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Or so you think.

You hear the words but can’t understand the sentences. The maps are intriguing but meaningless. The streets have names but no personality. There’s no hypertext in the environment: which means no links, no back story, no memories to reminisce about.

Or so you think.

When you’re new, you understand the importance of roots. You understand root systems in a way you didn’t until you’re plucked – or you pluck yourself – out of. Unrooted and ignorant, you understand, when you’re new, the significance of old.

Or so you think.

After a short time, you establish habits, you converse, you invent names for flowers in your back yard, and before you know it you have fledgling roots. Uncertain, tentative and unassuming but roots nevertheless. After a short time, you sit in a bar and you say to yourself: ‘I remember when…’ You meet someone and say ‘how was it when…?’ And at that moment you realise you now have history. You have previous.

Or so you think.

You realise that you had previous in this new place well before you physically arrived here. The new was part of your old but you didn’t hear it. The new was a shadow in your old, silent, sometimes shyly whispering, almost embarrassed to make itself known to you but also knowing one day that it would knock on your front door and say: ‘Hello. I’m your new. Remember me?’

And then you realise that your history is not the stuff of memories, but the incidental and accidental. The stuff of meaninglessness. You see the value of recognising the words but not understanding the sentences.