‘Distance’; the word generally conveys an empirically spatial measurement. It can of course be temporal too. We speak for example of distant relatives and could well intend a variety of spatio-temporal descriptors by the term. It is possible however for a person to be distant even when they live as our contemporaries, in our epoch, our milieu. We may even speak of someone as distant though they sit, stand or lie beside us. In doing so there are occasions when we imply a far more profound and troubling distance is apparent. Proximity of a spatio-temporal kind has failed to bridge the distance observed and alienation is experienced as a result.
Vernon suffers from the distressing alienation many fathers suffer in separation from their children. Proximity does not help. He lives close, he occasionally gets a visit from them too, nevertheless there is a gulf, a distance, and he cannot comprehend how a bridge can be built to span it.
THE NONSENSE FILTER
“Hi. Its Vernon, Are the children about? Would you mind if I speak to them?”
“Oh it’s you. Vernon they’re busy. Dan’s playing the drums and Claire’s over at Milly’s house. Pippa would speak to you but she’s watching Friends. Shall I leave a message?”
“Can’t you ask if they’d like to chat?”
“I suppose” Jenny answered reluctantly…. Pippa’s just come past, here have a word. Be nice”
Section 30 is only as far away as the Novel page.