There should be truth and only truth when one writes in one’s second language; otherwise everything sounds like emails. ‘And who sends emails anymore?’ my son asked me the other day. ‘It’s like sending a fax.’
And when there’s truth in one’s second language, well, then it sounds like a rant.
An email or a rant?
There should be truth, and there has been too much of it. Why did I put my real name on this blog? I’m bound to hurt people this way. Limitations protect humans but hurt the writing.
On the display of my UK mobile number’s phone, 3 days ago, there was a text message: ‘Call your bank without delay!’
It is the beginning of August. I have paid council tax, electricity bill, rent and Sky in advance. Now, call me spoiled, call me an ex-communist state’s protegee, but I am not going to call anyone – let alone anything, as in ‘an institution’ – without delay, in August. And what for? So that a bored employee in a too different a time zone could ask me incomprehensible questions and scare me some more?
No. I say F-O to all that.
I’m on my territory, on my terms. And I realise: I don’t miss the arrogance of London-based institutions. I don’t miss it at all.
In fact, it’s still too early in the summer. Still, when I think of London, I see the room I share with my daughter, who is almost 9. There is a keyboard in that room and she has her piano lessons on that keyboard, which stands on a plastic-top table. She is talented; she’s taught herself ‘Rondo a la Turca’ after watching the film ‘Amadeus’. One hand, but come on. But there’s no room for a piano in that apartment, which we pay an enormous rent for. Also, in my daughter’s school, which we pay an enormous fee for (which they also want in advance), when I mentioned to her music teacher that she spent a lot of time teaching herself music, writing (composing) songs, singing them out loud all day long, the music teacher replied: ‘She quite likes music, doesn’t she?’ And then the music teacher said nothing else.
That was not good enough for me.
It’s not good enough for any parent, who feels there’s a potential, a gift, in her child, and reaches out to ask a ‘professional’ for an advice what to do not to screw it all up, but to help it bloom.
When a ‘professional’ says nothing in return, offers nothing – what is there to ask the cheque in advance for?
The smell of lavender calms me down now.
Nowhere is perfect. I don’t ask for perfection. For a long time now, I’ve been asking simply for reality (even in fiction).
There comes a time when priorities start to change. Everything shifts. Countries shift. People get fed up.
I know that Royal Court Theatre will not disappear from Sloane Square; and I tell myself I will always be able to come and stay with my friends, see a show. Ah, the friends! There are about 20 people I could meet nowhere else but in London.
I know that Chelsea Physic Garden will always be there, so well tended for; and that Shoreditch will keep on growing hip.
It’s just that, again, back south, I’ve realised that everyday life with human (as opposed to ‘shark’) face can still exist.
Perhaps the time has come to: look like a 30-year-old, prioritise like a 60-year-old.
No-one ever promised me a sunny spot in the Physic Garden though . . .