Thursday, October 23, 2008

Party like it's 1991

I'm just back from a municipal swimming experience. Which is better than no swimming experience at all, but it did make me pine for the lake. In the lake, you could swim and swim and swim, turning thoughts over in your mind until they came to rest naturally.

And while I was there, swimming in the lake, I thought a lot about calmness, and how I should strive for more of it. Which of course I forgot as soon as I got home and got furious with the shrieking students and the parking hell and the relentless greyness and the price of butter. But as I was swimming today, for the first time in ages, my muscles seemed to remember, and I found myself thinking about calmness again.

I get angry too quickly. Not as quickly as J the plumber, who goes from 0 to C-word in about five seconds, but too quickly. With people, not with things. I am quite patient with things. But with people, I get furious, because they are so often Inconsiderate Or Just Plain Thick. Or are they?

Take the students next door (I wish someone would, BA BOOM!). Now, I graduated into a recession, and it wasn't much fun. Some people got jobs, but they were mostly the ones who had confused me by suddenly cutting their hair and putting on a suit around the beginning of their third year. That was their "student experience", and now it was time for their "junior financial analyst experience". Or whatever.

Those of us without a five year plan, or an old school tie network, who had thought we'd maybe see what happened next, found that what happened next was we signed on. My dad kept asking me when I was going to become a yuppie, I wrapped my oversized Oxfam overcoat more tightly around me and glared at him.

And got wrecked. A lot. For quite a long time. It was great fun. But it was also about the only thing that made any sense. And we were a luckier generation than this lot -- we were impoverished but we weren't hugely indebted. Nobody delivered us pizzas, so we could more or less cook; nobody had invented alcopops, so we drank cheap beer, and we didn't have mobile phones or laptops or iPods to maintain. It was all a lot more manageable. I'm also pretty sure we spent considerably less on personal grooming. Or maybe that was just me.

After a year or so, I borrowed some money and went travelling with my Significant Ex for a year, during which I'm pretty sure we spent less than we would have if we'd stayed at home. Eventually, of course, I did get a job, and pretty grim it was too. But that's another story.

So I do have sympathy with my neighbours' regular, valiant attempts to obliterate reality by means of vodka, class As and screaming*. It's cold, and it's going to get colder. And if you've been overindulged to the extent that you tumble dry your washing all year round, it's going to be tough when those bills start coming in and your dad's not paying them anymore.  

joella

* Not limitless sympathy, mind. Though they have been a lot better since M went round in his pink dressing gown and yelled 'I'm not interested in 'sorry', I'm interested in you shutting up'. 

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