Saturday evening television viewing, Lewis on the British ITV 3 channel. For thirty years, he has been reassuring company, a down to earth Geordie who speaks in a plain man’s language. The character around whom the murders revolved is played by an actor best known for her part in Foyle’s War, strawberry blonde, attractive and with an engaging personality, she seems perfect. Last summer, she disappeared, her parents expressed concern for her welfare on the national media. It seemed unthinkable that someone so accomplished would disappear.
Disappearing now is very difficult. In pre-electronic times, if one was travelling, it might be possible to disappear for weeks, or even months, without anyone noticing; if one had not been in the habit of regular communication with one’s family, and had lived an anonymous life in an unknown community, there was no reason why one should not disappear for years. Now, a “disappearance” is regarded as something sinister, there is a fear that one’s body might be found somewhere; there is no comprehension of the idea that, sometimes, and for some people, disappearing might seem an attractive option.
It is hard now to imagine how it would be possible to be both alive and well, and be thought to have disappeared. If one was reported missing, a car would not be an option as its number plate would be spotted in days, nor would the use of a bank account, because the use of a card to withdraw cash or to make a payment would instantly signal one’s location. Even accommodation would be problematic, would a bed and breakfast accept a guest who was entirely anonymous? Would they not become suspicious of an enigmatic person who paid only in cash and who avoided conversation about anything relating to their own life? To disappear would demand living rough, finding sleeping places wherever one stopped. It would mean becoming a gentleman of the road, an old fashioned tramp, wandering from place to place, avoiding chats, avoiding revealing anything whatsoever about oneself.
To disappear for a while can sometimes seem an attractive option; simply to spend time without a phone, or the internet ,or anyone who causes anxiety or anger. If a well-known actor can feel the need to disappear, then perhaps it should not seem such an odd idea. Of course, the problem that dogs such thinking is the upset caused to one’s loved ones and friends.
Lest the idea of going out of sight seems an altogether odd thought, then why do Christians remember Jesus spending forty days in the wilderness? Disappearing cannot be an entirely bad thing.