To see an unmade bed where no sleep was captured is like seeing a life where no living occurred.
The channels to my ears are stretched. Sore. The impression of two, unyeilding foam earplugs still feel like they are rammed into my ears in a bid to block out the noise. Not one wink of zz’s did I reel in last night. First night in my rented studio was without match. You could have airlifted me to the top of Marble Arch, or nestled me among the pigeons on the Arc de Triomphe, and I’d not known the difference in decibels. I’m too tired to get mad. An awful stench of frying food, seeping from the open window of a junk food cafe below my apartment is making me faintly nauseous. But my eyes….my eyes see a picture perfect vista of a hillock dotted with houses and, alive with tiny black, stick people, gliding up one side and down the other. Visually my apartment is a white, spartan, haven….if only I could turn down the SOUND. My vain attempt to bring calm into my surroundings is to invite James Morrison to curl out from my MP3 player and onto the plumes of chip-fat encased air…is exactly that..in vain, ineffectual..useless. I’m not so much calmed as wrung out…exhausted, and at a momentary loss. My usual routine of rising before the sun, performing a rolling series of yoga stretches and then devouring a bowl of well-earned breakfast….upended. I carried my sleep deprived, aching body straight from touselled bed to the comfort of food.
I had two helpings. My spoon scraped against the blue flecked, tin bowl, picked among the blueberries, but no comfort did it find. Added to this the whoopie pie, and thick chunks of chocolate, mindlessly shoved into my gob, whilst walking dazed, post arrival last night….I believe I’m not handling this arrival in the city very well. When I overlook the hill and the vast, 40 ft wall facing my apartment.(not one but TWO amphitheatres) to the roads that seep vehicles in and out of the city, and hear the sirens which give voice to vehicles carrying the less fortunate to the hospital (a skimmed-stones throw from my window)…..I should be focussing less on the cacophony of a thriving, oozing city and more on the gratitude I should feel for being here. I should be feeling gratitude for travelling. I am lucky with a capital L. I should be grateful, but right now…I am not.
A roof and four, clean white walls, that right now feel like my prison, are really my liberation. But I am grumpy. Cranky. And mind-numbing tiredness screams itself hoarse over all of that which I should feel. I wish I had super powers. The power to command….throw open the window into the wind and shout ‘SHUT THE *UCK UP!’ and the cars stop for a nano second… and then continue to pass by with an affable, almost imperceptible hum. The truck’s suspension systems to then hold fast, to cradle their contents silently over the pot holes. And the people stay safe and well, so the sirens go unrung.
The fact is I AM lucky that I’ve the grace to write out my frustration and fear, and to have a stove top to bubble tiny, orange flecks around in a pan, to make a delicously spicy Dahl to make my insides smile.
These two things are what I grasp at..cooking and writing…. all I know as a way to proceed. Little steps into the day, and the two mediums that usually ground me. Give me clarity. Those..and walking. Right now, out into the sun-painted city of San Francisco, there is LIFE. What I came here for. Sometimes are next move can just be measured and planned as a tiny little step. Like getting off my backside NOW and just getting on with it. My fingers cross with a little prayer that this is all just ‘new place jitters’ and as I relax into it my senses will soften. The seven sirens (and counting) that have screamed past my window in as many minutes, and the increasing, fat fume filled, lunch time air that is making me grimace… fills me with doubt. You don’t have to say it….I know it. I am ungrateful. I am blessed beyond measure, and one night of wayward sleep is not the end of the world now is it?! I have my health, my sight and I should be grateful I can hear the world around me. Humph!
A friend just called. His spoken of dramas having the effect of sizing up my own, exaggerated ones. A good, steadying, reckoner. I love the way friends do that. Reach out and somehow let you know you are not alone, just when you need to hear it. Give you a forum to go beyond yourself and lend an ear.
Lets hope the day ends on a more gentle, pleasing note. Where ever you are…I hope the day is good. Great even. x