Thursday, 31 January 2008

another kind of rush

My favourite chocolate at the moment is Lindt 99%. The squares are tiny, a perfect taste of (very) bittersweet comfort in the afternoon.

Unfortunately it is nearly Lent, and Lent means the forgoing of chocolate. Last year was one Big Failure, as Lent cruelly coincided with a trip to Paris.

I am preparing for the fearful day by indulging far too much in the good stuff. I just baked biscotti for the third time this month. Every time I make up a batch I put more chocolate in, and this time I really went overboard. I will make the excuse that it is Flatmate M's birthday.

The shaking of my hands from the sugar rush betrays my motive.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

you tart

Of course I was ill this weekend, just when there were plans with girlfriends, a party splattered with neon paint, cold clear weather to walk in.

Still. We laughed and went to an exhibition and ate thick hot chocolate in a cafe filled with bittersweet scents, drank too much wine in a favourite pub. Every year since we left school I have travelled with these girls, the Tarts, and after they left on Sunday I flicked through my travel notes. I never wrote about Bordeaux, other than in that nostalgic romantic way from E's living room in a creaking apartment. Here, because I still haven't got around to posting any more of my summer travel e-mails and reflections, are a few notes I wrote while spending time in a wonderful French city last September:

J is having a rather sexually frustrated time of it. Things she has yelled out this holiday, with no prompting:
"Can you switch this fanny thing off?"
When asked why she'd said the last one, she replied "I don't know. It just came over me."
I have just found a Parker ink pen in S's bag. S says:
"It's for drawing in my eyebrows."
Gullible E asks, after a pause, "What colour ink does it have in it?"
J, as she hides a piece of gum in a napkin, giggling to herself all the while:
"Nasty surprise."
Stood in the winery cellar, having boring making-of-wine process explained to us. French man keeps referring to "Racking off."
E starts to giggle and a minute later we are both the subject of disapproving stares as tears of laughter start to trickle down our cheeks.

I did write a lot of pretty, prosaic pieces about the churches and the architecture and all the overblown deliciousness I usually indulge in. But this sitting around and eating and laughing is the stuff memories are really made of, don't you think?

Monday, 28 January 2008

do not read this box

"Gosh," says Wonderful Tutor, as I walk in. "You look... tired."
She is being polite. I look like death. I have just had a coughing fit and my make-up, applied in the hope that eyeliner would counteract the sickness, is smeared down my face in emo-wannabe stripes.

"Yes. I'm ill." I hand her some paper. "You just have to tick boxes. Please. Tick boxes."
Wonderful Tutor looks at me strangely. This is the woman who described me as "optimistic" on my mid-year progress report. I have wobbled over to see her in order to get these Boxes Ticked. Otherwise I don't get to go to Law School. Whatever.

She studies the Stupid Form. "Which box should I tick? You're between a 2.1 and a 1."
I know this. I feel so worn out that I don't give a shit. "I have written 2.1 on every bit of paper that asks for my degree class. Just in case."

"Should I write something in this Pointless Box?" she looks up at me. I can hear the fluid in my chest when I breathe. It's distracting. "Or are you going to go and get your transcript?"
I haven't realised either of these tasks is necessary.

Subsequently I find out that I have to pay for my transcripts. I have to give the University money to write my results on a piece of paper. So I don't do that.
Irritatingly, and prior to this discovery, I have also dissuaded Wonderful Tutor from writing Nice Things in the Pointless Box, and am now worrying vaguely about not getting a place at all.

Bureaucracy sucks ass. So does being ill.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

want/need #3

Surely the definition of come-fuck-me boots:
Harder, baby.
The major benefit of my career choice? Being able to afford such frivolities.


The step machine in the gym said I burned 364 calories in fifteen minutes today. I don't believe it. I can't, because then I will rest on the laurels of my success and eat my bodyweight in biscotti. I usually burn 500 in an hour's workout. With the change in routine today, I bumped that up to somewhere around 800.

I like early mornings. I like the light, the quiet, watching the cafe over the road stirring. I adore how the gym makes me feel, after those first ten minutes of creaking hell, when the endorphin rush starts to tickle at the back of my neck.

I love how fit I am getting. I appreciate knee injuries now that I run more frequently, the impact of the treadmill resounding in my own joints, marginally fucked from that horrible fall. I frown at my rib as it spasms. And I go back, morning after morning, and sweat until my t-shirt sticks to me.

It is addictive, better than any drug rush.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

wherein I have news

...sort of. (Powerful words, sort of. As in... "You're going to live. Sort of." Have unashamedly stolen this joke from Dmitri Martin. Kind of takes the funny off, yes?)

Anyway. News! I have made what the magical They call a Decision. After a lifetime's stubborn resistance, I shall be taking a Law conversion course next year.

This is where the "sort of" kicks in, because I haven't actually applied yet. The deadline is the end of the month, so I've got ten days. This is a late decision, because I am me. Also, because They were right, and I wanted to sulk, and that degree I've nearly finished? Was just a procrastination effort. That half-baked idea about a PhD? A curious attempt to rebel, by, er, studying more. Whatever.

Decision leads to indecision, as I cannot plan my life until I know where I am going next. If I get a place, I don't yet know which city I'll be in. If I don't get a place, I shall get a job, some Lawyer-type work experience, and try again next year. I'm no stranger to impromptu time out.

It almost feels like 2004 all over again. Minus the crap waitressing job. And the boyfriend. And the death trap car. etc.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

two favourite chat up lines

Both rather politically incorrect.

#1: "Nice shoes. Wanna fuck?"

#2: "Wanna play the Rape Game?"
"That's the spirit!"

I am a sucker for bad taste. Also, I am sick of Feminism. Dissertation-itis has set in.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

reasons why my sister rightly calls me a loser, #1

I have called my new i-pod Qui Gon.

The last one I named Obi Wan.

And I wonder why I'm single.

Monday, 7 January 2008

head shot

I spent much of today avoiding eye contact with acquaintances in the sad dusty corners of the library, struggling, resolute, back into the New Year's academic commitments.

And then from my seat I look up and he is there, at the issues desk, smooth accent liquid among the pages words punctuation. He sees me and smiles, briefly, tiredly; I raise a hand and my mouth curves in reply. My pulse quickens, adrenaline. Fight or flight. That last row, that final awful night ending in bitch and irreconcilable accusations, it flashes in my blood.

But that is it. He leaves.

I cannot concentrate, and I leave, too.

Friday, 4 January 2008

out with the old

As a rule, I detest New Year. There is always drama. Someone always vomits. I always cry about something. It marks the beginning of the month I wish I could sleep through most.

Celebrating with friends old and new in Cambridge this year was wonderful. Bollinger, glitter, sushi, karaoke and gateau. No drama, no vomit, no crying. No dread of the days to come.

Traditionally, January is a bad time for me, usually heralding one of those phases that used to drive my ex to frustrated silence and me to hysterical paranoia. How sickeningly precious; how self-indulgent.

I feel differently about January this year. The sense of direction that I expected from the changes of the past twelve months is tentative at best; my decisions slow. But, it is there.

Out with the old.

Happy New Year, with hope.