The No 7 bus this evening – Monkstown to Pearse Street and then walk to College Green for the No 40 to Ballyfermot. Straightforward.
The bus was very quiet and we were rattling and there was a sudden feeling of not knowing where I was or why I was there.
Maybe everyone has such moments, a sudden sense of dislocation, of wondering what set of circumstances conspired to leave one in some unexpected place.
Usually the thoughts come far from home. There is a sudden angst at being in a place where loved ones are at a great distance and where there is a sense of being very alone and very vulnerable. A great homesickness can fall like a smothering blanket, a desire to be transported Star Trek-like to a place of safety and familiarity.
Occasional moments have played out as scenes from a film, or more likely, a documentary. A moment in Burundi on my first visit to Burundi replays itself frequently. I was far from possible diplomatic intervention, in a place where when keen awareness of what was happening was important, and it all played itself out like scenes on which I was looking in from outside. There was a sense of not being engaged, not being in control.
Perhaps it is simply a side effect of Einstein’s suggestion that time happens all at once. The dislocation, the sense of onlooking, arises from observing the moment from a different part of time. Perhaps it’s a product of some psychological process that disengages one from the here and now. Maybe it’s a defence mechanism, maybe it’s a fault in my mental programming.
There are moments when Prospero’s words from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest seem to have a greater resonance.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on: the bard’s speculation bearing out theoretical physics and the belief in the unreality of time? Or pointing to some deep sense in the human psyche of alienation, of disconnection from the world?
There is reassurance in knowing my car will be running again next week. I found an independent garage to do the work next Tuesday. No more rides in the dark on the No 7 bus.