Sometimes - when I am lying on the sofa, reading, or sitting at my desk, trying to hammer Hungarian grammar into my memory, (or when I am doing almost anything, to be honest) - my mind wanders and I decide that I feel hungry: well, perhaps hungry is not quite the right word; maybe 'peckish', to borrow a favourite usage of a former friend of mine, would be a more accurate description.
On such occasions, I put down my book and stare at the ceiling, running through an inventory in my head of all the possible things to eat I might find, should I go into the kitchen.
Usually there are quite a few perfectly adequate possibilities that won't even need cooking - fresh bread; good cheese; ham; sometimes (although rarely) salami; olives; leftovers (the best food in the world, except for the bits of roast lamb the cook is allowed to eat while carving); crisps (the equal best food in the world).
If sweet treats are more the way my thoughts are running, I know I will almost always find dried figs and dates in the cupboard, and more often than not there's a mini-Magnum snaffled away somewhere in the freezer, plus a few slices of cake or some biscuits - generally not quite at the peak of freshness, it has to be acknowledged - lurking in the cake tin.
But these things - and even more exotic possibilities, involving cooking, such as steak and a rocket and tomato salad or a fresh piece of salmon, with a dash of soy and balsamic, plus fresh spinach - are not, on these occasions, quite what I'm looking for. Indeed, nothing at all in existence fits the bill of what I'm after at these moments, unless somehow the potential embodied in the smell of coffee or of grilling bacon can actually be captured and eaten.
In the same way, occasionally, as I'm faffing about aimlessly on the Internet, I realise that once again I'm hunting for something I can't define - not a particular piece of information or a response to an email, but some indefinable essence of something, some evaporating wisp of an idea that I can't even visualise, let alone put a name to.
Am I alone in this? Is this just my own individual madness, or is it a common syndrome I suffer from? Perhaps it even has a name, this odd, ineffable sense of longing for something that can never be defined, let alone attained.
(Postscript: I just read this on the lovely First Known When Lost blog. It seems strangely apposite.)
Time Traveling Stories
47 minutes ago