Tuesday, March 31, 2015

London, 2013

When I was 23, all the way back in 2003, I lived in London for a while. It was a strange time: I wanted so much to enjoy the experience but desperately missed my boyfriend back home in Australia. I had various temp jobs in offices where people approached me with curiosity in the beginning and then steadfastly avoided me, lest they get lumped with having the new girl ask to join their work clique on their lunch break. 

I was on the way to my first day of one of these temp jobs when I phoned the agency, saying I was running late because I couldn't find the stupid bus stop and then the stupid bus didn't stop where it was supposed to and to top it all off, I'd just stood in a puddle - because it bloody never stopped raining in bloody old Blighty - and my feet and shoes and socks and pants were soaked through all the way up to my bloody ankles.

None of it was true, of course. I was just having a shit time of it and hoped that if I sounded like I was about to cry, she would tell me to go home, where I would get back into bed and read comforting chick lit novels, while ramming Double Decker chocolate bars down my gullet. 

She told me, breezily but really quite firmly, that I must continue on my way to the job. They were in great need of help, I must go. She told me she would phone ahead on my behalf and let them know what had happened and that I was on my way, and that I could lock myself in a bathroom and dry my pants under a hand dryer.

I found myself agreeing to her plan and hung up, feeling pretty pissed off. I trudged along the street, somewhere in the outer reaches of North London before I realised that the manager at the job would expect me to have wet feet when I eventually lobbed up. If I turned up late with dry feet, she would know that I had been bullshitting her. I stood on the footpath, paralysed in indecision, until I knew I had to find a puddle to jump in.

At a next corner, I found a big one. It filled the gutter, rising nearly to meet the footpath, and spread out, covering the road. I paused, shook my head and then leapt into the water. When I walked away, I noticed a woman on the other side of the street, watching me.

To this day, I get the giggles when I think of her. It's a story I have told before ('That time I had to jump into a puddle') but I wonder if I have become a story has told people over the last twelve years. I wonder what she thought when she saw a reasonably well-dressed, reasonably sane-looking young woman sigh and then angrily and purposely jump into a puddle before carrying on, as though it was completely normal behaviour.

Monday, March 30, 2015

This. And a bit of that.

Image via Pinterest, original source unknown

I spent a couple of hours on Sunday with my hands in the dirt, re-potting some bulbs that my mother salvaged from my late grandmother's garden. We don't know what they are - tulips? daffodils? freesias? - so it will be a lovely surprise in winter when they (hopefully) start to bloom. Nana is all over this tiny flat of mine, the one I've been in for a year this month, that she never got to see: from the framed picture of her on her honeymoon in the '40s, the crystal she gave me that belonged to her mother, to the sweet pea seedlings I planted in my tiny courtyard a couple of weeks ago. Whenever she came to visit us, she would carry in her cane basket scones hidden underneath a tea towel and a posy of sweet peas from her garden, wrapped in aluminium foil.

It has been two years and I miss her more than ever. 

I woke up before the sun this morning and then fannied about for so long, drinking tea and congratulating myself for having already ironed my clothes, that actually getting ready for work took place in approximately four and a half minutes. But I skipped out the door and off down the street towards work, ears free of the buds normally rammed in, blaring the same few songs on repeat (Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High by the Arctic Monkeys, Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift, or Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones). Instead, I enjoyed the crisp morning air, the blue sky, and the streets feeling oddly deserted (no doubt owing to the beginning of school holidays, great for me because it means I get to jaywalk across the usually busy street at my own leisure).

After reading an article online yesterday (lost amongst the myriad of articles I read yesterday, looking for answers but not knowing the question, otherwise I would link to it), I took its advice and decided even though I don't particularly like my job, I would be the best at it. It isn't hard work, and it isn't stimulating at all, but if I have to do it - and I do, I really do - I may as well earn some praise, have my ego stroked, and go down as the best receptionist / admin assistant they have had. Who cares if the reason is self-serving, as long as the result is the same.

I had a Christ-where-are-my-bloody-glasses? moment today when I completely mistook one workmate for another and had absolutely no idea I had done so until a third workmate pointed it out. Perhaps I should take heed of the reminder flyers I have been getting lately from the optometrist.

The nights are getting darker earlier and getting colder. I had turned the heater on last week for the first time this year and even though I have been wearing flannelette pyjamas to bed, I broke my own rule and switched on the electric blanket too. And slept like a baby.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

24 March 2015

Blogs are dead
I wish I blogged more
My job bores me
I gave up looking for a new job because the constant rejection wore me down
I was going to write that I didn't understand why I didn't get any of the jobs I applied for and I realised it's all due to a bigger reason that is still hazy when I try to look at it
I bite my nails too much
I miss my nails when they were long and beautiful
I wrote a novel
I read a blurb for a recently released novel that shared the exact same plot as my novel
I started writing a new novel
I stopped writing
I don't know why
I saw an Instagram post from someone I follow that made me happy for her
Immediately after feeling happy, I thought Get your shit together, Annelise. Seriously. Get your fucking shit together
I'm wasting: my time
                     my potential
                     my life
Today was the coldest day since October
I bought a domain name but don't know what to do with it
It's a fantastic domain name, it should be used for something amazing
I felt smug that no-one else had beaten me to it
It's both tough and vulnerable
I re-read all the blog posts I reverted to drafts
I liked the first half of the posts
They made me laugh
I sounded sad in the second half
That made me sad
I left them as drafts
Quotes from books generally don't stay with me but a line from one of the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn feels like it was written for me: If life had a theme, you know ...  a philosophy? A motto? Mine would be: There must be some mistake; I was supposed to be bigger than this
I tweeted that quote back in October
Nine-to-five, the suburbs, married-with-two-kids scares the shit out of me
Lucky that's not on the cards, eh
I don't want ordinary
I want extraordinary
I wish I know how to make it extraordinary
I can do more than I am
I can do better than I am.