Library updating…

When you add loads of content to your iPod / favourite portable electronic device: music, podcasts, photos, whatever; it can take a while for the library to update as it works out how to allocate all the new data.

That’s what my head’s been doing lately, using the slow, lethargic hardware of my brain, which isn’t used to that much new memory being crammed in in one go.

From the generally static lifestyle of living and working alone, speaking in person to roughly half a dozen people a week – a couple of those probably on the other side of counters; I figured I might have feasibly spoken with over two hundred people last week.

The wedding was beautiful.  My feelings were simple ones of pleasure for them.   They’d done it.  Found each other, sealed the deal, gone for it.  Sifting through my photos the next day brought it back again: the sincere delight on their faces.

(Is it emotional wanking to be moved by your own images?)

A day and a half back in the temporary office, where I was warming to one member of staff and tolerating another who was rather dotty, then I set off to do a thing at a place over a weekend.  It was wholly enjoyable, memorable, hard work and tiring, and it required me to meet many shining, successful people not too much younger than me.

One of the evenings was particularly fuelled by alcohol and partying.  I watched Sunday’s dawn seep in over the ocean while sharing a bottle of champagne with one pretty female.  You’d think that sort of scenario might develop somewhere, wouldn’t you..?  But, as I find is often the case, one thing didn’t lead to another.  She might have even considered me gay rather than simply feeble.  In fact I was drunk and had over-shared and felt mildly embarrassed.  She was a midwife and spoke a lot about being a midwife, which I said was fine despite being bored.  She was also quintessentially English and gave no signs or signals I could detect of being interested.  I wasn’t going to risk embarrassing myself further.  We walked away from the seafront to a midpoint between our rooms, hugged and parted, never to see each other again.

Emotions at the event were high and the positive spirit of celebration was strong, as it had been at the wedding.  Even though I was peripheral from it here, even witnessing it was stirring.  The place was a mini-Oxbridge where belief is instilled into young people to the point of arrogance.  Several mentioned how different they would have been without that experience.  I didn’t doubt it.  I wondered how I’d be today if I had spent two years there, what it was like to have that belief and practically harness it.
In the days afterwards I felt emotionally dreary and listened to sad songs too much – particularly the new Death Cab For Cutie and Thea Gilmore albums.  Around me was progress, people moving on, going through stages, being at the centre of their own stories.  I was still the angst-ridden, wronged teenager.  My story was that I had no story: no plan, no structure, not much interesting past.  I hadn’t emigrated to America to have a child and failed marriage only to return.  I hadn’t lived anywhere else of any real interest.  I didn’t have a humbling, worthy job as a UN peacekeeper in Africa.  I wasn’t earning shitloads of cash as an investment banker.  I wasn’t even frittering loads of cash I didn’t have away on a glamorous, damaging but enjoyable addiction which would “develop me as a person.”

Perhaps that was what I should do.

When I spoke to them on the phone, I wanted my immediate family to be interested in my week: the things I’d spoken of beforehand and suggested I was excited about, looking forward to.  Nobody was.  The groom, as mentioned here, has been one of my best friends since adolescence.  I don’t think my Mum could name him.  However, I was naturally obliged to reflect her excitement about a doll’s house she’d bought her granddaughter.

My brother at least exercised polite but distant-seeming interest.  I returned more detail than he was interested in hearing, which still wasn’t much.  He had more interest in ensuring I was still prepared to drive a few hours across the country this weekend and help him with childcare in the absence of his wife.  I could do without the miles and the petrol – which have been totting up of late, but will probably enjoy his kids’ company when I get there.


Tuesday brought a close to my brief stint in a real office.  The one colleague who I had warmed to was a female around my own age, (firmly attached, naturally).  When I came to leave the office we discovered a common interest which surprised us both and perhaps forced a small correction; a reassessment and one which could never be detrimental.  The absence of our dotty colleague in the office that day had meant more open conversation, almost banter.   A few more days like that and we’d have been more relaxed again.

It reminded me how working with people you like can offer so much more opportunity for strategy, showing someone what you’re like on a day-to-day basis.  No wonder so many bosses screw their secretaries.  It’s not like just meeting a person once, having one crap date, or getting drunk and messing it up then never seeing them again.  There’s a chance for redemption and gradually exposing different sides of yourself.   I don’t really believe in ‘types’ but if I did she’d probably be it.  She was slightly ‘hooray’ perhaps, overly inclined to the odd big guffing laugh to appease a colleague who wanted to hear that, but near as dammit.

Now I’ve returned to my flat and modest office, the clot of experience, people and memory already soaking in.

Music library updated.  Select track, press play..


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