July 30, 2009
The increasingly inaccurate ...
June and July have been ... interesting times.
June was spent getting my feet under the desk at the Paris branch of the Magic Tablet Factory where I now work ... and watching the relationship I came to Paris for begin to go wrong. Notions of riding into the sunset in a "and-they-lived-happily-ever-after" context were overly naive from both our perspectives, and she rapidly realized (actually, remembered) that living in close quarters destroys any romantic notions. Not having lived with anyone full-time for many years made her forget that Prince Charming can sometimes appear to be Alf Garnett (I exaggerate for dramatic effect here). So she is looking forward to a solitary life and I'm trying to disentangle my emotions and be all grown-up and rational about it, which is a little tricky, seeing as I bounded halfway across Europe in a hormonal blur like a lovesick puppy. Part of me knows that what she says makes sense, that it could have worked out worse, that we'll still be friends and go and do stuff together and have a laugh and meals and drinks, and another part of me wants to get in a sack along with a couple of dozen breezeblocks and jump screaming down the nearest well (I exaggerate for dramatic effect here). My mum is baffled - she thinks I'm mad to throw myself into these romantic adventures the way I do. What can I say? Maybe next time I won't feel the urge to commit so totally to a relationship. But then again, if I didn't feel like that, I wouldn't really want to *be* in that relationship. Isn't the point of falling in love that you act like a complete wally? That the two of you giggle and smile and blush and coo at each other and do other silly things and make everyone else around you wish either that they'd brought a bucket to throw up into, or that the pair of you would clear off and get a room? I don't think I want to be cynical or rational about my relationships. If declarations of commitment scare the other partner away, so be it. It hurts like hell at the time, but ultimately you're better off without them. But in recent weeks, my ego feels like it has been gutted, filletted and laid out on ice like a fresh cut of fish.
Which brings me to July. Three weeks of holiday - one week with my soon-to-be-ex (we'll call her E) and her very-much-ex-husband (who, by the way is a super bloke who we'll call D) on their annual motorcycle trip to the Languedoc in the South of France. They biked it down (from the UK - two stages for E - UK to Lille - which I joined her for - then D came over to Lille and they rode down together, which took them three days!) and I got the TGV from Paris to Narbonne, which took four and a half hours in relative comfort, but also relative boredom. Long train journeys always sound exciting and redolent of 1930's epic trips on the Orient Express, but the reality is that, regardless of how beautiful the countryside is outside, you're chuffing across it in a straight line without much to do. Anyway, it was fun to join them, even if I was a little confused and up and down (sorry D&E). The Corbieres and Pyrenees-Orientales mountains were beautiful to ride in on the back of E's Harley-Davidson SoftTail Deuce (yes, you can see why I like this girl, can't you?). Then I returned to Paris on Monday 13th, and enjoyed the company of a bunch of mad ex-pats of various countries on the lawns outside Les Invalides for July 14th (Bastille Day) ... much wine, and food, and watching helicopters of various branches of the military and police take off over us, then watching fireworks over by the Eiffel Tower (which was also celebrating its 120th anniversary). Then on the 15th, I headed to Spain to celebrat my mum's 65th birthday, swim in the pool and join the Spanish neighbours for the local feria ... All good fun, and I need another holiday to recover!
Now, back in Paris, feet under the desk again, I am trying, with the aid of caffeine and music, to jog my memory about what it was I was supposed to be doing here. Some of it is coming back. Slowly.
E and I are still sharing her apartment in the 17th, and we'll be going back to England a couple of times together over the next two months, which is fine. Her contract ends tomorrow, and she'll probably head for Lille sometime next week. It's all very cordial, and polite, and for some reason it bothers me enormously. I would, perhaps, have seen an outpouring of emotion, regret, guilt - anything, I guess, other than this very rational approach. I don't have a sense of closure or even much of an understanding of what happened, other than I can see that what she says makes sense. I don't understand, really, how it's possible to go from rapture to indifference in a couple of weeks ... or rather, I can think of a number of explanations, but I don't want to believe any of them, because they will leave me utterly destroyed.
Enough self-indulgent clap-trap - get back to work, you slackers!
July 02, 2009
"For one" is a curious construction in English. Consider Kent Brockman's famous statement in "Deep Space Homer" ...
I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
"For one" can also be used in enumerating lists ...
We can't do it. For one thing, we don't have the money. And we certainly don't have the time.
Or for giving exceptions ...
Everything had gone perfectly except for one thing: he had lost his way.