I really feel for anyone who has moved to Brussels in the last couple of weeks. Sorry, in-comers! Stick with it, won't you? There, there. It won't always feel like the greyest, wettest, most dismal place on the earth. Just, you know, have a waffle (Liège are better than Bruxelles) and wait it out. OK, the wind tunnel on the Place Bastion is always there, but sometimes it doesn't actually knock you over into the path of oncoming traffic. And yes, the STIB are sadistic, peverse bastards all year round, but in summer you can just flip them the finger and walk if they decide to reroute your tram via Charleroi without explanation. Give it another month or so and Zizi's reopens and life regains some semblance of meaning (naming your ice cream parlour after child's word for a penis = enormous respect; being on the corner of my street = lifetime of devotion). I should perhaps warn you, however, that the supermarkets will remain resolutely shitty and depressing however long you stay and whatever the weather.
Anyway, cheer up! At least you don't work on the corridor of ennui, where this afternoon holds the heady promise of a morale raising talk from Le Grand Chef de Londres, who will be explaining to us, with interesting verbal gymnastics, how lay offs and pay cuts are A Very Good Thing For Everyone. I am preparing the corporate twaddle bingo cards and cultivating an expression of studied neutrality as I type.
I do not claim to be immune from a touch of Seasonal Homicidal Disorder. I have had my own moments recently, particularly as I stand in the back yard in the rain in shoes with holes in, trying to explain to Oscar that the CFO would like him to crap in the minute fenced off area he created this weekend out of baler twine and sticks, as the idiot dog whimpers in confusion and tries to shelter under my coat, before running off on a trajectory that defies the laws of the physical universe to trail shit around the house. Or as I run for my tram and my shoe falls off, leaving me with one wet foot, no dignity and an overwhelming desire to grind the smirking tram driver's face to a pulp as he speeds off leaving me weeping in a puddle. Or as I wait, bat ears twitching, for the cries of "SHAKASS! Putain de chien!" so I can dash to the rescue, detergent wipes to the ready, to erase the traces of Oscar's latest crimes. Or as I search the house high and low for a functioning pencil sharpener, six yoghurt pots, a picture of a juvenile sand warbler and a fragment of the thighbone of Christ to assist in the gulag's latest homework request. I am going to draw a veil over Sunday's visit to the swimming pool. I think we have all suffered enough.
Yes. I too feel the strain. I have been spending no money, barely leaving the house, and subsisting on credit crunch gruel and freezer scrapings. We are all out of DVDs and having to watch repeats of Grand Designs and the French tv news. After France 2 gave us twenty minutes of minute, village by village coverage of the ravages of a slightly windy day last night, I am nearing breaking point. I know that virtue is supposedly its own reward, but you know what? I want an actual reward. Maybe a pygmy hippo. Or some Sergio Rossi platforms.
How are you getting through the long dark night? Books, films, food, sex, crime, pulling your own fingernails out? Help me out. Help us all out. It's starting to sleet and I've just had to disguise an involuntary sob as a hiccup so the eurozombies don't start asking awkward questions..