Have potential, but am not a fully grown hypochondriac as yet.
The secret is to live in denial. To live in denial the first rule is never to see your doctor. And don’t google symptoms. The moment you google you are as good as dead. As has been proven many a time by the apple of my eye. Who, by a miracle, is still alive, and in the best of health.
Currently I am in the grip of cancer of the tongue. Yes, I know it’s only slight trauma caused by one of my back teeth. Still, one needs to explore all eventualities. Can any of you imagine me without my tongue? No, neither can I. Telephone conversations or any other will never be the same. Nothing will be the same. Ever.
One of the reasons I am not overly keen on marriage that on tying the knot couples appear to come as a parcel rather than the two individuals they once were. Do not delude yourselves: Not everything needs to be shared. Particularly friends.
I once had a friend who now doesn’t talk to me any longer because her husband says so. One could, of course, reflect on what sort of friendship it was in the first place and what sort of woman she is to let herself be told who she can or cannot consort with.
Nora Ephron has died. Convention is that one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. And I won’t. Except that I don’t like people who can’t keep confidences, can’t keep their mouth shut. As her husband, Carl Bernstein, once remarked: Nora can’t even go to the supermarket without working it into her next screenplay. Let’s put it this way: I’d have probably enjoyed her company but would have kept her at more than two arms’ distance as to the inner workings of my private life.
AND she did come out with some utter rot. Not least the line that men and women can’t be true friends “because that sex thing always comes between them”. Talk for yourself, Nora. And leave me out of it. I know what I know. And I have proven it.
That I also fail to see what was so funny about her having Meg Ryan (a sweet actress if ever there was one) do that fake orgasm in some American diner I will not mention. It would be mean.
Hugs and kisses to all you men out there waiting to be ravished. Be my friend first. Now we are talking.
Is there anything more disconcerting than a headline without bulk underneath?
I have weaknesses. Two of them are boxes and frames.
A frame frames? Not necessarily so. A few years ago I bought a frame because it was elaborate. Think Louis Quatorze, big shirts, wigs infested with fleas. That sort of frame. It hangs on my wall. Empty. Nothing to detract from its hideous beauty.
Looking down from my desk yesterday, early evening, I saw this young tall guy walking down the street in my direction, well cut trousers, white shirt, a most attractive confident stride, long blond hair to die for. What a looker. It took me no more than a nanosecond to assess him; then I realized it was my son returning home from the office.
That’s all I ever needed to understand the concept and power of “first impression”, and how one’s brain processes information.
There are immutable facts in our life. One in particular. I won’t burden you with it. You might not sleep all that well tonight.
Other than that:
My desk (only 64 cm deep, made to measure) runs across a window. My screen on the far right hand. Thus every time I look up and then down – I am two floors high – I observe humankind in the tradition of any good Parisian going to a cafe and penning his next short story. Except I don’t have a writer’s ambition. Want to send me to the land of nausea? Take me to the next bookshop. Thus all of you aspiring authors out there, optimists you are, do not take any note of me. Have come to conclusion that if I never bought another book in my life what’s already on the shelves will entertain me amply. And no, I will not tell you what does entertain me, because a) it’s private and b) one should rarely reveal one’s sources. Otherwise you’d not make a good spy. Or mistress. Confidante. Friend. Mother. Or anything.
From my vantage point this morning I was able to predict spectre of next divorce. Street cafe, small child, two adults having nothing to say to each other. Nada. Silence. For thirty minutes. If it were a crime I’d reported them. And I don’t normally snitch.
Some ways one can mend, some shouldn’t be mended.
Not for the first time I have to conclude that I am one of the least competitive people who have ever walked this earth. Everyone appears to enter contests – running, writing, cooking, best dress, biggest fish … you name it, whatever. People will compete, measuring themselves against each other: Gold, silver, bronze. First, second, third. I don’t get it. I so don’t get that I sometimes wonder whether I am looking from the outside in.
Slave to my tendency to wish to get to the bottom (and I mean scraping the barrel) of everything I recently asked myself whether I am just a bloody coward. Whether my refusal to enter any competition, in whatever sphere of life, just means that I’d hate to lose. That in truth, cruel light of day, I am SO competitive that entering a competition gives me the jitters because I can’t face coming second. Yes, enter pause for thought. Go into your heart. Dig. Assess soil. Dig some more. Remove smoke screen.
Fact is I am not competitive. Which is not a virtue but a curse. I don’t give a damn. One can analyze the shit out of it, look at it from all sides like a Rubik cube – fact is, competitions don’t mean anything to me. When I couldn’t avoid being entered into something and I won – it meant nothing to me. Nothing. I look at other people and their joy in the face of ‘success’ in wonderment. Someone once put forward that I – best case scenario – so rest in myself or – worst case scenario – have such arrogance that I don’t need the world’s approval. It is true. I am my one and only judge. Though will take the jury of those dear to me into account before condemning myself to a life of hard labour to condone my sin of just skipping along.
I am not easily embarrassed. Which is why I rarely do embarrass myself. Yesterday I did. No, I did not leave the house with the back of my skirt tucked into my knickers. No, I did not haemorrhage three days after giving birth, in Waitrose, at the delicatessen counter – of all places. It was worse. In fact, it was so bad I have gone into denial. Where are those holes to swallow you when you need them? Why are we put onto this earth to endure shame?
Don’t ask me. I don’t know. All I do know is that animals have one over humans: Animals don’t feel shame. No animal, with the possible exception of a dog, can be made to feel embarrassed. Animals are what they are. End of story. I wish I were a worm. On a hook. At the end of a fishing rod. That way I may come in useful. Tempting some fry.
Sweethearts, it’s just been brought to my attention that we are about to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the microwave.
Americans, and everyone else, please do look away NOW: I don’t have a microwave. As shameful secrets go this one ranks high.
What are microwaves actually for? Not to pass up on Zeitgeist I bought one a few years ago. In the time it took me to still not understand its mechanics I could have baked a LARGE potato in the oven, made a ragu and assembled a Lasagne, both from scratch, and defrosted the whole freezer by hand, and in a timely manner.
If ever there was a gadget in my kitchen – other than that weapon of mass destruction, namely the pressure cooker – leaving me flummoxed it’s the microwave. I was in awe of it. It sat there. Neat. Pleasing to the eye. Yet so superfluous. Since even a microwave has a right to fulfill its destiny I sold it to a more appreciative soul.
How is this for a nice little moral dilemma: You are asked to vote in a contest. One of the contestants is a friend of yours. Do you give your friend the thumbs up or vote for the best, in your opinion, entry? Trust me. This is not easy. At all. Am thrown for six. Who better to ask than the Angel. The Angel, not easily unsettled, contemplated my question for two minutes and came down on the side of voting for the friend, regardless. Mmm. Interesting. I am not so sure. Not least because it questions the merits of a contest. Not exactly rigged but not far from it either.
Reminds me of the Angel coming home from school with one of his many productions (at age, I don’t know, seven or eight). It was a painting. I got the vibe he wasn’t very pleased with his effort though I thought it quite good and said so. Oh dear. Enter the artistic temperament. What did he say, with some disdain: “You would say that, Mama, wouldn’t you? After all, you are my mother.” If ever there was a damning verdict. Thus my career as a critic of the arts came, temporarily, to an abrupt end. However, oh the satisfaction, only a week later he came home with some story he had written, showed it to me and I said to him, sweet revenge: “I may be your mother but this isn’t very good.” Dear dog in heaven. Enter artistic temperament again. There were tears. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Since then he trusts his mother’s judgement, either way, even if he doesn’t always agree with it.