Coming Home

After falling into bed a little after 10am last night, I woke with a start at 3am this morning. I’m not sure what woke me up, but I was unceremoniously yanked from perhaps the most lucid dream I have had in years. I was in America, walking around town with a group of strangers – well, all except one, who I know through her blog. We wandered between houses and bars, laughing and joking throughout an evening. Somehow we both knew we were more than just friends, but nothing was said – and nobody else seemed to know. It was odd. And then I was awake, looking at the clock, and wishing I could go back to the dream again.

I woke again at 4am, and 5am. I finally got up a little after 6, had a shower, and wandered down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. In the lift on the way down I thought myself tremendously clever – getting up so early – I would have first choice on everything in the buffet area.

So who told every damn person in the hotel to get up earlier than me?

It made no difference of course – I still filled a plate with eggs, sausages, beans, and bacon. I still grabbed a cappuccino from the coffee machine. I still somehow balanced a yogurt on the corner of my plate before setting off in search of a free table.

The only problem with getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning is when you finish breakfast and still have an hour to kill before you need to check-out. It’s not like home, where there will always be something to do – washing up, clothes washing, tidying up, and so on. My stupendous packing consisted of a change of shirt, and clean underwear (TMI?).

As I’ve said many, many times before – the day passed entirely without incident. I stressed out like a lunatic, lifting code into the air that I have not worked on for the better part of a year, and somehow began to remember how it all worked (or rather, remembered enough of it to pretend quite successfully).

After saying goodbye during the afternoon I set off for the railway station, jumped on the first waiting train, and began re-tracing my steps from the afternoon before – except this time instead of watching TV shows, I disappeared into a book.

I don’t remember much of the journey home – which perhaps proves a point about the power of a good book. Five hours whistled past. The only interruption that comes to mind was an unintentionally hilarious conversation I heard between two investment bank techies on the London Underground. They were talking quite volubly about the projects they had been working on recently, obviously trying to impress each other. There was only one problem – to anybody that knew what they were talking about (me), it was immediately clear than neither of them knew anything about any of the things they were name-dropping. I had to turn around and face the other way, because I started grinning, and couldn’t stop.

“Oh yes, I’m currently working on the next sprint – building a neural net to send bulk emails. I hear Goldman Sachs are doing something similar. It’s a bit of a risk using off-the-shelf components, but we’re getting good results. I got it all done in an afternoon. Easier than I thought. Compiled first time, and checked the code in yesterday – hopefully going live before the end of the week.”

Absolute, total and utter bollocks. I’m still smiling now.

Getting home was a bit of a shock to the system. I arrived to an empty house, littered with the remnants of dinner, unwashed cooking pots, school bags strewn everywhere, and every room dotted with cups, plates, and various other signs that the kids had swept through the place at some point. “Ah”, I thought, “they must all be at Rugby and Dance”… and so they were.

It’s funny how nobody arrived home until I had finished clearing everything up. The universe does that sort of thing on purpose, I’m sure of it.

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