There is this thing when you go away somewhere , when you change location, where it takes a while for your body to catch up with itself. Jet lag is one version, there are physiological changes and shifts which need to re-balance and this can take 2 weeks – longer sometimes than the time spent away in the new place.
Another version is coming back from somewhere, like a holiday, and it feels like your new experiences are merging with your previous life, and you don’t want these feelings to go, but you feel like you can’t keep hold of them somehow.
I think three weeks is the amount of time for another place to really create new patterns in you and it is about a week for the first wave of feelings when you return to fade, unless you protect them somehow.
A friend of mine called Jo Going from Alaska once said to me, that you should move as slowly as possible when you are travelling or rather, take as long as you can to get somewhere, in that way you will be less jolted when you find yourself in a new place.
For as long as I can remember as an adult, I have been looking at people through a lens a bit like this but not connected to travel – how quickly do I think that people can change speed, if they had to, could they? If I had to, could I? And I don’t mean this only in a physical way, I mean it mentally too – I am looking for something in people’s eyes – do they have it? Do I have it? Can you tell? And is it there when you really need it? Sometimes I find myself on the underground looking around trying to work out who would react quickly.
I am interested in what this means when things have changed, when we are deviated from the script through no choice of our own and how this affects us, how it infiltrates into our civil society, what are the norms of participation in public spaces then? How can we respond to trouble that we don’t see coming?
On the plane back from Japan I read an article in The Economist about Fukushima. The Diet Commission report written after the nuclear accident states that “it’s root cause was the reflexive obedience, reluctance to question authority, devotion to sticking to the programme, groupism and insularity of the nation at large”.