Friday night I spent a few hours and three bottles of wine with G and C, in an evening that started out almost formally, literarily (G cooked a most amazing vegan Indian meal; they spent about an hour and a half bestowing wisdom on me re: graduate school) and devolved quickly into the sort of activities only a bunch of writers could find entertaining. A group story told in pictures and words, a dramatic reading of a stream-of-consciousness memoir, pen doodles of Batman and Robin holding hands, and G playing first Bob Dylan, then Florence and the Machine, then Bat for Lashes on her laptop. Her apartment is lit with hanging paper lanterns. She has the sort of bookshelf you just gravitate towards.
Take anything you like, she says, but I don’t end up taking anything. You won’t believe what it took to get those here.
We finish a story. The last line is: rabid turtle eats the world.
Well that’s actually sort of fitting, someone says.
On the walk home it’s stopped raining. They call Christmas lights fairy lights here. I bought some, earlier, at Poundsavers. When I get home I’m dismayed to find they’re not at all like the American variety. They don’t plug together. You can’t plug anything else into them. They’re not in a straight line but a big awkward loop with lights only on one side. I don’t understand them. I’ve left them in a pile on my bedroom floor all weekend, abandoned.
Why do they have to make everything so difficult for you? he says. His face is grainy on the computer screen. I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open. I will have a hangover the next day. One of those hangovers where the only symptom seems to be an inability to do anything correctly. Making coffee in the morning, I’ll pour cream all over my fresh, waiting to be brewed coffee grounds. It will take me almost twenty seconds of confusion before I figure out what I’ve done.
Huh? I say.
The fairy lights, he says, why can’t they just be normal?
Oh, well, I don’t know, I say—tired, defeated, mostly tired—I guess they’re normal to some people.
photographs taken with a canon t1i and 50mm f/1.4 lens.
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