Well, I’m back.
It’s been a month since my last
confession post on this blog, and I’ve had good reason. Sorry to those of you (yes, you two, right there…) who like reading my posts, and sorry to the others if a month of silence was not long enough (maybe I’ll try harder next time).
What was my reason? I was off-planet for a while. I went Walkabout. Needed to clear my head, get away from the emails, memos, blogs, telephones, people… and all the regular stuff I deal with everyday and find some time and space to rummage around in my head and tidy up a bit. Get my head together. It was also an insane semester, both workwise and otherwise, as you might have guessed from my posts during that period, and it will be followed by an even more insane one (if I’m not careful) and so I needed to find some calm before plunging back into it all.
So I decided to switch off my phones, stop (mostly) checking my email, tell the post office to hold all my mail, cancel Christmas and New Year’s, pack my bags, put on some sensible shoes, and tell everyone “see you in a month”. I told absolutely no-one where I was going, and I just disappeared. Went on a walkabout, I like to say. Liberating.
I also like to say I was “off-planet”. What do I mean? In a sense, it’s not inappropriate, as I’ll explain to you in several later posts, but my playful reference is to my days of reading comic books. Remember (those of you who read them) when in some issue of your favourite title there’d be some challenge that the other superhero (or heroes) had to deal with, which could have been dealt with more easily (perhaps) if they had help from [name here] who strangely was not around for that entire issue? The lame excuse the writers would offer, would be that [name here] was off the planet. Elsewhere. Perhaps helping the noble Thangarians deal with a terrible epidemic of bird flu, or some other such thing. This would would then allow our remaining heroes to show that they can get by just fine without the help of [name here]…. they would deal with the challenge in hand admirably, and everybody would be fine when [name here] returned.
So I see that Cosmic Variance has been just fine without me (the other superheroes did a great job!), and I imagine that all is well with the home planet, and I needn’t have worried so much all the time I was away. Oh, waitaminute….I didn’t worry (much).
So anyway, I was off-planet. It was nice…. No….it was grrrrrreat!
(Before you all write in and declare that I’ve confirmed that being in academia is a cushy job since I can just take a month off to go walkabout like Caine in some bad 70’s TV show….don’t click “Submit” yet. I got a lot of work done. More later.)
So you’re wondering two things, aren’t you?
(1) Where did he go walkabout? Where is “off-planet”?
(2) What profound thing did he learn about himself while walking about?
Ok, huddle up….
I’ll tell you the answer to (1) upon my return, as I’m just about to fully leave my place of “solitude”. (Feel free to make a stab at guessing, etc…. I can’t afford to give any prizes though.)
And (2)? Well, as all Walkabouters know, it is inevitable that you must grow a beard while on the travels (true for all genders….no, really….) … freedom from excessive grooming is important, and it adds to your feeling of being “on the road”. Actually, I tend to wear my hair very very short, and it has been a very long time since I’ve grown a full beard (perpetual stubble does not count). Well, about half way through the trip, I had a good look in the mirror at this thing thickly covering my face (which will be gone within 24 hours of me returning by the way; don’t want to look like a professor around campus now, do I?) and saw, to my surprise… it’s flecked with grey! I’m not talking Saruman or Gandalf standards here… but, there they are. It’s sort of funny, in retrospect, but I’ve not previously been presented with such sudden physical evidence of having gotten significantly older in over a decade or more.
Ok… this is not really a profound realisation since: (a) “It’s just so shallow”….yeah, yeah, yeah, and (b) Everybody who really knows me is aware that I’m as nutty as a fruitcake and have been a stubborn old man pretty much since birth, so it’s no big deal.
So there you have it. Triviality returns. Time to blow the dust off the scroll bar!