Monday, July 24, 2006

Tanzania geographic 026aPest.

I can't even shake it to see if it's Lego.

Yep, someone who needn't remain nameless has sent me an email (well 3, with attachments) with the subject "Don't touch till the 25th!", and I'm not good with surprises, and the whole patience thing isn't quite what it should be, and did I mention the unread emails are sitting in my inbox with really, really big, bold lettering, and it's just so tempting to click, and no one would ever know, except for them looking read but I'm sure I can mark them as unread again, and, oh, hurry up and be tomorrow, but I don't want to get older, and ooh, ooh, ooh, I can see the first lines of each as Gmail previews them, so it's like peering down the Sellotaped slit on a present, or cursing and praising cheap garishly patterned wrapping paper, because you can read through it (and what does it say when presents all tend to come with words on the outside?) except for that crucial bit under whatever that jagged squiggle is meant to be.

Of course, if it's what I think it is, then I probably don't have space on my computer (well, I sort of do, provided I don't want to run any programmes. Yes, this is a dreadful state for a computer and one which has existed for years. Thank God for Gmail and the wonderful, stupidly large storage).

And oh look, another reference to my birthday, which can only further exasperate he who shall remain nameless, who wrote to complain the last time I mentioned it, because he was hoping to earn brownie points for already knowing and was planning to surprise me. I'm not sure if he's not going to do it know because he's sulking, or if he still is. I think the latter concerns me more, because, well, it's that surprise thing, but I can't defuse it my just so happening to accidentally find out beforehand (though the SG CD thing was an actual accident).

I've just noticed that the last email this, er, drat, my cunningly thought up blog name for HWSRN (which itself looks too tidal) has the slight flaw in that the initials are the same as his real name. Anyway, the last email from Mr Umbrage (random mental link for the day: Tamsin Grieg) contains one line, which Google proudly displays: It's OK, I'll stop sending you porn now.

Which I think is one of those one hit wonder lines, in that it's going to be extremely for that to make a comeback. How often is it likely to arise in normal conversation? And can I have two pounds of Cox's please? It's OK... The next train to arrive at platform one is the southbound Northern Line service to Morden via Bank. It's OK... Have you seen the car keys? It's OK...

And it wasn't actual porn.

For me at least.

And so to Saturday, by the single use lines. I managed to end an argument in the Constable exhibition at the Tate (yes, again, better this time, more talking, more fault finding [he's not one for realism], more actually looking. Universal conclusion: the prep work is more interesting. And it's nice going round with other people who understand the impact the Royal Academy had on him) with the line "Like Bosham."

I think there are only so many arguments that can be won with that line (ours was about the banks of Thames at that period. The Embankment is later, but the Strand is only the road fronting propeties which stretched down the hill to the river, rather than being the strandline), unless one uses it as a complete non-sequitur, thus convincing one's rival that one is quite, quite mad (and hoping that the adversary isn't) and so the foe abandons the contest as unwinnable lest both people be thought equal. But that's not winning, that's just not losing first.

So Saturday was, in chronological order, get up late, having turned off the power in the room, after having been blasted out of bed by thunder at quarter to five (I awoke in mid air, feeling the bed fall away beneath me, realised this was not a sustainable option, tried to flail slightly, found gravity and met the bed recoiling from the shockwave passing through the building, got bounced of it into the middle of the room, and woke up properly sort of standing, while the thunder rumbled on, the rain shrieked down like an orange beltsander, and things in the room creaked recovery, or made shuka-shuka-sher-ka noises as they Weebled about.

So in this standing, moving, not yet thinking state I turned things off or unplugged them at the wall. I'm not sure why, as I've never seen the effects of lightning on computers and radios, although I've smelt the results, and heard how well modems and network cards work as circuit breakers (they don't; they form a nice, unfused connection into the middle of the computer). While trying to explain the rationale to SG, I started wondering if there's something about me, as I tend to be in buildings as they get hit (ok, so it's hardly unexpected here, what with having a dozen or so storeys clear of all neighbours for half a mile). I can't have lived a taller or hillier life than most, yet for most of the buildings I know best (schools, houses, the sailing club), I've been there when they've been hit, and the resulting thuds, hisses, groans, and, of course, the high kerning noise alarm system make when everything fails, that whimper begging for someone to insert a key and press reset. Ok, so the place I still call home, however unintentionally... actually, I think it's been hit as well, as remember someone coming the fix the shattered cement under the ridge tiles, which were bowed up into an arch. But usually it's the wood over the road which takes the brunt, occasionally flinging out steamed and flayed oak branches which leave dents in the lawn (and fortunately just miss the car, so far).

Which gets me back to Saturday, and discovering at some point the last wood based entertainment inflicted on my parents. First, the Ents made another move towards the house, this time with a willow tree moving with a crash to stick half the braches into the road. I can't remember the term for it, but there is a term for the ability of trees to walk round sandstone or other loose soiled hills. Once again tales of neighbourly togetherness (read people driving down the hill hooted, but didn't get out of their cars).

And then the lesson in marriage. Apparently, when my father is lying about being incompetent, sometimes he might actually be telling the truth. My mother only took half and hour to accept that he hadn't overzealously deadheaded the geraniums and taken out the budding flowerheads when she saw the deer coming back for the rest. And to think I've eaten a cousin (ok, maybe great aunt) of that deer, when a friend's pub did roadkill with redcurrant sauce.

Anyway, so turning the power off for the radio I use as an alarm clock is not the best way to ensure I wake up on time. Cue panic, hurried shower, hurried shave with a razor as the battery died, hurried drying, hurried halfway through dressing trying to remember if i dired myself because it doesn't feel like it, hurried remembering the hurrying and the hurry, hurried answering phones as I spill Weetabixed milk over half the room, hurried "oh I've got plenty of time if they've only just got on the train", hurried "oh no I haven't, blast this more than 10 minutes city", hurried writing of birthday card, hurried getting Tube with elbows out, hurried remembering the things I meant to pick up, hurried hurrying to the Tate, hurried check for relatives, hurried go and sit in the shade somewhere cool (the for once not slimy balcony by the Rescue of Andromeda, aka the big dragon), hurried wait, hurried check again for people, hurried answer phone when they ring, hurried discovering they're miles away, hurried lying on the bench looking at the cornices (they have many different types), hurried getting back up again, hurried being rung to ask where am I (ok, which of "dragon, north, shade, top of steps, Thames entrance, Millbank Tower" did you not hear?), then hurried discovering my brother is still 40 minutes away by his reckoning, assuming they leave when they were rung. Less hurry now.

So despite being the one who massively overslept, I got there first and was waiting for the rest of the group.

So lunch, Constable, tea (which oddly cost the same as lunch), get kicked out after they empty the gallery and then discover they forgot the Members' Room, so leaving was bit like some country house film, with the entire staff of the building lined up to guide the way, before plunging out into the bright sun down magnificent steps towards the ornamental lake (with optional tide).

Then a short walk to look at something my brother's done, then onwards to the other Tate. By which time the BGF was waning as were the rest of us, but we tend to forget to stop. So indecision about food sees us going up to the restaurant at the top, discovering the options are tapas and paying for the view as standard (and tapas is probably more expensive for a meal), more indecision, going back down, and the heading west until we near Wagamamas, but veer into Giraffe instead. Yes, it's a chain, but it's not a horrible, horrible chain (and I've never been there before, but I think brother dearest and the BGF have, probably on a similar zonking at the Tate outing).

So go in, order, down gallons of iced water. I had Peruvian chicken in something-something marmalade followed by a thoroughly ethnic burger, but by that stage I was too tired to care. It was food. I ended up being offered, and eating the fussy eater BGF's chips. She's not fussy about chips, merely tomato, cucumber, probably lettuce too and I think she doesn't look kindly on fruit. It's not quite "and she didn't like Tate Modern, not even the building" material but it is irritating.

Even more irritating was the discovery that my brother, who had previously alluded that his girlfriend was about my age, neglected to mention that she's two years younger than me (fortunately I was too tired to attempt maths which I inevitably would have got wrong. Getting the start point right might help). Even worse, it's not a temporary two years, as you get if they're born in February or something, it's damn near irrefutable. My brother's birthday is three days before mine. His girlfriend's is two days after his. This is the only day of the year when she's not two years younger than me. How dare she persistently remind me of just how old I am? Although she's got more grey than I have (and those I can blame of having an older brother; if he's capable of throwing a Lego fire engine, who knows what else he's thrown at my head?), but then she is a fair whack Celt.

I'm now worried that I have to complete the set; does anyone know someone who was born on 23rd July? I'm not that fussy.

So we ate, we talked, or rather I played with my mother's camera, macro-ing wine glasses when I wasn't using one as a tripod, while the others talked (party of five equals a row of three tables each for a pair, I was on the single one, next to my father and diagonally opposite the quiet Scots BGF. Quiet and Scots against background noise and omnipresent "world music" equals no chance, at least in my ears. The noise could also account for the general another-bottle-of-wine consensus failing to attract the attention of any staff until we'd all finished and so had changed our minds. When we wanted the bill the waitress asked if we'd like more wine. I wonder how many satellites one would have to use to recreate that delay).

And then we went home, so I got sent ahead to pathfind to the correct platform for my parents' train, only for them to walk towards me then turn away, which they only stopped doing after I rang them (and my phone is a nuisance, as the cancel button changes depending on what happens during the call, and then sometimes when pressed brings up the menu it would normally bring up, if I weren't on the phone, thereby not hanging up and not providing an end-call button anymore. Anyone would think it was designed to stop people hanging up). Hastily hand back camera (was going to borrow, but got throught most of spare battery and memory card), point parents to right train, watch walk up platform, run at full pelt through the crowds at Waterloo because I can, find brother and BGF, go down to the Underground with them, chat a bit, realise running fast in summer is a bad idea, wish happy birthday, get wished future happy birthday, wish future happy birthday, watch them get on train, go to my platform, and sit waiting, then home and being too hot to sleep milling round and eventually falling asleep.

Then Sunday was fun, due to having a neck which not so much ached, more had it's own atomic MAD thing going on. I think it's the first time I've ever worn a woollen scarf two days before my birthday. The inability to move my head without loosing Thor in the muscle and the spasm of involuntary reflex (complete with jazz hands) did limit potential activities to the extent that I couldn't be bothered to argue when SG came down wanting to watch a film, despite the warm, sunny, but just cloudy enough to cool, weather still outside. She chose Sleepless in Seattle and didn't really get it (but then she didn't know that drinking wrong side of the glass thing was hiccups). She then borrowed There's Something About Mary for later viewing, which she brought back in disgust. I've no idea if she watched the whole film or just gave up on it (she tends to give up on things, which is something I don't get. She asked if I had something easier to read than Fielding's Tom Jones [which she borrowed from someone else sometime last year]. I leant her some utter trash, saying it was rubbish. She brought that back soon unfinished complaining it was violent and awful. I'm not sure which offended her more, but she has a tendency to shut down if anything unfamiliar or uncomfortable comes along).

And trying to go to sleep was even more fun, having attempted enough massages (it's quite tricking trying to work on muscles distantly connected to those one is working with) to ease the muscle pain a little, but transfer the problem to a trapped nerve, which makes any ill considered movement thunderbolt city. Even lying still isn't quite still, and so searing pain would puncture me at the slightest correction. In the end I tried to lock myself rigid against the bed, gripping the frame on either side, just to minimise movement. I don't know if you've ever tried going to sleep while every muscle is locked solid. It doesn't really work as it was light before my body learnt to ignore the pain.

Which leads to today, and tiredness and pain, and problems crossing the road without looking like my grandfather (and he had the excuse that for the most part he had just the one vertebra). Highlight of my day was renewing my Young Persons Railcard slightly early, for probably the last time ever, due to some line about "up to and including the day before your twenty-sixth birthday". They've changed the format from all the previous ones.

Second highlight of my day; discovering that Foyles may not have quite enough books on sail trimming, but they do have just about right air conditioning, idly scattered out of section books (Alain de Botton on architecture above a shelf of cruising guides), are empty enough that one can have undisturbed and undisturbing conversations on a mobile, while being thoroughly distracted by the good looking people in the street below.

Third highlight: blogging so long that I won't have time to reply to the many emails I ought to reply to, nor have time to go shopping for food I need for tomorrow, wondering if nicking a flatmate's milk is the best way to start a birthday, and then remembering I have bagels in the freezer. Ok, is doesn't solve the emails things, but hey things can't be perfect.

Anyway, I need to go and let them defrost.


PS. Don't you just love people who send emails at 9.46 pm GMT asking how my birthday was and what I did the day before my birthday. I suppose they are further ahead in Australia (where the email originates), but I didn't realise they were 48 hours ahead.

PPS. If I type a bit longer, it'll be tomorrow, so I can then legitimately open the emails. Hurrah, except I'm too tired to wait.

Happy birthday, blah, blah, but stop whingeing about being too old. When you are 29 1/2, then you may whinge about your disappearing youth.

A mere 6 months of it left. Approximately. I am so old and tired that I can't be bothere to work it out right now.
Oh, it was your birthday! Why didn't you say? You really are going to have to be less subtle about these things in the future....

I do hope you had the required modicum of fun, though.
ARGH. I can't believe I forgot to wish you a happy birthday, even though I had it written down on one of the hundred-odd sticky-notes on my desk at work.

Actually, that probably explains it. Somewhere underneath frantically scrawled explanations of discounted cash flow valuations is a lonely orange Post-It (TM) waiting for me to get around to it.

Happy birthday anyway!

It's said that for over a week now. And I still can't get used to that word being used on its own as some kind of expletive.

Re: "over a week", I wonder what the blockage is. Hopefully nothing terminal.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?