first I did miss the ability to tune in to the latest happenings at any given moment.
My smartphone remained “off” the entire week and it was wonderful. Not a single call or text was made or received. I didn’t check my email constantly. I stayed in the moment, enjoying the trip. Back at the hotel, I’d check email periodically, but it was relaxing to unhook from the bad habit of looking at an electronic device instead of the company and my surroundings. It was an easy transition, too. I just did it. Cold turkey. Like I quit smoking more than 20 years ago.
It was a nice rest for my right thumb and forefinger, which get such a workout on my phone, the mouse on my Imac and the TV remote control (I am an inveterate programmer and fast forwarder, playing those keys like a finely tuned piano). I’d developed a repetitive motion injury from all these electronics a few years ago and it plagues me from time to time. Not in London, though, where it had a very nice time doing nothing
The suitcases are stored away for now. We’re heading to Santa Fe, NM at the end of September, but that’s more than three months away. After that, India in November and our travel year will be over. But I’m not looking too far ahead right now. The summer lies before us and time to organize, plan, write, sing and just plain enjoy the beauty of the Bay area.
Sometimes, being home is the best thing of all.