Sunday, May 24, 2009

I ought to be working right now...

I'm making muffins for breakfast, before I go to church. Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Last night I was storytelling. I was so tired that it was difficult to focus on the words--instead I found myself constantly on autopilot, which is not good. During one of my stories a face floated through my head and for the next five minutes I was trying to remember where I knew her from. I could see her sitting down in front of a cup of tea, laughing...then I remembered. Luckily, I didn't shout "Eureka!" in the middle of my story, as that would have been inappropriate. For some reason my tired brain had conjured up one of my dorm-mates from London, another woman who was living in my floor, but one I wasn't particularly close to. British. Friendly. Down to Earth. Had a boyfriend in Wales, if I remember correctly. After the story was over I was sitting "backstage", indulging in the minutiae of that Brockley kitchen. The two tiny refrigerators that were always overfull and full of food that no one could get at. Ditto the tiny cupboards with the towels hanging through the handles. The kettle, of course, and the crappy stoves with their crappy electric hobs. Only one hob really worked, so that one got worked all the time...and eventually stopped working so well. The basil plant I tried to keep alive. Then I moved on to grocery shopping, thinking about the Sainsbury's down in the Lewisham shopping center. Only buying what I could carry in my one great big blaze orange Sainsbury's bag. The little boxes of crushed and split tomatoes with olives or peppers inside. The sandwich spreads that were so much better than American ham spread. Never buying ice cream because it would melt on the bus. Or, for that matter, anything that involved preparation beyond my one pot and pan. Baking? Forget it. When I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, I bought a chicken simply because it came with its own pan, and I had to ask my invited guests to bring their own plates. Most of us only had one.

I don't know why I got sucked into thinking about that. Perhaps its because Alison--who I met in that very kitchen--just got back from London, and graciously bought me an "I (heart) London" t-shirt (which I asked for) and a flapjack (which I did not.) Oh, God, I love flapjacks. Of all the foody items I miss the most, flapjacks are at the top of my list. I haven't eaten it yet, but I'm sure once I do I'll be overcome with memories, because I used to eat those things all the damm time. On the underground, walking to class, walking to rehearsal, in rehearsal, in class, late at night coming home from the bars... Oh my.

Then there's my bag. If you've seen me outside or taken a picture of me in a place that requires a purse, you've seen my cream-coloured messenger bag, bought the day I went down to Portsmouth to drool over the Victory. A few days ago it went into the trash. I can darn and patch with the best of them, but if the very integrity of the fabric is wearing away, there's no hope. I bought a new bag, which is almost exactly like this one, except it's green, plastic, and not from Portsmouth. Also I had to take off my Nelson button--the one showing a seventeen year old Lieutenant beating a polar bear to death with a rifle and that's why they're going extinct--and I realised just how dented up and rusty this stupid thing is. It really is the oddest thing to make a button out of, which is why I bought it, but now it's...well, I guess the moment's passed.

I live in Virginia now. I drink sweet tea and I smile whenever I smell honeysuckle (which is all the time these days). I'm relieved that our apartment has emptied itself of college-age students (including one of my roommates) because they are noisy and annoying. I'm a lot happier and a lot more content, and I have a boyfriend and a dog, which are two of the things on my List, so well done for me. And when my boss teases me and asks when I'm going back to London, I just shrug and say--"well, London will always be there."

3 comments:

Diane Fields said...

Nicki i have never been to England but yet i have always wanted to go since i was a kid. My dad was in the army and wherever i was stationed with him we would go. We would always go thru an airport there and i wanted to go explore. I am a huge Dickens fan as well as Shakespeare. I also love Kate Winslet. One of these days i will explore. I can see why you like it.

Jack Bunny said...

Nothing special ... I was just thinking about you and wanted you to know.

j

Lisa.gr said...

I miss this kitchen...