'I would catch myself, red-handed, in the act of living; alone, without an audience of any kind, I would cease from performing and simply be. And what would be my register of being if not things, the more commonplace the better? Yet almost immediately I found myself settling down in these once familiar sourroudings and letting them be so again, with all my plans and pledges forgotten. Even the first sight of my old room had affected me hardly at all; what makes for presence if not absence? – I mean the presence of oneself as a remembered other– and I might as well never have gone away, so little of me was there, to be pondered on or grasped. Making strange, people hereabouts say when a child wails at the sudden appearance of a visitor; how was I to make strange now, and not stop making strange? How was I to fight the deadening force of custom? In a month, in a week, I told myself, the old delusion of belonging would have re-established itself irremediably.'
(The character Alex Cleave) John Banville, Eclipse.