Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Rabat revisited

I went there in the early 1980s, Interrailing. I was at a loose end. I recall little about the visit except that on the journey there I met students going home from Paris. One of them hosted me. I helped briefly at his family's stall, speaking French all the time.

I went again in 2017 by chance, during a tour by minibus with a group - our silver wedding anniversary treat. I popped to the railway station (now very smart) while the group were resting, and looked at the rail tracks that had led me back home after my exotic adventure all those years before.

One meaning of the term storification is the imposing of a story structure onto raw historical facts - being selective and even changing the order of events. One story would be that the older self meets the young self. Perhaps the young self wouldn't recognise the older one who'd tell him not to worry, it'll all be wonderful in the end, like a dream. Or perhaps the older one merely recalls the freedom of his earlier life, the not-knowing what will happen next. Maybe he'll re-introduce some of those features into his life now that retirement's looming. Perhaps when he returns to the group he's known for a week or so he'll surprise them, breaking out of the role he's too easily slipped into.

And I remember another thing about that train trip in the 80s - the Moroccans sang the Cat Stevens song "Father and Son", the one that goes "It's not time to make a change". I was puzzled at the time how they knew his music. I didn't know that Stevens had converted.

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