YesIce skating Melbourneterday my wife and I went to a kids party. Venues like the one we went to become crowded very quickly, too quickly for my taste in any case. Remembering to inhale and exhale while three foot children tore around practically underfoot was, at some points difficult.

I’ve found readjusting to crowded spaces one of the hardest things about being back on Earth, a fact my wife knows but seems to conveniently forget more than she remembers. Noise is another thing. While it isn’t true that in space, no one can hear you scream, a large space occupied by five quiet intellectuals is always going to be a little on the quiet side. Colour is also a strange one. Being surrounded by white every day for days on end is a kind of sensory deprivation in many respects, but you get used to it after a while.Coming home, softer colours, like the blue of the sky, and deeper colours, like the green of a tree, aren’t too affronting, but the harsh explosion of artificial oranges and reds at a kids birthday party is another thing altogether. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, but my senses just feel completely overwhelmed at an event like this.

To tell the truth, I’m not even completely sure why we’re here. My wife explained that our friend, Kennedy’s, little girl is having her party here and she wanted us to be here, but it’s not as if I owe anything to this child. If she wanted us to appreciate how nice the venue hire is, Melbourne has lots of wonderful places to hold a child’s birthday and an ice skating rink makes for an excellent setting. All the staff have been very helpful and the area is clean and refreshingly white. But I hardly feel the aesthetics are the reason. I suspect, rather, my wife is trying to entice me towards having children of our own. But that’s an issue for another day and a quieter place than this.