I've temporarily moved Jamie's laptop into the browner of the rooms we now live in, to write this post whilst looking out at the trees swaying with a frenzied passion, as fall finally looks like it's arrived in this town. As I've typed and amended this post, I've seen the sun slowly setting. I've never been at a computer while I see that happen. It makes me think I'm writing too much, for it to get dark while I write away.
I've seen pumpkins appear everywhere in the last week, alongside the odd tombstone or blow-up Dracula, and in seeing that I declare Halloween should be taken seriously by adults everywhere. This holiday exudes a vibrant spirit (pun not intended) in the town with the decorations. At some point Jamie has said we should walk along one route which trick-or-treating children take, where the houses really are done up for the occasion. I am excited about this.
I am not missing much from Enfield because there wasn't much else there for me to do. I miss friends more than anything, and I'm sure I can coax them to visit in due time. Glen Rock still feels like how Enfield could have been, had nature been more important than commerce. The decision to move here was a good one. It also allows me to travel and see more, something I am excited about. For example: Jamie and I are going to Seattle in November, for Thanksgiving. This is good for two reasons. For one, it means Jamie gets to celebrate a major day in the American year with her older sisters, the closest family she has. The other is that I get to avoid working on the launch date of the Xbox 360, which is getting a midnight launch.
With this trip to Seattle, I will have visited five states. California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington will all have had Dean Rivers, the quiet English kid who 'didn't care much for travelling' visit there. I always hear a statistic that few Americans ever leave the country, or few of them have a passport. All well and good, because there is a lot to this country. But I do wonder how many Americans have never left the state they were born in, or how many people of so many nationalities have never left their home country?
We are becoming a lazy species. If we weren't, the word 'comfort' wouldn't have come along. The ability to travel is one of the biggest luxuries we have, and so few of us exploit it like we should. I should have travelled far more, but when I researched what other places had to offer, I believed the comfort of my bedroom was nicer. The older I get, the more passed-on knowledge pains me. It's like when policemen come into schools when you are very young and tell you all manner of things are bad for you, without further explanation. It's like when the term 'conspiracy theory' comes up in a conversation and people's minds lock up and wander away. But there's got to be more out there than we know, yet so much comfort (or, so much fear of the unknown) locks us into believing what we are told.
I wish I could go back and learn things in a way that would have made sense to me, without basing my opinions or beliefs upon general opinion. The idea is close to impossible; we all get influenced one way or another. But it would have been nice to learn as much as I could from my own actions.
When me and Jamie went to Spain/Gibraltar with my sister, we also got a chance to go to Africa - inhibitions sprung into my mind about what Africa might be like. I didn't expect such friendly people. I didn't expect the paved city centre. And though I should have, I didn't expect the McDonald's. I came back from Africa with a new experience. I have now been on three continents, without really trying to push myself anywhere. This world never feels like a bad place when you exert yourself and try to find new and interesting things to see and do. And for the record, the sights on that trip made me decide to try to travel more. Looking back, I felt so youthful and happy with the new sights and sounds - from seeing the apes living on the rock of Gibraltar, to a stretch of road that doubled as Gibraltar's sole runway, to wading in one of the most gorgeous blue seas and being able to view Africa in the distance. Another continent. Another world.
I have been told at one spot in Seattle you can see so many natural wonders, and it makes me excited. I want to breathe in rainforest air, and find out how much cleaner the air feels. I want to see the snow-capped mountains in the distance from this rainforest, and the streams inbetween, and I want to hear what it sounds like. I wonder what nature sounds like.
But for now, I work in Gamestop, the biggest seller of computer games worldwide. I notice these games are becoming a lifestyle rather than an interest for too many young children. It is an obsession that kicks in before they can spell obsession. I've been addicted to games, as far as I am concerned. I've enjoyed them too much, and missed doing things outside for furthering progress in a game, and that bothers me so much these days. And if this can happen to me, it can happen to six-year-olds, who could get a console for a birthday present. With it, every birthday or Christmas present can offer more games, or a new console. It's a world that is hard for a kid to get out of, because game worlds offer an escape from reality, and offer a parent a little piece and quiet - it's parenting in a box! But (and this is becoming more evident by the creepy kids who have lived on naught but video games until their teens) if all children do is play games and learn the complexities of their game worlds, when do they learn how to operate in the real world? When do they learn that what is taught inside that box does not count when the power in that box is turned off?
One kid who walks into our shop frequently draws pictures of himself in an alternate world, where he carries a scimitar and has animal ears, and 'levels up' when he has to fight 'his demons'. He asks any other regular customers/staff members if they have a sister around his age (17) who he can go out with, because he doesn't have any standards past needing her to like Yu-Gi-Oh. He leads a solitary life online because he never developed a personality, and has a family who won't let him meet anyone online - though for whose benefit that decision was for, we will never know. Jamie saw him run excitedly towards the shop I work at yesterday, because he was desperate to show me his dreadful artwork. She stated that he looked like he had the maturity of a ten-year-old, and I agreed. She also said something else which I agree with: for some people, going into a shop which sells things they're interested in makes them think they can find friends (or in this poor soul's case, love) there. Why should a shop which tries to be professional have to deal with lingering uncouths? I hope my job description didn't include humouring the plebians into thinking I was their 'new friend', so they can feel comfortable purchasing some more Yu-Gi-Oh cards from us.
Our comfortable homes, our comfortable pastimes. So much comfort. So content. Life isn't meant to be like that. It's good to be grateful for what you have, and it's selfish to take what isn't yours, but why do we settle too easily? There must be more to this world, and as more is found out about the world (or to explain better, more is found that cannot be explained) we have to do more.
There's still a lot to learn out there.