Feeling Gothic at an almost 14-year-old clip for two reasons: crippling (though short-term)stupidity at work, and the fact that there was a hard nasty frost last night, nipping springtime in the bud. Thank fuck I don't have to go to work today. In the meantime, I'm gonna meme it. I know it's kinda disturbingly referential to ideas I hate about 'cultural evolution', but the Hipster Pit made me do it.
1. I can't believe I've never barbequed stuff.
2. Every time I think about the way I treated everybody during my three-year lost weekend I still cringe. Maybe there's a way to combine hedonism and kindness but I did not find it.
3. I wish I'd thanked Samia for being my personal apparition of the Virgin when I had the chance.
Samia was the woman who lived next to me several years ago, when I was young and tender, and when I had this shitty little mouse-ridden apartment in a shitty building in the second-shittiest neighborhood of the 20th arrondisement of Paris. My flat in its entirety was about 14 square metres. To contextualize that for the imperialists out there, that's the size of a standard entrance hall in a suburban North American home. My bed folded out from a mock chest of drawers. There were only two good things about that shitty place: knowing that there were hundreds of thousands of people in the Île-de-France who were living in shittier places, and the credibility that came with such a lousy address when I was flirting with bobos - 'you living in a neighborhood like that, it's not Betty from Manhattan letting Daddy pay for her flat in the Kart-year Latay. Ha ha ha ha.' Yes. Now give me your marijuana, you smug post-colonial shitheel. God, I hate the French sometimes.
So besides me and Samia, who I think was Algerian, everybody in the building was French blue-collar-to-unemployed, and they all thought Samia was crazy. Not sure why. She was pretty loud and when I was home I could hear her bellowing on the phone in a couple of different languages. She was a cleaner for the SNCF so she worked irregular hours and was liable to phone-bellowing in the wee hours, but I was hardly ever around, so she was fine as far as I was concerned.
One night that I was around, the building next to ours caught fire and we all had to evacuate because there was the risk of explosion and because there were flames shooting out the windows three feet away. While we were waiting for the firemen to say it was safe to return, I turned down an offer to go for a drink with the fat bipolar alcoholic who lived downstairs, who I suspected of beating his wife, and went for a drink with the girl who lived across the hall from him instead.
After that the fat bipolar alcoholic was my sworn enemy, which I found out about a week later when I left the front door of the building unlocked while picking something up from my flat. I heard him quietly cursing, so I called down from my landing that I was on my way right back out. He answered with a torrent of vile abuse - I can't remember what he said but nobody had ever spoken to me like that before, and certainly not at that volume. It was absolutely paralyzing. I stood there on the landing, frozen, trembling, not knowing what to do.
Samia suddenly opened her door and said to me calmly: 'you know he's crazy, right?' I trembled and nodded. 'Are you on your way out?' I continued to tremble and nod, and Samia said, 'I'm going to stand right here. I'm going to stand right here and watch and listen. Don't be afraid. Nothing's going to happen. I'll be right here.' I trembled and nodded some more, and then left, looking back up the stairs halfway down, to see her standing on the landing, saying 'I'm right here.'
So I continued on my way and although the fat bipolar alcoholic remained abusive after that, I didn't pay much attention. And since then generally speaking I've been rather tougher, which is all to the good, considering that I rounded off the 20th arrondisement experience by moving in with Bluebeard, in an equally shitty part of the 18th no less. But for the rest of the time I lived there I would snap at people if they called Samia crazy, and we stopped to talk more, and I gave her a big bunch of flowers that one of the men I really wished I could fuck that year had given me and that made me sneeze.
But in my fishbelly emotional retardation I never found a way to tell her how grateful I was at the way her calm, kind words had stopped me from pissing myself. I hope she knew. I hope she's a millionaire now. I hope only good things happened to her from that point on.
4. I've never felt so out of place as when I was at that last conference and realized that I was in a hall, and an industry, full of goddamn parasitic three-peice suited gangsters. It actually made me miss television execs for a moment.
5. Reading about Heather Mills and the Sarkozyland dramas is my guiltiest pleasure.
6. I hope my parents knows how grateful I am for everything.
7. In my darkest hours, I secretly blame no-account men for my dysfunction.
8. Literacy changed my life forever. As did the first time I clapped eyes on the F-word.
And as part of my personal quest to have the idea of 'memes' permanently abandon the 'memepool' or 'memeplex' or whatever bullshit bullshit social/cultural evolutionists are calling the collective consciousness now, I'm passing this on to no-one. Take that, Richard Dawkins.