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Friday, October 24, 2008

Just another day...

Woke up to a wet, cold autumn day here in central Illinois. I like this weather but lets just say, it isn't Glasgow or Scotland. The two here, this type of weather and the location, just don't quite fit together.

Friday doesn't seem to hold that magic much any more with all the stuff I need to do on my large to-do list. At least I get to sleep in a bit on Friday, due to not having any office hours. But yet, there is something that is missing. At this time, overwhelmed by school and students, I miss the easy going atmosphere of Europe. I miss the long lunches and opportunity to socialize like they do. Here it is rush, rush, rush. I eat at my desk most days and I know I could make the excuse to get up, off my duff and go outside or somewhere else, but lunch time usually rolls around office hours.

The American lifestyle has its advantages but I think we have lost the sight of what it truly means to be a global community. Humans crave social contact. We must debate the issues and set the worlds to rights. I think our high incidence of health issues would decrease if we took on some of our European brethren philosophies.

Two summers ago when I was back in Glasgow for my graduation, I relished the time with my friends. I relished the moments I could take out of that busy time to just sit with them and talk, talk. The last day, I spent at Babbity Bowster for one last meal. I showed you a picture in an earlier post; the one of haggis, neeps and tatties. I promised myself to take my time and just soak up the moment. I alternated reading John Steinbeck and writing in my moleskine, when a group entered. I recognized some from Strathclyde and they took the table opposite me, across the room. They were from the physics department, probably graduate students. I caught snippets of their initial conversation, about the post-graduate experience.

I had to laugh. Here at this moment, I had reached the last strides of my own experience. I had obtained my PhD and was starting afresh back in the States. And yet, my gut ached and hot tears threatened my cheeks. I felt that familiar constriction of my throat when deep pangs of emotion grip you. I took a sip of my cola to temper down the rising ache. I sat and listened to them for two and half hours. I was vicariously lifted on their journey to the realms of quantum physics and other Einstein theorems. Some I understood, some I didn't. But I felt as if I was to the stars and back.

I left them there sitting before the peat fire, still debating the spiritual and the science. As I drifted back towards George Square, I took my time to walk through the streets I had walked on those first few days here in Glasgow. Snippets of conversations and visual images ran through my mind. The cabbie that told me, upon seeing my teddy bear with its green and blue rugby shirt and dropping me off not too far from the Babbity at the student dorms, "Lassie you'll have to make a decision." He was referring to diplomatic nature of my teddy's apparel and its obvious attention to Celtic and Rangers footie. I laughed and, knowing that Scots love a good shot back, "How do you know I didn't do that on purpose because sometimes you can't get too much of a good thing." He laughed and I followed suit.
Corinthian Ceiling Moleskine at the Corinthian
Corinthian by Lost in Scotland/Lady Delanie

I made my way back through Merchant Square and then down to the Corinthian. I slowly walked toward the Art Museum and the statue of Nelson, capped by the cone bandits. I skitted past Costa coffee house, tempted to stop for one last coffee. I stopped and breathed when my footfall fell on the pavement of Buchannan Street. I looked one way and then another. I stopped and listened. I breathed.

David Gray's "From here you can almost see the sea", is playing right now on my iPod touch and those images of Scotland are dissipating into the mist of my mind, for the time being. I have walked along a great deal of Scotland and this country but no where, have I smelled, tasted, and felt the journey than on those bonnie shores.

More later....I have to return to grading papers and get ready for lectures.


  1. Teddy Bear?

    I, too, eat at my desk and rarely get out. Sir James of Taylor works near and sometimes pops in and encourages me to take a walk down to our river.
    We don't solve any of the world's problems on our walks, but I always feel physically and mentally better afterwards.

    I remember being in Germany with a school group. At breakfast, the Americans would seek out the empty table to sit. Sort of sad.

    As Sir Hook keeps reminding me, "Endeavor to Engage!"

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar.

  2. Yes, Sir was my teddy bear...I always have a traveling companion with me...breathing or otherwise...unfortunately this particular bear was stolen in Newark Airport on a trip home from Glasgow...I miss him a great deal...

    I know at my age!...he he he...

    We do not know how to engage with life in the states...there is just something skewed IMHO...

  3. After reading this post and Sir Bowie's comment, I have decided to call it day this rainy afternoon. Listening to Jethro Tull, taking Lady Allwinky to lunch and making an unplanned trip to Brown county to view the turning leaves tomorrow and Sunday. Endeavor to Engage! As Ian Anderson says, "Life's a Short Song!"

    P.S. I've always been a bit strange, ok stranger than usual, when it comes to cool rainy fall days. I actually get charged up! I guess it's the ole' Brit in me!

  4. Sir Bowie and I took part of today and wandered through antiques, shopping and lunch at the Hill Top - there we overheard a strange conversation between two people discussing subjects not usually overheard at lunchtime - or any time!

    just never know what you can hear when you listen

    Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar

  5. I just love the Corintian in Ingram street, in the "merchant Ciy" part of town. We go there when visiting friends in Hamilton.., or simply staying in Glasgow on route to the Highlands...

    The beautiful high, domed interior is housed in the former Union Bank of Scotland.
    It includes allegorical statues from mid to late Victorian period by Mossman.

    The Lite Bar ( yuck name for such a baroque hall ) is in the former Banking Hall and was fully restored & opened to celebrate Glasgow’s status as UK City of Architecture & Design 1999.

    it's renowned for its stunning features including a 26 foot glass dome, breathtaking brass chandeliers, and some of the finest mouldings and free standing figurines in the UK.

    It marries the traditional with the contemporary and the result is spectacular. Specially commissioned leather booths, luxurious sofa’s & comfy chaise longue’s line the walls around the impressive central bar, which is one of its main joys, that of space and freedom to talk, without, of course being overheard, which is no bad thing i must add...its just that a place like the Corinthian and a few drinks and you can discuss secrets all night with a glamorous friend under the Grand Central Station like hubbub of High Victoriana.

    Sir D of O

  6. I don't know about the furniture anymore Sir D of O...its rather contemporary...gone are the sofas and the chaise lounges...

    Its rather sleek now...

    I used to go there and write on Sundays...

    Maybe I should post some more piccies..