Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Moping Estivale

Bonjour, parlez-vous useless bastard?

I have the Summertime Blues, big time. My self-diagnosed, probably made-up, reverse seasonal affective disorder is in full, mopey swing.

Viz:

1. I have tidied my office - actually, I have tidied everything, it seems to be some kind of fucked up new coping mechanism, though the crap is piled so high in certain areas it has made no difference whatsoever - and now I do not have a single thought in my head. I am starting to think that maybe the two things are linked and the squalid piles of paper/old teabags/abandoned soft toys/old CDs/lengths of dusty cable were some kind of creative talisman. I can't write a sentence.

Fuck it, I like having a clean office though.


*Listens to brain crickets*

*drools, gently*

The dog looks like I feel, however. Twisted-defeated.

2. I went out for a walk to try and .. I dunno, it's supposed to help, isn't it. Anyway, I ended up first at Bastardpost and then sitting in the park crying and I can tell you I had literally no ideas in either of those places other than "cor, you are really pathetic Emma." On the way home I saw a dead blue tit and shouted at a man for failing to stop at a zebra crossing. What have I become?

3. I keep thinking "maybe this is the doldrums before the redemptive twist" but seem incapable of doing anything that might assist any such putative redemptive twist to happen. Can you get a redemptive twist from lying in a ball on the floor eating Marks and Spencer salted milk chocolate? It seems unlikely. Note on the chocolate: it is nothing like as good as the salted milk chocolate from the hippy shop round the corner, but I have banned myself from buying that stuff, because it is physically impossible for me to have a bar in the house for more than 30 seconds without shoving it in my mouth.

4. I know the Internet is making me even crazier, but in these times of fast-moving political farce-tragedy it is very difficult to wean oneself off the dispiriting, unhealthy, queasy-making churn of it all.

ANYWAY. This is not very jolly, is it. I mean, come on, I'm not in a Nigerian sawmill. Let me try and think of some good things:

- As of this afternoon I have only ONE child at home, the other is on its way to Normandy for two weeks of bracing sea air (desired or otherwise). This has halved my screen time guilt, result.

- I found a copy of the magazine for which I did this cover interview whilst tidying and awww, I was so proud of it. Still am.


I had to run and buy that bow tie AND do his make up and this picture was taken in the back room of a Belgian-Congolese radio station in Matonge which just happened to have a throne in. Fun times.

- I know I shouldn't be pleased to hear about a miscarriage of justice, but I am excited about the new series of Undisclosed. Also, in it, I discovered Napoleon was not short! I did not know this!

- Eating. Very enjoyable. I am currently enjoying an afternoon snack of rillettes and chicory, JUST BECAUSE.  I am trying to walk more to limit The Fattening, but I would have to walk to Scotland daily for it to have any effect.

- Corvid ballet (and if you scroll down WOMAN IN A PADDLING POOL FULL OF SWANS, WHITHER HEALTH AND SAFETY. I've just got lost down a rabbit hole of mad swan based contemporary dance, if you speak French, this clip is fantastically mad, even if you don't it's quite something):



I love the idea of someone looking at ballet and thinking "yeah, these slender limbed ladies making beautiful fluid shapes to music are ok, but what this is really missing is some GIANT FEATHERY KILLERS." Then deciding to add birds to ALL his ballet.

I'm going to stop here because these are more words than I have managed to put in a sequence for about a fortnight and I don't want to overdo it, eh.

Percentages

20% Goose fat
20% Other fat
20% Brexitfoot - I haven't told you about Brexitfoot! It's my disgusting summer foot maiming nervous tic, currently ramped up due to Brexfuckery. I can barely walk.
20% Tidying insanity
20% Tortoise pimp ambivalence (we are having to acquire a couple of really burly 1kg females to deal with the distasteful orgy of sex-fight-sex-fight our two males have been indulging in all summer, I could probably have got a whole post out of that, now I think of it)

You? Is there anyone else (apart from the lovely lady I met a while back in the Portuguese custard tart cafe) who also gets weird in the summer? Would you dance with a swan in a paddling pool? Do you believe in salty chocolate? Talk to me.

49 comments:

Jess said...

Hot English sunny afternoon with that plaintive wail of the ice cream van makes me feel soooo depressed. I'm literally incapable of enjoying sunny days at home. Home should be grey with a light drizzle or biting easterly wind.
Summer or sun in any other country or place is fine, lovely just not home.
Very jealous of your office it looks v pleasing and calm.

Rosie Redfield said...

Massively addicted to the delicious Waterbridge salted caramel milk chocolate available in giant slabs from Walmart. The good side is that it's very cheap ($5.50 Canadian for 400 g). The bad side is that I buy a lot because it's such a bargain.

(Yes, I know that Walmart is the Evil Empire, but...)

(Don't be tricked into buying the other types of Waterbridge chocolate - they're not nearly as good.)

Anna Maria said...

Massive yes to salty chocolate - I'm going to France next month, so will sample as many kinds as I can find. BTW, any other supermarket treasures you can recommend?
I am surprised the French didn't tell you about Napoleon, when you lived there, especially as it was the English propaganda which was responsible for the myth of his diminutive posture. I read about it, or maybe heard on Radio 4 (to which I'm addicted), a few years ago.

Jonathan said...

Not sure I get weird in the summer - but I definitely go through phases. The chessboard almost always comes out in the winter. Maybe thoughts of buying running shoes in the summer ? (it's July and I still haven't bought any).

Leona said...

I bloody HATE Summer. It's not all it's cracked up to be, for sure. I definitely have the reverse-SAD thing too - I'm properly in low spirits at the moment. Summer is just glaring and obnoxious and brash. I don't want sunburn, I don't want enforced outdoor fun. I want mizzle and inky skies and rain pattering on the roof, thanks very much.

I'm so jealous of your office! It's lovely. Is your rug from La Redoute? I've been eyeing it up for ages, if so.

Nimble said...

My friends have posted a clip from the same dance company of a woman and a raven. It's cool looking but once I noticed she was providing treats that's all I could see. Jump on her foot, get a treat, jump on her hand - treat, walk down to her other hand - treat. I'm trying to imagine walking into a gaggle of swans -- pretty damn brave.

I have no reverse affective effect in the summer. But yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen floor and it took *so* long. And I got *so* tired. I was quite disappointed in my weak flabby self. However it was worth it for the sensation of walking across the clean floor with bare feet after.

Hope your growing tortoise flock finds peace and understanding.

CJ said...

Emma, you are in a league of your own. You make me laugh and reassure me at the same time. I'm in a state of high anxiety. Not sure if it's seasonal though, I recall being very anxious for the entire winter as well. For the past two years in fact. You distract me from it though (except for the tortoises, that has me feeling a little anxious, how will it all end?), so thank you.

Mimi said...

I think I have a different type of summer madness. I blame it on living in Edinburgh and having the festival every year. Each summer all I want to do is sit outside, smoke fags, drink booze and not work. And come August in Edinburgh, that's all everyone (it seems) is doing. EVERYWHERE is a venue, indoors and outdoors. One year I will fulfil my ambition of putting on an 'immersive' show in my own small flat, where the audience can pay 20 quid each to come and sit in our living room, watch my son and husband on their iPads, have frozen lasagne for tea and watch The Simpsons and Corrie on telly. I shall call it 'Authentic Family Life'.

Anonymous said...

C'est Jolie, la danse. Mais, la merde?

Clare said...

I too feel listless in the summer. I'm just hanging on for autumn mists. I don't think England is designed for summer; it always seems like we are just pretending. I mean a hot day at an English beach isn't right is it? It should be blustery and grey. Brexit and ongoing shenanigans doesn't help either but it is impossible to look away.

Alison said...

I spent much of the weekend 'tidying' my study. Top tip: make a room full of rubbish instantly tidier by placing a bookcase in front of said detritus at a rakish angle. People glancing in the window will now see a clever, bookish woman sitting at her desk, rather than someone who looks like she should be taking 10p payments at a jumble sale.

The problem is I now actually have to spend time in the study and do some work. Academics have a particular love-hate relationship with the 'summer', which everyone seems to think stretches from late May to October and is all about editing a manuscript on a secluded beach, eating olives. In fact, it comes down to about two-and-a-half weeks of panic trying to complete all the things you stupidly promised other academics you would do about this time last year.

Today's drizzle is helping though. I also recommend the pomodoro technique, which sounds like some form of advanced tomato-based yoga but is actually a ridiculously simple time-management method for easily-distracted idiots like me http://pomodorotechnique.com/get-started/

Vicky Jones said...

I also love a tidy home and salted chocolate. As for summer well it's not really arrived here a few sultry days, summer does make me a bit crazy I guess, but a melancholic, nostalgic kind of crazy where I spend hours lamenting the loss of youth and reminiscing which leaves me unsatisfied and antsy.

Tamara Protassow said...

oh... swans? Brave, foolish dancers. And the choreographer! "It represents the constant presence of freedom... Freedom is always present..."

Makes me want to give up the daily work in the word mines myself and create Artistic happenings with all my used teabags.
"They represent the serenity of the daily rituals that bind us to our lives, and yet, mounting up, juxtapose the utter pointlessness of existence." I shall employ our cat to look disdainful, at which she naturally excels.

PS: I am on enforced holiday from social media news sources. I just cannot face the world news anymore. (and here in Australia we don't even know who is governing us anymore either! AND we only just voted on it too...)

Patience_Crabstick said...

My cube at work is almost a literal pig sty. I'm starting to think it's an unconscious reflection of what I think about my job.

I do not have summer weirdness, but I'm always very anxious and depressed in the spring. Something about the transition to warmer weather makes me slightly insane.

I love the magazine cover.

frau antje said...

A redemptive twist, is that some kind of glazed doughnut?

Oh shit, what have you become? Prime minister? I kind of picture that, whenever enough news is not forthcoming, and there can never be enough these days. Too much, but not enough.

Hope the Brexitfoot, or Sasquatch as we call it here, improves.

Two swans flew by the other day, they are quite large.

Kind of panicked reading the phrase 'I have only ONE child at home' (OH MY GOD, what have you done?!).

Working my way through biannual window hardware polishing, and annual wood rot abatement, such as it is. The combination of maintaining the household and the actual house has become like a 12 step program, I have to take it one day at a time, it's my only hope. Well, that and a 1200 page bio of the Brontë family, of which the biggest surprise was CNFLA (could not forbear laughing aloud), and the inclusion in the juvenilia of Charlotte's cnflacat work.

Laura Knott said...

Summer is the worst. I always feel abandoned by all the happy, vacationing breeders and other people with a life. My birthday is in August and I've taken to celebrating each by visiting a cave. Literally.

oggleyboggley said...

This'll cheer you up - the man is an absloute genius!


http://www.boredpanda.com/diy-low-cost-cosplay-anucha-saengchart/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=Newsletter

Guenevere McMahon said...

I am super weird this summer. Ongoing medical problems with large gaps between "the next procedure" create paralyzing anxiety and basically wasting all productive time playing Match 3 games on my phone while mentally berating myself so that I don't even get to enjoy the game itself. Calling my mother multiple times a day to ask, "Does this sound like rational thinking?" Texting the spouse during important meetings, "I know it's the anxiety but do you think could have a flesh eating thing? Because my ear hurts and I know I don't have a fever but my brain is convinced I've got MRSA, so if it comes to that they want to start lopping off my hands or something put me in hospice and let me go, okay?" Followed by, "Did you get the mail or do you want me to do it?" as if I am normal person. Summer blows, man.

GoodSirHenry said...

Emma, you're priceless. How can you be so funny when you're depressed? Read your own stuff to cheer you up. Works for me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle,
I've been in a funk for literally ages and the medical stress of the last few weeks has really upped my anxiety. There is something about the relentless brightness of summertime, when you're supposed to be loving life and getting a lovely tan, relaxing with your perfect family etc, that I think highlights the things about life that aren't so perfect and makes them worse. I seem to put on weight just from looking at food these days, must be all those feelings I'm eating like someone said the other day on your blog.
However, we will all power through these days and emerge stronger in the autumn!
Much love to everyone who's finding things hard!

gwen said...

I get so weird in the summer. I hate the weather; there's all this pressure to GO OUTSIDE BECAUSE IT'S "NICE" when it's 90 degrees with 90% humidity. I'd rather be outside in a blizzard.

Also, there's something unnatural about all this daylight. It shouldn't be bright at 8pm; those of us who prefer staying inside and reading cozily in a dark room get no time to do it. Give it a rest, sun.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! Where, goddamnit, is the fun in glaring sunshine non-stop for months on end, like it is where I am? And the sun really does glare, there is no escaping its disdainful permafrown. Shall I begin to explain how hard it is to work/sleep/ exercise (ahahaha, as if!)/ cook/ basically exist when the mercury is around 35º for weeks on end? I feel my brain melting and drooling inside my head and it's bloody torture to have to twist and turn in bed hoping to be able to sleep for a few hours...

Anonymous said...

Sorry you are feeling low. Yesterday was my (deceased) son's 21st birthday and I've been weepy ever since so I can relate. It's over, he's been gone a long long while and yet I couldn't help jump into the pit of despair and once in, it's hard to get out. I hope that you are able to stop picking at yourself and once again ride the heady wave of having just been published.

Anonymous said...

Poor last Anonymous, I hope you have people you love that you can count on for hugs at this time. Wishing you great strength.

ellen kirkendall said...

I do love summer, but being retired and living near the beach I can now spend my days playing outside instead of chained to a desk. Cooler weather may bring you back to sanity. Until then maybe you just need to do something foolish?

cruella said...

Much to go insane over this summer. My daughter sort of fell through at school towards the end of the year and was not exactly frank about it (that is grown kids for you, I have no way of knowing unless she tells), now she is interrailing with two friends mostly in former Eastern Europé. Very educational on a personal level, for both of us I'm sure. The odd text message coming in: "not so happy with breaking camp every day", "difficulties settling in" etc. Well.

The boys have fled the seaside as well, one for work, one for I don't exactly know what. Skateboarding all day long without helmet and other sensibilities etc I should think. Being out at all hours.

My own state of mind is denial at the fact that I'm going to China at the end of this month, toute seule, on an extended trip visiting friends and also doing a spot of volunteering at a farm in Sichuan. WHY did I think this was a good idea? Too much to organize, too many sleepless nights over things I can't control however hard I try.

Well, it will come to something in the end.

Waffle said...

Anon - I am so so sorry to hear that. I wish you an escape from the pit of despair, gentler times and much love.

Claire said...

Dancing with swans sounds uniquely terrifying! Salty chocolate, however? I am vehemently on board!

Anonymous said...

I really, really hate summer. Always have.

Maria

Anonymous said...

Would anyone have any advice about what to wear to a summer wedding in the windswept North Atlantic? I currently weigh over 80 kg and I'm just 160 tall so I'm quite overweight (apple shape, I believe). I have a sleeveless tailored knee-length black dress by Hugo Boss that cost me an eye a couple of years ago which I bought for an important interview but I'm wondering if black is a no-no for a wedding? There's also the issue of my chubby arms (and ankles). And the fact that I look like a child in high heels because I don't know how to walk in them.
Any advice from all you normal women out there that know how to do these things would be greatly appreciated.
And oh, it's a family wedding but I've been very lapse in keeping in contact (on purpose, admittedly) and I'd rather not give people another thing to gossip about by getting my outfit totally wrong. Only 10 days to go so unless I starve myself I won't realistically be able to lose much weight, more's the pity. Any advice on what to do about swollen ankles? Thank you all, I must have missed a lot of life lessons because I'm completely clueless about what to wear and almost wish I hadn't accepted the invitation now that I'm faced with this. Feeling very insecure!

cruella said...

Last Anon: Sure you can wear black to a wedding nowadays, go for The Boss! I would combine it with a wide and elegant colourful shawl, both for warmth and for hiding arms (seldom necessary, but I know how you feel).

Swollen ankles: tricky, but try to rest with feet above heart and wear supportive knee-highs when you're sitting at your desk working - I'm spending my desk at the computer as well and I find the stockings comfy and swell-reducing.

Good luck, I am sure you will enjoy the wedding!

Waffle said...

Last Anon - I agree with Cruella, if the black dress is the thing that makes you feel best, you should DEFINITELY wear it, especially if it's a potentially stressful situation anyway, it's important to wear something that you feel relatively relaxed and put together in. I honestly don't think anyone cares about this stuff any more and Cruella's shawl idea would make it more festive. Also, I wouldn't bother wearing heels if you aren't comfortable in them - they are evil and one of the great things of recent years is how many beautiful flats are now around. I hope it goes better than you expect - these things usually do, I find, especially if you're really dreading them.

I have no idea about swollen ankles even though I have one. All the time. I did something to it about 10 years ago and now it just never depuffs.



Mairi said...

Yes, I hate summer. Even admitted as much to my therapist, which felt far more freeing than it probably was, considering I had also just addressed the fact that most days I would prefer to sit next to the air conditioner in silence and examine my cuticles. Can I say though, Emma, in defense against the hell that is 2016, you are one of the best things about the Internet and have made a concrete difference in the re:Feeling Alone section of my brain. If I could funnel salted chocolate and gin to your house I would do so in a heartbeat. Let's pretend we can all sit in a room together with various animals (esp. goats) and have a laugh about it. Hope you are well today, on another effed up day. With true American sentimentality I say, Hey! Thanks for being you, you glorious misfit.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, dear wise Cruella and Waffle, for your excellent advice.
I completely agree with Mairi, this is one of the very best corners of the Internet and I am always the better for visiting it. Thank you for creating this space, dear Waffle, and filling it with so much of your lovely writing. The Feeling Alone section of my brain always shrinks a little when I come here, as I do often.
Lots of non-creepy (I promise! ) admiration and love from afar!

Sparkling Red said...

Yes, I get moody in the summer, especially when it's very hot. My theory (caveat: I have no credentials) is based on research showing that some types of depression are related to systemic inflammation, which can be caused by auto-immune processes and exacerbated by any type of stress, including heat. Also, the sun is too bright.

Where do I sign up to become a oiseleur?

carole said...

Thank God or god for Waffle. I agree completely about Summer misery and to cap it all I have the builders in knocking the whole of the ground floor of my house to bits (it was probably about to be condemned anyway). I lie on my bed two floors up, trying to be bright and think how nice it will be when it is finished, the summer will probably be finished by then as well, so I look forward to some dark days and, if I can ever recover from this vast expense, tasting salted chocolate for the first time. Keep up the sainted work Waffle, a lot of us depend on you. x

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

Summer can evoke the same feelings as Christmas - you are SUPPOSED to be happy and often reality bites. So it's much worse than when you are unhappy and it is sleeting. You can then crawl under the bedcovers and DRINK salted hot chocolate and eat shortbread. Or at least I do. I love coming here and always know I will laugh. Waiting for your book , which apparently Amazon despite $$$ for Prime cannot deliver to 8/5. Yet, Nina Stibbes book, ordered at the same time, is on its way tomorrow. Perhaps a conspiracy by her to keep you off the NYT bestseller list?? Look into that, stat!,

Margaret said...

Wedding attending person: Get some flats with a pointed toe--they'll look stylish even without a heel.

I love summer when it means going to the beach and relaxing in cafes. But having to work through it blows. It's hot and humid and GOD IT SMELLS BAD. New York is a smelly, gross slice of hell in summer. And yet the tourists keep coming! Are they hard of smelling? So I like summer for two weeks and a few weekends, but the rest is just blech.

Anonymous said...

You are all so kind to take an interest in little puffy-ankled me. Pointy flats would be a good idea, yes. At least I'll be able to walk in them! I am thinking something along the lines of a pair of black Camper Sinuosa shoes (the ones with an ankle strap). Would those work with a tailored black dress, oh wise women that understand these things?
I've decided to get up early every day next week and hit the gym for an hour before I sit down to work for the day. It won't make a massive impact, obviously, but it will probably help me feel a bit more active and less sluggish, which is part of the problem. I'm thinking of doing a couple of pressotherapy sessions (it looks scary but it seems to work for reducing volume from fluid retention) as well and if they go well, maybe doing one every week for a while to see if it helps with my ankles. As soon as the temperatures go down I'll look into the compression tights to use on a regular basis.
Feeling more upbeat about it all today, thank you for your help!

Leona said...

You poor thing. I'm so sorry for your loss - I can't imagine how awful that must be. I hope you have happy things to look forward to and people around you who love you. Take care of yourself. xx

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle,
I told my kid about your boy asking you to go for long walks to hatch his Pokemon eggs for him and she said that in fairness, you would definitely get fit if you did that on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure I saw a crafty glint in her eye as she imagined doing the same, but in her case she guards her mobile very closely and I don't think she would willingly hand it to me for any length of time without it being off so it's probably not going to happen.
Have your kids ever watched Lost? My daughter is engrossed in it and really loves it, it's very compelling and one episode is never enough. Tonnes of seasons to watch as well. I'm looking forward to her getting the medical green light so I can sign her up for lots of vigorous activity and sport in August, fingers crossed! For now, Lost is saving the day because it gives her something to do (other than being on her mobile) while I'm working.

Nancy said...

I so love your posts :-) You are a breath of sanity in an insane world. Yes, I take head-hits in summer resulting in accusations of incipient alzheimers and threats of being carted off to The Pines. I balloon like Marjorie Dursley in the heat, but cravings for salt don't stop until the cold wind blows south from Alaska. Shoes don't fit, clothes don't fit, I need to sleep a LOT and paper breeds in my room when the lights are out. Summer used to be my favourite time of year. Now I crave spring and autumn, when energy and brain cells return. The only thing I can remember on a consistent basis is how to find the PVR'd English murder mysteries which I seem to live off these days.

Mrs Mason said...

Will you ever be blogging again? it has been a while ...

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Maisie Middleton said...

Emma, I re-discovered you via the Pool and I'm so glad I did. Don't worry, you have plenty of kindreds, the comments alone attest to that! And I'm a kindred too - down with this summer nonsense.

I wore a woolly jumper today in defiance, even though I knew it might be warmer later. Ha! That showed 'em who's boss. Though perhaps a cardi would have been better on balance... ;-)

In any case, it's nearly October, thank goodness. Now it just needs to start actually feeling autumnal. Daughter is still wearing summer dresses to school... !!

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