Sunday, January 1, 2012

31 december 2011

flowers around your feet by meyrem

after some minutes of staring at the ceiling i decided no. i'll go. no point sitting at home all day. so i got dressed, had my delightful bowl of cereal, got the tram got tea got on the train and headed off.


one of the most helpful things would be to know what my triggers are. for days i'd felt a sadness approaching. you can sense it in your brain's weather. you just know it's on its way. you hear it pacing outside your door, that sort of thing. i wish i knew what event(s) trigger it, invited it in. ___anyway, here it was now.


i stare out the window and think if maybe it's simply a response to the 31st of december. on anniversary dates i'm often contemplative and moody.

in my head i compose a quite nice poem i don't currently remember a word of.

i drink my tea.

i watch things pass me.


there are firecrackers everywhere. at first i think it's just mischievous youths setting them off under people's cars, but then i pass a family - a father and his two sons and he's showing them how to light them and when to throw them. Amsterdam sounds like a war zone. relentless shelling. my first thoughts are the siege of Sarajevo. my second thoughts are the first time i heard a bomb hit in Haifa. only difference was that in Haifa the ground shook. the ground doesn't shake. i stop being scared, but it has a strange effect to walk through a city that sounds like it's under constant artillery barrage.


it's a horrible day to be here. every riff-raff-miscreant-mislead-youth from England and continental Europe has descended upon Amsterdam for a new year's spend smoking, drinking and whoring. everyone you pass is a red-eyed youth in a tracksuit speaking in louty-vernacular and spitting too often. mostly men. a few girls straggle along from time to time.

at one point the crowd is just too much and my heart-rate rises noticeably. this hasn't happened in a while i think to myself. i breathe deeply and look for the most immediate route out of the horde. yes yes, that's right, next i start to feel a little nauseous, i'm strangely comforted by how consistent this is with my memory of former panic attacks.

but i'm out of it all soon enough. i walk towards the edge of a larger street where people are better distributed. i do little skips over puddles and concentrate on the church in the distance. i wonder if she's disappointed in us.


it's new year's eve. i can't not attend. i'm always conscious not to over-step the boundary between 'independent/mysterious/fickle/he-sometimes-just-doesn't-show-up' and simply 'plain-weird'. not showing up would be 'plain-weird' behaviour. i have to show.

shaking off the spooks is going to take a serious campaign.

i load up a playlist of southpark episodes. grab two redbulls out of the refrigerator. take one pill (not two, that'll calm me into roboticism). pull up the Get_PSYCHED! playlist on my phone and play that in the background.


FROM: apennyfortheoldguy
TO: another guest

SUBJECT: (no subject)

outfit selected. temptation to revert into PJ mode successfully averted. all signals cleared for take off


the municipality arranges a firework display. but i don't notice them, i don't even know in which direction to look for those ones. on every street of the Hague residents armed with professional grade fireworks are lighting the sky. it's unlike anything i've ever seen. the almost freezing air is smoky like a nightclub. in the centre isle of the street men attach things to lightposts with electric tape and put out boxes that look like car batteries. they light them with their cigarettes and run quickly back to our side shouting with a smile 'big boom' or 'little boom' or 'big light' or 'whoooosh'. each of these, i learn, is a true description. big boom sounds more or less like tank artillery crashing into the building next to you. the whole street shakes. big light makes midnight look like midday.

some of the neighbors see me jumping up and down in glee screaming let's burn something and hand me a box of firecrackers and their lighter to keep me out of trouble. i spend the next 50 minutes running up and down the street lighting these things and throwing them around and an hour later notice the tips of all my fingers are burnt.


when i look back i see person A speaking to person B, who's leaned in to hear his words, and he's leaned in to hear hers. Person C and D have disappeared together. My boss sits at the table behind me having a conversation with someone from Serbia, asking him specific points about grammar and pronunciation. someone i met 2 hours ago is speaking to someone i met 2 weeks ago in animated fashion in furious french.

i'm not particularly involved in any of this. i'm watching from the kitchen, where i've covertly made myself a cup of tea and am watching with distanced pleasure. i'm spotted: is that... tea?
- do you mind? i just helped myself.
- no, actually, i was thinking how much i'd like a cup of tea myself.
[i put my mug down and re-fill the kettle]


eight people stand around in the kitchen, each holding a mug of tea to their lips. approximately four conversations are passing between them.

i'm not sure if i'm involved in any of them.

but this is my life. i'm involved in that. and the year has put itself to sleep as gracefully as it can. and, what i can say about 2011 is that it'll sleep with a few bumps but no nightmares. and we celebrated her funeral like a birthday.

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