Monday, May 16, 2005

the chair that haunts me

If Woody Allen had been born 29 weeks premature, this is where he would have sat.

This is what I’m thinking now—staring at a tiny director’s chair in the display window of a novelty store—but only to keep from thinking of you. (Last night I dreamed I was at my grandparents’ anniversary bash, and you were the waiter. You brought a huge shiny silver tray of cheesecake crowned with berries to our table but I never got to have any).

The chair is 10cm tall, made of balsa wood and green canvas. The word ‘director’ is stencilled across its back in black. You’d like it. At least, I think you would. Your with your nose constantly in film mags at work. You with your preference for subtlety and heart onscreen (you loved Eternal Sunshine but said that Being John Malkovich left you cold. You revelled in Lost In Translation and called it a "slow-burner"). You who told me last night that you’re despairing of finishing the short film your currently working on before your lead actor goes to San Diego to study drama.

Its your birthday next Monday. I know we don’t do presents as a rule, but I wanted to buy this for you (inbetween thoughts of cheesecake and Woody Allen). Its the kind of thoughtfully specific gift that says something more than the sum of its parts. If chairs could talk, this one would say it all for me.

This chair would say: "Happy Birthday," because its a polite, well-brought-up chair that understands the social importance of small talk.

And because it also understands that there is a time for honesty and clarity, the chair would then say: "I enjoy our conversations. I get you."

Because the chair knows that no human is truly happy unless they follow their bliss, it would add: "I believe in you. You can do anything you want."

Then, in a moment of weakness, the chair might go too far and say: "I like you. More than I want to. When we stood in the car park the other night and talked about your plans for your birthday weekend and when we’d see each other next, I fantasised about following you back to the silver Mitsubishi you'd borrowed from a friend and doing unspeakable things to you in the back seat."

The chair is a slut. The chair totally embarrassed itself and for what? It is not in full possession of the facts. It has forgotten that I leave for Europe in a couple of weeks, and that you leave on a indefinately long working holiday in England less than two months after my return. And it is conveniently ignoring the fact that we have a very close mutual friend (you and I, not me and the chair) who—although she has agreed with you that it is over, and has found many men since to occupy her time—is not over you.

The chair is an idiot.

I scowl at it and walk out of the shopping centre in broad, determined strides. My steps contain only a hint of wistfulness, visible only to those who are looking for it.

Friday, May 13, 2005

"the world's got me dizzy again
you'd think that after twenty-two years i'd get used to the spin
and it only gets worse when i stay in one place
so i keep drivin' around and flyin' away..."

(bright eyes)

i'm leaving on a plane in 3 weeks at 3pm

things i'll carry: bottled water, my journal, a nick hornby novel, vicks inhalers (for travel sickness), two kinds of foreign currency, barely supressed expectations, hope, fear, my digital camera and my credit card

things i'll stow: long-sleeved shirts, my favourite jeans, make up, nice underwear, european adapters, second thoughts, my lack of faith and a parka for those Arctic nights

things i'll leave behind: my prized cd collection, my father's reservations and his voice in my head, old friends i don't see enough, new friends who know too much, long hot bubble baths, home-cooked meals, my summer warddrobe and <you>