Wed arvo, bout 6ish....
Home, washing dishes....Housemate P comes home....hello how are you fine...."I think we should take it in turns to pay the rent. Can you take care of it tomorrow?"
Our landlord comes to pick up the one cheque from us every month, meaning one of us has to write a cheque to him and collect three cheques from the other housemates. For our entire time this has been Phil's job but for some reason he doesn't want to do it anymore, and it doesn't seem open to discussion for some inexplicable reason. For our entire time here I have taken care of three (i.e most) of the bills and J does a lot more cleaning than she should.
"Actually P I'd appreciate it if you took care of it."
"Yeah well I think we should take turns."
"Yeah but I take care of three bills..."
"Yeah but you don't have to do it very much."
There it is, at a volume a little louder than mine, very quickly, and a final statement, one that leaves no opening to discussion. And the response from your correspondent? Silence.
Why would I step up to the plate over something so trivial? And of course before I have time to respond, in that second of deliberation, P leaves, and that old feeling of frustration and tiredness arises.
Great, I'm about to have a row with my housemate. This is SO NERVERACKING AND BORING AT THE SAME TIME, a recurring theme in my sharehousing experience, and at the risk of self-righteousness, it's never been me. I've never given any reason for anyone to give me any grief in the sharehousing situation. But then, it's not about me. It's always been someone else - everything's putting along hunky dory and then someone decides to be lazy and self-centred and the rest of us have to put up with it.
And then things started to shift. Row with housemate will turn into awkwardness will turn into eventually moving house. Yeah, moving out of here, as much as I've loved living with these guys, but times will change, and soon, and the knowledge of that.....the weather here is finally turning, finally emerging from the miserable winter and the freakish multipolar nature of the last month and the warmth is settling in, solid, somehow reliable for a time, so I opened the window, let in a little of the Camden breeze, put on a couple of Bjork albums and started tidying my room.
And I mean, tidying...digging out an old box full of rubbish, holding stuff still from my last relationship, the whole catalyst for my coming over here....digging out these old things from the past, sorting, throwing away......I must have spent at least four hours in there and made some progress....
I come back from a gig later on in the night and a cheque is left for me by P and a note....."Sorry (ever the Brit), but I think we should take turns, like I said, next time it'll be my turn."
Well, am I going to sit here and let these people walk all over me like I've always done? You know what I could do? I could take this cheque and knock on his door right now and tear it up in front of his face and call him names, but in the interests of housemate co-operation, like I've always done, I'm going to acquiesce on this occasion. I'm just going to swallow it and do it and take the cheque and be done with it.
But this won't rest. Not this time. I've put up with friends and lovers letting them walk all over me because it's easier, because I'm trying to think of their best interests over my own. And even if it is simply a voicing of opinion over something so trivial, it's an important step.
Thursday night, park up from Charlie Wrights, Hoxton, about 5 am
It was a huge night at the local Thursday hang, at least two birthday parties I was aware of, wall to wall people.....the jam started, it was free, sax bass and drums, no chords, and there was a ring of about thirty people standing solidly around the band checking it out, and apparently someone was in the middle dancing. Damn I love this place!....
So later on a hard core few of us (about 20 I guess) spill up the road to the 24 hour off licence and the local park, and there I am, the sky lightening it's blue, propping up the garbage bin talking to this girl who I've been talking to all night. There's a sense of relaxation and also of desire in her dark eyes....
"So I'm flying to New York tomorrow for three weeks."
A moment of drunken thought....
"Yeah, sure, why not."
I couldn't believe that I said it. An almost total absence of deliberation. Things changing all right.
A smile from her.
A smile from me.
And then, a kiss! A beautiful drunken sweet kiss, right there as I'm leaning next to the garbage bin. How romantic!....