Thursday, 5 September 2013
A new direction: I am going to try and write something every day for a little while. It may be very short, but I am sick of never getting time to come and complain about my feelings, etc. I haven't done this kind of thing for a while, because I got all self-conscious and uncomfortable about it and worried it was bad for me professionally and whatever. It is certainly not very edifying, and I have almost nothing of interest to relate, but I reason that I quite like reading about other people's crap days, not because I take pleasure in people having a shit time (I hope), but for that answering echo that is such a big part of why I started reading blogs in the first place. So, if that is your bag too, do hang around.
1. For the last week or so, every morning when I walk the dog, I cry. They're pathetic little strangled, vomity, hairball, self-pitying sobs. I am not sure where it is all coming from. On Tuesday I kicked a tree too. Kicked a tree! What kind of 38 year-old kicks a tree? This was at least so stupid it made me laugh. Also, on one of my pathetic cry-walks, a man (possibly insane street person, unclear) told me he liked my trainers, and another man (outside the particularly scaly bar down the road) told me all about his Doberman and on a separate walk another heavily tattooed Hells Angel man told me at length about his dead dog, even taking out his wallet to show me its vast tooth which he had kept to turn into a necklace. The hardmen of Uccle do not want you to be unhappy for long.
2. My gross earnings this year to date are €19,000. Leaving aside the pressing practical questions this raises, I am sort of interested how I can do a job that I was plainly terrible at in a lackadaisical way and earn mega-dollars, then do a job I genuinely believe I am quite decent at with total commitment and earn fuck all. Obviously this is partly The State of the World, but I am conscious it is also to do with my auxiliary shitness. I am ok at the writing bit, but I do not have any of the necessary personal qualities (courage, resilience, self-belief) to survive on it. I sort of keep hoping the iron will enter my soul and the iron keeps not entering my soul, so basically I am incompetent and need to find a plan B, sharpish. Point 1 may be related to this.
3. I feel so stupid and so scared at the moment. Spending hours on something for which I get paid €50. Being too embarrassed/scared/whatever the fuck to submit my legitimate expenses. Living in a headachy fog of seventeen open Chrome windows with the attention span of a juvenile weasel, trying to think of ideas and not having any. Agonising for hours over a phone call. Also, a man from the electricity company came to the door and needed to see a bill and after five minutes of embarrassing faffing with piles of unopened envelopes I had to send him away. When he came back (I found a bill from 2010 at the bottom of a pile on the top of an unused filing cabinet), he asked if he could use a corner of the table to fill in his forms, and the corner I found had a half-eaten bagel and a plate with two used teabags on. I am nearly forty (I tell myself this a lot, so it won't come as a shock when I actually am). I do not think this is how nearly forty year olds should behave.
1. It has been a genuinely, surprisingly, beautiful summer and these first days of September have been glorious too, still properly warm but with that suspicion of a morning chill that tells you it's winding down. The dog pads outside and lies down in the small patch of sunlight (the garden is very shady) until his nose goes pink. No one needs a coat (which is good as they appear to have lost them). The evening dog walk (strangled weeping-free) in the pink streaked dusk - is balmy. Usually we (it is 'we' at the moment, unusually, because since his return from the indoctrinating forces of Hippy Science Camp, F eschews Nintendo and telly and is always up for a wholesome walk. There is also vegetarianism and Brazilian bracelets of which the less said the better) go around the streets, look at the lovely Instagram friendly neons of the ice cream parlour, skirt around the furious tiny yapping dogs the hard men in the dodgy bar have presumably told their wives they are 'walking', marvel at the queue in the chip shop. Last night, though, we went into the woods just as night was starting to fall in earnest and it was eery and adventurous. The dog disappeared, blending into the gathering grey then reappeared, panting and glad to see us. There were furtive groups of teenagers smoking joints, crows fussing as they prepared to roost and possibly a fox. We could barely see our feet. This is, briefly, one of my favourite bits of the day, before it gets cold and wet and becomes a chore again.
2. We have totally won at the rentrée. My craven need to be good at sending my children back with all necessary (and completely unnecessary) equipment, bits of paper and arbitrarily precise sums of money in envelopes does not bear close examination, but nevertheless, we smashed it, stupid plastic film for covering books and all. I do not need a medal, the warm glow of approval from authority figures is quite sufficient for me, thank you. I also have an impressive hoard of spare supplies in a drawer that I have recovered from last year's abandoned bags or found down the sides of chairs, which I go and gloat over like Golum from time to time. A lost set square holds no fear for me. This gives me a surprisingly high degree of comfort.
3. Really enjoying Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings. Such a great, beady study of a group of friends.
Bonus trip to casualty yesterday with L, who fell all the way downstairs. No broken bones, and after a day of custard doughnuts and Top Gear, recovery seems on course.
Enough. I am going to kick a tree.