1. I have just finished reading Proust's Letters to his Neighbour (a "Madame Williams"), which were discovered fairly recently and have been published as a slim volume I thought might be tangentially relevant to my Paris book. Oh my god. Proust is the crown prince of the pass-agg letter, they are full of flowery, circuitous whining about the noise (Mme Williams played the harp and had builders in) and complaints about his health. I mean, god knows why this is surprising to me. Occasionally he will sugar the pill with a brace of pheasants or a bunch of flowers of a copy of one of his books (mmm, thanks), but the overwhelming tone is of thinly veiled rage and smouldering martyrdom.
2. My eye (lid) infection is SO BAD. I should probably go to the doctor, but instead I sent a picture of it to B, who replied:
"To be fair, that's not a bad colour. a lovely shade of salmon eyeshadow, swollen lids are VERY winter 2015. Gwyneth Paltrow has hired a Tibetan monk raised on a diet composed exclusively of organic yaks' milk and flaxseed to head-butt her in the face each morning. You're simply ahead of the curve."
This made me laugh, which was painful as the lumpy bit of the swollen eye bashes against my brow bone. I am broken. "DON'T YOU WINK THAT THING AT ME YOUNG (ISH) LADY" admonished B.
I had to go to a law meeting last night and spent the whole time self-consciously trying to cover the Eye of Suppuration with my fringe, I believe entirely unsuccessfully.
3. My eldest child is never at school at the moment, due to study leave (WTF, he's 12), exams and marking. Thank god he is the child who is largely able to amuse himself, but it has meant an awful lot of emoji-heavy email (I rue the day he discovered emoji), excessive Top Gear, biscuit-heavy snack plates and a dreary quantity of revision. Jesus, they've only been at school five minutes, they've barely learnt anything, is this really necessary? Things I have learned as a result of my brief episodes of helicopter revision (a process I can only sustain for ten minutes before boredom sets in): a big section of the population of the Marolles (the popular heart of Brussels, now mainly home to antique/junk shops and limitless hipster tourists) was moved to Uccle when they built the Palais de Justice. A selection of Dutch nouns of limited usefulness, like "dental brace". Absolutely no Latin (too hard, I did a year of Latin at his age, but literally nothing remains) or maths. He is lovely company thankfully, and continues to amuse me with his Molesworth spelled text messages.
This from my Monday visit to the dentist:
(The dentist could not find anything wrong despite my tooth pain. This cost me €45, but was pleasing overall)
And this during recent cold spell:
4. Loads of people I know have recently had or are having babies and even though the babies are delightful and the adults more than equal to the task, it is giving me the most chronic anxiety dreams during which I have another baby. These dreams fill me with absolute horror. Often during them I mislay or drop or forget the babies, which seems totally plausible. More enduringly, I am filled with utter dread (in the dream) at the prospect of sustained sleep deprivation and total responsibility and my complete inability to cope with either. Waking up from last night's dream of twins (TWINS, holy lord) was the sweetest relief imaginable. People with real non-dream babies, I salute you, but my sub-conscious has NO regrets. Oh, I am also reading Sarah Moss's Night Waking which is incredibly vivid and funny and awful on those bone-achingly grim parts of early motherhood, which compounds this.
5. I'm just reaching the traditional Christmas tipping point where childlike excitement shades into utter dread at outstanding shit to be done/absence of time/absence of ideas/absence of money. I am medicating this condition with regular applications of mulled wine, Nurofen and a basilisk style approach to my invoicing, something which only happens at 'quarterly social security bill' crunch time and Christmas, which OH YAY, come together in December.
What of you? How do you deal with the queasy panic and what are your very worst anxiety dreams about?
Oh yes, percentages:
68% disgusting eye (considerably lower than yesterday);
10% weary of child chivvying, curricular and extra-curricular;
10% gratitude for healing works of gin;
2% large-car-parking related fear for tomorrow.