Friday, 25 May 2018

Clarity (possibly)

The following are some notes tapped out while on the way home from a business trip to the US.  They are as typed on the flight.  The original title was "Clarity", I haven't reviewed them so that may or may not be appropriate, hence the qualifier above...

It’s 4am at home.  Where I set off from, it’s 8pm.  So far as I’m concerned, I’ve no idea what time it is.  The Virgin Upper cabin is darkened, all the blinds are shut and the lights are down.  There is a purple light off to one corner, mood lighting for the bar.  My complimentary headphones are channelling Daft Punk to my ears – Aerodynamic.

I lifted the blind slightly and twisted round on my seat to peek outside.  Greenland was below us, and the sun is either just setting or just rising.  I genuinely have no idea.  I’ll look again later, that should tell me which it was.  If I think about it, I can probably work it out as we’re heading East towards the rising sun, but my head is hurting and I don’t want to.

I push the blind back down and settle into the seat again.  The purple light creates a pattern on the inside wall of the cabin where it ripples in and out between the windows that no-one can look out of without pulling a muscle.  The no-smoking signs are points of light on the roof, creating a regular pattern ruined by the chap to my right with his light on.  His face is lit up white – like me, he’s tapping away on a laptop. 

The cabin crew keep asking me if I want a drink, and there was a nice single malt on the menu.  But I don’t need the warm glow of the Scots coast, I have my own inner glow.  I’m going home.

Harder, Better, Faster Stronger.    
Ever. After. Work Is Over.


My work is international – one of the most international professions that there is.  We deal with many more countries than most professions, probably by an order of magnitude or so.  My bank manager admitted to me that I’m the client who regularly sets off all his compliance alarms thanks to the amount of money I send out and the sheer range of countries that I send it to.  We deal with the highest common factor - all the countries that figure on the plans of any of our clients.  And from time to time, that means going to say hello, shake hands, secure those relationships.

(They’ve turned the purple light off.  Now I just have the no smoking signs – I’m guessing they can never ever go off.  The bar looks as if it has shut, maybe that’s why they kept asking me.  Suddenly I fancy that single malt…)

My hobby is all about movement.  I’ve loved driving cars since my 17th birthday, when an instructor turned up at 10am in a white Mk2 Escort to take me for my first ever lesson – a total surprise.  An hour later I was gliding along the A452 at 40mph and loving it.  I started ordering nice cars the first chance I had, and my present to myself on getting into a paid-up partnership was a 325hp, 177mph, open-top, manual-gearbox example of the finest German engineering.  That took me into track days – I soon realised that its abilities were way beyond mine, and that if I tried to learn to use them on the road then the choice was between hospital and prison.  From there I started racing – not in my precious 911, but in a more (shall we say) disposable repairable car.  And repair it I have, several times.

And yet in that moment of inner warmth, I sense what is most important.  Home.

I’m going home now.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your posting. I too find (my occasional) intercontinental travel offers a good time to reflect on what the world has become.

    In addition to that intercontinental travel (and high-speed personalised road transport), I find as so very impressive: the Internet, mobile phones (and especially the digital connection) and modern healthcare.

    Certainly computers and radio communications are no surprise to me - I have been deep into those technologies for the whole of my working life. It is however the totality of the widespread availability of these things for next to all of the world's population.

    I do worry somewhat about what would be the effect of catastrophic failure of all these things that we rely on as an everyday part of our lives - and I suppose food and energy availability (through transportation) are especially important. Perhaps the 'closedown' of 9/11 for around 2 days was the closest we in the first world have come to that - so not long enough to have real adverse effect. I also remember one of my my professional institution (the IET) worrying about how most people would manage, especially without GPS integrated with mapping on their mobile phones - given so many of them have never been adequately experienced (even perhaps not trained at all) in the use of paper map, magnetic compass, wrist watch and using the sun and some other stars.

    Given all we have, I wonder what is coming next. Artificial Intelligence holds no wonders or fears for me - again through life-long familiarity and knowing much is hype (though advances of utility have been and are continually being made).

    Even higher speed long distance travel? Space travel (for what - but speed and tourism)? Unlimited low-cost energy? Lower-cost, higher-quality homes? Longer lives (with slower ageing to make that worthwhile)?

    Perhaps we do need asteroid protection. Less war would be good (though I'm told that is happening anyway). Better education for all. More balanced and informative reporting from the media (and from / through the bloggosphere).

    And what for government and politics? Is less more?

    Best regards