I was standing in my pants with bright yellow marigolds scrubbing geriatric turds out of the inside of a loo brush holder while listening to The Prodigy when it occurred to me: “You’re only doing this because *someone else* is coming to stay.” Right now my bedroom is (by my standards) tidy. That involved pants, marigolds and rave music too.

Tomorrow morning I’ll put matching sheets on the bed and make it nice. For someone else. Right now it’s two sheets that don’t match and an old coffee stained blanket. Because it’s for me. Why do I only bother to make things nice when it’s with someone else in mind? And more to the point, what’s with the pants and the marigolds and the old fashioned dance music? I definitely tidy faster in my pants. I wash everything. Then I shower myself and then I wash the bath. Job done, everything clean, maybe a bit odd, what did you expect? That was my morning. There are some clothes to sort and the kitchen is never done but you could eat your dinner off my loo seat. In fact, I did that this evening…

No I didn’t. I went to Waterloo this evening. I sat in a room with some lovely people and said the same four Japanese words repeatedly a few hundred times. I find it helpful. Afterwards we had a group discussion facilitated by a good friend of mine. It’s to do with a secular Buddhism that I’m practicing daily – another manifestation of my craving for routine around the unstructured mess that is the between jobs period.

Then we went for dinner and I ate off a plate. It wasn’t as clean as my loo seat. And it was all very healthy.

Not drinking has the advantage of meaning I can drive when I go out in the evening. I remember that! If you find friends who can go out and have fun without constantly going on at you about not drinking, it’s lovely to know that when it’s time to go home you can jump in the car. In my sober year I ended up playing chauffeur to a host of drunk friends, singing songs in the back as I spun through the empty late night streets. It’s a great time to be on the roads in London, the middle of the night. You can get everywhere quickly and easily, and the crowded places are empty so you can stop and be the only person on the steps at St Pauls, if that sort of thing floats your boat. The solitude helps bring home the age of this town, which you can lose in the colour and noise of the daily flood. At night you can almost hear the stones whispering to each other. I still sometimes walk home for hours through the dark streets, and just commune with the city in the peace of night. Where do all the people go? Well, I’ve gone home. To my shiny bathroom and my tidy bedroom. And my slightly crap bed. And the mutant orchid that with my assistance is gradually achieving sentience on my windowsill. Soon the world will be ours, my pretty one.





Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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