But when, in Chatham, I have to move a fourth time, I do so petty. The small metal tray in front of me flutters from the table tinny as I press it back into place. I hurried from the scene humming the failed epigram. When I plop myself down again with two trains, I realize I’ve lost my glasses, without which I can’t read a word, and I’m too embarrassed to go back and look at them Is. This is the fugue of my favorite thing.
Most discussions about whether it is better to travel fail to take into account the third option, which might have been better to stay at home. In common with many, returning to a more difficult world is for me than I imagined in the gloom of 2021. Was everything always so tiring? Another epigram mutters: “What does it mean to go out? We’re going to go back here anyway. “Thank you, Homer Simpson.
I may not be able to read my book, but I can still look out the window. Rochester Castle, with its 12th-century keep, harks back to the past, and children are already playing on the grounds. We cross Rainham Marsh and I find scattered groups of bird watchers who have been on it since morning. Coronavirus is rampant; the economy is spiraling out of control; The planet is on fire; There is war in Europe. As more passengers join the London service, some are bound for football, others go shopping in Westfield Stratford, it occurs to me that no one on this train is ever going to be normal, because normality That’s not where we left it. But who will blame us for trying?
As if to confirm this unexpected declaration of fellow feeling, a tap falls on my shoulder. I seek There’s a man in an Arsenal shirt holding his glasses for me.
Later, safe in the dark of Crouch and Picturehouse, there would be a screening of “Quatermas and the Pit” (1967), a film adaptation of Keenil’s 1958 teleplay. The original version concluded with the words of Professor Bernard Quatermas among the smoking ruins of the capital city: “Every war crisis, witch hunt, race riot and purge is a reminder and a warning. We are Martians. If they can’t control it, it will be their second dead planet.”
I have seen this film before. I go to the pub instead.
andy miller Author of “The Year of Reading Dangerously” and co-host of the podcast “Backlisted”.