It was really nice and warm in India, I thought the other night as I was slowly turning into a block of ice while waiting for the Northern Line rail replacement bus. That’s all I really have to say about India a few weeks after coming home, in spite of my hope that a little distance would shake loose something more profound about the experience. But no: I have nothing new, nothing more dignified to add to my original expression of relief at being able to walk down the street undisturbed. I sort of loved India, but I hated it a little too. The two cancel each other out, and that is all she wrote.
But London really is bloody freezing right now. The cold is creeping into my bones, but I keep reminding myself that winter will be short this year because I skipped the worst of it. And it’s slowly getting lighter. Yesterday I found my little bucket list of the things I wanted to do before I’m 33, and I see I have some things to get on with. Some things I’ve done already, like getting a new tattoo and going to Berlin. Moving work towards the ‘interesting’ category is my main priority for the year anyway, but the yoga thing? Hm. That fell by the wayside in spite of good progress last summer. During a breakup, nothing replaces boys like yoga, but then autumn came and yoga was replaced by boys. True story. And now my shoulder is acting up again, just like the hardcore massage therapist [she’s fierce] warned me would happen if I kept typing without stretching. So.
I saw this Marlboro ad in Berlin, which read: “No more maybe.” As counter-intuitive as this seemed for a cigarette ad, or maybe because of it, it did make me feel pretty good about not having had a smoke since November. Not that it will it be my last, no biggie. I was thinking about this as I was googling the yoga schedule, wondering if they are right when they say style is temporary but class is permanent. It’s still numbingly cold outside, but I’m not sure if I care to pay any more attention to that. I’m 32 and a half, which is old enough to
know do better.
Reading list, special edition
Tomorrow I’ll be on an aeroplane over the sea, looking for adventure and whatever comes my way, I believe is how the songs go. Right now all I really want is for some good old-fashioned spring, as London has been a right little brat this year. In the meantime, here are a few things I’ve enjoyed recently:
Blunderbuss by Jack White. The Boy was playing this album and I didn’t know what it was, just that I adored it. I’m saving it for the foggy city.
Duke’s Brew & Que. This little Haggerston corner joint just opened and has very quickly turned into a bookings-mandatory sort of place. This is no mystery; it’s all in the ribs. Holy smokes.
Every Single Night by Fiona Apple. She makes us wait, Fiona, but she is timeless.
Gelupo. The chocolate. The coconut! This place gets me every single time. It’s certainly the best gelato in London, if not the world.
The Avengers. This film was excellent, not to mention full of hotness. Somehow Mark Ruffalo managed to come out the winner in the man candy stakes, which is a hell of an achievement when sharing screen time with a certain Robert Downey Jr.
And a few things I’ve read:
“Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.” TS Eliot
“I work hard because I love my life and I have to earn it. I also work hard because I’m lazy and want to wake up at 11 and not wear clothes all day.” Molly Crabapple wrote this and I love it because I feel just the same: I work my ass off to make it on my own terms because I love it, but also because I don’t have the heart for the alternative.
Sleepy, drunk and away from your desk: How to be more creative [Nextness]
“Metaphors like ‘The singer had a velvet voice’ and ‘He had leathery hands’ roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like ‘The singer had a pleasing voice’ and ‘He had strong hands’, did not. … The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life.” [Your brain on fiction in The New York Times, via Teach me to write by Zakia]
“There’s an accepted template for female narratives that tends to be the only story you read in bestselling books and first-person essays in women’s magazines that goes like: “I was bad – [sordid description of bad behavior] – but then [love, my baby, my husband, AA, etc] saved me. I solved my problem. I am no longer bad.” I have nothing against redemption per se but I am really bored with that story. That story doesn’t reflect anything about what women’s or human beings’ lives are really like.” [Emily Gould]
Ciara Flynn on the road not taken: “What regrets would I have then? Would I ever miss the ‘New Yorker’, or Ethiopian food, or the version of me that knows enough to know what she is missing?”
Katie West’s list of 30 before 30 is like most people’s bucket lists for life. I usually get my list-mania on only for work, but maybe I should get a little hardcore with the other stuff too. Something like this:
5 before 33 (in 15 months): Get another tattoo, or more | Transition at least 60% work to the ‘interesting’ category | Get addicted to yoga or running, or something else good for me | Go to at least one out of the following: New York, Rome, Berlin | Explore something I’m not going to put down here, but it has to be said, and done.