28 Mar

Surreal

In my circles surreal is getting overused. I used to be fascinated by Salvador Dali’s paintings; that mix of the credible and utterly absurd–melting watches, crutches, eggs–nearly as bad as a recent dream where I watched two blind surgeons do open heart surgery on a baby, using a meat cleaver. Where on earth did that come from? I woke up in a sweat at the thought of it. The flight from Johannesburg to London is similarly dreamlike. Inside a plane things are static, only food trolleys shuttle and the queues for the loo shuffle. Way below, a moonlight shadow skims the spine of Africa at 500 mph. Afternoon tea in the ebbing warmth of South Africa’s late summer; breakfast over France before landing in dense fog at Heathrow. Surreal. Easter Monday is a British public holiday. The rail system has been Dali-ised. The train from Gatwick airport to my home always leaves from platform 5; the electronic signs all through the station confirm it, yet the train snakes into platform 3 unannounced, leaving me and a colleague to pick another route home. Four hours taken to travel 65 miles from Heathrow to home, compare that with the 2000 miles flown by the Virgin Atlantic airbus in the same time–surreal.

28 March, 2005