Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Intoxication of the Working Weak

Again I found myself tipping into a slightly destructive pattern. Thankfully all it was this time was a relatively short passage of working too much, which I self medicated with regular doses of Stevie Wonder (at one stage the only non-work mental stimulation I could manage was "Don't You Worry Bout a Thing")

Through this period it became apparent to me how working like this on a more regular basis can have such a magnetic and destructive pull, like the swoon you feel when a tube train thunders into the platform.

There is a brilliant passage in The Unbearable Lightness of Being where Kundera describes one character feeling "vertigo... A heady, insuperable longing to fall" as she tries finally to turn her back on a painful relationship. He goes on to comment,

"We might also call vertigo the intoxication of the weak. Aware of his weakness, a man decides to give in rather than stand up to it. He is drunk with weakness, wishes to grow even weaker, wishes to fall down in the middle of the main square in front of everybody, wishes to be down, lower than down."

Obviously things weren't that bad, but I love how he expresses that tipping point of self destruction, the seduction of the self into believing how a conviction, a determination and commitment, can be mistaken as strength in itself.

The character Kundera is referring to also has a total lack of support from anyone else around her, and so I am glad to report I had great support from colleagues and my partner checking on me and pulling me back. I even managed to squeeze in an official engagement, my left hand now a little weightier than at the start of last week.

Thinking of colleagues, possibly the biggest lesson for me was the potential for a weird co-dependency that I saw some glints of as we ping ponged between euphoria and despair during our long working hours.

It's easy to subconsciously drive each other on even if you know what you're doing is kind of ridiculous and it feels like each of you are personally deciding to behave like this.

Weirdly the simile that came to mind was like bulimic sorority girls. As a manager, awful to think I may have been lead "Heather". Apologies to those who haven't seen the film - but I think you'd at least understand we all want to be Winona Ryder really (minus the painkillers and shoplifting).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Introducing Louby van Hoogstraten

It wasn't my idea to be a landlady. It was a sensible financial investment thing that my partner, a sensible financial type person, had advised we do. Despite my initial discomfort, however, I'd started to feel comfortable, proud even, of our blossoming property empire.

Day two of our lives with tenants and now it feels like having needy dependents with none of the potential moral superiority. I realise the upside is supposedly financial, but three trips to Ikea in and our profit margin forecasts are already looking gloomy.

I refused to buy them a microwave today and felt terrible. On reflection I find it strange that they even asked but then I suppose, why not? It hammers home what a sap I've been through my whole life with landlords having over the years put up for extended periods with dodgy electrics, no hot water, no heating in a bathroom, and on moving into one place, a flat filled with old furniture (including at least 10 wardrobes, 6 beds) for about a week.

Although the chap didn't get on my best side by describing the sofa fabric we had chosen as "minging" the couple seem perfectly pleasant and I'm certainly not expecting them to be saps. I'm just worried that my microwave refusal is the start of a mean streak endemic to all landlords. I've not had any great role models, see.

Pull me up on it, won't you? Before I end up on this site.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Big Decisions about the Big Day

For those of you who don't know, the wedding of the year has been booked. On June (the) 30th I will be betrothed to my long-term love, Robert, witnessed by a selection of friends and family.

I've been thinking about what music to have on the big day. It's a small venue so we'll probably only be able to have a pianist and singer. We might be able to squeeze in a tambourine, but that'll be it.

That said, the favourite joke in the wee hours as Robert drops me off to the station and Auntie La-La plays us her latest top tunes is always "first dance?" Since "our songs" have included a rave version of the theme tune to Black Beauty (just imagine it at 160 BPM - "du-dur-durrr ... du-du-du-du-du-du-du-dur-durrr") and "Animal Nitrate" by Suede, the thought of it being "Calm Down Dearest" by Jamie T isn't all that peculiar despite the fact it might be quite tricky for our singer and accompanist to replicate the slurred delivery and driving bass line.

And all this stuff about it being your day is nonsense. If "Smack my bitch up" really was what we wanted, I just can't see Rob's dad gently taking my mum by the hand and leading her on to the dancefloor after an appropriate time. They would stand open mouthed and appalled.

I do realise this is the least of my worries. I have food to arrange, a dress to buy, and travel arrangements to talk about with people from far and wide. We've got the ceremony and vows to agree on, for goodness' sake.

Incidentally, my other displacement obsession is with the wedding invites over which I have already had some heated debates with my intended. After a relationship that's spanned more than fourteeen years, I think invites with a picture of Trevor McDonald on the front and the immortal line "And finally" inside would be perfect. I'd agree to obey if we could have them.