Habits sustain you, to a certain level, and then the balance tips over and you’re in a rut. I try to anticipate when the comforting reins of my trotting existence begin to confine me – I go somewhere else to shop, I go earlier or later, change the order, do something different. This is all small stuff but mine is a so called ordinary life.
When you have a small flat painted, there is a lot of exercise involved in moving things from one side of the room to the other as the walls are painted and back again because there’s nowhere else to put them. And I couldn’t “pick” in the kitchen because it was full of hardworking men. So between the lifting and shifting and lack of access to nosh, I have dropped a few pounds. The friend I saw yesterday says I have got thin – it will be a cold day in hell first. But the papers are on about diet again this morning and it made me giggle. Years ago I read that the best diet was a slow rhythmic movement of the head from left to right indicating “no thank you.” And what has been trumpeted as the answer to the TMG (thinking man’s gut) – the five days’ on, two days off – is how most movie stars have lived for years.
Last Thursday, I had a religious experience. The painters had left and I was slowly putting things back in order. Being orderly is my basic nature. I went to put some things in the suitably bin lined dustbin (I wish I could teach certain of my neighbours to do the same) and the door shut behind me. I had no key. I have neglected to leave a spare with a neighbour. The back of the house was open but the neighbours through whose garden I might have got access were out. I stood there. Trying to persuade a registered lock company that I am who I say I am without identification including my mother’s nail clippings would be challenging and anyway, they are the other side of town and I had no money on me. I thought “Nobody is going to help you, help yourself”, picked up a brick, chose my pane and broke in.
I have never done such a thing in my life. And I did it very carefully very slowly, picking out the glass, balancing in the window frame, putting cushions (the covers will wash) on the floor. I had been reading Eric Schlosser’s magnificent book on American nuclear armaments and it has made me more than usually aware of risk. And I prayed “Please God, if I am going to do this, help me to do it properly.” And He did. I had the strongest sensation of a hand round me, just for the instant I went through the frame. You can say it is the fancy of a lonely woman, but I know what I felt and it worked for me. The Master of the Universe is very real to me. A tiny scratch on my left forearm and I tidied up, still saying thank you at intervals. Emergency glaziers fixed the whole thing inside an hour.
So I was still feeling favoured when I went into town though there was a bike fest and I had to go in by train. Though theoretically very grateful for the underground system, I am consciously grateful that I don’t have to use it very often, hot and dirty and noisy as it is. But by the time I came home, I thought, the bridges would be open : I could take a bus. Oh hopeful type ! Nina and I had tea and talked and I went to get the bus. But it didn’t come. So I walked away from the crowded West End, checking at bus stops but without sight of either of the buses I could take. The driver of one of the few free taxis I saw told me the bridges were still shut. So I walked home. It was a warm pleasant evening, light, and my shoes worked. But it is a long way and when I arrived home, I was tired. I had a bath, a cold drink, a fast supper and lasted 20 minutes before I fell asleep over a new book. Rut bust.