The signs did not speak to me. These were local matters, but I was leaving this morning. And when you are leaving, the promises in advertisements are ineffectual. Money, school, house, radio: I was putting them behind me, and in the duration of this short trip from Wellington Circle to State Street, the words of the ads had become merely an imploring jabber, like the nonsense of an unknown language. I could shrug; I was being pulled away from home. Apart from the cold and the blinding light on the fallen snow, there was nothing of great significance in my going, nothing momentous except that as we drew into South Station I was a mile nearer to Patagonia.
I’m leaving on a trip tomorrow morning, flying from Vancouver to Seoul. I found a copy of Paul Theroux’s “The Old Patagonian Express” (1979) in my parents’ house, and this, from the first chapter, captures one of the pleasurable realities of departure, when everything around you already seems far away.