Schadenfreude

Man, I know it is hard to get something written to deadline but this one is pushing the boundaries into wrong. Spot the journo with a fetish… ( Alison darling, there was a line and I think you crossed it. On many levels.)

Firstly Lindsay Lohan going to jail is tragic. Yes ok, so she’d been stupid but no one seems to be watching her back. Hello mother Lohan? Why all of a sudden media shy? Not so proud now?  Tough – the only one publicly sticking up for her has been Sam Ronson… now what does that say about your family? Even when Britney had a melt-down, her Dad stepped up to take care of her ( pretty publicly) and Mom… wrote a book.  Interesting.

Anyway, so rich and famous doesn’t always equal happiness and sometimes silly things happen. It get publicised, it makes us civvies laugh and it make s us feel better with our mundane 9-5. Someone’s tragedy for our entertainment, the ultimate Schadenfreude.

Celebs play for it and we read it but come on People dot com: really? What happened to the ‘Don’t do Drugs Kids?’  Is it necessary to create a vote on who has the Hottest Mug shot?

by People.com, venturing into a whole new world of wrong.

That in itself is a crime!

Morning! *sigh*

As we were all shuffling into the lift to get to our floors, we once again looked liked sardines. This seemed a great time for a guy suited and booted to comment on my cropped jeans and gingham-shirt: Oooh don’t you look nice and summery.

Despite the heat I wanted to wrap up in a burkha there and then. Fact.

Morrrrning!

PS: at least my phone is working!

The ten minute threshold and a wet phone

If you are intending on running long distance you should prepare yourself with interval training. Apparently.

The problem is I am suffering from the ten-minute threshold: up until ten minutes in I find running really really boring.  Then I get into it and even hit the runners high after 15 and then it is time to walk again… Then the ten-minute threshold again. It’s like a mini-groundhog day.

Then… I managed to spill my water bottle over my phone by throwing it in the bag with the top open. That was dumb. The phone is pretty old and pretty crappy but I am attached to it. It has a lot of memories, a couple of pics of Prague ( first mini-break),Denmark (and the memory of tragedy which made me fly back early), Little niece ( distraction after break-up), New York, Take That ( without Robbie) etc.

It was my first contract phone as well. I bought it whilst shopping with my flatmate. I remember she tried to explain why I had no English Home Address where I had stayed for over 5 years. Being an international student with itchy feet you move – a lot.( In total I have moved 9 times over 8 years: it is a nightmare for any background check.) Whilst she was explaining the sales guy got a funny look on his face and his professional colleagues were giggling from behind a window. All of a sudden, I realised that they were looking at us like we were the Very First Lesbian Couple they had every seen. Great… Still bought the phone though.

I have tried to blow dry my phone ( on cold, not to fry it), turned it off and on ( again, again and again). Alas.

Shall I panic – nope I am too tired. Let’s wait until the morning and see what it does…

To Be Continued.

The 11th Floor

The building was huge, I was early – of course. I had a visitors pass made and I had to wait to be picked up.  Sky news was on and it felt a bit like sitting in a hotel lobby. (One of the other people there said doctors post, so I guess she wouldn’t be going NHS…)

There are six lifts and I was placed on the 11th floor. All the way in the back. The quick tour of the floors was a little overwhelming. There were so many people in the building and I found it hard to imagine I would ever get to know anyone beyond my own team. ( Luckily we are only four) I got introduced to person number 18 and give him the same kind of hello nice to meet you smile, when I was told he was the CEO. At which point I let out a very unfortunate: Oh! Immediately thinking Crap I should have known that. I did know him by name, but now I can recognise a face with it as well.

The whole day I spend trying to understand what was happening and where we were at in the process. Head spinning a little, I was glad to at least have one familiar face right next to me.  It felt like going to secondary school when all the other neighbourhood kids have already gone.

Half way through the day, she asked me: No regrets? The massive grin on my face must have said it all: Nope, none at all!

Annie

One day months ago, I was walking out of the flat (as in the building)  when I was approached by a martian. A martian in  full cycling gear, glasses and helmet. “Hi I am Annie, I live at number 1 and we’re having a party tonight with flat number 2, if you would like to come along?”

The alien was charming, smiley and not scary, so I accepted the invite. That evening we made our way down-stairs, flat number 1 was already full with people. Hello neighbours! The martian had transformed into a beautiful Canadian girl. Red dress, high heels, long black hair. She introduced us to her friends and more importantly our other neighbours. When she left us to socialise, it turned out that not a lot of people at this party knew each other- the only person we all knew was Annie.

I was impressed: in a city notorious for the lack of social graces and contact with the people next door, this woman had single-handedly united a whole block of flats. A few weeks later she called me with a message that my flatmate was sitting in her flat after having her bag and all its content stolen. ( Actually, she left me a message saying  that my flatmate lost her purse, which confused me: if she had her wallet stolen, why couldn’t she just phone me…) If we hadn’t exchanged numbers the night of the party it would have been an interesting evening with no one knowing any numbers of by heart anymore.

Mmmm dim sum...

Now we know our neighbours, we smile and say hello when we pass each other.  Our attendance at the amazing rooftop party was also thanks to other kind neighbours having my number and extending the invite. Annie was in Paris at the time, learning how to make croissants and pain au chocolat.  She used to be a project manager but she prefers making pastry. She speaks French too. And Chinese. And, so we found out over a 2 hour dim-sum session yesterday, she did two years of Spanish. I tell you, she could be a one-woman United Nations ( yes, contradictio in terminis- whatever.)

She will be returning to her homeland of Canadia (sic) soon, trying to get back to London if the bureaucracy lets her. I sure hope they do, because this woman seems able to move mountains -one neighbour at the time.

Last Day

For all the things that  happened over the last few months, the complete rollercoaster of emotions, I found myself in a meetingroom today surrounded by my colleagues and suddenly I felt myself becoming completely still.

Ok, becoming still and yet still hungover – let’s not make it too poetic.

This was it. I rolled into it by coincidence and stepped out of it again so suddenly I almost took myself by surprise.

Two and a half years. Not very long, not very short, just enough to grow and for change to happen. Then suddenly it just is time to move on and see where the winds will take you.

So for all the things I could have felt and all the things I could have said, I finally understood C’est la vie and the only words that came were: Thank you.

The Amsterdam Incident (April ’08)

Today my sister got her driving-licence! Celebrations all around! It was her second attempt and we all know only losers pass the first time around. Personally I have the track-record of three, making me an even better driver. Obviously.

Not according to my lovely friend and flatmate who thought that  dinner was an excellent time to bring up the Amsterdam incident again.  I swear the story gets bigger everytime she tells it… (“…We started the journey with twelve people, three goats and a dozen chickens, an epic trip, a blizzard and two days without heat later only us two survived…”) So just to set the record straight this is what happened:

I remember when… my friend came over to the Netherlands two years ago.  It was Easter and my mother had invited her ( and I quote: “even if my daughter isn’t coming home, I will still be happy to see you.” Erhm thanks Mum.)

Regular readers know that I live in a small town, so we were probably bored by day three, when my friends invited us to a dance performance in Amsterdam. There was only one problem: there were no trains going and I only just passed my driving test. After lots of umming and ahhhing, I decided to drive.

My dad took me to fill up the car, a tiny red 12 year old Fiat panda at the time. Back home this car was stuff of legend: my friends would wave at it because they knew my parents would be driving in it. It really felt like driving a kart, not a proper car. Then my Dad let me drive around in it for a bit, did the initial how to get to the motorway etc. 

You see I was driving with a couple of handicaps: 1. I learned to drive in England, so left-side of the road. 2. We had no sat-nav.  3. There were so many roadworks since I left my home-environment years ago, that even if I had ever driven there before, I wouldn’t recognise it.

Nothing like a challenge right? That is what my flatmate must have thought when my mother ( My Own Mother) kindly required whether she would feel safe in the car with me. ( Again: thanks Mum!) My friend felt she didn’t really have an opinion on it now and just nodded. Then Mum proceeded to take out a Dutch road map to show to my English friend and explain how to drive to Amsterdam. She then elaborated on the different routes one could take to get to the motorway and which ones we should avoid. If my friend wasn’t scared before, she sure as hell was now.

I arrived home with Dad, ready and revved up. My parents started exchanging opinions on to get to the motorway. Turns out that Dad obviously showed me the one route that my mother didn’t want me to take because it involved a slope…An artificial one – my country is completely flat and a hill-start is seen as one of the manoeuvres during your driving test.  I think I decided to go the way that my Dad showed me anyway, also because my friend whispered she couldn’t remember any of the 6 other ways that my mother had helpfully tried to explain to her in my 20 minute absence.

The way there was great, a little nervous but we were fine. We got to Amsterdam, managed to park – miracle of miracles- though I think I was so full of nerves I put the car straight next to a cement pilar ever though there was space aplenty.

We had some food, saw the performance in the legendary Carre theater, and then went home at 11pm as we didn’t want to get home late.

Now this is where it starts: it was April, it was Easter and as we drive back from Amsterdam (only a 2 hour drive) it starts to snow. Not a little bit, proper snow. I start to panic, quietly- but maybe accidentally I might have voiced this panic whilst peering over the steering wheel with the sentence, immortal by its casual utterance: ” I cannot actually see the road.”  Cue friend who tried to find the heating in our really crappy, really old and now really cold car, stopping what she is doing and telling me it’s fine – just drive carefully.

She then sits back and literally holds tight to that hand- thing that you have above the passengers door. With a good hour to go we make our way through the snow. My poor friend claims she found new levels of cold that night, even talking and thinking about it her head still hurt with muscle-memory of the cold. I cannot remember this, I was trying to keep the car on the road.

When we finally arrived at my parents drive way, we crept into the house. As we put the kettle on to defrost, my mother casually wanders downstairs… you know like she had just coincidentally woken up. At 2am. She started feeding us food from the fridge. At 2.10am. Then we went to bed. End of story.

Long story short: Nobody died on the way from Amsterdam so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!