And that thing is a list of things I am currently, brattishly, really sad about. It’s v. selfish and uncool to be sad about these things during a worldwide pandemic, and most of the time I do try to count my blessings a bit, but right now it’s Friday afternoon and I’m stuck in my dank little office-hole near the cat litter tray (no natural light! Did I mention?) and the children – who are not kids, are they, they’re pretty much grown-ups who should definitely know better – are having yet another cackling semi-hysterical argument in close earshot about how to make a bandanna-style headband out of an old Morgan de Toi skirt, and what I am painfully aware I definitely can’t do any minute now is shut the laptop and go for a walk to the pub and have a nice big G&T in the beer garden with my best friend and a plate of nachos. Not an option. So I’m wallowing in self pity for the following reasons:-
I didn’t get to go to Boston, Ma. and watch my best friend run the Boston marathon. Let’s gloss for a minute over the fact that she’s more disappointed than I am, not least because she’s the one that achieved the qualifying marathon time and had already done a lot of training before the race got postponed. No, let’s focus on the fact that I didn’t get to wander around all the Good Will Hunting locations and buy a Harvard hoodie for my daughter and eat loads of pizza and pasta “to be supportive”.
I didn’t get to go to Paris and watch my husband run the Paris marathon. Again, his feelings on the matter are doubtless stronger than mine, but they’re not the point here. What’s the point is that there was zero opportunity for me to drink red wine in Montmartre or watch the football-jugglers near the Sacre-Coeur or go for a run along the Seine. Or to take a photo of one of the green-and-gold subway signs looking all curlicued and foreign and put it on Instagram.
I’ve had to cancel the big trip that was all booked for my 40th birthday this summer. We were all set to fly to San Francisco and get the Amtrak “California Zephyr” sleeper train to Chicago (I bloody love a sleeper train, I was ecstatic) and then spend some time in Chicago and then fly to NYC. It was going to be ace and now not only is it not happening but to add insult to injury, some of the airlines are only offering vouchers instead of refunds, and who knows when we’ll ever be able to fly again so WHAT USE ARE VOUCHERS? Plus. Instagram point, as above. My poor feed.
The house is never empty. Not even slightly empty. It always has the whole family in it, and I’m aware of them, all the time. Even when they’re in different rooms. Usually because they’re bickering amongst themselves, or asking me for meals or snacks. Or, in my husband’s case, having loud guffawing phone conversations with people and saying phrases like “absolutely so, absolutely so”. You’d be amazed how annoying this can become.
None of the following things can happen: drinks at the pub. Cocktails in a bar, in uncomfortable heels and lots of makeup. Meals at restaurants. Dancing in a sweaty nightclub. Spilling out of the sweaty nightclub into the dark summer-scented night, sweat drying on skin, questing for a polystyrene tray of chips. Going for brunch. Mooching round charity shops, buying books. Going for coffee. Wandering round a market. Meeting friends, plural, anywhere with a roof.
What I’ll probably do now I’ve whinged about all of those things is have a word with myself, water the plants, go for a run, make a Negroni (three shots in one drink: improves most situations, I find) and then watch something of my husband’s choosing because he always knows about good films. Have another blessing-count. Have a word with myself. Etc. But it felt very, very good to have this rant. Cheers.