02 Dec 2015
They say that the way to truly appreciate anything is to fear that it might be lost. But pretending is hard. How about arranging to lose it?
Which, in a sense, is what we're doing - if not forever, then at least for the next 14 weeks. The psychological effect is similar; we've been seeing the city again, taking our time to walk across it, stopping at places we might otherwise have taken for granted.
But cities are nothing more than collections of people. On that front, we've been both more appreciative and appreciated. It's been almost like a super-birthday, our whole network going out of their way to see us before we leave, and to welcome us on our arrival. Walking a dear friend back to the tube, we saw the funny side: while we won't see each other now for three months, we wouldn't have anyway. That's London, baby.
Similarly, cleaning out the flat in preparation for the sublet forced me to, once again, encounter every object I own. I'd forgotten that some of them existed, which is as good as having lost them. And on our return, when we put the pictures back on the walls, we'll see them again, having reset our habituated blind spots. In inventory, as with design, if everything is important, nothing is important. I once wrote "I now have the same amount of friendship, in many fewer friends"; I feel as though I've done the same thing with objects.
People, skills, opportunities, things: yes, every time we do this, we lose some of each. But, in a sense, the alternative is to be only half-aware of them all.