Blast it all, I’m happy.
I swear, I hate it. I don’t know what’s entitled me to such a curse.
In this very moment it is wholly true. I am in some Starbucks in Dijon, and I fucking hate Starbucks. I’m drinking coffee that tastes like piss, but fixes my severe, uncontrollable addiction. My socks are soaking wet. Soaking. And it’s raining outside.
The reason my socks are wet is because last time I washed my clothes I did so by sneaking into a camp ground and acting like I belonged so I could use their washing machine. This was 5 days ago, before I arrived at Dijon. The place had been fairly empty; I guess that was just the time I’d arrived at. There was a huge ‘fuck-off’ sign all over the washing room saying that you had to pay for access at reception, but like I said the place was empty. I plugged in the machine, washed my clothes, and even got a full shower while I waited for them to finish. But, one hour later when the machine stopped, people started to return. I took the clothes and stuffed them in my bag with the intention of leaving them out to dry later.
Of course, it started raining later.
And has been raining ever since. Five fucking days.
Isn’t that miserable?
This morning I woke to rain. The outer layer of my tent does a good job of keeping the rain out, but the actual structure of my tent collapsed almost a month ago. I have to prop it all up with ropes and my bag now. The rule of camping is you should never leave things against the wall of your tent; anything touching the inside of your outer, waterproof layer – will get wet, with science.
But because of my collapsing tent, the roof is pretty much lying on my face. So I woke up with my sleeping bag, rucksack, and shoes completely soaked.
And since it’s been raining or damp for five days straight, the socks in my bag are still damp from the last time I washed them. Now they smell like… Five-days-damp-socks.
Which is what they are.
It took me 40 minutes to individually pull off the slugs taking shelter on my tent (I counted 17) and to pack the thing up. A lot of that time was admittedly spent staring at my damp socks, debating with myself whether or not I should really wear them. They weren’t going to dry anytime soon.
This has been my life for the last five days. I’ve spent considerable time beneath bridges and tunnels, waiting for lapses in the rainfall so I could go out a brave it again. This delayed my arrival at Dijon by two days, which had already been delayed one day by a broken tire on my bicycle.
I could hardly wait until reaching this city. I decided, with absolute certainty, that I would use Couchsurfing to find places to stay for an entire week in Dijon before moving onto Lyon.
Of course, I would have done well to remember: people have a natural distaste towards me. There’s a French saying… ‘I may not be much of a looker, but I’m one hell of a boxer’. … Maybe my problem is that I’m an adequate boxer, and an average looker. – I’ve made requests to no less than 26 Dijon hosts, without using any kind of template messages; just a sincere request for a place to stay for a night while it’s raining, and I gave a minimum of two days notice to each of them. I was promptly rejected by every single one of them. Couchsurfing isn’t very active in Dijon; there are very few other active users who I can find, other than the 26 I’ve messaged, so I’ve chosen instead to enjoy the quiet and safety of my solitude.
During the night, because of the rain, I’ll drift in and out of sleep for the ~8 hours in my tent. While awake last night, I couldn’t figure something out…
What was I doing there?
How in the fucking world would cycling this way help me achieve my goal of winning over Isabel? Why did I want to win her over in that way in the first place – it’s childish to be so dramatic over something like this. Why should I face the cold? I fucking hate the cold. I do, really. I’ve lived with it all my life. During every day in my old home in Ireland – every day – I promised myself that in my adulthood I’d rent a warm apartment, with good heating. I’d never go again without a warm radiator. I promised myself that.
I could bring that goal back to myself now. I could move into a cheap apartment, get a job… Hell, I could still chase Isabel’s affection, with a more direct methodology.
So if I stopped now I’d have failed my goal of reaching Amalfi in Italy – so what? I haven’t actually told anybody about my goal, not even Isabel. This blog is the only record of it, and nobody has linked this blog with the real me; I could just get rid of it and have no trouble. I could dedicate my future free time to working on a novel instead. Or, I could just get lazy and turn to – I don’t know – reading. Gaming. Movies. Whatever.
I could do all of this, starting fucking tomorrow.
All it would take… Is a little bit of misery.
Just an ounce of despair.
So what, – what the fuck is this inner warmth I’m feeling?
I should still be cold. I am still cold. I I won’t sleep well tonight either, or any time soon until the rain stops. And when it does, I’ll be uncomfortably warm and that’ll make me lazy and lethargic.
I have nothing going for me. I’m wasting time on this blog. I probably won’t ever tell anyone I’ve cycled to Amalfi. I might not even tell Isabel. I’m learning French but I’m leaving the country in a matter of weeks. I will have to start all over with Italian.
So why, in the fucking world, am I just at peace with all of this? And what, damn it – what is this inner warmth I’m feeling?
I should end this here, with ‘I hate myself‘.
It would be funny? And wrap things up.
But I can’t even do that…
You know what? I’m pretty great.
Pretty fucking fantastic.
… Isn’t that just miserable?