‘a calm sea never made a good sailor’
Remember that you’re on my side? Even if I may have crossed a line. I’ve been irritated into a state of volcano bubbles – almost too agitated to blog. I’m OK now. Just a blip.
Yes there are sides. There are hundreds of sides, hundreds of footsteps through the threshold of the home and the past lives in the present. John Fowles echoes:
All pasts are like poems. You can derive a thousand things, but you can’t live in them.
I’ve been thinking about the past lives of my house. It was built in 1895. It was a draper’s shop on a busy parade of shops opposite a cake factory. The living room was upstairs above the shops, with a beautiful iron fire stove with a plate to boil the kettle, and I stop and smile and remember that I’m just one of many fussing homeowners trying to relax at the end of the day by the fire. This house has seen families pass through and it doesn’t care if my walls are smudged with hand prints or the bedrooms house lonely souls hiding from the world watching TV on glowing laptops.
Henry is a pain because he ticks all of the ‘piss me off’ boxes. He’s just trying to stay out of the way and do his thing.
His thing drives me up the wall.
What’s the problem? He’s so dull I want to cry out and he makes sporadic loud submarine noises without knowing he is making a noise and he never goes out except for work. Rushes home as fast as you like to sit and watch TV in his room or to sit and tell me about his various health issues and I have to try and make conversation because he’s always in the kitchen. He’s obsessed by his health regime and sleep patterns and daily exercises including the ones that make me scrunch up my nose, when he does palm press-ups against my newly white painted walls then runs on the spot with frantic and manic feet. Every morning he stretches for eternal minutes by flattening his face against my living room walls next to the kitchen table, breathing deeply and loudly into them whilst I try to look at the kettle and concentrate on the Radio 4 ‘Thought for the Day’, and I want to shout ‘let go of my walls and join a gym’, but I don’t. I’ll see his glistening sweat hand-prints next sunny day and remember the frown.
Footsteps on my threshold, hand-prints of all of us and the long forgotten people all absorbed by the cool high walls that don’t care.
By Saturday I was miserable.
Me “I can’t take any more”
Partner D___ “It’s only been two weeks”
“Help” I mouthed to the indifferent world.
Me secretly then locked the front door and left the keys in it when Henry did finally go out and I turned up the music.
Partner D____ didn’t know and joined me dancing in the kitchen.
Henry pounded on the door.
Me turned up the volume on the radio and wondered if he would go away.
He didn’t. Me feeling anxious after 10 or so minutes as to how this would end panicked and let Henry in, surprised that I had been so absent minded. That knocking was persistent.
How disappointing! After all of my good work as a laid back landlady getting on with my busy life.
Since then I’ve asked Henry to exercise upstairs, at the park or in a gym. Anywhere but next to me. Yet he continues to do his fast forwarded star jumps whilst I eat my breakfast, panting and making involuntary squeaks.
I’ve been here before with the dread Tim (up tight and anti-social). Now it’s me getting up tight and anti-Henry and I don’t like it.
The real problem is the fact that Henry is one in a long line of 20 something lodger males with limited social skills who can’t hold a conversation and stay in every night and all weekend. We have to cook and eat and share the kitchen day and night and they don’t go out very often. Why are people so frightened to live their lives? Henry says he suffers from lack of energy and I’m thinking, well you could go and have a laugh and meet people or get outdoors for some fresh air? I’m not a doctor. Hell I need to put up with some inconvenience I know that, I’m taking the rent afterall, but I wish I could high-jump the lost mumblers and find another friendly lodger like Alice who isn’t even afraid of spiders.
I’ve snapped, the straw has broken and Henry is currently an unfortunate embodiment of all of the socially incompetent regressed adult males hiding in my house’s cobwebbed Wi-Fi. Since Saturday I have remorsefully lightened the air with pleasantries and I’ve had a good word with myself. But I’m hanging out until the 1st to tell Henry ‘it’s just not working out’.
Meanwhile, I remember to live myself, so I’m getting out of the way of the flailing exercising limbs to Beer at the weekend to look at the sea and be with D____. Hurrah for sea and sky and family and love. How did I forget even for a minute that it is all waiting for me. Twinkling as a reward if I’m a good landlady.
Next time…I’ll resolve to think fantastical thoughts to lift us above the grind.
- Keeping Things Fun in the Kitchen (bleubirdvintage.typepad.com)
- Sailor Sayings: 12 Common Words with Nautical Origins (wordnik.com)