Wordgame: Baby

I’ve just come out of a two-day water fast, I’ve got the day off work, and, before I turn back to my gleeful-first-draft-of-a-second-novel, I thought let’s pull something out of the elephant box.

I have never been one for pet names. But I am a sucker for an American accent. Any American accent; I am not remotely picky. My friend once pointed out my unconscious tendency to crane my neck overtly and immediately in the direction of any male American accent I hear. Which was sort of reassuring, because at least I know I’m not lying about it.

As such, I went through a phase of fantasising about a heterosexual American man routinely calling me ‘baby’. Don’t know why. But maybe I do.

It’s one of those words that only an American can get away with, as far as I’m concerned. Another one is ‘pussy’. Unless we’re talking about actual babies and cats, obviously. But if we’re talking about actual cats you have to say ‘pussy-cat’; you can’t just say ‘pussy’. To be honest though, thinking about it, it might just be English people specifically who make me cringe when they defy those decrees.

Up until fairly recently I ached to live in the United States. It felt like where I was supposed to be; like my true home. And once, when travelling in the US, I discussed this with a Canadian during a coach-ride-from-Santa-Rosa-to-San-Jose-long love affair. For the record, a Canadian accent is absolutely close enough to trigger my neurons, and they also benefit from much more favourable stereotypes, so there is that. He posited that my desire was the fault of all the American TV I watched in my youth. I did not like that reasoning. But he was probably right.

I watched a lot of American TV. I probably watched more American TV than I did anything else. The only thing that could have rivalled ‘America’ as a prevalent theme in my life was ‘horses’ and, to be honest, the two often happily overlapped. So, an American accent is probably as comforting to me as an equine aroma. It probably reminds me of childhood. Makes me feel safe. Fills the role of my absent father. Relieves the insecure attachments of my past.

Once, I was walking alone, aged fourteen, along a random street in Florida – could not tell you why – and a guy shouted out of their car as they drove past “you’re beautiful, sweetheart!” and the joy that filled me with lives in my cells. Now we could pick that interaction apart, and find many flaws, but we’re not going to. A male American accent to me sounds like relief. It sounds like invitation to someone who viscerally believes they are uninvited.

Which is weird. Logical, but weird. Kinda broken. A weakness unwise to admit to; so easily exploited it could be. So, yeah, if you have the credentials, call me baby. I’m curious to see what would happen.

Overhead lines

Today was a hot day.

I think the hottest on record for these here British Isles. And I chose to ride on the Metro – the notoriously outdated, incompetent, delay-ridden public transport service that had just yesterday melted.

I could have opted to stay at home.

I could have opted to take the car.

But I took the Metro.

I found practical reasons to argue against those other options. But before the practicalities came the raw desire to ride on the Metro on the hottest day ever. To be part of the excitement. To see what all the fuss was about. To live, goddammit.

I worried I was being stupid; that I’d end up having a miserable day and regret defying the prevalent advice. Please don’t travel on the Metro system if your journey isn’t necessary. But I wanted to. So I did.

And I had a wonderful time, sweat running down the backs of my legs while I tapped my fingers to the Hamilton soundtrack and the train car knocked us all about a bit. I can’t explain it, but it was so much better than not riding the Metro on the hottest day on record. Imagine if I’d just stayed at home! If I hadn’t followed that odd, pointless whim. My day would have just been fine.

S Pen

My mobile device of the past three and a half years has been getting a little ornery lately. In its defence, it has been dropped on countless occasions with absolutely no consideration for its wellbeing. But still, the situation was becoming tedious.

I convinced myself to hold off on rectifying things with an impulse purchase until after my birthday, when an anticipated, modest influx of cash will ease the burden.

When it comes to technology, I’m not a frequent updater – too much faff to keep setting things up. But when I do finally get around to making the significant purchase I have most likely not planned for, I must confess to a rather imprudent proclivity to desire the shiniest, sleekest, most impractically optimal piece of equipment I happen to lay my clammy eyes upon.

And, once I set my sights upon a device, I am regrettably unyielding from that point forward. It must be that one now. The one I have decided to love. The one I have committed myself to, come Hell or high water.

SO I’m writing this with my new S pen on my new S22 Ultra. Unnecessary, yes. Overly indulgent, undoubtedly. The day before my birthday, indeed.

Dull the shine

In the garden centre today I saw they were hiring and I thought ooh, maybe I should apply, maybe they’ll have some hours that fit around my current job but don’t cut into Makaloo time, and I thought about what a nice time I’d surely have working at the garden centre. And then I started working out just how many hours I could squeeze in, and what kind of rota I could accommodate, and how I could rejig my responsibilities to make more space for my imaginary job at the garden centre. I don’t know why I do this. The best object is always the shiny object, apparently. Every emergent possibility is the most compelling. I have more or less learned not to follow the instinct to chase these possibilities, but I still waste an inordinate amount of time excitedly considering them.

Working at the garden centre would absolutely not fit into my life, or take me in any direction I want to go. I’d be stressed out, smothered under a pile of dirty dishes, and I’d spend all the extra money on plants. If I had a few dozen avatars, it might make sense for one of them to work at the garden centre, because I like it there. But I don’t have a few dozen avatars, or even a couple, so I should really fix my gaze on the things I actually want, in this single life that I have the privilege of living. I have three active endeavours right now, and three is altogether too many. I can’t feasibly make it less, but I certainly shouldn’t be trying to make it more.

What must it be like for one’s deires to be immutable?

I can’t say for certain that mine aren’t, actually, it’s just that they are so profuse I routinely forget the order of them.

Interrogated fear

It’s funny how most of our fears are not the fears we think they are when we think them.

Well, I can only really speak for myself, but I know it is reported to be a wider human proclivity.

I have been noticing lately, when I get a scary thought, the vague fear that encroaches seems on the surface to be about one thing, but if I stay with it, explore it, interrogate it, it turns out to be something altogether different. Something altogether stupider.

For instance, am I scared that my life will never get any better because I dislike my current life? Or is it actually that, even though I love my life, I’m scared that if it isn’t, at all times, actively and immediately getting better in demonstrable ways, it’ll inexplicably start getting worse, and then other people will blame me for not having a good life? Yeah, it’s the second one. The stupider one.

It’s worth questioning these things, because when you see the stupid in broad daylight, it makes it much less appealing to hold onto.