I have been ill these past couple of days. I had asked for it. I had been working on, but scrappily, worrying about things, letting worries feed and bleed into others. Sickness is never ideal (ideally, you would not have a backlog at all), but it has, in this case, acted as a circuit breaker by giving me the space to rest and the sense of urgency to get to the bottom of some things that had been overwhelming me.
Writing a thesis is hard enough, not to mention all the fears that a thesis comes to embody, as the supervisor of my friend, Kate, pointed out (such a smart thing to say!). Then, processing the reasons behind and emotions of a break-up (of a long relationship) and coming to terms with being alone (when you really need day-to-day kindness and connection!), on top of 4pm darkness - it was all getting too much to manage. Oh, and there's also that bloody Last Post and those sweet old men at the supermarket selling Remembrance Day poppies. Geez. Too many chunky bits for the blender!
But I am on the up! Chin is well and truly up! I just needed to get back to that whole purpose of life thing. You know that aloof little bugger that quietly asks us to to let go of things, accept uncertainty and lack of control, ground ourselves, centre courage within, and not let the past pounce.
Anyway, on a slightly less intense note (I am watching some international rugby, wearing a bathrobe over a tracksuit and Uggs, wondering whether I can muster the energy to go to fireworks and a party), here is what happened in a cafe yesterday:
Friend and me in cafe. No spare seats. I spot a man finishing off his coffee and say to friend: 'You stay in line, I will shark this table' (that is within a foot of the end of the line). I motion towards it. Then an older, shabbier and larger Ricky Gervais comes over and makes for the table (as the other man gets up). Friend says, 'Oh, excuse me, we were just about to sit down here'. Ricky: 'Oh yes, but you are in the line...' Friend: 'And you have your stuff...OK right.' I say, 'I was actually waiting for the table, while he was in the line, but anyway.' Ricky says, 'Oh! OK, you take it! I was just hoping me and this little girl here [out comes a little girl from behind his leg] could sit down and enjoy ourselves. But don't worry. You take it! You two are all grown-up, but, no, you take the table.' Me: 'Please calm down champ, this is not good for your heart.' Ricky: 'No, you sit down, go on. Sit down'. Me: 'No, really, we're not going to take it. Please.' Friend (sincerely): 'It looks like a lovely table for you to enjoy yourselves.' We then wait in line, get our drinks, find seats that have become free, then suddenly laugh, both wondering at the same time where the hell that little girl came from.
(Then since I was in the middle of Last Post sentimentalmania, the one I am thankfully shaking off, watching him share his pastry with his kid naturally made me feel sad and quietly ashamed. He was ridiculously aggressive - perhaps on visitation hour with kid? - but I didn't have to bring his heart into it. He was older than me too. Bugger. Still learning.)