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Saturday April 13, 2002, 14:33

It's amazing how much things can change right under your nose. I had gone away on vacation for a week and when I returned there was a bank and an organic supermarket where there ought not have been. That was the first time. I hadn't even gone anywhere this time yet when I went downstairs to photocopy my rebate forms for a pile of CD-Rs that I had just purchased, I found that the copy shop under my building had disappeared, which left me with the single, unsavory options of going to Kinko's where I proceeded to spend ten cents to photocopy my paper and half an hour trying to get ninety cents off of my copy card. Because, you see, you can no longer just wander into your local copy shop and drop in a dime (or any other assorted change) and expect to walk out with a duplicate of the document you lay down on the feeder. Nay. Quite the contrary in fact. One dollar. One dollar is the minimum amount of money you are expected to lay down on a photocopy.

It's not the money, but the principle of the thing. The specific principle I have in mind, however, I will leave as an exercise for the reader, mostly because I really don't want to expand on the idea that I could not handle losing ninety cents to a chain copy shop. One that, in London, lists on its signs "Open 24 hours" and, in small print under this proclamation, adds "At select locations," which is frustrating when the location nearest to you (that is to say me) is not one of those locations.

Not that I'm actually in London right now and not that I've had any need to photocopy documents while in London, but I will be there in one week's time and I will probably need to produce copies of documents with which I am working. Especially given that I will not have a printer there. In London. Where I will be moving. In one week.

This is not a particularly new development, but it is one that has only recently manifested itself as something that is "actually going to happen" as opposed to falling solidly in the realm of "it's going to be exciting when it happens" which are two very different camps. While the latter is mostly sunshine and jelly beans, the former (arguably better, and if not, at least more real one) is rife with logistics like shutting off utilities and deciding whether or not to pay my most recent health insurance bill (currently almost two weeks late).

And yet, for quite some time, this has been the only decision that makes even the remotest amount of sense. The interesting part of this move (and I am going to be calling it a move and not merely a visit for even though I am not going over there for too long, I am still removing myself from my current surroundings and placing myself into a new time zone and country and city for the expressed purpose of living, as opposed to simply sight-seeing, which, in my mind, constitutes a move, if even one in the short-term) is that it is being made with a definite end in sight, which is to say that after a given amount of time I will be returning to what has been my home for the past year and a half, which has not really been the mind set in recent memory.

The first move here was meant to be a permanent one in which I would keep a job, find an apartment and settle into a life. This lasted about five months, after which time I jumped ship and moved to Boston, which I knew had some sort of cap (especially given the fact that I grew quite tired of the city after a few short weeks there) but even still I was far enough removed from my life in New York that any future move would not be a "return" so much as a new experience. The second move back to this city was then intended to be something, again, permanent, with an apartment that at this point will be sublet out, but not disposed of completely and I am leaving my life here knowing that I will be returning, most likely just as I am starting to feel settled in my new life.

Which then leads to the inevitable question of what will have changed when I return, and will I even notice. Will the city be in such a state that I will be able to walk around, looking at restaurants and stores and have stories to tell, memories to resurrect? Or have I not even been here long enough to call it my own? That certainly can't be the case as I already have corners and cafes ("that's where we sat and kissed for the first time" and "that's where we had a late-night snack") but there seems as though there is a level of complexity in my memory that simply has not had a chance to solidify in my continual transience through my homes.

It is a state that is both liberating and frightening at the same time, being able to call no place and every place my home leaves me to wonder where I might land next, but, at the same time leads me to wonder if I will ever find somewhere that makes me so comfortable that I will never want to leave.

The truth, though, is that there is plenty of time to ruminate over such things as I move (or is that travel?) to a new country (or is that home?) and that these thoughts are merely filler in this last week, when I have nothing (and everything) to do and seemingly all the time in the world to do it (or is that no time at all?).

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