It's a Wednesday. It's my day off. It's sort of how I feel like most people's Sundays are...that day when nobody seems to have the energy to do anything...
But when it comes to my day off, I always feel like I should be doing something. Being productive.
I write lists. I send myself to town. I search for something I/someone needs. I drink coffee while staring out of a different window. I work, I analyse, I wash, I chalk...
This afternoon though, I read an article by Guardian writer Sali Hughes, about how you need to make yourself take time off of the world sometimes, to really appreciate life as it is... "Over the course of my bed-in, my brain gradually slowed to a pace at which my feelings could overwhelm my thoughts [...] my emotions felt vivid, visceral and heightened within the safety of my own home", she writes. It's okay to be at home, she says, with nothing planned for hours, or even days. In fact, it's good...It's "necessary". Sometimes.
I decided in that moment (in the bath, surrounded by candles and a book that I always take in with me but never read), that this would be my 'time off'. No lying there, planning what I can do when the water cools and it's time for me to move again... Just lying and listening, in the quiet. And not feeling bad for it.
While I was lying there, I heard a bird making a strange noise outside the window, I caught the reflection of one of the candle flames in the shiny metal of the plug holder, and I looked at my feet. My toenails need painting. My feet look wide and pale. I have a bruise on my thigh. How did that get there?
When you're so quiet that your mind slows down too, you start to hear everything else. The car driving down your street, a door shutting in the house next door, and the front door opening as your housemate gets home from work.
Sit for even longer and you hear your housemate filling up the kettle, too! I'm ever so glad I was quiet enough to catch that one :)
For ages, my housemate and I have been ignoring the fact that our garden is becoming a bit of a monster...
We were being all 'Noah Ritter' about it."Everyone say HELLO to the duck on my HEAD!", the small boy shouts, when trying to avoid Sofia Vergara's questions about him possibly having a girlfriend.
When my mum came to stay lately, I had to run to the window in the spare bedroom before she could get there, so that I could show her the duck on MY head. "Don't look down, mum. It's going to make you mad. We don't have the power tools and the garden looks really bad."
It's so bad that chalking an Abelisaurus out there didn't look out of place in the slightest...
RAWR I'M GOING TO EAT ALL OF THE TREES AND EVERYTHING
(this Abelisaurus is a plant-eating one)
"ARGHUAAAAAAA", screamed the overgrown mess.
Thankfully, the trees won't have to fear the dinosaur for too much longer, because the garden is getting chainsawed to death by our landlord this afternoon. Excellent. Bad news for the Abelisaurus though, who will soon have nothing to chase, and my mum, who really loves carrying out demolition jobs. "I'll come up from Wales and we'll cut it all down and drive it to the tip in the car, yeah?", she said, rubbing her hands together.
This is my sister's way of telling me that she's too busy to entertain me (she stares at the screen, even when talking)
So, I went outside to see if there was anywhere I could be chalking...
This looks familiar.
This looks like... my WARDROBE.
A voice calls out...
"Oh! If you wait a minute, I can be in the photo as well!"
I turn around...
"Are you taking a photo of my car?", the voice calls again.
I turn to see a man in his forties, posing next to that car on the left.
"My name is Andy. Nice to meet you."
I spend around 5 minutes explaining to Andy about why I'm writing on the wall, and not taking photos of his car. He tells me that he's from Canton, is a volunteer at Recovery Cymru, and that after seven years of being addicted to drugs, he has now been clean for eight months (his story is much better).
He shows me his Recovery Cymru arm bands, and tells me that the treatment he has received in Cardiff has been second to none. And then he gets out a notepad, asks me to write out the name of this blog, before walking straight past the car and out through a tunnel and into the street.
"It's fate that we met", he says, as he leaves me standing by the wall, pondering our conversation (and whether or not the car was his at all).
"If you ever meet a single woman who's in her forties, let me know!", he grins.
"I'll check out your blog."
Recovery Cymru is a self-help and support community for people in or seeking recovery from alcohol and drug problems. They aim to help those who rely on their services with friendship, advice, and the time and space to develop and pursue new interests and hobbies. If you know someone who would benefit from this service, please click the link above. They are currently based in Cardiff, but will soon be opening up in the Vale of Glamorgan, too.
So, Richard Hawley played live in session for the radio show I work on today (I know!), and he let me sneak him off around the back of the building so that I could chalk with next to him at the end! YES! *fist punches air*
His music is awesome, and he let me take about 450,000 photos of him for our work website. For these reasons alone, I present you this:
It's a good day when stuff like this happens, right?
(Let's ignore the part where I tried to carry their equipment from the van into our green room and got my tights stuck to their music stand... As I quietly tried to work out how I was going to remove myself from the massive metal frame without tearing my tights apart/anyone else noticing what was happening, the guitarist strolled over, shouted, "I've got it!" and yanked it from my boney little fingers... *cue massive hole in holes at start of shift* yep. Let's ignore that bit.)
I can't believe it's been 4 months since I last felt the urge to chalk...
I blame working for nearly the whole summer for it, and for the fact that it is wholly unacceptable to chalk on a BBC building. Or at the reception party of someone else's wedding/in the new shop that I work in/on my car.
Do you know where it HAS been okay to chalk though?
In my hair.
In my hair...
Look! It's blue and green!
And there's nobody stood waiting to tell me off each time I colour it in! Hoorah!
If only the strands were thick enough for me to leave actually messages on each one...
Today, I would write something about sleeping all day, eating my boyfriend's pizza without him knowing, and how I'm now going to be awake ALL night thinking about it.
(Not because I feel guilty, but because there's only so long you can spend in the land of nod, innit.)
Maybe I'll perk up enough to chalk on something/someone else. My housemate has no hair though (and his girlfriend is staying over tonight), so it kind of rules that one out...