At the moment I’m sitting in this faded hotel trying to proofread. I come here a lot. The man at the bar rolled his eyes when I walked in today. It’s because I rinse their wi-fi for the price of a coffee – which here is a 1990’s shaped £1.50 – they even throw in a handmade shortbread.
I love it here. For the shortbread and the stories. From this table I saw a man tell his estranged wife that their son had fallen and smashed his head while drunk, rendering him in A&E with little hope; I saw a woman tell her friend she had cancer; I saw a small group of old women meet to share their writing over coffee, one of them reading an incredible piece about memory which the leader of the group criticised because she felt it was shaped incorrectly. Ha.
I’m here and I’m thinking about stuff. Life stuff. Love and sex and heartbreak and anger and family and what makes us who we are. And Syria. I thought about that and how completely inadequate I feel when I even try to consider what the right course of action might be. And I thought about the way my head blanks when I watch the news and how last night this man was talking in front of a full newsroom and how my eyes couldn’t focus on him but fell on the newsroom behind and the people running around like ants pretending to make the news. And how I just end up thinking how unfathomable the world is and how we got here, how we created this. And how we report on what we created. I think of that. And I can’t compute the important stuff somehow. It’s like there’s cotton wool stuffed so hard into my head that my brain can’t breathe.
And then I convince myself it’s because I’m interested in the domestic. Not the political. And I feel guilty for that. Really guilty. It’s just this whole perpetual, self-indulgent cycle of shite really.
Better get back to the proofreading. At least that pays for the shortbread.