29 septembre 2005

Enough with the silly presents already!

All right, who's with me here, I've decided to create an association for the safeguard of taste in presents.
Here's what caused my seeing-the-light moment. In my parents' sitting-room, I was struck by a horrendous lamp, made from a conch shell, which I can only assume is real, stuck onto some other horrendous shell, which I can only assume is plastic.
It's ugly. There's really no other word to describe it.
While acknowledging its ugliness, my mum, touched by the intent, has decided to display it anyway. The thing is, the people who gave it to my parents have made it a habit of going on holiday and bringing back horrible souvenirs. Before you go and say I'm a heartless spoilt little brat, I do think it's the thought that matters, I do. It's just that I don't understand why my mum thinks we should be made to suffer by looking at it each and every day. Or why they should be made to suffer, more accurately. After all, I am only there one week every six months, if that.
Understand me: there's a horrible clock in the kitchen, a horrible lamp in the sitting room, a horrible vase (thankfully tucked away in a cupboard, but I have no doubt that the day my mum needs it, there won't be enough pleading for her to use a cut plastic waterbottle instead of The Vase), and I have a Barbara Cartland book. Need I say more?
Now, this goes for Mother's day presents too. If I ever have kids one day (which I doubt, look at me, I'm tottering on the brink of old age as I type, but let's pretend I might, for the sake of argument), they will be expressly forbidden to bring back curtain-ring frames, noodle necklaces,
tin pen holders, generally covered in felt, and all that useless crap that every kid (yours truly included) from kindergarten to age 10 (no idea how this translates in your language/country/school system/head) brings home, once a year, without fail, eyes full of anticipating joy at the idea of the pleasure they'll be inflicting (and I use the word carefully) on their mum.
My niece, whom I love to bits, who is the cleverest 7-year-old girl on the face of the planet and maybe even this side of the galaxy, who is the most beautiful little thing around that same vicinity, sent me a postcard this year. The postcard is heart-shaped. Can you feel my pain? It's my bookmark now. Every time I open my book on the metro, on the train, in a café, anywhere, I think of her sending me a heart-shaped postcard. And I smile. And then I think of me actually using the heart-shaped postcard. And I wince.
Enough, I say!

28 septembre 2005

No idea

For a title, that was.
It's a bit annoying, isn't it, this commandeering tone that Blogger takes? Title. Link. Font. Size. Papers. Body search. Oooh, body search.
Sorry, got a bit carried away here.
Honestly though, do you always have a title when you start a post? I don't. Or I do, but then I might change it because of all those tangents I go off on, and the title ends up bearing no relation to what eventually is the main topic of the post.
Which is not going to be the case today, obviously. Not because the title will be summing up the substantific marrow of this post, but because there is no title. And no substantific marrow, but that's something you've grown quite accustomed to by now, I expect? Cunning, or what? No title, no substantific marrow, you'd almost hope that there was no post, eh? No such luck, darlings, I feel creative tonight.
Listen, those of you complaining at the back, I was going to write about doctors and nurses, and not in that way, you pervs. So, which would you rather have? My errant lunacy and verbal diarrhea that you can quit any time and no one will be none the wiser (
that whole fragment might display an appalling lack of structure, grammar, or vocabulary - or all three - but try typing in a foreign language with a keyboard that is not your own and no dictionary at hand, and then we'll talk), or a diatribe against doctors and their insensitive dealings with patients in pain? Diatribe which, need I stress, you'll feel compelled to read because if you stopped reading while I was pouring my heart out, you'd feel guilty - or worse, it'd bring you bad bad bad luck and your blog publisher thingamajig would be down for maintenance for ever and you would never be able to post ever again even though you'd been good all your life and this was a one-time-only lapse. Well, tough! That lapse was the one that mattered.
Or you can quit now because you're really scared that I am really mad (I am). It's all right either way. I lied, you see. Not about the blogging curse, that's not for me to say, the witch forbade me to give any details. No, I lied about the fact that I felt creative tonight. You didn't even suspect, did you? Boy, I'm good. Or evil, but that's a debate I'm not starting.

27 septembre 2005

Ode to my bed

I love you bed.
I miss you during the day
And when it's nighttime I never say nay.
Always my sleep you have guarded
Even when my attempts were thwarted.
You make me feel very cosy
And soon my eyes are all dozy.
Please make sure that I don't wake up
Because surely that'll have me worked up
And tossing and turning I like not
Even when it's you as my cot.

Come on. Applaud the effort, at least.
Then we all can have a snicker.

26 septembre 2005

Get on the pavement, all of you

I'm saying this for your own good: you see, until yesterday, I hadn't driven a car (or anything else, for that matter) in over a year.
Well. Well well well, even. Let's just say it was high time I was behind a wheel again, and leave it at that.
Or not.
For one thing, I have no sense of orientation. At all. None. Sad sad sad stuff. So I may have to make a very abrupt and sudden right at a half-second's notice. Bad, right?

For another thing (?), I love love love to drive but have no sense of how to actually handle a car. Bad, right?
Also, I'm a sore loser in this particular instance, so everything that goes wrong while I drive is the car's fault, not mine (like the clutch and gearshift making bizarre sounds as I go into second gear? Not. my. fault.). Oh no. Which tends to drive (no pun) my dad up the walls as we're on our way to and back from the hospital. Bad, right?
See? A dire situation.
Oh, lie by omission. It's not quite as dire as I make it out to be. I nearly made a friend today. As I was parking - in reverse, because nothing scares me - at the hospital, I noticed a woman was looking my way, showing not a little worry. My window was open, so I smiled and said "It'll be fine, don't worry." And went on to park with a number (not over 10, though, don't be petty) of swerves and reverses and ahead again and back, and... (I have no idea what the actual vocabulary for driving is, can you tell?) but parked the car beautifully. Beautifully.
After nearly fighting with my dad as well. Oh yes. So I stormed out of the car and lit up a cigarette while he went on to my mum's room, and the woman goes "I didn't mean it to sound mean, OK? But I thought you were backing straight into that car there..."
No worries, darling, so did I.

25 septembre 2005

Feels like growing down

Funny. Conflicting feelings have been preying on my mind since I've arrived at my parents. Most of them I remember having when I was a wee girl, and France was a holiday country. When a cornfield was a whole world of possibilities. The mountains, the sun, the blue sky, a cool breeze - that was all I needed to imagine a future life that would see me happily settled around this place. I remember feeling like that, and thinking that everything was so very fleeting: after all, I was only there for the summer holiday.
Oh how people change. I wouldn't want to go back there for longer than a week, now. Hell, even a week seems too long.
It has however struck me that the scents, the light, the colours, the houses, the whole landscape that is my parents' village have induced the same kind of feelings this time. The "worldful" of possibilities feeling, which I quite like, I have to say, even when tinged with the tiniest bit of nostalgia for a moment that is already passing.
Or maybe I'm full of crap and kidding myself. Wouldn't put it past me.

23 septembre 2005

The best laid plans of mice and men... or not

You know how sometimes you really want to see people, and you really want to do something specific, and it's just great because it all fits in?
Last night was not one of those nights.

I'd talked two friends into going out for a drink, even though they had planned to go see Dead Man as one of them had never seen a Jim Jarmusch film, yet - I love disrupting plans. Then again, their plans had been disrupted way before I came barging in, as both guys were in fact supposed to be on a plane to Istanbul tonight but decided against it when they found out that the chartered plane belonged to a company with a long history of incidents, an airline which has been blacklisted in the UK and many other countries, but strangely enough not in France yet. So they cancelled at the last minute, spontaneous little devils that they are. Needless to say, I'm now religiously following the news to see if they were right or not to back out on what could have been a fabulous week-end. But that's just because I'm evil.
We opted for a small bar with an even smaller pool table. Of course it would have to be smaller to fit in, but what I meant was... oh forget it.
We had agreed to meet at 8:30. The bar being a 7.5 minutes' walk from my flat (and I walk slowly), I thought leaving at 8:22 would be fine. (Hey, I learned today that according to Freud, neuroses stem from frustration. Funny, no?) Wrong again! Coming down the stairs, I heard my groundfloor neighbour, a little old lady who lives alone and likes to speak when she sees people. Right there, I knew my timing was screwed. It was all worth it, though. Apparently, there's a giant monstrous leak in the basement. Woo-hoo! It's just never-ending, this, isn't it? I need to change countries badly, now, if only so I can get rid of this troubling bit of brick and mortar.
Managed to extricate myself from a plumbing talk that was threatening to take all evening, rushed at breakneck speed (aye right, walked leisurely, more like) to the bar, only to find my friends standing with their heads hanging low: bar is no more! No more pool games at a moment's notice! Honestly, what is the world I live in coming to?

21 septembre 2005

Ego is one tricky bugger, innit?

So tonight was our umpteenth meeting of the flat-owners-who-are-oh-so-unhappy. Some useful meeting that was.
Upshot, upshot! I hear you clamour with the fidgeting that rightfully belongs in this kind of situation. Well, let me put it quite bluntly and proudly, we stood our ground and quite adamantly decided that, although it is the managing agency's fault that the building is falling to pieces, we are in fact going to pay for everything anyway. We will however make the adequate and necessary tutting noises when sending the checks in, just so somebody on the street or in the post-office knows that we're very disapproving of said agency's workshy attitude. Because that's the kind of people we are: proud, adamant, and disapproving. And let it be known.
So. Now that this earth-shattering conclusion has been duly laid to paper, let's get to the real findings this meeting has enabled me to come up with. First - and foremost really - there are in fact two em-ing and er-ing neighbours. The famous one, and another woman, who, to her credit?, only does it when she's addressing more than one person at the same time, or when she's decided to speak because it was important that her voice be heard, but hasn't, before piping up, found out what exactly it was that she was going to say.
Second - and foremost also, on second thoughts - it was a study in psychological leadership. And the results are this (I'm not sure yet whether there are several results or not, hence the cunning use of both singular and plural). Apparently, when you want to have the upper hand in a heated discussion, be it about paying extortionate fees or pregnancy, the thing to do is to raise your voice. Preferably if you don't know what it is exactly you're going to say, or if your vocabulary is comprised of a ginormous amount of er's and em's. Or both. Both works fine too. And if another lady speaks quite loudly too, not because she wants to be heard, but simply due to the fact that her parents (or brother - brothers can be extremely useful like that) never told her to turn it down a little, or maybe she's just a little deaf in one ear and I'm being unfair - in any case, get three girls to speak louder and louder at the same time, and well, it doesn't get much better than that, if you ask me!
Ah yes. Other finding. If you were absent from a previous meeting, but want to retain a certain competitive advantage, keep using the loud voice and start resorting to fallacious arguments that are bound to get discarded or disproved by those people who did, in fact, waste a previous evening. Then (and that's when I admitted defeat in advance for all future shows of bad faith that I may have been tempted to try, because there is no way I could have ever won), in one spectacular reversal, go "yes! exactly! that's exactly what I'm saying!". You haven't lost face and may now go on to more essential suggestions and advice.
Now, in case you're wondering if I may have been one of the loud-speakers, er-ers and em-ers or unbelievably skillful orators, I was busy stuffing my face with sweets. For two reasons. First, I needed the sugary comfort, and second, it so happens that, by sticking my jaws together, gummy bears tend to prevent me from blurting out things that I'm bound to regret during endless rides up elevators that are way too cramped for small talk.
Yes, you may also say it's cowardice.
Or boredom.

20 septembre 2005

Good things come in threes

And I can't fucking wait.
New man, new job, new life. That would about cover it.
For now, I hate it to break it to myself, but it's bad bad bad.
So one of my best friends has left (and her boyfriend has made it safely across the border, so that's comforting), my building is getting some long overdue works that are literally going to cost me an arm and a leg (and I'm wasting one more evening tonight debriefing about some meeting or other - but is it going to mean that I pay less? I think not), and my mum is back in the hospital next week, so I'll be spending next week at my parents'.
You remember that excellent, excellent line by Rachel in Friends? "There's rock-bottom, then fifty feet of crap, then me"? Sounds about right.
No actually, that sounds like the crappiest self-pitying line I've ever heard. Or uttered. And hey, let's face it, I've uttered a few. Whatever happened to that "I'm a new person" bla de blah
theory? I can't even stick to one puny resolution? Shame on me. You're allowed to castigate me - only, be nice.
Oh yeah, and autumn starts tomorrow. AUTUMN! Where did the summer go?

19 septembre 2005

Alive and kicking

Jim Kerr, of Simple Minds fame, was on French TV on Saturday.
That was me quite chuffed, until I realised he bears quite the uncanny resemblance to my former flatmate in Sydney. And boy did that uncanny resemblance bring back some memories.
Let me tell you about my flatmate from Sydney. Let's call him John. Quite a handy generic name, since it also happens to be his real name.
John advertised a room in a building that was within walking distance of my workplace, and he also happened to be working for the Olympic Games.
Now, if there ever was a bad move on my part, that probably was it. Pun intended. Do not, ever, move in with a guy that you don't know but works for the same employer. Ever. Especially if you were also offered a room in one of your favourite areas of Sydney by the cutest potential flatmate you could hope to meet. Sometimes I wonder when exactly I'll stop making stupid choices and even more stupid decisions, and what exactly pushes me to make these choices and decisions. Oh yes, I know. The smell in the bathroom. Anyway.
John was 48, divorced, single, and a slob. Don't get me wrong, I can be a slob too (and I can be a great slob, believe you me), but I do like to keep my slobbiness to myself. John looked set on achieving a new record re the slob level that could be achieved by one single individual in a flatshare.
He could cook though, and that was part of the problem. Cooking for him was a spiritual and artistic experience. The Jackson Pollock Food Experiment. So cook he would (and to do him justice, what he cooked was usually pretty good, except when he decided to make yoghurt. That was both nasty and disturbing.), and then, exhausted by his creativity and culinary prowess, he'd leave the dishes to fester. And he'd drop food on the carpet when eating and never ever ever pick it up. Slob.
There were times when I dreaded coming home because I just didn't want to see him, his oblivious smile, his oblivious looks, his crumbs...
Oh shit, he might have ruined the whole Simple Minds thing for me, now.

OK, after a quick check, I'm happy to report that no, he hasn't.

18 septembre 2005

Sunday in sunny Paris

My friends are fantastic people, I'm lucky to have them, and I love them.
And that's really all I have to say right now.

And no, this hasn't been brought to you by
ForeverFriends or some such. I just had a lovely day with one of my friends that I just don't see enough of, and as I was told some bad news on Saturday, it was even better to see her.
Especially as it was sunny. Very sunny. And Paris was very very busy for a Sunday. People were out in droves to enjoy what feels like the last of the summer sun - plus it was Journées du Patrimoine this week-end (European Heritage Days - in short, you could visit monuments and lots of other places; hours of queuing involved). Those who weren't so culture-minded
, amongst whom we were ashamed to count, were sitting at terrasses, however, and it was very difficult to find a spot in the sun. Let me rephrase this. It was hell. So we had to devise a strategy, which was suggested by a very harassed-looking waiter.
I was meeting my friend for lunch, you see. Actually, I was supposed to meet her for brunch, but after several long minutes spent trying to find a time that was not too early (I wanted to sleep if I could), not too late (she wanted to go swimming - each to their priorities, eh - and knew she would be ravenous afterwards), we worked out that lunch was in fact a pretty good compromise. We're nothing if not compromising. Make
of this what you want.
Now that that essential bit of context has been established, let's go back to the getting-a-spot-in-the-sun strategy. Very simple. Take example on nature. Just like vultures, walk in circles around those who
look like they're finished but cannot be bothered to ask for the check. They'll grow tired of it and helpfully depart after a short while. And no, I'm not proud of it, so quit guilt-tripping me already. The waiter suggested it.
So find our spot in the sun we eventually did, and we had the same chat we've been having for ever. Work, love, life, flat, love, work, life, love, life, love. And work for good measure. And life again, because it's not advisable to finish a week-end conversation talking about work, is it? To think I hate to be predictable.
But it was great. And fun. And sunny. So really, who cares about being predictable?
As we parted ways, I thought I'd walk part of the way home. Because it was sunny. An on-the-spur-of-the-moment kind of thing, if you will. Turns out that try as I may, I'll be predictable to the end though. I got lost. As was to be expected, really. The thing is, at some point, I did notice that some buildings on the left must be new, as I'd never seen them before on my way home. I clicked about 5 minutes later. What a... silly... something.
But I did find my way again, and a bus. Crowded of course, but that was OK, as my trusted mp3 player was in my bag; and I was just getting my headphones out, in that weird feet-wide-apart position that all standing bus passengers have learned to master so we don't lose our balance and end up on some unwilling person's lap, when this lovely lovely young guy stood up and insisted that I take his place. I told him it would really make me feel old if he gave up his seat, but he just told me to hush and sit down. I could never resist authority. Lovely.

Did I say
up there that that was all I had to say? I lied. Didn't expect me to lie, did you?
There you go. I hate to be predictable.

A tale of two ages

Ah, flatwarming parties. You're eighteen. You've just moved out from the parental home, you've moved on to bigger, better things, and you've invited all your friends. They've brought some friends of their own, which you didn't know, but that's all right, all that shit your parents used to say about "the more, the merrier"? Seems it's true after all. The party's going to be great. You know that. The music is great. It's extremely loud, just as it should be, and it's great. The booze is flowing like there's no tomorrow so who cares if we all end up in a coma? Everybody's shouting, everybody's singing, everybody's having a hell of a good time.

It's now 2:15 a.m. The party is in full swing. Your old neighbour is cursing you, your spawn, and their own offspring. She's just put earplugs in for the first time in her life. At least, she already had them, and they're funky coloured. But still. It's a funny feeling, sensing one's heart beating inside of one's own skull. She's feeling connected to you in some way, now. Surely that music you're listening to is pulsing inside your throat in much the same way.

Morning is going to come soon. Much sooner than you expect. Her tapes will then be blaring out some unspeakable 80's tunes.
You'll be sorry.

15 septembre 2005

And she's at it again...

OK, emotional roller coaster notwithstanding, I'm temporarily back to my cynical, unpleasant and generally nasty self - aren't you lucky?
It's Friday, today (I know, I shouldn't break it to you so bluntly, but I said I was back to nasty), so in honour of all of you working your butts off all over the place while getting ready for the week-end (for the sake of argument, we'll pretend you're all working hard), I'll be writing crap for a bit. And won't that be a welcome change from the consistently high level we've gotten used to over the past months?
Well, what do you know! That's it. I've run out.
Of course, I could talk about the fact that I do, in fact, have the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and usually listen to it wearing nothing but striped socks with the individual toes sewn in them, but that could be construed as a personal attack, not to mention the fact that it'd be a blatant lie. I'm not telling which part is a lie, though.
Or I could wax extremely violent on the subject of building managing agents (or whatever you call those incompetent buggers that strip you of your cash and do nothing to justify it) but I believe I've done that already.
Or I could ask you, at the back, trying to disappear into your seat, to come up and say hi and tell me a story, but we both know that's not going to work.
Alternatively, you could tell me honestly, no lying, no pretending, no trying to please me, which one of the Avengers girls you really did prefer.
You could also vote on whether or not I should get another goldfish, considering that the first one lasted 6 months and that I was devastated when it went belly up. Yes, devastated about a fish with the concentration span of a... goldfish. Oh. My. Gawd. I've just realised. You English-speaking people have really got it all sussed, haven't you?
Hey, can you tell me when you're fed up? Because I'm running out of steam, brain matter and cigarettes all at the same time here, and it's really quite messy. Oh, you've been for quite a while? Good.

Moving on

One of my very best friends is moving to Brussels this morning. It's a big career move, and as scary as it might feel to her, it'll all be great once she's settled. Everybody says Brussels is a great city. I have no doubt that it'll be fantastic, and she'll enjoy it immensely.
Her boyfriend is going on Saturday, with all of her clothes and stuff, and they'll be gradually moving over. They're getting married at the end of October so it'll be easier.
Now, if you'll allow me to be self-centered, I'll tell you something. I feel like shit right now. There'll be no more last-minute Japanese restaurant and DVD evenings, no more endless phone talks - even though (or because) we live(d) 10 minutes away from each other, no more beers in the middle of the afternoon. It'll all have to be planned now.
It's hell to stay behind; I want to move on too.
I'm taking her to the station now. It's a start, I guess.

13 septembre 2005

How to save half the world, and not even get a lousy tee-shirt for it

Something pretty horrible nearly happened the other day, which reminded me of something pretty horrible that could have happened a couple years back - which remembering also showed me that I have a propensity for mixing people, places and events up when remembering, but I'll endeavour to make all that clear and structured, so you can judge for yourselves the level of ungratefulness the world has sunk to.
Also, we can all agree right from the start that really that kind of convoluted first sentence serves absolutely no purpose and that I should really try and write properly, but alas, we do know that's wishful thinking, don't we.
So let's proceed.
I was having lunch with a friend last week, and I'd just bought a gas cartridge to refill one of my lighters (please feel free to give me the proper technical vocab) - and a beautiful lighter it is, too, car-shaped, with a hood that slides up and a "rigid" flame. Love it. Anyway. At some point, I proceeded to refill my lighter. Which I did. But that's when the man in him took charge.
"Oh, come on, that's not filled half enough. Let me do it."
And off he goes, pumping gas into the lighter. Which is already full. So one pump of the thing and gas starts spraying all around.
"Oh. Oh it seems it was full after all." Yes. I do know how to refill a lighter, thank you.
"OK, let me light it, see if it works." No. No, I don't think you want to do that.
"Huh? Why?" Why? Because gas is all around you, and if the flame goes off, so might you.
"Oh shit. Oh shit. I hadn't thought of that. Oh shit." Yes. Let me do the thinking for you.
The guy is going to England for a year. I'm not sure he'll make it - all that driving on the wrong side and all...
So that's one guy saved. Which swiftly brings me on to the entire restaurant saving I did.
Three years ago, I think it was, a work dinner was organised, a team-building thing, and everything went well, the restaurant was nice, the food was lovely, candles on the table, and now you see where this is going.
Paper napkins, candles, and a draft from the door.
We were about to leave, when suddenly (I love this. Everything was going smoothly, when suddenly... They were about to kiss, when suddenly... She was bursting to go to the loo, when suddenly...)
So we were about to leave, and this was a team dinner, remember, so there were quite a few of us, and the door was opening and closing while everybody was Indian-filing through it, and the flame was getting closer to the serviette, and you know how it is, what woman wants, god wants, so the flame got the serviette...
And the whole place would surely have gone up in flames! Were it not for my god-like reflexes. In half a second (or ten), I had found a phone-box, changed into my blue stockings and red cape and extinguished the blazing inferno. With little shrieks interspersed here and there, because all super-woman that I am, I am first and foremost a girl.
"Anne, what are you doing, setting fire to the table?"

12 septembre 2005

A cultural moment

And there aren't that many of those around these parts, eh.
I saw Io Non Ho Paura today. It's a brilliant, brilliant Italian movie about two kids who have to deal with adults, poverty, and violence in 1978's southern Italy. I can't tell you much more than that because I don't want to ruin anything. It's based on a book by Niccolò Ammaniti (which I was told is great), and I was dragged there by two Italian-speaking and -loving friends. Why dragged? Because I have displayed a long-standing prejudice against all things Italian, especially (but not exclusively) Italian cinema. A prejudice which both girls have endeavoured to annihilate, but what can I say, old habits die hard, and even after seeing La Meglio Gioventù, even after seeing Buongiorno, Notte, even after seeing Respiro, Nuevo Cinema Paradiso, or Il Postino, and despite my love for Marcello Mastroianni and Vittorio Gassman, every time I hear "do you want to come see such or such Italian movie?", I cringe.
Needless to say, so far, every time I've given in and gone along, I have been shamed in my dislike. All these movies are perfect in many ways, and I cannot recommend La Meglio Gioventù enough. And now, I couldn't do justice to Io Non Ho Paura if I tried. So I'll abstain, but you have to promise you'll see it. Promise?

11 septembre 2005

The meme that dare not speak its name

Got tagged. By Suzanna. Of all people. She makes even a meme interesting and then she tags people with it, like it's possible to go after her. Oh well. Let's get this done and my street cred over with, shall we?

1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
3. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

List five of your own idiosyncrasies and then tag five friends to do the same.

Where do I even start?

I have a rare disease, myositis ossificans (are you suitably impressed?). Which means that every time I fall on or hit my left thigh, I run the risk of getting yet another piece of bone on my thigh muscle. To make things even more idiosyncratic, notice how they say it seldom appears before the first decade of life? I got diagnosed when I was 7. And of course, if I fall, it will mostly be on my left side, because life would just be no fun otherwise, would it? I have two or three more ossifications now (they took out the first one when they saw it, because it was so rare (I love showing off) then that they didn't know it was ill-advised), maybe more, but I wouldn't know because I haven't had a catscan or MRI for three years now. Really what this means is that there are things I physically can't do because it either hurts like mad or is very uncomfortable, but as the last specialist I saw said, "Advil helps? Oh good, I'll give you a prescription". No more serious than that.

actually a good one to go on from. I hate going to the doctor's. But I will always imagine I have the worst disease. And no, I don't actually qualify as a hypochondriac as when I do in fact suffer from something, I will not go to the doctor's for fear that it will be really serious, so I'll end up minimising it. My one-before-last thigh catscan was really a case in point. For various reasons (mostly because I'd misread something), I was convinced I had developed cancer, so I was dreading the results, especially as the radiologist (?) scared the shit out of me (silly woman with no patient skills at all). Except of course I hadn't. So now that I know it's not cancer, who cares that everybody said I should watch it? What I don't know can't hurt, right? And I don't really want to know that my 3-inch bit of new bone is now 4 or 5.

Still on health, then. I have malaria (is that idiosyncratic?). I think you can get rid of it after a while, and as I left Cameroon 14 years ago, maybe it's gone from my bloodstream now, but it means two things for me: first, nobody will accept my blood because they don't want to transfuse potentially diseased blood, which is comforting somehow (they will take platelets though, except it takes something like 3 hours so I have to make time for it. Which is not too much of a problem these days, eh). Second, at the end of fall, without fail, I'll feel like shit for a week or two in the evening (and only in the evening, and not every evening - now that has to be idiosyncratic?), with fever, shivers, headaches and stuff like that. But I've never had a bona fide malaria attack since I left - touch wood, because it's not pleasant.

Despite my thigh, I love going for walks in complicated bits of scenery. Honestly, I do. I'd love to be able to climb mountains, but my thigh makes that impossible (and hurray for not even having to make up excuses). So I like to scramble and stuff, but I have as much confidence in my legs (and myself) as I have chances of ever meeting George Clooney (which, granted, is previous-me now, but he may as well still be useful). So I'll walk and potter about and blah, but every time, every time I say, there will come a moment when I get stuck in a very dangerous (in my mind anyway) spot and just go: "That's it. Not going anywhere now. Call the helicopters." Every time. My friends are sick of me.

The last one is blogging-related. I don't tag. (But do tag yourselves in the comments.)

10 septembre 2005


- Come on, hun, we'll be late.
- Muuum! Don't call me hun. I'm not a hun.
- Sorry, Greg-o-ry. Hurry up anyway, we'll be late.
Laura didn't like having to take her son grocery shopping with her. It was always a struggle not to buy him this or that, always prodding him to hurry up, always asking him to stop dawdling, always threatening him to... Woah, that man was carrying a lot of water!
- Gregory, hurry UP! Ow!
That hurt like a bitch. A trolley hadn't stopped before hitting her right on the back of the ankle.
- Oh sorry, miss...
That lady had an awful lot of bottles in her trolley. No wonder she'd had trouble braking.
Laura noticed several other people whose arms were loaded with cases of bottled water, soda, beer... Odd. There had been no heatwave warning in the news, it had even drizzled slightly in the morning.
It seemed that this family had bought nothing but drinks. Laura was starting to get worried now.
Without even knowing why, she grabbed Gregory and said:
- Come on, I forgot to get water. You'll help me carry some, yes?

08 septembre 2005


... for champagne and 1940s movies!
That sounds horribly snob when I say it like that, doesn't it? OK, let me explain. A bunch of us were meeting for an apéritif yesterday evening, at a lovely bar, L'Ave Maria, which just happens to serve very nice cocktails, for a very reasonable price (honest - but they're reasonable for Paris, all right?). These cocktails are mostly Latin American, caipirinhas, mojitos and such. But me, I don't like rum. Yes, snicker all you want, I don't. Except in hot milk when I've a cold.
So I went for the champagne-based ones. I had (and everyone else went along - and agreed retrospectively that it was quite the best choice) what is rather enticingly called Agua de Bora-Bora. Champagne, vodka, kiwi, mango and rose. Bliss. Slightly intoxicated bliss, but bliss all the same.
And then I left them to go to some friends' place, because we were having a catching-up-with-American-pop-culture party, with the first three episodes of Desperate Housewives on TV. And lo and behold, there was champagne there too!
Where do the 1940s movies come in, then? I can sense your befuddlement. Is she that drunk that she thinks Desperate Housewives is a Mankiewicz classic?
No, silly. I received the Philadelphia Story DVD today (my brother's b'day present). Could that day have got any better? (First one who says I could have received a job offer gets shot on the spot. Tipsy and happy, but alcohol may have violent side-effects.)

07 septembre 2005

It's always like that, isn't it?

I've had a fantastic day, done stuff that needed to be done, talked to friends, had a friend pay me a surprise visit in the afternoon, and I love surprise visits, de-painted my toe-nails, only to paint them again tomorrow, but you know how it goes, basically had a nice, stress-free day. I was even looking forward to Ireland-France in the evening.
And then I offered to help a friend proof-read his dissertation because he needs to hand it in on Friday and he's not quite finished yet. So we're doing things in a bit of a rush. 80 pages of accounting mumbo-jumbo. Oh joy. I've only just finished.

To think I was hoping to tell you about that literary evening I attended on Tuesday. All cultural and cultured, it was.
Or I could have told you about the supermarket that's re-opened
all refurbished and brand new at the end of the road. Because my life is not only governed by the literary, it's also very much anchored in reality. It's a nice supermarket.
Or I could have bent your ear some more about music, as today was my very own Scotland revival - only meaning that I listened to Simple Minds, and to a tape I recorded in my student days in Aberdeen, on my radio-cum-tape-player alarm clock, and it's full of gems. Full, I say.
Oh well. Next time, eh? I'm off to bed now.

06 septembre 2005

Music... makes the people... come together

... or not.
My cleaning frenzy has, as always, led me to listen to my (gasp) tapes. Tapes, I say. Those things we stopped using over 10 years ago? That'll give you an idea of what, er, music I've been dancing to for the past three-four days.
We're talking stuff during whose listen (however ungrammatical that sentence might be...) you can hear the actual tape unsticking itself from itself and unspooling. Oh the fun. Pity sometimes that sound does not entirely cover the music I then thought fit to record. I can't name any of the stand-alone stuff I taped, I'm afraid, because you'll probably
all start booing me at the same time, and it'll be so loud I'll hear it from here. It's so bad it's not even good anymore, that's how bad it is.
Most of it I'm still happy to have, however, and everytime I listen to it, I think I should really get the CD's (Hot Chocolate, OMD, that kind of thing. Yes, OMD.). But some of it. Oh my. You wouldn't wish those songs on your teenage child's bully. Also, some of it still makes me cry over the same bloody guy as 15 years ago, as well, so maybe I should really just trash them, but you know what they say, right, once a sentimental fool, always a moron.
Incidentally, it's music that made me realise that I was indeed turning into my parents, the first time I said, listening to some "modern" stuff, "oh man, music was so much better in my days". Scary really, considering what I've just admitted to. It's true though, isn't it, not much better has been done than what was on those first compilation tapes we got as "gosh what are they into now?" type presents. Which is scary too. When I listen to what they call soul or R&B right now, I can't help thinking of Otis Redding and Aretha Frankling, not of Mariah Carey and whoever else is on a loop on MTV these days.
And while we're on the subject of music, albeit tengentially... is it the only way that I'll ever be a rebel? My complex personality (not that I'm flattering myself, here, me is complex) has always been attracted to the most various musical styles, without the slightest inkling as to what their inherent melodic, innovative or otherwise, qualities or flaws might be.
Music grabs me by the insides, and that's pretty much how I judge it. If you see me fighting the urge to smile the biggest, naffest smile you've ever seen, usually contending with a maniacal laughter, you can tell I'm enjoying the music. And I do cry every now and again, but it means the same thing. Told you me was complex. Hence, "enjoying the music" simultaneously means Dean Martin, Nappy Roots, Eminem, Rimsky-Korsakov or Edith Piaf. And I remember... when I used to go to
work... I was usually not wearing combats and a tee. Even though I'd have loved to. Nothing trendy, nothing saying "power to the executives", but, you know, your classical unnoticeable girl on her way to work. Except I'd be going crazy inside as Nappy Roots' Sholiz came on in my headphones.
How I love schizophrenia.

Bad person - the defense side

Go read that (go on, I'll wait).

Now, allow me to tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, there was a French girl who lived alone in her Parisian flat, where really she had to fend for herself against all the nasty jumping and flying insects that invaded her home on a daily basis.
One night, she went to bed and started reading her book. Suddenly, she spotted a grasshopper on her ceiling. She thought nothing of it; after all, it was only a wee thing, barely an inch long. She turned off the light at the end of the chapter and went to sleep.
As if on cue, the grasshopper started inching its way onwards until it was right above the girl's head. It seemed to be acting weirdly, as if remotely controlled, with erratic moves and lots of stops and starts. The girl moved in her sleep. She turned on her side. Her ear was now in full sight of the grasshopper, offering itself as an ideal landing ground.
Once the target was locked, the grasshopper dropped right into the girl's ear!
The girl swatted lightly at her ear, oblivious of the danger. At the sudden movement, the grasshopper stopped moving. From its mandibles a worm slowly exited, making its way deep inside the external auditory meatus*, until it came to rest against the eardrum. It rested a while there, and then, with vibrations that could only be described with outlandish, alien
even, wavelengths, started brainwashing the girl. The latter, by now deep in sleep, was putty in its... rings.
She got up in a sleepwalking daze, walked to the nearest bridge - quite a long way away -, jumped into the Seine river and drowned herself: the worm's evil spawn could now live and thrive!

My hoover deserves a medal.

05 septembre 2005

This new me thing is getting out of control

See, I was going to to throw my whole self into a rant. Because I'm fed up with seeing only gorgeous girls, really very pretty (I'll grant them that), but overly made up, and are they anything but pretty? I'm scared shitless that this is the model my niece will grow up with. Those girls say nothing except that to succeed in life - in life - you need to be first and foremost aesthetically pleasing, that none of your actual qualities, talents, skills, matter. It shits me to no end to think that people are basing their assessment of others purely on how they look. And I'm fed up with the fact that everytime I go out, I see everyone wanting to look like someone else and I'm stuck with me. I like to think that I'm a good girl inside, but it almost never fails that I end up feeling like a three-legged duck. (And of course this would have been a show of bad faith, but it would have been my rant.)
But I won't. Because I have cleansed my flat. Cleansed. As in used everything under the sun for proper housework, broom, brush, hoover, mop, wipes, the whole shebang.
I have even devised a programme for cleansing a flat. Go at it in a couple days at least. I know it's a long time, but I'm not saying you should spend the whole two or three days cleaning. For instance. Hypothetically. The first day, tidy up, sort the papers, throw away the old magazines that you keep because you keep saying you'll get to them, but, deep down, you know you won't, don't you? Throw away. Bin. Trash. Consider it therapy. Get rid of all the stuff that's holding you back... I should write a self-help book.
Once that's done, you'll want to do the rest.
Anyway, now, the dust has been eradicated, stuff has been moved to the basement (the basement! That place gives me the willies just to think of it, because the first time I went there with a friend, he was absolutely convinced he'd seen somebody, and on our way out he was afraid we might be about to lock him inside that damp, dank, dreaded place! And I went on my own this time!), the furniture has been moved, I am now sleeping on the other side of the bed, that's how moved the furniture has been, the floorboards have been scrubbed and a very synthetic, albeit not unpleasant, odour of wood is now permeating the flat, the bathroom belongs in a show flat, the kitchen... the kitchen... I could almost cook now.
And for a perfect finish to a not so bad day, considering, the insider has helped me polish off an application letter for a job in New York. We're taking over the world.
So really, a rant would have been just... unfair. But I'm keeping it for later. Just in case.

04 septembre 2005

The end of an era

I'm officially over George Clooney. I know, I said that a while back, Jeff Goldblum had suddenly appeared and I'd seen the light blah blah. But did you honestly believe that? Cause I'm not sure I was completely convinced. And I hadn't seen him (George) in quite a while. So really who was I to tell? Supposedly, I'm me so I should know, but if I really knew what I'm thinking, saying, doing... well, let's just say my life would be slightly less of a... something. I can't even finish a sentence, ya think I know where my sexy-actor loyalties lie?
Anyway. He is
(or was) in Venice for the Mostra, and will soon be (or is) in Deauville for the festival (honestly ocean and sea (or canal) side (I never got that Venice geography right (I've never been (but I know I will go one day (when, you know, I'm in a... relationship thing)) so it's understandable)) towns for movie festivals, this man has a hard life (did you think I was never going to finish that sentence? (and stop using parentheses?))) so he was being interviewed by the newsanchor on France 2, one of the French TV channels. One of my friends actually called me to tell me he was going to be on. I'm so pathetic that my friends call to tell me George will be on the telly.
Well, not anymore, people! He did nothing for me this time. Nuttin'. Not one tingle of the belly, not one "ooh he's gorgeous" (OK, maybe a tiny one, but honestly, nothing to write a blog post about), not one "mmm I'd so like to try and have his babies". If anything, I found him slightly smug. Who am I and what have they done to me?
So. That got me thinking. Do I really like Jeff? I'm not sure. He's one sexy bugger, granted, but really, do I like him? Honestly? No. If anything, he's actually a little smug too.
Do I need a new idol? Or should I start living in reality?

01 septembre 2005

And that's when I realised I was really a bad person

For so long I've pretended I was good... I really wanted to believe that.
It turns out I'm selfish and bad. Rotten to the core.

Case in point.
Yesterday, I went to bed at my usual time these days, around 2:00 a.m (it is kind of relevant).
I set my glasses down on my bedside table, grabbed Harry Potter (yes, I'm a grown woman and I read Harry Potter. No, I don't think it makes me look cute. Yes, I enjoy the story. Now if I may proceed?) and started reading. My eyes, however challenged, spotted a blurry smudge on my ceiling. A big blurry smudge. On my ceiling. A big blurry smudge on my ceiling, not too far from right above my head, really.
Now, my eyes may be challenged, but I'm not a complete cretin yet. A big blurry smudge on my ceiling, when there was no big blurry smudge a couple hours before that, can only mean one of two things. Either there's a leak from the upstairs flat, which sounds very unlikely considering above my bedroom is another bedroom, or there's some sort of vile insect planning to take my life and use my body to advance insect science.
Keeping my unfocused eyes trained on the big blurry smudge, I blindly got my glasses back and, mustering all the courage I could er... muster, I looked. A huge grasshopper was doing aerobics on my ceiling. Huge. Enormous. Like, one inch long. That is a whole one inch more than what I can handle in a sane, adult, mature manner.
It was all I could do not to phone my dad and tell him to drive the 600 km to Paris to come and rescue me. (Yes, I know, I said it was the winged creatures of the invertebrate realm that did it for me, but really - jumping, flying, same difference, at this point.)
[Commercial break - is the suspense killing you?]
Having decided against phoning my parents, I started thinking. Well. Not so much thinking as blabbering inside my own head. (Oh, by the way. How do you cope??? Two minutes into hearing my own voice, and I was already annoyed. Dearie me, people, you'll never cease to amaze. Anyway.) By now, it was about 2:10.
It was getting late, by normal people's standards. I thought I could handle this reasonably, and went to fetch some loo paper. My plan was: climb on the bed, stretch my arm, wipe the bastard against the ceiling, paint in the morning. Ha ha ha.
I do not reach the ceiling. In fact, even standing on three pillows, I
still do not reach the ceiling. Save actually dislocating my shoulder, and using the now free arm as a pole, there was no way I was going to get the intruder. I remembered Adamant's advice from last time, and went to fetch the kitchen roll. The kitchen roll, I'm afraid, was nearly empty, and I could see pretty early on that I wasn't going to get anywhere with it. Plus, I didn't want to throw it repeatedly against the ceiling (I knew I was going to fail the first time, you see), for fear that one, the grasshopper would fall in my hair, and two, I would end up waking the neighbour.
I stood on the bed for a while, then, thinking oh what to do what to do. Which after a while turned into "No you can't." "Anne, you can't do that, it's late." "Anne, don't do it." "Anne, you cow, you're gonna do it, aren't you?"
And I went to get the hoover.
Bad, bad person.