Me, myself and I April 19, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
What better way to spend the working day in weather like this than out and about, thinking how best to tackle all the tricky tasks ahead? Yes, 9-5 wandering around, soaking up some rays, trying to get a bit of a head-start tan, sitting in cafés and then heading home, fudging for a bit longer and curling up in bed with your laptop. (Darlings, any ergonomic hints for bed-blogging? Bloody agony.)
But this is work, remember, and, as I’d rather die than work in a team, these tough working days are best spent alone.
God, I’m good company.
But a slip of the Russian’s tongue/brain/sanity the other day has raised shallow philosophical questions in me. He was giving me a light-hearted bollocking for something or other as we wandered down the street – I think I’d left a piece of paper on a table in 1979 – and then did the Russian(‘s) equivalent of a deary-me or my-oh-my with the accompanying forced chuckle. But do you know what he said? He didn’t say, “Deary me, BiB, you really are a one,” with a chuckle. No. He said, “Deary me, (the) Russian – those Slavs never could cope with articles. OK, Bulgarians can, apparently – you really are a one,” with a chuckle.
I saw fit to stand still on the street to tackle this brain-slip. I can’t be shallowly philosophical and walk at the same time. Anyway, my knees are giving me gyp so I was grateful for the rest.
“Darling, why did you just call me you?”
“Deary me. I don’t know. My oh my.”
“We must get to the bottom of this, beloved,” I probably continued. “Have you started thinking I’m you, and that you’re me, and that we’ve become one big conflated blob of post-cold-war, building-bridges, knocking-down-barriers gayness?”
“Um, nyet. Actually, when I talk to myself, I usually tell myself off for when I’ve done something wrong. And I say, ‘Deary me, Russian – those Slavs never could cope with articles – you really are a one,’ and I just thought for a moment I was talking to me and not you.”
So that put my mind at ease.
But back to the hard work of sitting alone in catering establishments. I would once have been too embarrassed to do this. And still need to be fairly choosy about my venue for a good bit of socialising with myself. I mean, I wouldn’t dare wander into a funky Berlin place – replete with 70s design and tossers – alone. That couldn’t be done. And, you know, what if some person-with-an-incomprehensible-job-title decided to take pity on you, sitting there like the sole unbowled skittle, and ruined your solo-socialising by engaging you in conversation? In Germany, this is quadruply fatal, as there’d be no hope of truncating the nascent/doomed-to-failure (delete according to mood/passport) friendship once you’d said you were English. The Germans adore the English and you’d be telling each other your life stories before you’d even got round to asking, “So what precisely does someone with that incomprehensible job title do?” No. Your solo-socialising must be in the right place. The establishment should be small. Reasonably empty. Preferably bathed in glorious sunshine.
So, yes, working like a dog of late. But a further conundrum for working/solo-socialising is whether the occasion will involve food. If you are the type that might get a bit embarrassed during a bout of working/solo-socialising, then food can be a good prop. For beginners, I’d even highly recommend it. No-one will think you look like a Billy-no-mates if you’re busy gnashing away at some delicacy or other, smattering your face in goo in the process. Whereas if you sit scowling at passers-by with just a minute cup of coffee, the rate of change in which is as slow as the rate of action in a Tarkovsky film, people might find you a tad on the odd side. Which is the image I’m going for.
But all work and no play never did anyone any good. After an especially Tarkovskian coffee/working-day recently, I thought I’d better get the Russian in on the action. I didn’t have a book to distract me for when socialising with myself had got boring, and I’m still not very good at reading, though I have now mastered the Wide Range Reader. I never take my laptop anywhere (except to bed). I texted him indoors explaining I was exhausted at all this work I’d been ruminating. Might he care to join me for a brainstorming session?
He couldn’t join me, as it happens. He was busy geometrically arranging papers somewhere, in a functional take on origami. But I didn’t despair. One, because I’m such good company alone. Two, because now that I know we’re one (big conflated blob of post-cold-war, building-bridges, knocking-down-barriers gayness), he’s always with me.
Those Spice Girls knew everything.