Originally published at These are just words. You can comment here or there.
(Written on a plane flying to Denver… I’m in Boulder now!)
It’s been ages since I last made a blog entry - things have been rather hectic. I’ve been to Paris, had a holiday that took in many parts of the UK, been to Edinburgh for a big conference, and I’ve just spent the last week at a conference in deepest Nottingham, presenting a paper, running three demos on a booth, and chairing one of the main sessions.
But Nottingham is over now, and I”m currently sitting on a plane, flying out to Denver, Colorado. This is so I can attend a meeting in Boulder; I’m hiring a car at Denver airport, and will be driving (for the first time in America and the first time using a car with Automatic transmission) to Boulder, before spending a few days driving to a couple of state parks in Colorado. Hopefully it’ll be a really great trip, although I’m a little nervous (I haven’t bothered booking any hotels yet for outside of Boulder, and I’m only about 90% sure of the rules of the road in America!).
My schedule is insane, and doesn’t get any better when I get back: I’m at home for a week, before I have to fly out to Beijing, China, for a conference. Then, when I’m done in China, I fly on to Seattle for another meeting (thus crossing the international dateline and circumnavigating the world by the time I arrive back) before heading home. I’m then at home for a whole two weeks before I fly out to the USA for the third time in two months: this time to Dallas, Texas. It’s crazy, and I’m slightly upset that I can’t claim frequent flyer miles for the second (China/USA) trip, due to having to take a really convoluted route across multiple airlines.
But that’s all background for now. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to be spending considerable time in both planes and airports over the next few months. Ah, airports - big, noisy, cosmopolitan, and utterly soulless - how I hate you! But airports have what I consider to be a really bemusing inherent juxtaposition; they are without soul, without real character, and bland to the point of cultural sterility, and yet they’re places of extreme emotion. Hang around in an arrivals lounge waiting for someone (as I have had to do), and you can’t help but notice the joy as people meet their family and friends. At the same time, if you’re anywhere near the departure lounge, it’s not hard to see the tears as people say their goodbyes.
Similarily, when you get through security and out to the departure gates, the air of utter transience is all around you. I spent almost five hours in London Heathrow today, waiting for my connecting flight, and as I strolled up and down the long terminal building, I couldn’t help but wonder where all the people around me were heading. Here we were, walking by each other, shopping, eating, chatting… but in a few hours, we would all literally be in seperate corners of the world. Everyone in the terminal I was in was on an international flight… some to Seattle, some to Dubai, some to Melbourne, some to Denver… it was like a speeded up version of University (without the fun) - you’d see people around, and then they’d be gone, and other groups of people would arrive. “All transitory, passing always” - and all within such an utterly sterile environment.
Anyway, I think that’s more or less enough for this one entry. Denver (and my sporty Hyundai Sonata) beckons in, oh, around seven hours time; it’s been more than five years since my last trip here, but I remember it very well. It’ll be quite strange this time around, for many reasons….