Saturday, 23 January 2010

Routine/Habit - Familiar/Unfamiliar

Hullo ma wee blog,

6.00am this morning: I had been awake for a while, not long but maybe 10 minutes. Instinctively, still half asleep I had been yawning and stretching under the covers, rubbing my eyes and wiping the palm of my hands from forehead to chin as I stroked myself out of sleep. Having gone to bed at 2.00am, that's not bad for me but the lovely G, facing her 6th day at work this week and still struggling to contain a cold that has dogged her across most of the preceding week turned to me and said,

"Please, get up. Give me just another 15 minutes of peace before I have to get up too."

Aware now of my inconsiderate behaviour I apologised and got out of bed straight away and went out to the hall where I dressed, groggily and oddly in the dark, stuck bare feet into slippers before heading down to the kitchen where I pressed the on switch of the laptop on my way to kettle and coffee. A fill of the kettle and a wander back to the laptop to tap in the password meant that by the time I returned to my familiar chair at the kitchen table, in the corner by the patio door, coffee cup in hand I was ready to switch on my morning radio station and go to the blog dashboard to see who had posted overnight or if anyone had dropped a comment to be published.

In the next few minutes I followed whats become pretty much my morning routine of blog checking, saying hello to Jess and making a fuss for a moment or two, of changing the litter tray and checking food and water are there and taking milk and butter from the fridge in preparation for breakfast porage or whatever takes my fancy from our stock of cereal. All totally mundane and familiar to many millions nae doubt. I often find I have done something, often very ordinary, but cant for the life of me remember doing it. Tidying up that scattered post, putting that dish in the dishwasher or even driving that last 5 miles to home. All done perfectly well and safely but without conscious thought.

And so I found myself here having done several of those things {except driving home I hastily add} this morning but not having realised it until I reminded myself to go and feed the cat only to find the bowl washed and refilled and Jess turning from her breakfast with a quizzical look over her shoulder. I smiled and considered old age, senility and kinsthetics and turned ruefully back to kettle and coffee.

Later, having dropped the lovely G at Dunbar station I again found myself pulling into a parking space at the bottom of the high street as I wanted to get some rolls and butter at a local shop. I had found myself coming around the corner and immediately checking for one particular parking space, then on seeing it taken, searching for another, but very particular, place. I realised that I have favourite parking spaces! And a pecking order of favourite parking spaces! And in an almost deserted street {at that time of a Saturday morning}. As I stepped out of the car another of those odd things happened to me.

Have you ever found yourself in a familiar place and yet, even knowing it should be familiar, feeling like its brand new, the very first time you have ever been there and that like the first time in a new place you are keen to experience it, to become familiar, and have a heightened awareness of the place somehow. { You probably think I'm nuts. I'm not explaining this very well.}

The first time I remember experiencing it was as a small child walking back home from Grans house through the village. It was night but not very late as I was young, Gordon, my older brother was with me, and we were walking the route back home that we always took, just a simple five minute walk. The path and road were frosted and glistening in the street lights, car windows and lights frosting over and the whole scene indelibly etched in my memory was that it was all new. Never before had I experienced that walk. Every familiar house and garden gate, every turn and distance between lit lampposts was totally new and yet that didn't mean I felt anxious. I was enthralled. I wanted to linger, recognising that this should all be normal to me and yet wasn't. I wanted to stay and enjoy the sensation of feeling dislocated in my own surroundings. Misplaced and exhilarated in equal measure.

Over the years I have experienced the same feeling perhaps only ten times and every time takes me back to that first frosty walk down the hill to home. Today as I got out of the car in a dark Dunbar high street, noise muffled by a the kind of feather light drizzle that we call 'smirr' in Scotland I knew before I raised my head to stand up that I was in that place again. I stood all grown up at the side of my car and experienced Dunbar in the morning smirr like I was 7 or 8 years old and it was all brand new. Amazing, wondrous and unexpected. I walked slowly to the foot of the high street and looked up its length, standing for several minutes just drinking it in and hoping that the feeling wouldn't change. As I walked towards the shop where I knew I had intended going the feeling stayed with me and I walked on enjoying the sensation, the connection and the peace that I always feel in that experience.

A 50 year old wee boy just walking up a new street in the smirr. Deep in thought and comfortably lost in feeling.

And it was.......Braw.

see you later.....


coastkid said...

i kind of know what your trying to explain what you were feeling on the street there..i get it dreaming!, and i get alot of de ja vu..esp at work...kind of freaky..

Kristi said...

Oh I know that feeling!

lom said...

I sometimes look at things we have and it is as if I am seeing them for the first time, the shapes and colours all seem bright and new, even when they are not. It always leaves me feeling strangley happy

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