Wednesday, 27 June 2007
Seriously, who is likely to smell worse: An English Yob or a Japanese businessman?
I know the answer. Half of it sits next to me, half walks by me in a carriage on the Circle or District Line*.
I sit on the pyschodelic patterned seats with my laptop in my briefcase and my sneakers in my backpack. I struggle with a SuDoKo rated 'difficult' by The Times. I'm struck by the ease with which I'm completing the puzzle. I'm getting better. I think I have future in SuDoKu.
Half the answer sits two seats down from me. Though I don't realise he's part of the answer to a question that's yet to be asked.
He sits erect with the news depicted in fanciful strokes of ink, which I know are read up and down and back to front. The paper is folded neatly into thirds. This half of the answer wears his city suit on his way to Canon Street, Mansion House or Monument.
Suddenly, mid-journey, those doors on the short end of the carriage that are never used clank open and from the adjacent carriage a couple of yobs - the 2nd half of the answer - stumble into what had previously been the peace of my early morning commute.
As they walk by the first part of the answer, I make out this phrase:
"Yea, let's get out of this one. It stinks like fucking ornamental. Fucking go home."
The first half of the answer doesn't flinch. Perhaps he hasn't heard the insult. Perhaps he's used to ignorance and abuse.
I am usually a witness of collisions, not racisim.
My jaw drops. Indignation swells my belly and blushes my cheeks.
How dare they?
A whiff of them wafts by. My indignant bellyful of bile turns. I'll take a fucking ornamental over a drunk yob any day.
I do like a man from the Far East. See exhibits.
*I don't remember which.
exhibit C(that guy from Lost)
Lots of other jaw droppingly gorgeous eastern asians can be found at http://www.ratethisasian.com/ - a site I only found as I was doing research on hot asian men. Seriously.
Monday, 25 June 2007
Right Said Fred or Amy Winehouse?
Weighing the one then the other on my scale of impressiveness.
Right Said Fred or Amy Winehouse?
A one-hit wonder from more than a decade past or a present-day, other-timely rising star?
He's on the tube almost daily thanks to his current endorsement of Daz.
She's on the cover of tabloid magazines, the monthlies, the weeklies, the dailies.
He's a frequent siting, so feeds my fantasy of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.
She was just in her bra and panties.
She scares me.
Which is the better celebrity siting?
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
It's similar to last time, but different.
I stand on the same corner - Kingsway and Great Queen where I saw the king-in-waiting swoosh* by with his consort. I clutch my signature coffee drink**, which in-and-of itself is a sign that it's a similar time of the day as it was last time.
I stand at the crosswalk and enjoy the cool yet warm temperature.
Some seconds before, a blonde lass has heeled to my left. I've glanced over, and a whole minute's worth of thoughts fill my head in less than a second.
Could that be the great Amazonian Sarah from Series 6 of America's Next Top Model.
I am obviously still reeling from my recent brush with celebrity. She is no where near the Amazonian Sarah's height. The blonde, taking full advantage of her commute, reads her book while she waits for the signal that it's safe for us pedestrians to cross.
I turn my stare from the blonde to the right - partly to avoid being caught scanning, partly to gauge the oncoming traffic and meausure the remaining time before the lights change.
Obliviously watching the oncoming traffic, I don't realise that I am absorbing a course of unfolding events. I don't realise that I see a cyclist spinning his wheels as closely to the curb as possible. I don't realise that I notice that an industrially sized delivery truck has turned on his blinker.
In a moment it clicks: I know what's about to happen.
My eyes widen. Inside I scream. Inside I stretch out my arm and stop the events from unfolding.
But the world turns on its axis on the outside. Events unfold. Industrial metal truck collides with hotdog cyclist. Metal crushes aluminium.
What do I see?
Amazonian woman on my left with her hand lady-likely covering her gasping mouth.
Because I didn't do nothing.
I turned away.
*Swoosh is fast becoming my signature word.
**Triple venti skinny extra hot wet latte. Yes, I'm one of 'them'.
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
So, I get to work early. I'm the first one here. According to my wristwatch, I'll be here for 8.5 hours if I leave at 16:30 and don't take lunch. I never take lunch. I feel guilty even just thinking about leaving before the general exodus. Consequently, the internal justifying works overtime.
I am working longer than I'm obliged to.
I get my work done.
I log on from home and respond to issues.
I'm out of shape and making what I believe to be extraordinary efforts to make it to the treadmill. I pry myself away from my desk at 16:45, pull on my knapsack, and guiltily bid my colleagues an adieu. I sense my departure raises some eyebrows.
Bastards. Who was logged on and adding value before 8 this morning. Bastards.
I stroll toward my gym. My guilt evaporates somewhere near Covent Garden. I'm actually looking forward to the gym. It's been a while.
I walk past the aisles of lockers until I reach the last, secluded row. I turn to go to my normal locker space and am stopped dead in my tracks by a bouffant hairdo and a horseshoe tattoo. I don't believe it. I am quite literally gobsmacked: this is the lady who had graced the Style magazine of the previous days' Sunday Times.
Holy Crap! Is that? Can it be? It is! It is! It's a star! A musician! And she's in her underwear!
Just me and the crooner. She's getting dressed. I'm getting undressed. Her back is to me. I'm trying not to star, but heck, her back's to me ... she doesn't know I'm transfixed. She's on her mobile and talking to someone about an event, an event like a Bar Mitzvah and the press.
I stare unabashedly at her legs. I'm no expert, but the rumours appear to be true: she's less than thin. I think of the holocaust.
I want to ask for her autograph, but I'm afraid it might be intrusive.
Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Wow. That's some news.
I picked up one of those little wooden sticks that almost looks like a pencil but is thinner and is used for pushing back one's cuticles. I began pushing back my toenail cuticles. A 2nd plane then whacked into the other World Trade Center building.
All hell broke loose on the t.v.
One tower fell; then another.
An edge of histrionics seeped into the normally composed delivery of the newscasters.
Everything of significance that happened that day is already well documented. There was nothing unique to my reaction. There's no need to recount the ash covered disbelief, the silent detachment. The tears that would come for no one because I didn't know anyone in New York, yet still I cried and felt foolish for doing so.
I sat in the hotel room, which had been my home for the past 7 days. My Man was in Brussels; there was no one to call. Instead, I finished pushing back my cuticles, put on a black skirt suit and, looking professionally uniformed, went downstairs to meet my interview.
The lobby was candlelit.
The power had gone out.
I half heartedly talked about myself and my reams of experience and my moxy and can do attitude and moral fibre and ...
Can you believe it? Did what I just saw on t.v. really happen?
The interviewer half-heartedly asked me questions about myself and my reams of experience and my exceptional talents ...
Am I really having an interview by candlelight? Did terrorists really just attack New York?
Monday, 11 June 2007
A year closer to another big '0', and I'm not doing a damn thing. 'Cept going to work. Gettin' my coffee. Heck, maybe even two. I'll take a few calls, write a lot of emails, worry about things I don't really control.
I'll probably spend more time than I should thinking about age: mine and that of those around me.
I'm older than most of my colleagues, but choose not to believe it. X is greater than Y. Except when X happens to be the number of years I've been around. Then X is firmly fixed at 28 or 32. I always feel 28. Except for those times when I feel 32.
How can I be older than my old-looking, crotchity-acting colleagues?
I can't be older than him/her. Can't be! Not possible!
I suspect I have a delusional concept of self.
One morning I caught myself punching '32' into the machine at the gym and realised I'd been doing this for the past 6 months. I was a good 4 years off. Whoops!
Here's to forgetting anniversaries and age.
Saturday, 9 June 2007
The representative of my future employer* and I had agreed to meet in the lobby at 3**.
I didn't fancy jumping into work straight away. I had quit my job to follow My Man to London, and I not-so-secretly relished the thought of experiencing a period of unemployment. I'd not ever gotten the pink slip and gross severance that so many of my friends and colleagues had chanced into at the end of the last
This is my chance!
But circumstances conspired against me.
An ex-colleague thought it was too uncanny a coincidence that her new company was murmuring something about starting up a UK-based office at the very time I set sail for good ol' Albion. So, within a week of swooshing into town, the
I felt compelled to go through the motion of interviewing. I couldn't in good conscience look My Man in the eye and tell him I didn't fancy thinking about my career, but preferred to skive off to Hyde Park, thank you very much! I had at the very least to pretend to be interested in getting into a pair of hose, high heels, and boring skirt suit.***
That morning I walked London and tried to figure out how to stop the hemorrhaging.
When I could take it no more, I decided to groove it back to the hotel where I would pamper myself ready for the interview.
I put the hotel TV onto a classical radio station. I ran a bath. I took a bath. As I cut my toenails, a United Airlines flight hit one of the World Trade Center buildings in New York City.
*I got the job. My confidence, while healthy, does rise to the assumption that I am a 'shoe in' before formalities have commenced in earnest.
***I'm exagerating. I don't wear hose, rarely wear heels, and the 1 skirt suit in my wardrobe has been hanging there untouched for 3+ years.
Thursday, 7 June 2007
I closed my hotel room door behind me. There was no need to lock it. I did double check my pockets to make sure I had the credit-card-sized piece of plastic that I would need to get back in.
Where did I put it? Damn it. Where is it?!
In my back pocket.
I began my stroll down the hallway, which seemed to stretch on forever. How has this building been patchworked together to give it so many turns and twists? Maybe it was an optical illusion: the red, floral print carpet and stripy wallpaper. Why this uniform for English hotels and pubs? I pretended I was stuck in the hotel from The Shining. My footsteps quickened as I approached the lifts and the staircase leading down to the lobby. I skipped down the steps, out the revolving door, and onto the pavement* where I was brought to a standstill.
So many people.
People going left and right, passing and strutting, sauntering, strolling, trotting, sashaying, plodding. Moving in so many different ways. Innumerable invisible little grooves followed by innumerable bodies of varying shades of visibility. I lifted a foot to make my move. I hesitated and drew back. I lifted my foot again, drew back again. And again. And again. Like the hesitation the girl's gotta make before jumping into double dutch.
I took a breath. Held it. And took the leap. I think I probably disrupted the path of a couple of those grooves; but soon enough found my own.
I really didn't do a damn thing. I bought a coffee. Maybe two. I walked. I bought a paper. I sauntered. I sat on a bench. I thought I was lost, and then I walked some more.
So what caused the haemorrhaging?
"You had £50 this morning! What did you spend it on?" My Man didn't quite bellow.
I honestly have no idea.
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
When it comes to national competitions, I may
seem an indecisive supporter, but I have a strategy and a few teams up my sleeve to keep me in the competition until at least the quarter finals.
The European Cup: who do I support?
I 'grew up football' with the Spanish and appreciate the finesse of toque football, but England is home -- and the English: they know how to sing a fine cheer! There are no fans like the English fans. Oh, but the Dutch! I'm hopelessly in love with Johan Cruyff and that love spills over into the national competitions even though he has said he'll never submit himself to the nail-biting (he quit his fag smoking habit) task of coaching his countrymen past the Germans or Italians (heart problems, you know). If you open the competition to a global scale, my fickleness goes global too: I don't ever really root for the USA but I cheer them on as underdogs. South Korea (with a Dutch coach!) won me over in 2002. And, of course, there's Brasil. 'Nuf said: Brasil.
When it comes to the English Premier League, I'm a man without a country. A dog without a bone.
As previously stated, I "grew up football" in Spain. My interest was piqued by a charismatic man wearing a tie and sitting on the sidelines in Barcelona (that would have been Cruyff; it was 1992). Then Cruyff's arch nemesis of the time (Valdano) inspired further lustful cravings (Valdano was more of a sweet talker than a looker).
Oh, hello. Who are you? Barcelona! Madrid! Who do I want?!
A true football fan was born.
A Spanish football fan, at least.
I'm inclined to say that the EPL has failed to reel me in (Alex Ferguson doesn't hold a candle to Cruyff). If I'm honest with myself, I will have to admit: I haven't given the EPL the time they deserve. If I haven't become a fan, it's because I haven't invested in the relationship. In a (knock on wood) year's time I will be applying for citizenship to this great land. It is a challenge to myself that by the time of my swearing-in ceremony, I will be a full-fledged English fan.
The question remains: who will be my team?
PS: ESPN's Page 2 Bill Simmons inspired me with this thoughtful analysis of the EPL.
Monday, 4 June 2007
Other than that, she's come a long way.
1. She is a master of sitting upon the command of a hand signal.
2. She generally goes to her little den upon the command 'go to bed' (although if she's just woken and come out of her den, then she demonstrates a touch of wilfulness).
3. She lies down when told, 'down'.
4. She gives a paw when told, 'shake'.
5. Without fail, she shits outside (very important).
Other than the figuring out which way to kneel to Mecca, it would be really nice if she stopped sporadically weeing indoors.
Still, not bad for two weeks***.
*Not an original joke.
**Two weeks of being under our beneficial influence. She is 10 weeks old.