topic: BORDERS medium: TEXT
as shared at a PenTales event themed “Foreign Affairs”
“I think it’s best if we adopt the “tracing paper” approach – that is, applying a sheet of tracing paper to your letter, and writing my answers on top. With one of those retractable pencils that are so satisfyingly beyond sharpening. That way you know what I’m responding to. Some people call it a conversation. Pedants.
Said approach will also highlight the extraordinary fact that, despite the continental gulf that separates us (not to mention that other chasm of age and status) we’re basically going about the same life, with a couple of “lifestyle detail” tweaks here and there.
Did you not get my text when you were at the zoo? Yes yes and I was in full agreement. Serbia has pixular communication but not many readers of the Roman alphabet, as we discovered to our chagrin on many an occasion, largely when “reading” menus. International texting seems unreliable on the work phone; Australia’s fine, Spain doesn’t work, and now I learn that French numbers are no-go! Stop going to Spain, they are shouty; France works just fine.
Where to begin with so much news, for so much time has passed that I cannot even remember the last time we were in touch. Probably about March at birthday time, right? And have I yet posted your 2007 gift? No. It will hardly be a good example of topical humour now, will it?
• I’ve had an office romance, which was great fun but not fulfilling.
• Not having an office it would be difficult for me to undertake romance or other in a desk environment, but I did have a terribly inappropriate fling which went on longer than technically allowed under the diktats of its nomenclature (less of a fling, more of a full, long-distance throw).. I thought I’d escape unscathed after 18 months, curiously I overestimated myself. I’m scathed. Not yet bitter but getting closer with my advancing age. What they say about French men is true; me of all people should have learnt this from my close observation of crudely drawn stereotypes in cinema but strangely I didn’t seem to be listening.
• Last week I went sailing with my one and only client, then to one of the most brilliant Glade Festivals ever. Lots and lots of sun and psytrance. Made better by having last week off work — summer bliss — and I am more brown than I have been in years. I had forgotten what peeling skin was like and I welcome it back with fondness! Failing to bag a pedalo on the large canal/basin that I live near we scored a ROWING boat last week when it was very hot, and followed that with a quick round of pétanque (boules). It was like acting out my 11 year fantasies as drawn by the Tricolor 2A textbook “Marie-Laure et Delphine font du sport à La Rochelle” where everyone is : in the 70s, French, and does water sports. I even had a pastis which vastly improved my game.
• Tomorrow I am going to put in an offer on my Pimlico pad. I’ve been waiting for the right moment since moving in two years ago, and it appears to have presented itself. It is just about feasible that I could be a proper grown up — with a mortgage and everything — by the time that turn 30. But my offer is somewhat lower than market rate. Like by £60k. I’m not holding my breath. I live outside the UK and think credit crunch is a cereal. I don’t even have a washing machine. You are evidently a grown-up. Congratulations! you held off and now it’s time. It’s SW, but hey, they are my initials, what can I really reproach you.
• On the subject of breathing, and in the spirit of my new-found almost-30 maturity, I am pleased to announce that I have given up smoking. Again. This marks the 4th giving up attempt in 10 years, but this time I’m serious: I keep reading statistics about people that give up before 30, so obviously I only have a few weeks of buffer before I hit the danger zone. I’ve got ages. I do yoga. My karma is buying me some extra oxygen for later, like a good hypocritical bourgeoise.
• I won a trip to Barbados. Wooo! But I have to go with colleagues. Booo. WOW. I will allow a WOW there. Did you win it on a gameshow? Please don’t ever inform me that you went on Countdown unbeknownst to me. Also, get a move on, Countdown’s being canceled very soon. Re : my recent holiday, polar bears aside it was supremely relaxing. Eerily so.
• Of the last 7 lottery tickets for which I have been present for their number checking / scratching, their bearers have won a total of £134. Unfortunately, I do not believe in the lottery so none of it is mine.
• For five days next month, some chums and I are renting a big house at edinburgh festival, and I’m then am going to the USA for a week. Comedy and plays, followed by rock and roll.
• Sandra the frog still lives on top of my computer.
I’d love to hear your news. If polar bears and voyages in eastern european countries are anything to go by then I am sure you will have far more exciting tales to tell than the relative trivialities of London life.
Paris trivialities are the same, they just taste better.
The belgrade zoo story with the toddlers poking the bears was brilliant.
And still happy in frog? Going to come back soon? Or where next on your international tour of residentialism?