Anyway. It's just under a year from now, and I'm in America. Going to graduate school with my girlfriend. So there's the prerequisite long drive there, me and her and a couple of her friends, talking about random things, as one does, about how great the whole thing will be, ad nauseam. We end up getting there and the whole place is one of these concrete and glass places, absolutely huge, at least ten buildings and the main one is as big as American Megaversity. There's the usual introductory "Welcome to hell" type speeches that always are happening in these situations, and then we go off to register. My girlfriend heads off with one of the friends to go sign up, get room keys all of that jazz, in a hall the size of several football pitches. It takes me twenty minutes to get my bearings in the hall alone. I sign up, get given a room key and shunted out of the queue. And that's it. I've not been given a map, everyone else around me is talking in some weird foreign language that is all the worse for being English. And I see nobody, and I mean *nobody* that looks approachable. They're all there being happily American at each other, and there's me, a lone Englishman only now appreciating how out of my depth I am. At one point, I catch a glimpse of my girlfriend through a crowd, but then it's gone. After several hours of wandering and toting heavy bags around, I finally find my room. Time passes. Nothing happens. I head to the communal kitchen, and the people in there have obviously vacated about a minute before I walk through the door. I don't know how to get out of the university, let alone where the nearest shop is so I go hungry. It's three days until I get a call from my girlfriend on my cell phone. Turns out she'd got a new one, only just got around to calling. Other friends had always been doing stuff that she couldn't duck out of. We arrange a meeting and it's in another of the really big halls. It takes a quarter of an hour for us to find each other.And all this time I am more and more aware of how dependant I am upon her. Then I woke up. I couldn't stand being asleep any longer.
And if that isn't worth a couple of failed Isolation marks, I don't know what is.
To me, it's blatantly obvious what the message there was. Nomatter how long I may spend in America, how much I may think I'm acclimatised, I never will be. I'll always be dependant totally on my girlfriend as a bridge between cultures. No way I can escape it. I'm atrocious when it comes to talking to people and making friends in real life, unless I have a good reason. At least online I can be reasonably assured that whoever I start talking to will have something in common with me before I start talking with them. In real life, no such common ground from the start, so I can't start conversations without good reason. Somewhere that I am a total cultural stranger only compounds this, leaving me totally dependant on the one person I know that I can relate to. And when that one person is taken away from me by being human and having an actual life, I end up completely isolated. I'm not blaming my girlfriend for having a life, more my own dependance on her.
A dream like that really fucks up your whole day, yanno?
"Look into my tired eyes, see someone you don't recognise
Bonds that can't be untied, oh this is slow suicide
Feelings that I can't disguise and never will be reconciled"
 Go read Neal Stephenson's The Big U, you uneducated swine! Read it!