The edges

I spent a lot of time today driving in London. People are leaving. All the traffic points towards the M25. If there’s somewhere they can go, they’re going there despite tier 4. Those of us left are angry. Wounded. Sad.

Many of the shops and businesses are boarded up. Lots of them are missing their biggest week of the year. They’ll be at home working out of it’s worth trying to stay afloat or just cutting their losses and getting that job in cyber with the ballerinas.

I went for a walk in a park in Lewisham. I ran into some actors there. Scene and Hearders. RSCers. Good, kind thoughtful humans. A guy I just watched as Macbeth with Big Telly online. We talked about Zoe. We connected. People I’ve watched, people I’ve drunk with, people I’ve worked with, people I’ve hugged good luck, tried on their hat, high-fived, danced with, had a bite of their sandwich. We stood two meters apart on top of a cold hill. We talked about friends and hopes and plans.

I’m used to conversations where actors wonder if they’ll ever work again. You hear them all the time. It’s more of a genuine concern nowadays, rather than just that expression of ennui. Will the theatres all be Wetherspoons this time next year? Will everybody be starting on that career in cyber they didn’t know about yet?

I was hoping for a better year. Weren’t we all? I was hoping to smash in a few more nice credits. Have a shot at some interesting things. That’s for next year I guess. Everything feels blocked right now, but it also feels like it might be starting to shift with the Solstice. Like there’s this big trail of muck that’s been plugging up the world and it’s beginning to break up and dissipate. The leviathan is starting to roll. I’ve had time to look at the things I’ve been avoiding. The knock on effect of this bullshit could prove to be obscenely positive in my existence going forward. There is space where there used to be noise. I can touch things that were hurting, and then touch them more, and start to push through the membrane at last.

We could hit a period of party – like the interwar years – once this all winds up. This time last year I was exhausted from Carol and planning a big Christmas. Every night I was crying on a table where food was about to be served. I was singing as strangers ate shoulder to shoulder with each other, I was pulling crackers with them drenched in sweat. I was also shamelessly minesweeping their red wine after they left without worrying about infection, and numbing myself to sleep so I could do it all again the next day.

Now just the act of driving across town feels like an event. I’m trying to work out the last time my skin touched the skin of another human being.

I had my wheel replaced today. One of the brand new Pirelli tyres in the Audi basically exploded. It took me weeks to get a new one because it’s such a faff now. I had to park it, drop the keys, walk around a totally abandoned and cold Southfields for forty minutes, then come back and get the keys again. No contact. Great that the business has adapted to make it possible. But the damage? At the best of times I have no sympathy for people’s fear. This business is training us to be wary of everybody. There has to be some kind of mass coming-together once it’s allowed – once it’s possible. Because it’s hurting our humanity. We’ll need the rave scene back. Get Jimmy to dust off the ice cream van. We’ll need Gatsby’s mansion without the narcissism and death please.

I’ve fed the fishies. Now I’m going to play with Hex and then fall over. I’m totally fine. Just feeling the size of the world, and the number of people who feel alone in it right now. Sending love.

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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