It was a lovely weekend – really.
We made it to Oxford in the end, despite of an initial hiccup and having a delay because of a fatality on the line. We met up with the other girls and stayed in a nice hotel. We enjoyed the sunshine, drinks, the banter, the walks through the beautiful city.
We even made it to the theater one night and saw the cult status of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Safely tucked away on the balcony we observed the spectacle on stage… and in the audience in the stalls. Several sweet transvestites, lots of French maids and a few Janets made it into the audience. The interaction and reaction was electrifying. ( One person taking it a little too far though, prompting the actor playing transvestite Frank to scold her from the stage: “Listen sister, I’m not kidding: Shut the fuck up!” This was then smoothed over by another audience member later, whose remark actually made the actor smile and chuckle out loud.)
Then today, as we were ready to go, another fatality on the line prevented us from returning to London. Sudden rain prevented us to return to the park and we had to look for cover in a pub and read our books amongst the very friendly clientele…. It was 4pm, I can only imagine they had been there since opening time.
When we finally returned in a packed train, we stumbled into the Tube carriage and I looked around. This was London: even on a Sunday everyone seemed to be rushing. Everyone had places to go, people to see. Tourists, people who live here. I looked at my friend who was beyond tired. She was beyond tired before the weekend started. The hours that she works, the responsibility that she has to carry ( which she does with grace and professionalism) but which she cannot share because there is no budget or time to employ a deputy, the love and protection she feels for the children she works with comes with worries and anxiety as not all of them live in safe enviroments expected of modern day England and it has taken its toll.
Looking around me, I wondered how many people would feel the same way this Sunday evening. How many people would feel that same dread for Monday morning? How many would feel like they just cannot keep up with the pace this crazy place is setting? How many people would feel like crumbling under the pressure that they think society places upon them whilst simultaneously putting it upon themselves?
I thought back on the wonderful weekend. Isn’t that what we just want out of life? Happiness? My mother would say there is no such thing as continuous happiness, according to her it’s like a wave-like motion. I like to think that the only reason we experience the lows is in order to appreciate the highs. Still: what if you are that tired and feel that stuck that you literally cannot wait until the high comes around again?
I had to think of the two fatalities ( the unfortunate euphemism of the weekend) on the Oxford trainline. The incidents made for annoying delays in train journeys, causing travellers to moan that they could not get to the places to go and the people to see. I felt sad that these two people saw only one way out: suddenly the rain seemed appropriate.
This is London, I thought. I recognised my own adopted London stance of not interacting with any of my fellow passengers by pretending I was reading. This is London. I thought back on the weekend in another city with a slower pace. This is London, I thought. Why am I here?
Then I cast my eye over page 287 of Charlie’s words:
“I cannot believe that our existence is meaningless or accidental, as some scientists would tell us. Life and death are too resolute, too implacable to be accidental. (…) There are philosophers who postulate that all is matter in some form of action, and that in all existence nothing can be added or taken away. If matter is action, it must be governed by the law of cause and effect. If I accept this, then every action is preordained (…)We know the immediate cause of the fallen leaf, the child stumbling, but we cannot trance its beginning or its end.”
I decided to have a little faith as I was too tired to be pro-active: perhaps the waves would just take me where I need to be.