Sunday, March 11, 2012

AlieNation ...

Just as an aubergiste cultivates aubergines, an alienist treats the alienated or those suffering from alienation. This is not, despite what you might have seen in B movies, a condition wherein a human being is taken over by a horde of (usually) malevolent alien invaders, but simply one of being detached from the realities of life: a loony, or nutcase, in the vernacular.

Forgive me for boring you with this, but it came to mind the other day as I realised that I really have no idea who I am anymore. Despite the years spent over here and the love I have for the place (some bits of it, anyway) and its people (definitely only some of them) France is not my country: the sad fact is that the New Zealand I knew all those years ago has disappeared too. (Probably, as Bryan once remarked, up its own insular arsehole, to have now disappeared from the universe in its own singularity, but that's neither here nor there.)

This is what comes of going away for a couple of years and then letting that stretch out unreasonably: you change imperceptibly whilst expecting everything else to stay the same, and then you wake up one day to discover yourself stateless, rootless, and wondering vaguely whether it's already time for the apéro. I'm probably condemned to spend the rest of my life as an eternal tourist with no attachments, a sort of spiritual Flying Dutchman, only with better accomodation and no risk of sea-sickness.

So I can see I really shall have to do some serious work thinking about what I want to do with the future, which is kind of sad because "work" is one of those words that I rather thought I'd succeeded in banishing from my vocabulary years back. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Actually, it's worse than that, Trevor: France is not your country ... but it is your children's country.

  2. Yes and no. They've both got dual nationality, both are bi-lingual (and Mal speaks Glaswegian as well, and can sort of understand Spanish) and neither seem to have any great attachment to the country in which, by sheer bad luck, they happened to be born. Mal's already left it, and I suspect Jerry will follow soon enough.

  3. My impression of NZ is that the changes, in general, have been for the better. In the 25 years that I've been gone, successive return visits have left me with the impression of a more cosmopolitan, less insular nation. It's still a bloody long way from anywhere, but in this webbed-up world, that's less of an issue that it was in our youth. I suspect we'll end up back there eventually, if only to make my UK pension go further, and the thought doesn't depress me. But we'll leave it until our desire to have easy access to the rest of the world has diminished.
    Alternative suggestion for you - come to the UK. It's still a foreign culture, but a far more familiar one that speaks our native tongue, and it has the scale and scope that NZ lacks.

  4. An alternative sure, but quite frankly it's not the "foreign", because I think NZ is probably more foreign to me than France these days, nor is it the language. Just a feeling that something important has disappeared, like when you can only find odd socks in the drawer.

  5. I wish I could come & give you a biiiig hug. Sounds like you need some sisterly attention :-( Do you want to give us a call sometime? (Just, if it's gonna be in the mornings, make it a Saturday or Sunday our time! Otherwise you are likely to get me as I rush out the door to get the dog to daycare & me to work.)

  6. "work" is one of those words that I rather thought I'd succeeded in banishing from my vocabulary years back.

    One of the words I've tried to banish from my vocabulary is "future".