The Bar is So Low

The Bar is So Low

I’m not looking for much.

Just someone that talks to me as much as he flirts with me. That wants me when I’m not there as much as he does when I am.

I’m really not looking for much.

I don’t need him to call me everyday. Or tell me about every person he plans to see.

Because I’m not looking for much.

I want him to care. To want to make me happy. To wonder what I think about something.

And I want to wonder what he thinks, too. To like more than being liked.

I don’t want much.

The bar is really very low.

For the stranger who comes along and tries.

Advertisements

You Don’t Want to Know

You don’t want to know because you’re happier not knowing. You don’t want to know because what you really want is to judge, to have a reason to say what you wanted to say anyway. You don’t want to know because it’s not what you want to hear.

silhouette

Relative Happiness

Yes, of course, happiness, like beauty, is all about the eye of the beholder and perception is objective, and blah blah blah. Tailor your expectations accordingly and the world is your oyster, or possibly  some other less slimy delicacy.

Not going to be blowing the lid off of that one today. Instead we are going to take a minute to discuss the happiness of your relatives. More importantly, how fickle and unimportant it is. Maybe don’t read this aloud at Thanksgiving.

Some of us have always been the type to try and make everyone around them happy. Some of us have been the type to make themselves happy and wait for everyone else to fall in line. With any luck both of these people grow up to realize that the people around you matter and should be treated with consideration, but no more or less than yourself. And now humanity is universally self-actualized. Or not.

 

Assuming a slim majority of us claw our way somewhere into the median spectrum, our work is not yet done. Even when we’ve determined how things should go the people closest to us always seem to present an exception. They aren’t ‘just anyone’. They deserve more time. Or you deserve more of theirs. Or they will forgive you because they have to. (This is not universally bad, and when your mother asks you for help, you do it.) When this throws the happiness scale out of balance its a problem, and its no way to treat people you care about.

Despite how tempting it can be to indulge our desires to control the feelings of loved ones we cannot take responsibility of anyone else’s happiness. That’s their job. We can try not to hurt them. We can empathize when someone else does. But sacrificing your own for theirs is only for married people. And sometimes your children (though their teachers would appreciate it if you told them no sometimes, just for the fun of it).

The pleasant shiny person you’re going to be when your happiness matters as much as everyone else’s will make them happier anyway. Maybe not right away. They’ll have got used to you being their emotional on call chef. But eventually, if they care about you too and see you truly happy, they will be happy too. And then you can skip and frolic and stuff.

Cardigan of Doom

I’ve developed something of a lip product addiction, which does not on the surface seem to have much to do with cardigans. But it does. I think about which lip gloss to put in my handbag more than what shirt to wear (an unheard of anomaly) and lust after the clicky packaging on Chanel lipsticks with, admittedly, too much enthusiasm. It’s a bit extreme, a little shallow, and not like me. Or, it wasn’t like me.

The version of me with the laser focused lip preoccupation wears more make-up all the time. She wears dresses and tights more than jeans and jumpers. And only uses tote bags to carry her groceries back from Waitrose. One year ago me had a lot of cardigans. A cardigan for every day of the week, and then some. This had everything to do with being a high school teacher, because adding a cardigan to skinny jeans and metallic flats was my conception of a cute, professional, yet still recognizably feminine, and not completely irrelevant person.

When teaching started to become that thing that will be my job for a while, instead of that thing that I’m doing in between cool and creative writing jobs, a slow creeping terror began to set in. It was subtle and kind of had a poltergeist demon whisper thing going on.

“…this over air-conditioned classroom is the only place you will experience human interaction and it will be with children with the intellectual capacity of grapefruits….”

“…your only creative activity until you retire in 40 years will be to slightly differentiate the same curriculum year after year…and no one will care…”

And other funny things, like

“…you might die here. Wearing a cardigan…”

Hahaha. Not hysterical at all, really. Honestly, eating toddler ravioli cups for lunch was also getting to me. But it was the closet full of cardigans, shoving my over-indulgent dress collection into the dark dusty recesses that most clearly signified the need for change.

Fast forward a year, and I live in the greatest city in the world with amazing friends, hobbies (!), and an unscheduled freedom that gives me time and space to be spontaneous, adventurous, and wear all my dresses. With full awareness that this is a temporary state of being, I’m soaking it up for all it’s worth. Part of me knows that the cardigans are waiting in the aforementioned recesses. And their day may come given the student loan statement I’m currently ignoring. But that day is not today. And there is also a glimmer of hope that another sartorial future awaits. Fingers crossed for lots of hats.

No Such Thing

What I am about to say will either confirm everything you’ve ever wondered about the world, or bring it crashing down. That’s right, get some tea or something. Epiphany moment. Right here.

There’s no such thing as an “adult”.

Doesn’t exist. Complete fabrication by the pharmaceutical companies to ascertain appropriate dosage. Entirely inappropriate label otherwise.

201744-young-adult-header

Everyone thinks they’re so cool and mature when they say they are doing something like a “grown-up”, which, of course, implies that you are not and they are better than you. I am not saying that I have not employed this tactic myself. Honestly, it is usually my less harsh version of indicating that I find someone too stupid to converse with. But this does not mean there is any validity to the term.

We are all just children with money and shame. Go watch children playing and marvel at the truth of this. Or don’t, because that’s kind of creepy. Dating feels like kindergarten because it is. We’re just dressed better (hopefully) and have a slightly more varied diet.

This does not mean that there is not something to be said for ageing. Over time we gain subtlety. We need less to be going on because we see so much more in the same moments and things. It is not just a dress; it’s silk, and tailored, and hugs one curve while skimming over another. Someone didn’t just make you a sandwich; they thought about your needs and what you like and took time out of their life to please and care for you, and you appreciate that.

This also can mean we are a bit more fragile and a bit more defensive, and the natural consequence is that we don’t need to hit to let someone know we want to hurt them. We have lies and insults and betrayal for that.

Yes, we mature into more complex people, but some parts take much longer than others and certain individuals need space to be five years old sometimes. Parents don’t know how to solve every problem. World leaders and nations are not immune to threats or offence. We are all making it up as we go. Trying to be ‘adult’ is the best we can hope for.

Drinking in a Toilet

Not out of the toilet, in the toilet. Or the room where the toilet was. Except there are still a couple toilets in there. But there is also a bar. And a piano. All makes sense now, right? No? Well then you are clearly not cool enough to grasp the trendy awesome that is the oh so cleverly titled new dive (haha, that’s funny because it’s underground) Ladies & Gentlemen in Kentish Town, London. The good news is that I am hardly cool enough to leave Zone 1 at all and they still let me in and gave me booze. They waited for me to ask for directions, or an actual bathroom, when I first walked in (blonde ponytails being something of a rarity in this part of town) but let me sit down at my upright piano of a table all the same.

ladies&gents

Even though I knew exactly where I was going I still managed to walk right by it. There were a few minutes of exploration of North London at night that we can get into another time. This is very easy to do because it does in fact appear to be a loo- with cement stairs leading to an industrial metal door. Luckily, contrary to all appearances, things did not evolve in a Saw 7 direction, and instead went to a more hipster speak easy place. When you, literally, come through the curtain the bar is small, but not cramped, cosy and charming- not least because of the jolly beardy bartenders. The Ladies’ Old Fashioned is in no way an anti-feminist statement (which you would know just by the generous alcohol content, if you try it) but a complement to the name of the establishment. Their very tasty and most Instagrammable cocktail is the Rhubarb and Custard. I hate gin, and it has gin, but you can not taste the gin, only sweet dessert-y goodness served in a custard powder tin.

custard drink

If you are anything like me, your first thought is how many times can one reuse a custard tin as a drinking receptacle before it disintegrates through washing and use? Approximately ten times. Or possibly that never occurred to you and you don’t care. Or, now you are wondering what happens to all the custard powder…

The music is not so loud that you can’t catch up with friends without screaming, and not so quiet that you can hear everyone else’s friends (and they can hear you forgetting the chorus to the oldies cover that just came on). All in all it made for an excellent mid-week night out that I intend to repeat.

Would a fishtail braid make me look more edgy?

kentish town

Somewhere in Time

Somewhere in Time

I know I’m not the only one who thinks about all the other eras in time I would fit into better. Some of us voraciously read historical fiction yearning for customs and attitudes that belong to another age. Some people think they would just look better in drop waist shift dresses and want to go back to the 1920s. Whatever the reason, when we feel out of place it’s somehow comforting to think that a flaw in the time space continuum is to blame. That we were born too late (or too early?) for the slice of reality fate dropped us into.

time-travel

In all the best ways I have felt like, having moved to England, I was granted the sparkling chance to experience the best parts of connecting with people based on a set of rules that are typically only found between cardboard covers. When you really think about going back to your ideal time you then have to face the vagaries of the whole picture. Things like the plumbing situation. Classist, racist, sexist, etcetera prejudices present wherever you saw yourself. And the likelihood of your early and untimely death due to war, disease, malnutrition, tooth decay, and/or childbirth (okay, you might not die of tooth decay, but gross). These do not make for pleasant books or films though. Or daydreams. Though Outlander is making a good stab at it. So, while I will never be presented for the season, or painted in oils, I get to break up with my boyfriend for not respecting my political ideals without anyone batting an eye.

kate-and-leopold-2001-04-g

Luckily our appetite for wondering “what if…” can be satisfied through our usual forms of escapism- glowing screens- while still maintaining our superpowers of pause and microwave popcorn. Woody Allen reminded us that this phenomenon is not new, and it isn’t old, it simply is human to think of yourself sometime else when you’re not where you want to be in Midnight in Paris. Sometimes its just a matter of a little rewind within your slice, which has been gloriously granted to us in 90’s flashback Hindsight, and Life on Mars. We are not going to get into all of the immortal scenarios because I feel like that comes from a different psychological place, and the beauty and drama that comes with being a person somewhen depends on our fragility, our time limit.