St. Peter? What’re you doing here?
Drugs, man… Drugs.
I’m back in Paris. I spent 9 hours on the bus doing nothing. I’d planned to get some writing done, but once I first looked out that window, I couldn’t turn around again. I was bored for a total of about fifteen minutes, when the bus was crossing the English channel. That is, to cross the channel a long line of vehicles is loaded into an enclosed metal cylinder which traverses the waters using Protestant magic. So for the time in water, there’s only metal walls to stare at. Imagining the vastness of the ocean makes you visualise yourself as being in one of those toy trains you used to play with, but that thought gets boring after you’ve finished your thoughts on perspective. It took me about ten minutes to complete that train of thought, but now that I blog, I got a solid five extra minutes of entertaining thought by trying to figure out how I could make a joke out of talking about a train of thought about toy trains.
The adventure continues. If you can bare the 9 hour journey, Ouibus will bring you between London and Paris for €12, if you book at the last second (if the seats aren’t full, prices get cheaper as time goes on).
But something’s been changing inside of me. Colours seem darker in shade.
I don’t know what it means. But it’s not a good sign.
Isabel’s made some contact since she cancelled our meeting three times in a row. I’d been expecting her to do as much, and my planned response was to turn away from her, say I would no longer be using my phone. Then I’d add I’d speak in person, if circumstance brought us together. Of course this was another elaborate scheme. Or, perhaps not so elaborate, since it’s plainly clear now that things never go well between us over the phone. I thought I’d resolve that issue.
But, none of this is what I said. Her message was explaining that she’d had to visit the hospital.
They apparently don’t know what’s been causing her suffering. She describes a burning, or itchiness in her eyes. They will continue to run tests over the next week.
I’m quite sure it’s because she’s not sleeping enough. And she’s not sleeping enough because, again I’m sure, she’s miserable.
Isabel! Hang in there! I’ll save you!
It suits the blogs’ theme to say that ^
But… Well, I have to leave my thoughts on Isabel aside for now. I’m sure I haven’t forgotten my arbitrary goal of winning her heart. But that won’t be saving her. It could do worse. I have to think.
Meanwhile, I’ve forgotten how bad my French is. Honestly, I never have been dedicating myself to it as much as I could be doing. But I justify this by telling myself I have too many other goals to take care of. I also have the typical procrastinator mind-set of – I’m saving my energy – for Italy. That’s where I’ll really put my head down and focus on language. So I say. In fact starting now would only benefit me, it would at least start me in the habit of learning.
I had a curious feeling press upon me yesterday evening while I sat around a park trying to listen in on a few conversations. I felt as if there was no English.
Let me explain. In French speaking environments, well, I feel bad at French. But, it’s kind of okay, because I’m sure I’m excellent at English. Perhaps a few people around me speak English as well. I can get by, everything’s okay. It’s a different feeling entirely, if you let yourself forget that English exists. You are in a world where you can speak only a few basic phrases. You can even borrow words from those phrases to make ridiculous sounding sentences, and speak like a caveman.
All the others, everyone around me, know… Complexity. It’s like they’re working an art, just by speaking. As if they have a talent I will never reach.
I know from experience that you can just learn ‘talent’. And of course, I speak English – and Irish (although I find myself forgetting more and more of the latter as time goes on). But that doesn’t change the immediate feeling that I’m a more basic creature than those speaking around me. Approaching strangers seems impossible.
This may be a side effect of having abruptly returned to England not so long ago. During my time in the hostel there, it was like I was making up for all the silence I’d been putting myself through on this journey. I quickly came to know everyone who spent any time in the hostel’s common area. Bizarrely, four of those ‘single women’ things arrived individually during the last few days at the hostel. One even fell hilariously in love with the punk-looking Italian I befriended on the first day. This girl, an Australian with blue hair, pulled him aside for every conversation she could. She told him everything, and identified herself as an emo. I know he understood little to none of her speeches, largely because of her accent I think. On one occasion, she passionately insisted to him that one must fine oneself, accept oneself, and abandon all one’s opposition. More directly: ‘And all the others who don’t like it? Fuck ‘em. Forget ‘em’.
She was growing animated in her speech, so I think he interpreted it wrong. He laughed loudly every once in a while as if it was a joke.
I myself played the cool-guy like I was above it all for a long while. One nerdy-looking Canadian who’d abandoned an office job to travel asked me about ‘the chicks’, so I spent my time supporting him in his conversations with the women around the hostel. It felt a little creepy targeting the woman, for conversation, but hey, I was just a ‘wingman’ or whatever you call it so I’m sure it was okay for me.
This was until everything happened with Isabel and it became apparent I wouldn’t be meeting her. I went to bed early in frustration, and two hours later felt so lonely that I threw back on my clothes, stormed downstairs and intruded on the Canadian, who’d spent his entire day exploring the city with a Texan girl on her last day of travel. I quickly and aggressively overtook the conversation and the remainder of her final night was spent talking with me while the Canadian waited passively in the background.
Is it worse that I only wanted conversation? I didn’t try anything. The Canadian, on the other hand – I waited around the corner to listen in: he asked her for something and was smoothly rejected.
These are the things I find myself doing around people. I had a mocking grin for the rest of that night, and my thoughts ran wild with insults to the Canadian.
Now I’m back, contained, where I belong – my adventures in solitude. Where the best I can do is watch conversations. Imagine exchanges. Laugh, like the Italian, in response to serious monologues I don’t understand.
Only I don’t find any blue-haired Australians approaching me.
In my desperation, I did something I told myself I’d never do and downloaded Tinder from the bus, then spammed the ‘like’ button until it stopped me. It’s Paris, I thought, I’m sure there are plenty of young who speak English. But nothing happened; I’m sure it was just broken or whatever. Useless app.
Then I had a go at OKcupid. Quickly enough I found a profile written I English, of a 24 year old Anarcho-Communist. I opened with a joke about anarchy, and she insulted me in French.
I’m sure it was just broken or whatever. Useless app. I uninstalled them both.
My heart is cold. I spent an hour looking at the Arc of Triumph last night, making up stupid metaphors as to what it stood for. I walked through.
My heart is cold. My heart’s not meant to be cold. I’m supposed to succeed through overwhelming power. I’m supposed to carry a stupid optimism in the face of darkest circumstance. I’m supposed to kill a thousand people. Fight, kill, win.
Fight, kill, win.
Fight, kill – – … Oh, is that you, Satan?