Have you ever used a computer so much that it becomes part of your way of life and your person? There are two computers with which I have done this. The first of these was an IBM ThinkPad during the IB and the second was an iBook during my two final years as a BA Media studies student in London. If you look at the keyboard for both these computers you will see telltale signs.
One keyboard the joystick mouse was completely worn down from use although the machine was fine. In the second case, the computer has nice wear patterns. The right side of the space bar is worn smooth as is the trackpad that serves as a mouse. All the keys are smoother as well. A slight discoloration of the keyboard took place where my left wrist used to rest.
I like it when machines are worn because it gives them character and they have seen you through so many different emotions over time. It’s the reason why, when you use another machine you lose inspiration.
This does not apply only to computers though. It also applies to cities. When you’re living between two towns, i.e. London and Geneva you’re going to avoid re-creating an entire universe of friends in the place where you are only passing through. There are a number of reasons for this of which one is the effort to meet those who were friends.
Whilst London is about metropolitan activities, bars, restaurants, museums, and such Geneva loses some of the allure it had held whilst I was living in Switzerland. I have felt a great shift whereby I am now in love with the countryside and walk along the paths. I put on my shoes, turn on the iPod and start walking.
I walk far. I start striding, rather than walking. I have a large gait as a result of which I make fewer steps but propel myself faster. I leave one village and come to another. I turn my head to the left and I see some trees. Behind these trees, fields and a lake. On the other side of this lake, I see the Mt blanc in all of its glory. I walk further and get to the next village. Here I see two communal halls, four tennis grounds, a football ground, and more fields. In these fields, I find Combine Harvesters and trailers for the crops. I walk and I notice whether the fields are flooded, whether the crops have grown by much. I also smell nature. Has it just rained, is it about to? Are any people coming the other way?
At this point, there are a number of choices. I can continue straight on until I hit on the road which means the walk is twice as far, I can turn right and walk along the trees passing by a beehive, or I can walk towards a clump of trees where a fountain stands. On one walk it’s at this walk that a woman was letting her dog rest as it had overheated. I walk upwards, to the foot of the mountains, and then head for home.
This is a walk I’ve done for years. I used to do it during the IB years and I still do it now although the path has reversed. I love the walk because it’s the moment when all the ideas are cleared. It’s a moment of solitude, of peace. It’s what I need.
In London, there is also a walk I enjoy but there are many more people therefore the peace of mind is not as great.
I am one of those people who love to walk fast. I walk whenever I have the chance, whether it is raining, snowing, windy, hot or cold and I get far. It’s so relaxing. You get to see the world and you really get to know the city or countryside where you find yourself. That’s how I got to know a beach resort town in the South West of England. It’s how I got to know the area where I live both in the Swiss countryside and Geneva itself. It’s also how I’m getting to know London. It’s important to know a city on foot because if something happens then you may easily make your way home or to work. You might also notice details that many others have never noticed. More than anything else though it simply gives you a good feeling.
I don’t need a gym when I easily walk five to ten kilometers a day.