Blog from 2011 Now it’s official, I have a named condition which explains my whereabouts, or lack of whereabouts. It all seems so magical, whimsical, following my desire to travel to the next place, and the one after that. It has a Greek term, Greek terms are nearly always used my doctors when you have something deadly or embarrassing. Dromomania: the uncontrollable psychological urge to wander, or, to take up different identities, (and indeed, occupations!). Fortunately, there’s no need to show anything to the doctor. I’ve shown enough to doctors recently when I had a mole removed and later, stitches taken out. The difference between physical and psychological conditions is that action can be taken and sympathy directed towards it.
Imagine a new couple at home; WOMAN: “I can tell you’ve caught the man flu, poor you, you should go to bed. You look so red and hot. Could I get you anything to make you feel better?” MAN: (Very happy to spend the day in bed pulling a sick day under the duvet with a caring woman). Then, with the eclipse of twenty years: MAN: “Oh, I feel really bad, I have a fever and my glands are the size of melons.” WOMAN: “Stop snivelling, it’s just a cold or you’d be dead already.” At least a response to a physical condition is provided.
Psychological conditions are dealt with impersonally because no one believes that anything’s wrong. So, lots of people all over the world with the said condition report to strangers to find someone that will listen to them and share their dromomania shame. (I’m writing this blog after all.) I wonder if there’s a meeting for people with the condition, much the same as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. That meeting room somewhere, is full of people in a moldy church or echoing school hall, perhaps Bolton or Las Vegas for contrast, full of people announcing; “My name’s Bob, and/or Sue. I can’t decide to be here or there, or just about anywhere. I’m concerned people are beginning to think I’m omnipresent”. (I know what I would be doing if I could act and be in many places simultaneously.)
My friends all refer to this period as Louise taking another holiday. I can imagine the conversation in their households; PARTNER 1:“Oh, you know we haven’t seen Louise in a little while, where is she?” PARTNER 2: “Erm, I’m not sure. Last time I spoke to her on the phone, I couldn’t hear her very well. It must have been a bad connection. I think she’s in X and X and X”. PARTNER 1: “Whenever I hear about her, she’s on holiday. Lucky devil”. I’ve given up trying to tell friend and partner 2, 3, 5, that I’m actually working very hard in X and X. It’s far more exotic to agree with them.
Or, take my mother’s example, talking to her friends on the phone; “oh yes she’s still out there, I barely see her in fact. She’ll be back for a few days at Christmas”. A true dromomaniac does so at the expense of their family, not so much my career in this case, but because of it. Even if I do hear in the odd interview, the sinful word, ‘wanderlust’. The condition’s symptoms affect as a recurring theme in my blogs, my ‘love life’. You can choose to have men in some ports, Trieste; Montevideo, Boston or Rotterdam. Or, one man in a town, like Bognor Regis or Dudley. A man probably called Dave.