They May Not Mean To, But They Do

For whatever reason, I didn’t really take photos of my wandering around Glasgow on Monday morning, as I had done with Gourock and Greenock the couple of days prior; maybe because it wasn’t so early, and therefore more busy? Or that I’d had to take a train to arrive there, and therefore it felt more like a destination than a dérive? (In that there were things that I wanted to do in the city, as opposed to wandering for the sake of wandering as had been the case the two days prior, it was more of a destination, I suppose…)

Nonetheless, I found a similar sense of disorientation in Glasgow as had met me in the last two towns, despite having been there just a few months prior. (We made it there in April, and even got to walk around the west end a little; today’s wandering was far longer, and more widespread.) I walked in the directions that felt like muscle memory, only to discover locations had closed, moved, or in one case, the entire building just didn’t at all anymore. Instead, there was a passageway into an external courtyard that wasn’t there the last time I’d looked.

Even places that did still exist were different, in surprising ways: Had that building always been that color? Was that road always closed off to traffic coming in that direction? What is the “high level” of the train station, when it seems like ground level to me? And so on.

There’s been so much that I’ve enjoyed and appreciated about the Scotland stay this time around — not least of which, I stepped away from work for four days, which I very, very much needed — but perhaps my takeaway from the whole thing is that very clear sense of You can’t go home again, because so much has changed. Which only makes sense — it’s been 15 years or so since I’ve been to most of these places, and that’s a long time — but, at the same time, it underscores the ways in which I don’t belong here anymore. (If I ever did…)

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