expat


Haven’t been here for a while, to the point that I couldn’t actually remember how to post. However I’ve managed to work it out so in a little rosé induced fog I am blogging this red (or rather rosé) letter week for my own benifit, as I have long since lost any few followers I ever had. The reason I am bothering to write is that in the last two weeks I have had my drawings framed and hung in my local café, I have been on tour in Ireland with my French chamber choir (singing incredibly obscure 17th century music) and have just returned for the café myself and a few pals were toating my wee photo expo AND I have gotten a grant to write my French based script. THESE ARE GOOD TIMES!!! When things go belly up, as buddists and Irish pessimists always say they alway will, I want to remember this week and hence am blogging to mark it. I am begining to think this impulse based to Paris was quite a good idea afterall. All I need now is a bit of romance and today, when been chatted up in a café I had high hopes I was going to have it all…until he stood up..and came to my shoulder..and put on his anorak, so it seems you can’t have it all after all. Ah well.

I occasionally revisit my all but dead blog just to remind me about the sort of things I got up to in the last year. Well today something happened which I want to be sure to remember. Possibly I have mentioned in posts past my cutey young waiter, ie the lovely young fella with the smile of a young John Travolta, on whom I have a cougar crush in my local café.

Anyway, I’ve just spent the last 12 days in Ireland but today, when I returned to my café, not only did he and the other waiters give me a lovely warm welcome, but he gave me a presant!!! A copy of Le Petit Prince to help me learn French!! We’d discussed it before and he bought it for me! I am so beyond touched and charmed. The only thing is, I now have to read it!

….I’m going to stop complaining. As well as here I’ve been giving out about my illness on Facebook and one of my ‘Facebook Friends’, one of the ones by the way I only fecking ‘accepted’ out of politness becuase he is a writing peer and we had ‘mutual friends’ , told me to ‘oh shut up’!!! Can people do that? Is there not a code of ethics on Facebook which goes along the lines of ‘don’t be mean to people when they are sick!’. And anyway, feck him, if he is that sick of my malingering, why doesn’t he just ‘hide’ me,

I’ve hidden a good ninety percent of my ‘friends’ for various reasons. Some becuase I was bored of their posting accounts of what they were having for breakfast, others becuase they used the word ‘yummy’ just once too often and one becuase he kept posting these rather grey and blurry photographs which disturbed me and put me in a weird mood for the rest of the day. And one or two becuase they just seemed too bloody happy and made me look at my life with jaundiced eyes!

Anyway, now that I am sulking with the kids on Facebook, I am not going to tell them that I have decided to develope a crush on a 28 year old pop star! Well apparently he’s famous in France anyway, for what it’s worth! He’s a friend of a friend and he told me my blue coat was lovely.Of course he is going out with a suitably bottechelli -haired rock chick but I’m just going to stick his mental poster next to that of my 22 year old waiter on the mental walls of my brain and in a few years time write a philisophy book about them. Heh, it worked for Germaine Greer.

Anyway, I am going back to ‘poke’ the Facebook bully….in his cyber eye with a shitty stick!

I have the flu and it’s killing me!! Well not literally, I hope, though I do feel pretty shite! But staying in bed and doing nothing is wrecking my head.

‘I should go out for a walk’, ‘ I should go the Lourve’ ‘I should paint a picture’ ‘ I should try to get a picture IN the Lourve’, I should be trying to find a cure for the flu’, I should be trying to find a cure for cancer’! ‘I am wasting my life here in the this bed’. ‘I’m wasting my life in general’. ‘I am going to die’!

These and about a million thoughts of equal lack of any use or validity are firing around my brain like buckshot from an airgun. And the thing is I KNOW that really all I SHOULD do is lie in bed and drink lots of fluids. Simple. So why am I adding all the rest of the shit on top of that? I HAVE NO IDEA! Do you know what my worst problem last week was? I was very very happy…and somehow or other, I felt guilty about being so happy. So then I felt stupid for feeling guilty about being happy. Then I was ANNOYED with myself for feeling stupid for feeling guilty….and on and on it went, until I wasn’t anymore particularly happy anymore! My only comfort is that my friend, another expat, admited that he was was going through the exact same thing. Guilty for being happy….DUMBASSES!!!!

I wouldn’t mind if any of this angsting about my lack of being constructive was actually MAKING me contructive, but what ever tiny tiny gaps there are between each repetitive boring little angst thought is being plugged up with cycle 13 of America’s Next Top Model’, and between each 5 part installments per episode from Youtube I have miny angsts about how I ‘should’ be watching something more edifying. Christ it’s exausting!

Oh and if anyone very reasonably wants to give me a slap around the head right now, don’t worry I am mentally doing it to myself, NON STOP! I mean CHRIST FORBID I ever actually have a real problem, my brain will probably just implode into a million tiny pieces. But then that might be a relife. It might make it stop!

I wonder has the cute waiter noticed I haven’t been in the last few days? I’ve had the flu so haven’t been going to my local cafe for my daily ‘cafe alongee avec un petit peu du lait (someday I’ll work out how type do the accents). The nice thing about Paris is that you can establish ‘local cafes and boulangeries’ pretty quickly and staff get to know you, at least if you have distinctively dreadful french and a red hat, both of which I do.

Anyway I have developed a crush on one of the waiters. He’s lovely. He always greets me with a big smile, a tad of chat (until about one and a half sentances in and my French breaks down) and in his crisp white shirt and smart black trousers, well he’s just a peach, in a French Prince William cleancut sort of way. He’s also about 22! Maybe younger! Certainly not much older. Which I am. I could be his mother if I came from a rather more dysfunctional and permissive background! But he’s just so cheery, fresh, happy and NEW looking. And that’s kind of new!

After all I have been spending alot of time lately with artists, and a more entertaining and funny bunch of ex-alcoholics, divorcees and depressives you couldn’t wish to meet, but compared to my shiny waiter in his shiny white shirt, they seem rather nicotined and life stained. I can suddenly see the appeal of younger women for men, it’s the hope some of their freshness might rub off.

Of course this being Paris, I should just have an affair with him. In fact if this was a French film, I the older jaundiced woman, channeling Isabelle Huppard, would just lure him into my web. Then I’d use him and abuse him in all sorts of sordid and louche ways, break his heart (becuase of course he’d fall madly in love/lust with me) then cast him aside with that innocent light in his eye extinguished and replaced by …’knowingness’.

Unfortunatly, as thirty somethings go, I fear I am a bit behind on the ‘knowingness’ front myself and the most sordid activities in my web involve illegally down loading ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ ,eating too much chocolate rice and avoiding writing. In fact he would probably scrabble quickly out of my writers web and into a proper pensional job for fear of ending up in a similar state of retarded adolesence in his late thirties.

As it is, he probably just views me as the slightly eccentric foreign woman who sits at the counter..watching him! Oh sweet Christ, I’m less Isabelle Hubbard then Dirk Bogarde in ‘Death in Venice’, complete with smudged makeup! Time to change cafes.

Hmm, is it worth blogging if you feel you have to be cautious about what you write? Before, when I was a complete newbie to Paris and was internet dating up a storm, it didn’t really matter what I wrote about various people becuase chances were, I wasn’t going to see them again. Actually that goes for my standard dating too unfortunatly, but let’s not dwell on that.

But now you see, I am getting to know people, in fact I can even say I have made some friends. However gossip is my life’s blood. In fact I think rather then blood, I have the exact brand of ink running through my veins they use to print ‘The National Enquirer’. And where there is very little gossip, I can manufacture some. That’s one of the few advantages of being judgemental, I can have an opinion, about which I can go on at lengh, on just about everyone!!
But you can’t do that with friends can you? Oh of course you can behind their backs with other friends, I mean that’s part of the deal right? It’s what you sign up for, in fact if one’s friends are NOT dissecting one’s latest life decisions, well they don’t really care do they. However it’s probably not the done thing to post the gossipy musings on the internet is it…or is it??? I’m still not 100% au fait with blogging etiquette ..or liable law for that matter but it’s why, when I went back to Ireland, my blog fell at the first hurdle. Various family and friends were within hitting distance or at least knew where to find me.

The other option is I suppose, ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing’ but where’s the fun in that?

They say ‘be careful what you wish for’. So, because, when my pal told me she and her husband were moving to India for his job, I enviously sighed “Oh I wish something would happen to me that would shift me out of my rut” I wonder did I unconsciously wish up the fire in the house I rented for 14 years. Okay, it was more of a smoulder then a fire, but believe me, it’s the smoke that’ll kill you.

Still, consciously, I was actually quite happy in my rut in Dublin, in my cute fire hazard of an apartment by the sea, surrounded by 14 years worth of clutter. So when the landlord, incited by the fire authorities, told us we had to vacate the building I felt the initial devastation of loosing what was effectively my home. However disconcertingly soon afterwards certain excitement started to niggle in my gut. ‘Hell’ I started to think, ‘I’m a writer, I can write anywhere, why tie myself into a lease for an over priced bed sit in Dublin when I could be…well anywhere!’

Thus I found myself giving away 80% of my possessions on jumbletown.ie, storing the rest of my worldly goods in archive boxes in my parents house. Thus becoming, at a stage where most of my pals were settling down and buying houses, effectively homeless.

You’d be surprised how liberating having nothing feels, and how bloody terrifying! And disorientating and exciting, all at the same time. It makes for erratic dreams.

Oprah frequently says “the universe very often has a better plan for you then you have for yourself, if you let it”. So when the universe landed a three month residency in Paris on my lap, I said cheers. When a woman I was speaking to for all of ten minutes at a Paddy’s day party in the Irish Embassy, offered me the loan of her exquisite little house in Bagnolet until the end of August, I said thanks very much. The fact she had season 4 of The Wire, which I’d been hanging to see was just gravy.

When I rang my mate just to say hello, she informed me that I could have her lovely house in Dublin, a ten minute walk from where I used to live, for the next two weeks, again i was able to cheers yes. I’ve actually been officially homeless for over a year now, and I keep wondering when panic and a mad yen to settle down again to kick in, but instead , having no official roof over my head seems to be opening alot of doors, so for the time being, I’ll just go with the flow, who knows where it will take me.

And guess what, she has series 5 of The Wire!

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