He travels with his leather jacket again, the first time since the end of last winter, and he’d forgotten how much fun it was. Its smell reminds him of everything he likes best about his situation; hitting the airport, through the glass doors, zipped up to the neck, at six in the morning, a bleary line at the bar past customs and the smell of cheap brioches and fresh coffee floating over at nose level, hunger aches, familiar. Sitting in the airport’s plastic bucket chair, the thick jacket squeaking, thoughts of his fuckless summer are replaced by memories of his fuckless winter.
This time when he travels he feels distinctly separate from the real thing. All my heroes were punks – he says to himself, the older he gets the funnier this sounds. If he isn’t the real thing, then what is he – he feels as though he is drifting badly. A hopeless ad man, treating clients badly, pah, depressed, hurrying back through the wet city, full of arabs, soup restaurant - glistening heads just below eyeline, bread and lemon and chilli on the tables, to the hotel – if he isn’t the real thing…
He sits on the bed in the hotel room with the window open, his jacket off, there is a slight chill coming in – the room had been hot and humid when he opened the door – the cold air feels like a fever, he feels tired, it is raining, he listens to the music outside coming from somebody’s party in a flat on the other side of the street, people laughing, he imagines them walking upstairs and downstairs, looking for a fuck.
If he isn’t the real thing, and down from the lago he had forgotten he wasn’t, what is left for him other than to make himself an approximate version of it, the autonomous product, some object, for the kids, for all the punks to live by. He wonders, despondently, to travel as the real thing, back and forth across the Atlantic... The product would be a crystallization of a relationship with the real thing. He sighs – the economy of now can go fuck itself, he’s laughing, sitting on the bed.