Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Just so enormous

London Bridge station has standard platform messages that warn you to behave under the omniscient gaze of CCTV. A man’s voice extolls this on my platform, but simultaneously I hear the same message in female tones from the other side of the station. Is it deliberate this bi-gender stereo? Does it sate our metrosexual equality drive? Is it an unsubtle mind-game on the part of the fat controllers?

The train isn't so much sardines, as jam. I'm seated, or rather I'm squished between two builders. They sit with legs akimbo. Seemingly their balls are just so enormous that they simply can’t tuck their knees together.

Nicky once told me of counselling sessions she'd had to help her deal with panic attacks. Her therapist had her play the 'bad, but' game. Here she was encouraged on sensing the onset of an attack to tell herself that it was bad, but (insert scenario of how it could be worse.)

How this is supposed to help I have no idea.

Imagine your panic attacks are caused by spiders. You spy a spider and tell yourself “It’s bad, but it could have been a tarantula!” At which horrible thought the panic attack is completely cured by the ensuing heart attack.

Anyway, this train is bad, but...

One more stop to go and then I’m free (I’m free I tell you, I’m free.) Glancing out of the window at the disembarking passengers, my eye is caught by a chap stood right up against the railings facing away from us. I guess he’s lighting a cigarette or something, then I see him do that little jig men do when they’re shaking a leg. What audacity. Taking a leak in front of a trainload of commuters. Plenty of passengers are reading papers, nodding along with their iPods, or getting their Blackberry fix. Am I alone in gazing out? I catch the builder opposite rolling his eyes. Evidently not.

My bacon is saved, your bacon is saved

This morning's epiphany came at a cost.

The time flew while I blogged and I was late to work. A meeting I had thought was at 10am had started at 9am without me. Rushing to this meeting, I recalled that it clashed with a Doctor's appointment. Deciding that because I'd gotten the time of the first meeting wrong I must also be mistaken about the clash, I consoled myself that I wouldn't have to leave early to get to the Medical Centre. Nope. When I got back to my desk and checked the diary I found I'd missed the Doctor's appointment. My healthcare insurance doesn't pay up for missed appointments - ouch.

Let that be a lesson to you children: too much chemotherapy makes you feeble minded. Just say no to drugs.

Cue dark mood. Walking through the bleak, grey and freezing London afternoon, I pondered what to do with the rest of my day. On deciding to blog my idiocy I was surprised to discover that the thought alone had been enough to blow away the blues.

So here I am, busily blogging, feeling chirpy, warm and cosy in Wagamama, my belly full with Yasai Katsu Curry (Harry to Waitress: extra sauce with that please.)

You are redeemed Blog. My bacon is saved, your bacon is saved.

Two black limos have stopped outside each sporting a Silver Lady. A bevvy of silver haired folk bedecked in black have disembarked and entered the Anchor pub opposite. Good people of Southwark no doubt, attending a wake.

Rendered 'Suv awk' in London patois, the area has a bit of a buzz about it now. Perhaps this is due to the Shakespeare Globe, Bankside Tate Modern, and the Millennium Bridge. A bunch of reasonable restaurants have opened and help corral the tourists here, while their pockets are drained for the good of the local economy.

The Millennium Bridge was infamous when it first opened for bouncing around as people walked across it. Fearing another Tacoma Narrows Collapse they fixed it, depriving us all of a free thrill (which is a rather rare beastie in London.)

Tacoma Narrows Newsreel

For me Southwark is a way point between the office and London Bridge train station, where my sardine carriage awaits. The temptation is to linger, delay the inevitable rush & crush that is London's overland train network. It might be bad, but I know it will be quieter now than later. Time to gird those loins.

The term "gird your loins" was used in the Roman Era meaning to pull up and tie your lower garments between your legs to increase your mobility in battle. In the modern age, it has become an idiom meaning to prepare yourself for the worst.
All hail the conquering Internet. Glory be to Wikipedia.

I have felt so silenced

I am quite alone in this life. It was not always so. How that statement must echo in all our heads. Once I was young, a blank page, full of optimism, unchallenged by life's dark nature. Time has passed since then, and I find myself battered by the successive waves that have threatened to overwhelm me. Washed up on shore, a survivor, but barely drawing breath, I whimper "I don't want this."

In a coffee shop, watching the calm Thames flow by, I find my will gathering.

I have been single now for some years. I have felt so silenced. There is no one with whom to share the trivial insights and quirks I observe as I travel throughout the day. Solitary holidays hold no appeal, likewise restaurant dining. An inveterate people watcher, I am purposeless if these thoughts are trapped in my head to wither and die unheard. All things novel now have sorrow attendant.

Sometimes we are truly startled by another's perspective which so dramatically clashes with our own world view, and yet such contrary ideas can be the horn call that brings down the walls hedging our mind. So it was last week during dinner with Jonathan. He was telling me how a recent relationship had made him feel crowded. He explained that alone he felt no pressure to talk and he revelled in his secret insights. Eating out on his own was fun, "Don't feel sorry for me - I'm having a great time on my lonesome" was his thought on catching the eye of other restaurant patrons.

So contrary to my own world view, I have been mulling this ever since. I still have an urge to share my thoughts, but perhaps my audience can be my own good self, via the auspices of this blog. I can humour myself that my humble mutterings might one day find a broader audience, but today I do this for me.