Last night’s sleep in cheap hotel: terrible. I forgot, on getting in, that I had left the window open, and even then and sleeping naked (the joys of not being in a shared room) I was far too warm. This might explain the way the room smelled when I checked in. Still, there was a free nosh downstairs, which I attempted to do justice to, and then there was a trek through the cold and depressing light of city-centre day to the airport bus. I felt not bad physically, having not had much to drink, but it turns out one of the unforeseen problems with successful reunions is that you managed to get along fine without these people for four goddamn years; but spend just a few hours with them and suddenly there’s a little hole in your life shaped just like them and you miss them. Terribly.
Though I should acknowledge that, given the circumstances under which we met and bonded, we might well grow to hate each other under normal circumstances – it’s like the difference between a holiday romance, where you get on Fabulously when there’s nothing to do but revel in the beauty and cocktails, and then when you make a go of it Back Home, it turns out they leave their socks everywhere and have zero time-keeping ability and a celebrity obsession. Oops, that’s everyone.
Hee, we actually discussed this last night – one of Salt’s parting shots was, ‘Even my girlfriend, I don’t want to see her every single day, but you guys? You guys I could stand to see… once a week.‘ Which I account high praise.
Once more, luck and a seat on the earlier bus was mine. Which meant I had an abundance of time to mooch around the airport, but it was far superior to mooching around the streets of London (and possibly, cheaper!) Also, it was warm enough that I could read without having to wear gloves, unlike at Central Station yesterday, which was a bonus. Bless you, Bill Bryson.
For some reason, travel, while these days consisting of long periods of sitting on one’s arse, waiting, before spending long periods sitting on one’s arse, travelling, is more shatteringly tiring than if I’d spent all that time walking the hills. Also, my skin looks worse. Ho hum. So it was a relief to get back to Prestwick. Ah, and Winter is truly more advanced here than in London – the sun had just set, and the pastel colours of the sky and sea were so truly stunning they brought a tear to my eye. Though that could have been the cold – the trees were limned in silver, meaning the frost has not thawed all day, even in direct sunlight.
I guess, that’s the other thing the reunion stirred up. Back when I first went to ‘Stalag Butlins’, I was full of thoughts of freedom from the nine-to-five office life, and there we were, working where we lived and being, er, well, not paid to chainsaw badly and dangerously and to haul logs and be nearly eaten alive by pigs, but I felt so much more alive. Constant brushes with death will do that, I’m told; and of course, what we had was the illusion of freedom, not actual freedom, because what price beauty and countryside if you can’t get taken to the doctor’s, or have any say in your diet or routine, or speak freely, but yeah, there is a part of me that rears up, and says, Sure you’re not just compromising in your life right now? Is what you’re doing what you really want to do? Is there some fundamental facet of life, in fact, that you just forgot about?
Well of course I’m not doing what I really want; I didn’t go through seven sodding years of voluntary higher education to be a secretary. [Since you are, technically you did – Ed]. And I have plans which I am – painfully slowly – putting into practice in the hope to be something more, as always, and in the meantime, in betweentime, ain’t we got (very small and cheap amounts of) fun. It’s not what I dreamed of – then again, I’m not hoeing potatoes at spearpoint, and I have indoor plumbing, not to mention choice in what I do; a temporary lack of either will at least make you very grateful to return to it.
Oh, but the colours of twilight. I live in a beautiful, ever-changing picture! Now why can’t I get the discipline up to learn to be a really good painter, ditch the low-grade drudgery and make a living just capturing what I see?
(Because I fear that I really am not good enough to make a decent living from it – by which I mean, better than the one I have now, where I can make ends meet if I am really careful – which currently, I am not being. Friends before funds: le sigh. And even if I worked night and day on the Art – which I bet would lead me to hate it eventually – the socks will still need picked up.)
And on leaving the train, I discovered the frost on the trees is tall and pointy enough to resemble thorns – when I nearly took an eyeball out on low branch. There’s a price for everything, even free beauty. Hee: God, imagine explaining that one at A&E.
I rounded off with a load of laundry and a nice, chilled out evening. It feels like Sunday, and it’s not, I had a free day off! Woo! And no Sums tonight, honest, it is a Day Off, and er, that would remind me uncomfortably of how badly I nuked the budget! Well, maybe not so much. The hotel was forty quid and I spent forty just… breathing or something in London for under twelve hours, but – ah crap. I forgot. I bought rounds on Switch. Dead woman!
I am consoled by the thought that we are apparently pencilled in to do this all again. 2014 in Prague. Roll on. I hope to Christ I have a job I am less embarrased by, by then. If so, I will buy ALL the drinks.