Friday, September 7, 2012

Trainspotting in Glasgow

“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big television. Choose a washing machine, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers…choose life!” -Renton, Trainspotting

Trainspotting is a brilliant novel by Irvine Welsh set in the heroin junky street slums of Edinburgh in the late 80’s that was made into an equally brilliant movie by Danny Boyle in 1996. I loved the book, but since the movie was filmed in Glasgow, I thought I’d include some cool quotes.
“I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in 1978.” -Renton, Trainspotting

I arrived in Glasgow to a total surprise. Yes, it’s the biggest city in Scotland and has transformed itself into an amazing port city, but the downtown is cool and sparkling and strolling through this architecture as the sun falls down was amazing.
“I hate being Scottish. We’re the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth, the most wretched, servile, miserable, pathetic trash that ever shat into civilization. Some people hate the English, but I don’t. They’re just wankers. We on the other hand, are colonized by wankers.” -Renton, Trainspotting

Down past the train station to the Clyde River, I started thinking about Trainspotting and going from one terminal to the next and the transitory nature of life as I bounce from city to city one night sleeping outside or napping in a café to stealing my lunch out the back of a diner to luxurious Five-Star meals and staying in posh hotel suites.
“You’re not getting any younger, Mark. The world is changing, music is changing, even drugs are changing. You can’t stay in here all day dreaming about heroin and Ziggy Pop.” -Diane, Trainspotting

I miss my daughters so much. I miss standing in the soft light of the doorway watching them sleep, this little hummingbird buzz of breath and the fragile almost holy touch of sitting next to them and placing my hand in theirs. I miss building forts in the living room, dancing in pirate costumes , and having tea parties in the grass. I miss kitchen table homework time and standing before the shelves of storybooks at bedtime, the rustle of their pajamas, the smell of scented toothpaste, their little arms reaching around my neck to hug and kiss goodnight. Is all of this worth it? This traveling so far from home?
“This was to be my final hit. But let’s be clear about this: there’s final hits and final hits. What kind was this to be? Some final hits are actual terminal one way or another, while others are merely transit points as you travel from one station on the junky journey through junky life.” -Renton, Trainspotting


Walking through Glasgow I pause along the Clyde River beneath the bridge and watch the old men tie off their boats. A woman pushes a shopping cart past. Two men arguing football their hands gesturing in waves of cigarette smoke lingering into my eyes. No one is meant for this world.

“So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I’m a bad person, but that’s going to change, I’m going to change.” -Renton, Trainspotting


I’m going to make it home someday. I have something to live for. I have reasons beyond this time, and they are the ones pushing me onward.

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