What does one do when one realises one has come out with one’s trousers on inside out?  Oh dear, well I guess I am in bohemian, ‘anything goes’, Brighton.  Also everyone is cold and it is Saturday so everyone is consumed with being consuming consumers.  I’ll probably get away with it.  If not, well actually I do not care.

Life has been a social whirl….all my friends ringing my phone dry, trying to get a piece of me.  ‘Let’s do lunch..dinner..coffee….girlie sleepovers…power hikes…sauntering strolls….creative pow wow’s etc’.  I am exhausted, head full of gossip and heart full of fun…….Actually, I’ve been so blooming lonely I’ve taken up my reams of time with creating huge fabrications of wild parties and cozy lunch dates.   In reality, one sniff of a virus and they gathered up their skirts and fluffy lined boots and ran for the hills.  Only a hint of cologne and fake leopard fur remained.  I’m ok about that.  Really. Of course I’d be mortified if I gave them this nasty little bug that has me sweating a small lake in my bed each night and ganging together in an angry red ball in my eyelid and sticking voodoo needles in my brain.  Most have chatted on the phone (probably donning full avian flu mask, just incase I’ve wickedly devised a way of poking my sick, snotty green atoms down the phone line at them), one or two getting bored when I regaled them tales of finding Utopia and being ‘perfectly content’ with life whilst tripping around the USA.  They resorted to regurgitating the subject of how sick I felt or how disfiguring my swollen eye was just to bring the tone down to a level they could handle…something a little more… ‘British’.  Trouble is being self-effacing may produce a more comfortable conversation and sometimes raise a tiny chuckle, but it has a short shelf life.

One friend braved the brisk sea air, and the aura of lurgy hanging about my person and came to visit anyway.  I was so thrilled to see her.  My need to balance out the ‘what I did on my trip’ spiel with my need for brand new information from another source, actually was helpful at uncovering things about her I never knew…probably because in the past, I spent far too much time moaning about not being American at birth (all my mother’s fault of course) and not enough time being present and asking her questions.  She fascinated me, as always.  Intriguing little minx!

I produced my camera with alarming (for her) regularity.  So much so I was in danger of wearing out the zip on the camera pouch.  ‘Ooh, look…you are not even here anymore…you’re like a tourist!’ was her comment.  ‘I guess I am’, I replied as a cooed at a seagull, willing it to stay still long enough and not fly off…crapping on my head as it passed.  ‘It’s only Brighton’, she said.   ‘Yes, and it is fascinating’.   I carried on clicking whilst singing in my head cavity…’I’m an artist’, to the tune of some Rolling Stones number, alternating Mick’s nasal vocals with my own.  She seemed to find it unnerving, or was that the old ‘me?’ seeing my thoughts pasted on her lovely face?

I seem to be back in the land of being a perpetual ‘tryer’.  Feeling confused about my fellow Brits.  I seem to feel like I’m reading them, like what they say doesn’t always match up to what they mean or the look on their face.  I feel like I’m spending too much time trying to figure out what they ‘mean’.   I don’t get that so much across the Atlantic.  I don’t change me in America…it just happens slowly…..like a David Attenborough documentary team filming a rose bud on slo mo……crackling open tentertively….unfurling….opening….gaps appearing between the fine layers…letting the air in…..revealing delicate silver hues….colours displaying difference within their range…maybe then it twirling slowly as the sun rises and falls over time….if we had scratch and sniff then a scent would rise too…become stronger as the sun came to rest a while…..  ok I’m done with that.  It’s easier there…like Sunday morning or a Bob Marley song.  Not fair really….I’ve been back and forth enough to know that I can’t change it.  It is what it is.  I seem to bore my Brit friends with my ‘in America’ speeches.  I bore me too.

I’m done trying to figure it out.  The best I can do is be present when people do want to meet.  Trying and see my part in it all whilst recognising the presence of ‘culture’, in all of it.  I’ll do what I’ve been doing…..and enjoy it when works.. when it feels like the cogs are oiled with superlube and the dotted with fairy lights.


About indialeigh

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