Month: May 2014

Sweetness of Inertia

So far I have been talking about how awful it is to be unproductive but I must correct that by telling you that actually  inertia  and slothfulness can actually be pretty damn good.

Like those days that in spite of my schedule saying “zumba then read 2 articles and in between free-writing and…” Those days when in spite of all of that I just do not leave the house, at all.  I start delaying and somehow I never change out of my dressing gown.   I’ll be collapsed on the couch, hungrily searching the InterWeb for something to satiate me, in my slothful curiosity.  The heat of the day will rise I will hear people Going About Their Business and even the children playing downstairs on the playground sound gleefully productive. I will keep the blinds lowered, subtarranean, dark, and embrace this murky world.   Eventually, maybe at say 2 pm hunger will drive me to the kitchen where I will make something fatty and greasy like a sandwich with egg fried in butter with strong dutch cheddar cheese and slathered in tomato sauce and to drink some strong milky ordinary tea.  And then back to the couch, and so it goes.

By 5 pm I will have tangles in my hair and a sense of blankness.  When Annelli comes in bustling the day in with her to give me some kisses, it feels like we come from different worlds.

What is this love?

Love with Annelli is the one thing I have never been able to put into words.  Right from the beginning when curious friends asked for descriptions of her, my words sounded so flat in comparison to who I was describing.  How could I say what we had?  There was no soundbite, no witty story.

All I know is this feels so good, and it did since I met her.  A busy night in the basement of a gay bar, me with the usual disconcerting mix of lust and drunkenness and fear of all the people around me.  And then being introduced and feeling this humming, exciting intensity.  Like when there is a good secret or something you are looking forward to humming in your chest.  It felt like that.

It had to do somehow with the losing of all self-consciousness.  I stopped being so enamoured with myself like I had in other flings.  I wasn’t interested in sounding witty or poetic (though I did) or appearing as x or y (though of course on

dates I got dressed up and wore red lipstick). There was something beyond appearances, and it was just this ease that felt so warm.

The pleasure of crying

For weeks, months now I have been pacing around our newly-bought flat like a caged, worried tiger.  The noise form the street worries me.  The trash around the bin worries me.  The lack of a balcony worries me.  But more than anything, I am worried that I made a mistake.  Missed a trick, was a fool, fucked up.  

I read property ads like masochist porn, imagining life on that roof terrace or in that bath.  On that quiet street, or even on the West side of town.  Everywhere, these imagined lives, in imagined houses are infinitely more peaceful than my own.

When we first moved in there was one flat I would love to walk passed on the ground floor.  They always had their curtains open, and on winter nights they formed an idyllic tableau of homefulness – a young couple with a curly haired toddler and a small baby.  Early evening you could see toddler eating in his highchair.  Later on the wife would usually be spread out on the couch watching TV with a glass of wine, the husband on his computer.  On the window they had a sticker “classical music is good for breastfeeding” and hanging up in the window were colourful streamers from birthdays gone by, and a window sill full of plants.  One day, the living room was full of moving boxes and then suddenly they were gone, leaving some rubble and their breastfeeding sticker.

I think what I yearned for in that house was this settled, loving homeliness and care.  You had the feeling you wanted to live there.  Meanwhile, our house was full of boxes and unpainted walls, furniture to be collected and a bed which is (still) in parts on the bedroom floor.

Today I went to see the psychologist I have been appointed to help with ADD and spilled out to him the story, about being worried our flat, worried I made the wrong decision.  In the telling I realised how overwhelmed I was by the move, by the hundred practical details of a move that I find so hard to get a grasp on, of my already chaotic systems of filing papers and clothes being shook up and turned upside down.  Of the frustration of having so many ideas of how I would like the flat to be, and being unable to do them.  These fears of having made a wrong decision go to the heart of something else: a sense of competency, a sense of being in control which for me is so hard won.

Finally crying about this felt so good.  I walked out softer, brighter.  Mysteriously, all the trash bags around the bin had disappeared. 

Gezilligheid

In honour of May Day this year I decided to finally help out at a squat near my house which provides a cheap vegan meal for anyone who wants it twice a week, staffed by volunteer cooks, cleaners and hunter-gatherers who salvage edible food from garbage containers in the surrounds.  This dinner was a fundraiser for political prisoners in Spain and Bosnia. 

The cook this time was a lovely bear of a man from Hungary, who drummed up a menu of Polenta, ratatouille(lightly spiced with cinammon) and baked cherry tomatoes very confidently for 50 guests.  I was put to work finding the duds in a batch of cherry tomatoes salvaged from a nearby shop.  Out of 10 trays there were 5 or 6 vrot ones.  And yet these had been turfed, astoundingly!  Together we made a huge salad and talked about child-rearing, politics, pink-washing and cooking. The chef recounted how he had learned to cook by being the assistant of his disabled gran and following her instructions.  And also how in the Soviet years he grew up in, it was illegal for anyone to slaughter an animal as all belonged to the state.  Animals had to be slaughtered secretly, discretely by cover of night.

I thought of my abuela as I washed the tomatoes, a woman who would not waste anything.  And I thought of the ideals that can link an 80-year old Catholic woman and some young anarchists together.  Ideals that nothing should be wasted or taken forgranted.  That everyone has the right to a good meal and place to live, even if they are poor.  Ideals of putting yourself at the service of others.

More than the food, it was the company that was nutrioning.  And the feeling of being useful, being part of something, being alive