This is the moment when I don’t want to live in a country I have voluntarily settled in. It’s starting to look and smell like a mistake.
There’s been too much personal investment, reinvestment, regressing and starting over; and, on top of things, just when I have surfaced a bit here, my old countymen-and-women seem to have better lives and they sure look healthier and happier than me. Well. I’m left with a hope that at least I’m learning A LOT.
Karma, hello, save me, don’t let me down; I need you to exist now, please!
If I must be an immy-mummy, I want to be an immy-mummy in a stupendous country. I don’t have to prosper, personally. By now, I’m aware that it depends on me, probably always has, but the ‘luck factor’ was far less achievable back then, back there, in ex-Yugo-sphere; and plus I’m losing my powers – slowly but surely – wherever I may be.
However, I need the promise of my children being able to avoid everything I damn didn’t avoid when I was growing up and especially later, when I was young and beautiful, and whatnot (I love to hate this ‘whatnot’ word). To avoid and not to miss out on. ‘Teach us to care and not to care,’ as TSE said.
I mean, to hell with youth and beauty, and reading world literature and having deep conversations on library steps, because – the war happened chez nous. Yadda blahda fcuk. How depressing, to put it mildly.
Simon Kuper wrote a great article for FT about the first and the second generations:
Anyway, today I was walking my hairy boots off through the Batt Park to reach the school of my daughter in time for pick-up, and there comes a chiro-mag from the ‘hood. Now, the wow thing: he is English, a native of Londontown, and he is wearing a Parka!
He’s had it with this, his own, native climate! Hurray. My wind-screwed eyes widen. A smile cracks through my frozen face. I’m happy to believe I’ve influenced certain pillars of society in my ‘hood. People have started to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. And not just any people. The ones you go to, to have your photos signed when applying for passports, or just about anything.
‘I know you’re in a hurry,’ the chiro-mag tells me.
Immy-mummies are always in a hurry because we don’t drive here. Driving is just one more thing to think about for us. Like redecorating the kitchen. Or converting the basement into something gorgeous. We tend to simplify and own less. Really.
‘I know you’re in a hurry,’ so he said, ‘but I wanted to explain about the Parka.’
‘You see, I was in Austria, for the half-term,’ he went on. ‘In the mountains. Minus twenty Celsius. Now I’m back in London. And I’m freezing.’
‘Yeah yeah yeah,’ I said. ‘Of course you are.’
‘Also,’ he said. ‘One more thing. I felt so bloody poor there! Everyone is so rich. They have no financial crisis. I’m telling you, I never had a tougher time coming back to LONDON, hello, LON-DON, from some Austrian village. And London is my town, my whole family was born here. Bye now, I know you must be in a hurry.’
Let me tell you: I walked on, dragging my feet.
Stories like that don’t make me gloat. I don’t want London to lose the charm of the old-money eccentric of this planet.