17 August 2007

Dutch pancakes

It’s 11 and there’s nothing to do at the moment. Everything I need to accomplish in the coming weeks is reliant on others now. It’s a strange feeling, to know for certain that I’m all caught up and not just overlooking something.

The things that make me feel nauseated at the moment are: the vaguely sexist conversations taking place around me; the sales guy who won’t shut up or speak in tones quieter than a yell; the smell of the editor’s deodorant or possibly his cologne.

But my holidays have been approved and we finally booked our flights, so September in Croatia is a go. I can’t wait to have 9 full days away from this place – work specifically but certainly London. I realised in the bath this morning that back when I was in school, my environment was stable enough to allow for my inner landscape to shift and grow pleasantly for months. Here, it’s the other way around – London’s working culture is mutable, even in familiar places, and you need internal stability to manage it properly.

I feel cranky because everyone around me seems to be shouting about something, most of it sports-related, so why should I have to listen? In a meeting, a designer asked if the four of us who don’t work in sales could be moved because the environment isn’t conducive to creativity. Though apparently it costs around £1500/person to move, god knows why. I suggested that maybe they’d use the money to build us our own room.

Since I stopped walking with my co-worker in the mornings, our relationship has been much better. Unlike with my mother, who has developed shorthand for delivering her barbs within the minimum allotted time we have now to talk, distance has turned my co-worker back into the lovely, happy girl with boundaries she once was. We’re planning to meet at lunch to have a catch-up, since she’s going back to China on holiday next week and there’s much to be excited about.

It’s funny to see a particularly attractive colleague negotiate the halls like the weight of her beauty is too much for her to bear, when really, nobody cares. Everyone is too mired in their own issues to notice others much. That’s how I’ve always wanted life to be and now it is. I’m not sure why I still worry about those extra few pounds I’m carrying, or what my skin looks like under florescent lights. I guess these things take a while to mend.

I’m lucky to have married someone who dislikes crowded events and the jostling bodies of self-conscious strangers as much as I do, though I spent so long thinking this was an inappropriate and unhealthy reaction to humanity that I feel vaguely guilty for giving into reclusion so joyously. Now it’s books and laptops, movies and music, banjo practice, cooking, pillows, open windows and the gentle whirr-whirring of the fan. We venture out to a film or to dinner and then hurry back to the safety of this perfect ecosystem we’ve created.

I don’t know how you can love someone in a teeth-gritting, stomach-hurting kind of way and still manage to crack a book, but it’s a compelling contrast.

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