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Itís my birthday today. Fittingly, Iím reading the book about time. What is time for me?
Itís fleeting. When I think about time, I think about death of those that I love, and Iím scared to tears thinking I may never see them again, that they may be dead before I make it home this evening. Bad things happen to good people. The fear makes me free to follow my heart. I think I strike a good balance between living now and in the future.
I can see how we have aged in those five years, K&I. I embrace it.
Clock time is runing my productivity.
Jerked out of sleep in the middle of a dream, was really deeply asleep and even though I finally mananged to struggle out of bed, and went through the morning routines, and had a few cups of coffee, the sleep lingers on, like cotton wool around my brain. The day takes forever, and yet time flies like mad as I fail to accomplish the tasks I've lined up for myself, and as the deadlines approach with the speed of a freight train, and I have no mental capacity to deal with this shit today.
It was the pits yesterday. I've not been so anxious, nervous and depressed for a long time. All the talk of finding academic jobs, competition, combined with my compete inability to think or do anything productive culminating in escaping home and spending the afternoon in bed, jumping, reading, and finally crying. I forget this is how people often feel about their phds all the time, not just occasionally. How awful. K helps me so, holds me and comforts me in a slightly bemused way, and I feel liberated by his saying - you don't have to do this. But you can.
Oh the little brightness that she is, the sweet girl! I've not laughed so hard for a long time, such liberty, to fuck about in your own language, to joke. I missed that. Brings out the wild and weird and funny in me. She will make a beautiful, glorious bride, although may spoil the effect a little by giggling throughout. Mrr mrr
Selfishly, I still hope they move to the island. The last time she was put through hell, and I didn't appreciate how deep that trauma ran. They could stay, easily, perhaps even successfully. Not sure they want to.
The first time I remember thinking, and being scared by, clocks, was when I was contemplaiting an empty clock-face in my 3rd primary school workbook. I had just been moved up an age group to keep me occupied. It seemed like a good idea, until I saw that excercise and realised with dread I didn't know how to read clocks.
Reading the time was one of the first things my mum forgot how to do. I remember standing with her in front of the wall clock, her face untroubled as she admitted the moving hands meant nothing to her.
What would men be like if every month they were forced to admit their dependency on forces outside their control? If they had to submit to pain which no-one had influcted on them, but which comes with being part of nature? Lately I have become more man-like as my bleeding has stopped thanks to a piece of hormonal plastic in my arm. My waiting used to start three weeks into my cycle, and a mild feeling of anxiety would persist until I bled. Now I don't think about it. I wonder if it changed me as a person.
A few minutes into our stroll she broke the silence and meyowed 'I'm bored! It's a park! I've seen parks before, I will see parks again! Let's go to the city!'. I laughed, I just assumed that everyone treats cities as a neccessary evil and wants nothing more than to get away from them when they're on a break. On holiday, K and I somehow always manage to find a big garden to spend most of our time in; in Munich I ruined my shoes, so far did we walk on muddy paths. I obliged, and we went to TKMaxx.
Time and space become linked through the medium of my steps. Far from a metronome, they vary in length and speed. The first two sessions are the worst. Two minutes easy, four minutes fast. On the dot I increase the speed and for a few seconds I feel fine, like I could do this forever. Then the pain kicks in, in my guts and in my spine. I'd grind my teeth if I weren't gasping. It's better on the way back, but the pain is still with me as I do the long downhill strides and push to a sprint.
Spent a few minutes today watching new arrivals. There is a global population clock out there in the web, the moment I look at it the number is 7093253770, and counting. The numbers tick over, and the total increases by around three (people) every second. Every second three infants being squeezed out in a bloody gush, every second three screams of new life. What the clock doesn't give you is the number of deaths: 1.8 every second. Every second somewhere in the world two people stop breathing and die, in pain or in peace, always alone. Feel so small.
Having some girly moments. The short hairstyle is striking, and lots of people notice; having noticed, they have to say something nice, so they do. Unusually I catch the bus on the main road and K is there, looking out of the window, not seeing me. I put my hand on the back of his head and he turns around, smiling. The bus moves and I fall into him, and we're both sparkling at each other, away from the routine. There are ebay packages at home and I parade the dresses for the wedding. Girly, giggly, and a turn-on.
Compulsibely watching ever new foorage of the quake in Japan. At first it was all the cities, the swaying buildings, the falling furniture, an army of poltergeists let loose. But soon the real catastrophe of the tsunami was uncovered, and it is this mindless wave of burning debris that causes my pulse to quicken. The speed of it, engulfing entire fields in a matter of seconds, the mass of it, not water but all the flaming swirling disintegrating debris of human life that makes it most terrifying, death mpt by water, not a clean death by nature, death by civilisation.
Can't stop thinking it's like watching Japanese apocalyptic anime come to life. A Miazaki's scenario in flesh and blood, the spilling miasma, the catastrophic growth. With the remote eyes of a helicopter camera I watch with a sinking feeling cars escaping the incoming ocean, but the road is alrerady eaten up, where can they run to, did they die? I imagine myself standing in front of this wave, and I feel the death. And now the reactors, and the radioactive horror of the war is close to being re-lived. No festivals of cherry blossom for many years to come.
I take a trip back in time, watching videos from the spring fieldwork 2009. I am immersed, and suddenly I feel the tastes and smells of the bread at the mensa, of the olive oil, I feel the hard soil getting into my sandals, the hurt in my back from standing bent in two, the sun on my neck and the warm persistent wind, swollen skin when I get sunburnt, the cool shade of the veranda in the evening, the chatter, wine, the old furniture hard under my bum, te rough wood of the table, it all comes flooding back.
With every 100words this happens, I leave gaps in the month on the days when I have nothing to write about, and then have to fill them in post-factum. I don't even try to remember what really happened on this day. Enough to say that spring has come and leaves are bursting out of their pods, like hands joined in prayer opening to embrace. These few weeks from the start of the summer till the trees are properly green are my favourite, the most dynamic moment of change we get to see before it all turns uniform boring green.
Dad's apologetic, he caved under my sister's pressure to accompany them to Alzace. I could be upset about this, say that he'd promised, that yet again my plans are being side-tracked to make room for her plans, that my wishes don't count, that she always gets the upper hand - and she did not even consider calling me about this, seeing if I was ok with this, just snatched him. And he knows this, which is why he's apologetic. But honestly the thought had not even occured until now. But now that I know it, another drop to the cup.
Went to get a strapless bra for the wedding today (my running bill for this event must be approching a hundred quid now, not counting the flights - not bad, I suppose, by 'normal' standards). I stripped down to a pair of leggins, and looked at myself in the two-way mirror. Oh my god. My legs have become huge! The muscles arch triumphantly from the pelvis, and grab my knees making a tight, knuckly fist. I arched my back and looked at the play of muscles there, thick slugs sliding under the skin. In a Wonderbra, I looked like Xena.
Oh the hilarity. So the guy who knocked me up will be there at the wedding ceremony. And so will be my dad, who hates his guts, and so will be my boyfriend, who will stay amusedly and bemusedly above it. I am wondering if I should tell either of them that the person's gonna be there - the one may not notice, and the other will not know who he is anyway... I am tempted. He may not approach. He may not make any stupid comments. He may, in fact, behave completely unlike himself and be decent. Phaw. Fat chance.
Spring is very late in Poland this year, from a land of blossom we fly into a land of brown and sodden grey. My love is not feeling well, and I feel sorry for him, and grateful he did come along into this land of incomprehensibility. He always looks on the bright side, plans little pleasures for us and looks forward to them, I love him for that so much.
A. was astonished when I turned up on the doorstep at nine am soaked in sweat; I never thought I'd be one of those people running 16k before lunch time.
The sun had come out but it was still cold, and even though I wanted to stay away from the spectre of the past in the form of my ex we had to shelter from the wind inside. Soon the car arrived, and M&J stepped out, nervous, late. I rushed to hug them but all they wanted was to get inside and get it over with. I handed my coat in at the cloakroom, excitedly talking to the assistant. He shrug his shoulders. 'Don't get so agitated, it's just fifteen minutes, and then a life-time to get divorced.'
As I stood there waiting for the groom and bride to arrive, and the guests to get seated, I felt my legs shaking. My heart was in my throat and pumping hard, as if it were me getting married, not them! I would have never expected to be reacting in this way, but you can't fool embodied custom. Throughout the ceremony I could not stop smiling widely at them, at their cuteness and tenderness and self-awareness, at their little dance-wiggles when the synthesised music was playing, at their hardly concealed smiles when the official recited very bad poetry.
As soon as we arrived at the hotel they recovered, and already stepping out of the car they were different people, the silly, happy-go-lucky couple I know. M was beautiful througout, whether dancing like a maniac, her long white dress held up in one hand, or talking solemnly with the elders of her family. J was overtaken and unusually composed until the very end. The tables groaned, and the band in the form of an Apple laptop did its best although the six hour playlist turned out to be too brief and at two we were still dancing.
Spring is here. The air is warm on my cheeks as I cycle, and the Shaved Pussy is out to provide the much-needed break in the climb up our hill. I pet her until the sun is off the highest tower in the city, and resume.
Hard to start running again after a 16k and then a four day break filled with pork and vodka and all things nice. I will start tomorrow, honest.
The spring makes me lost for words today. Or it may be the chapter work, staring at the screen cost me £145 at the opticians.
I feel a bit bad for having drunk nearly all of the Fascist's wine; he sent me 10 bottles from Abruzzo, and I was supposed to have organised a tasting - well, we sort of did, at my birthday, and his music was being played, but quietly, as it was not very good at all, not to mention that the spoken parts were of course spoken in Italian and sent me into fits of manic laughter, so pretentious they were. I had great plans for an academic article about synesthesia, but honestly there is already too much to do this year.
I nearly gave in and stayed at home with ill K today, he was walking me towards university and everything is in flower, the whole city is covered in blossom, the weather is ideal and yet there is a chapter to be finished, but I did come very close indeed to saying 'fuck it', jumping on a bus to Castleton and spending the day looking at the clouds race above, listening to the birds and spotting flowers. If only I were not this close to finishing this chapter, and if only I didn't have the deadline breathing on my neck!
When I saw her at the hospital she looked ancient, shuffling along the corridor, pushing or maybe leaning on the drip, dried blood on her forearm, pale as death. When she saw me she started crying, and hardly stopped for the rest of the day. She was so helpless I felt I could just take her in my arms like a child and carry her out. Honey dissolved in water turned out to be the solution, as well as just company, simply someone to talk to, distract her from tracing imaginary symptoms and fearing dying alone of self-imposed hunger.
Hard to comprehend for me, a person who does everything to distance the bad and enjoy the good. With her unhappiness seems a slippery slope, you take one step and you're sliding down, you're not eating and not going out, even to the office, paranoia takes over, conversations on the phone are not enough to keep you sane. So alien to me, this way of thinking, my nature to seek out the good in the small things, to forget the bad and move on always hoping, always trusting, or maybe just not thinking, moving forward animal-like, pure survival instinct.
Census day today. Once every 10y, so the first one I've participated in in the UK. A played the 'head of the household' role, and joked about me being 'illegal' and 'udner the radar'; strangely, it touched me, made me feel out of place for a moment, and unwelcome, although I know his intention was the exact opposite, joking about it as a sign of acceptance and friendliness. Still, there are those moments from time to time when I feel I don't belong, and that everything I take for granted could dissolve under my feet due to a bureaucratic whim.
I was nervous about this run. Along Fulwood road to Forge Dam but instead of dropping down continued upwards, past the observatory, past the farm... A strong pang then, I could still turn around and run back home the familiar route, but I forced myself on instead, easy pace, past the reservoirs, past a panting mountain biker, towards the edge, air still and closed on the moor, unusual. Along the edge slowed right down, jumping from rock to rock. Lost the path, wasted time and ran into Hathersage to see the home-ward bus just leaving the bus stop. Bugger.
Bloody time change. Everyone I know is walking in a daze this week because of the clocks going back, and us losing an hour's sleep. I wake up every morning wishing for the weekend, and get impatient with students. And for what? Russia opted out of observing summer time this year - good for them. As most things absurd, its origins are tied to the war effort - well, we are not dependent on candles (for the moment), so why keep it? Slaves of the bureucracy. It messes up with sleeping patterns, mealtimes and routines. The potential economic benefit is unproven (unprovable?).
The top she was wearing was long, colorful, and uncovering quite a bit of shoulder - somehow she pulled it off with jeans and hiking boots. As it got warmer the cardigan went, and I noticed myself looking at her uncovered skin, thinking of the way she was sitting in the chair, relaxed, arms crossed, and there was something feminine about it which made me think of her private life, working in the garden with her partner an undefined shadow of a presence (I've never met him, or know his name), but excerting a visible influence over her, making her female.
Strangest dreams last night, so vivid perhaps because they occured just before waking. Three siblings competing for my attention, the boys like a tall, shy boy I knew at school. Each different - a farmer who'se into folk music, an artist who'se into drugs and black magic, and their sister, with two talking dogs. I let each of them down gently, one after another, while basking in their lust. The black magic boy is last, and the dream turns into a bit of a nightmare, a bad trip, although comically a well-behaved friend from RL is casted as a witch.
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