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Harking Back

This morning I took my wife to her driving lesson, as became customary every Friday.  To kill time instead of heading back home I went over to Caribou Coffee in Time Square for a coffee, and while there hooked up on the wifi.  I was immediately taken back exactly a year ago, after my first arrival in Dubai.

At the time I did not have internet at home, being a temporary accommodation until suitable quarters were found.  My boss lent me his Etisalat 3G modem, but it was very unreliable and slow.  I used to trek it to Uptown Mirdif (30 minutes walk) and camp myself at Caribou’s to catch up with my wife on Gmail chat.

I find this happening to me on a semi regular basis.  I’d be going around minding my own business, when something triggers a memory recall.  Mostly it’s songs or smells.  When I hear certain songs they take me back to certain points in my life, or remind me of something I was doing while hearing that song (or album).  I used to listen to the same album ad nauseam, so if while doing so I was also (for example) playing a PC game, then the two would become linked.

One particular case is the album Albertine by Brooke Fraser.  I had picked it up while honeymooning in New Zealand, and we used to play it during the long trips between our stops.  Since we spent a month on the road, and had only a couple other CDs to rotate, I ended up listening to it quite a lot.  It is a beautiful album by a very talented artist, and I am still kicking myself for not going to see her play live. She happened to be touring and had stopped in Wellington during the same time we did, but we were exhausted by some field trip we did and turned it down.  So nowadays any time I put on her songs I’m instantly reminded of those beautiful times, the rolling roads, the stunning scenery, and the occasional roadside cattle.

My wife is already pining to go there for another trip (it has only been two years), but I have my reservations.  I fear that it would not be as memorable to us as the first time round, and I do not wish to spoil the memories.   Besides there are many other worthwhile destinations, I just need to convince her.  Maybe South Africa.

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