I have 3 general moods:
- Happy go lucky
- Bit out of sorts
- Truly, madly, deeply weepy
Number 3 is my code red. It usually only comes on during a particular moving film; the first incident occurred after watching “Truly Madly Deeply” with Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits. We hadn’t been dating for very long, and he had only experienced the normal aspects of my personality, along with my over-tired giggly self. We both love movies and he thought a bit of a romantic weepy was in order after a stint of more serious-minded films. Bless him – he knew not what he did.
I loved the film itself, but I was in such a state of teary-eyed despair, that Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits was seriously worried that I was going to dehydrate, He was prepared for me to cry a bit – and cry I did, for hours and hours. I was inconsolable, I couldn’t stop – that film was just too heartbreaking and I’m a true romantic – love literally does conquer all for me.
He did eventually realise that I was indeed a stable and rational being, but that when I feel something deeply, I have to let it run its course. We choose films more carefully these days.
I had another of those experiences last night watching “A Late Quartet”. Again, I really loved the film, but I felt it a bit too much, especially two thirds into a bottle of red wine. Mere tissues could not cope with the amount of water pouring out of me, drastic measures were required, my fleecy throw had the soft texture required and was also super-absorbent . Definitely not a pretty sight, but nearly twenty years on, my Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits is now used to those little moments of madness.
I’m one of those people who get asked for directions no matter where I am, apparently because I have an open face whatever that is. Unfortunately, I have very little sense of direction and I don’t drive so I’m altogether useless at giving directions. And, I’m usually a visitor myself, so can be observed merrily following my little blue map dot ensuring I’m still heading in the right direction.
But strange things happen to me on my travels, not upsetting or dangerous, just a little odd.
Walking to the Office
- Wandering along placidly in the autumn sporting a faux fur gilet, I was waiting patiently for the green man at a crossing when I noticed that a Range Rover was coming to a stop. The passenger’s window was down and a beautiful, if somewhat large rottweiler was sitting there. He took one look at my faux fur gilet and leapt out of the window. He had me pressed up against the wall and was playfully tugging at my top – the owner was aghast, applied the handbreak and nearly gave himself a hernia trying to manhandle his enthusiastically friendly dog back into his car. I just laughed it off and carried on my way.
- Half a mile on from my dog incident, this time striding purposely towards the office, I was stopped by a rather tall and slightly dishevelled man. He grabbed my arms and shouted “Mine” at the top of his voice – I simply moved away, told him firmly, “No, not yours”, and walked on. Builders on the other side of the road shouted after me, “Don’t mind him love, he’s harmless”. Slightly disconcerting, but completely random.
Trains / Tube
- Me and public toilets don’t get along. Me and train toilets are usually a disaster. I had been travelling to different locations and meetings all day and I really needed the loo, so bravely I set off down the carriage. Luckily, it was a modern train and had one of those tardis-style toilets. All was well until I tried to get out; the door started to open, but ground to a halt with only about 2 inches of its exit available. I tried all of the buttons, I tried to force it open with my hands, all to no effect. Someone else came through the carriage – I was trying to explain through the door what had happened – he tried all of the same buttons from the outside, again to no effect. We combined efforts and tried to force the door with our hands. Nothing. My freedom-fighter went off to find the train manager and explain the situation. Someone with a tool kit was taken on at the next major station, after 40 minutes I was finally freed and made my sheepish way back to my seat, I got a cheer and a round of applause from my carriage commuters. My dislike for train toilets has only been strengthened since that experience.
- There are many obvious stories to tell about travelling on the tube in rush hour, sweaty armpits, no air conditioning and bad breath are the usual culprits. My experience was different. I shared a very small space near one of the exits on a District Line carriage with a large and skittish stick insect. How it made it’s way onto the carriage is anyone’s guess, but I had no desire for it to become attached to me. I was holding onto the ceiling hooks with one hand, and my laptop with the other and this creature kept trying to make it’s way closer and closer to me. I couldn’t move, and I have a fear of insects flying into my hair and not being able to find their way out, and this praying mantis look-a-like was making its way perilously close to me. Taller souls were equally uncomfortable being so close to it, so people were awkwardly positioned with their heads as far away from it as possible. That was the longest 15 stops of my life.
Now the more philosophical amongst us state that the journey is the destination, but sometimes all you want to do is to get to work in as straightforward a way as possible.
I sometimes use colour to define my mood, or even to improve it if I can.
Earlier this week I posted “Walking on sunshine” – my little yellow shoes exude happiness, I wore a matching yellow jacket to get the full happiness quota in. The reaction of those around me was surprising, even the concierge at work commented on how lovely they were. The one aspect of wearing bright colours is that you have to be feeling pretty brave, it’s just because they demand attention. Our eyes are drawn to bright colours. In nature, they can show great beauty but can also be used as a sign of danger, or to stay away.
I wear red if I’m scared or want to look confident, navy and purples suit my colouring so I try to wear as much of them as I can, and khaki is my dress down colour, my off duty wardrobe.
I don’t always get it right – I was wearing a red, white and blue ensemble on the day of Prince George’s birth – a tad bourgeois for my liking. And I’ve learned never to wear head to toe cream or white unless you have guaranteed sunshine (transparent / mud spattered / clingy) or wear full skirted dresses when it’s breezy (you really want to be wearing biggish pants on those occasions). But embracing colour can be a huge mood-lifter.
I went through a decade long phase (early 20s to early 30s) of wearing pretty much nothing but black – I liked it. I liked to look alternative, I liked that everything matched. But it was drab, painfully so. And so I slowly introduced colour to my wardrobe. Depending on my mood I can colour-block with the best of them, look elegant in muted hues or opt for a clever contrast combo. But I draw the line at beige – I want to look sophisticated and together, but the reality is that I feel beige when I wear it. So, it is the end of beige. Apart from a lovely pair of nude peep toe shoes – because, if nothing else they elongate the leg. And that’s something I’m in dire need of.
Life is weird, it just is.
I’m also starting to realise that the older I get, the less I know. One of life’s little jokes, that and creaking joints. Now I can tell when we’re going to get a rainy spell before the BBC weather, my knees ache, in fact they ache a lot. Maybe that’s an evolutionary trait, you slow down as you get older, maybe nature builds in an early warning knee radar to help you get to high land in the event of flooding. It’s not as though I’m elderly, although I have reached middle age and all that it contains.
I now book appointments with my hairdresser based on how often I need to get my grey hairs hidden rather than how often I need a cut. That is vanity, I’m well aware of that, but I never promised to go grey gracefully.
One of the good aspects of getting older is that you get wiser. Or you’re supposed to at least. All that wiser means is that you’ve lived through some of the madness before and you can use your own experiences to guide others against such folly. I now find myself using expressions that my parents used before me. This is a life-defining moment – you realise that if you’d just listened to them 20 years earlier, you could have saved yourself a lot of grief. But where’s the fun in that?
I (usually) make better decisions now than when I was young, I listen and trust my instincts, and I’m more open to other people’s opinions than I’ve ever been. But it’s still fun to learn new things, and I’ve got a lot still to learn. And that’s exciting.