26 November 2012


Yesterday was a quiet Sunday. I wrote and baked bread and stole away for a pint at my local while the bread cooled. I sat at the end of the bar and made some scribbles in a notebook, outlining a chapter with some details, happy with the flow of it. There were arrows and bullet points and even something verging on a diagram. It's the 'history' chapter of the book. Since it isn't a fiction, I feel more comfortable doing all this laying out of things. It wouldn't do for me to put the Battle of Dunkirk (very different from the evacuation) before the Albigensian Crusades in a fit of writing fervour, as the former took place nearly 400 years after the latter. 

While scribbling notes and sipping a pint, an army of neck-tied student pub-crawlers invaded the quiet confines of the local. I think it was a rowing team, but if so there were too many coxes. They were loud and drank Fosters and every time I thought that must be all of them, more arrived. Soon the bar was packed, and they just seemed to get louder. One or two gave a couple of locals a bit of lip, and for a split second it looked like it would get a bit messy at the other end of the bar. I just kept scribbling.

They left faster than they arrived, off to annoy some other folks enjoying a quiet Sunday pint. The echo of the door shutting behind them was followed by a loud 'What a bunch of cocks' from on of the guys at the other end of the bar. I shut my notebook and nursed the very end of my pint, remembering that it wasn't all that long ago that I was like that. Bursting into bars, thinking I owned the place. Possessing no volume control and the firm belief that everything I uttered was important.

I always drank better beer, of course, but still. 

And now I'm the quiet, grumpy one at the bar, trying to ignore them, cursing their invasion of my little corner of the world. And they don't give a shit.

Which is fine. When I was their age, I didn't give a shit either.


25 November 2012

ikea desks and bad bookshelves

There's no rain to wait for today, but still I sit here with a coffee and ponder awhile before heading out for my run. I wrote around things yesterday rather than through them, but it cleared enough of the to-do list to give me some breathing room.

I'm sat at my dad's desk instead of my own. Mine's in my room and I find it somewhat tough to work when I know my bed is behind me. My father's retired and so his desk goes much unused. It's become a storage shelf for the mountains of paperwork having a pension generates. There's also an unused MacBook Air, one of the "Fenway Bricks" with his name inscribed along with the years that he was a batboy for the Red Sox. It's not his proper old desk, sadly. That's in storage. This thing came from Ikea. I helped my mom build it some years ago. On the wall to my left is a large, Victorian print of Boston from the air. It's only just occurred to me that it must have been sketched from a hot-air balloon. On the wall in front of me is my dad' degree from The Naval Academy, the odd commendation and a beautifully calligraphed print of The Prayer of a Midshipman. Next to these is a window that looks out onto the back garden, where the leaves seem greener than they should at this time of year. The other half of the room is the library, though it represents so small a percentage of the family's books that it seems a bit of a misnomer. The rest are in storage. Next to the horrid black bookshelves are tall stacks of volumes for which there is no room. There's a tv in here as well, but you'd barely notice it if it wasn't on. 

We moved in here in a rush, in 2006. Our old house sold and we had nowhere to go. I found this place for my folks as kind of a stop-gap, as somewhere nearby to set up home until something better came along. We didn't want to sell the old place, but shit happens.

I don't feel quite at home here, which is fine, I won't be here for long. I'm used to a sense of displacement. 

But nor do my parents, which is a shame as it is their home, or what's passing for it at the moment.