The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

19 August 2014

In which I am sine loco

There is a set formula to provide information about books - actually all materials, real or insubstantial - in libraries.  Author -- Title -- Publication information - Physical description - Notes - Subject - Additional authors, bodies of responsibility etc.  When the place, name of publisher, and date of publication are unknown, what is given in the catalogue record is [s.l. ; s.n., s.d.]  which are abbreviations for the Latin terms meaning: We haven't got a clue. Cataloguers used to be big on Latin terms. And German.  And abbreviations.  But we're in the modern age now, in which text language has reduced English to unintelligible babble unsuitable for deep thought and grand ideas - so libraries now use up the left over vowels and consonants to spell everything out. In plain old English.  So long tradition!  Farewell custom! Goodbye romance and mystery.

I do apologize! This was not meant to be a diatribe on the languishing of language or the demise of bibliographic tradition. I shall now return to the point, which is this:

Today, I found myself [s.l.].  I was sine loco - place unknown.  It is a common occurrence among those of us who suffer from itchy feet.  Itchy feet result from being a rolling stone, a person who moves house with regularity and frequency.

What often happens is this:
I'll be driving along somewhere, and be struck with the thought: "Whoa!  This looks just like the ferry landing at Upper Gagetown!" But I'm really thousands of miles away from there.

Or, "I'd like some of that nice prosciutto. I'll just pop out to Nicastro's." But Nicastro's is in Ottawa and I haven't lived there in years. Or I think about the second-run theatre somewhere else, or the campground in the other place... none of them anywhere near where I am now.

I'll try to give directions using street names of a different town I used to live in.

Sometimes I'll just plain forget where I am. I know who I am and how to get home and all of that... I just forget that I no longer live there, that I live here now.

I've shopped in chain stores with whom I have a loyalty account. When they try to find me in their records, the address and phone number are from 10 years ago. I've had six different address since then.

So today it didn't surprise me when, driving along a road I frequently travel, I saw a convoy of military vehicles. There are no bases here. I haven't seen olive drab in years, and yet seeing them go by gave me a thrill of homecoming. It seemed so right, so natural to have them zipping along the road - until the confusion set in. Wait a second!  There's no military presence around Lake Town! Hold on now, am I in Lake Town? I had to remind myself of where I live. It all happens very quickly - fractions of seconds - but it is disorienting enough to linger for a while after.

My name is Tess.  I live at the Lighthouse.  I am home.

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