Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lodged Between the Cracks

Back at Starbucks. Where it all started out. Well maybe not all. Maybe some. Starbucks takes me back to the one job I loathed probably the most in my life, and the one that paid me the most. Strange, isn't it, how money is unable to paper over misery? Or maybe not so strange.

Anyways here I am, ostensibly to do some research for my next project. Instead, I've had a shepherd's pie followed by a noir (gooey chocolate with cookie centre) and then read some of Naomi Wolf's memoir about her dad. Well, the book is actually about creativity and about how finding your creative passion is the one important thing in life.

And I arrived here with my laptop and bag of books (including a very very heavy coffee table book I will have to go through carefully) and my eyes were assaulted by people. People on people on people. Oh yeah, well, it IS the weekend. And Bangsar IS very popular. But still. Not a single solitary table for me with all my stuff.

And then I saw Adrian, my friend from Hollywood that I had met at a networking event. We don't stay in touch. We see each other once in a few years. And we catch up. He's a writer. And he tells me things I remember. About exiles being walking wounds. About the manipulative games supposedly nice people can play. About superficiality. That sort of thing. He's into a million projects at the moment, chasing life because someone happened to die in his arms. Someone, he didn't know. Someone who was only 40. Someone who had come for a quick game of football. Someone who had a wife and six kids depending on him.

Makes you think, huh? So Adrian has plunged himself into life, this endless eddying stream, not allowing a moment, a microsecond to escape. While I'm sitting here trying to ease myself into being silent and solitary.

I asked Adrian if he was happy. He said yes, most times. And he asked me if I was happy. I told him I was liminal. And he said that's not a word he hears in this part of the world. In fact, he's never heard it here. And I said, yeah, I read it in some poem in Australia.

And before this, on my way here, stuck in traffic, I kept telling myself, I control my moods, not these cars, not these badly behaved drivers, not this heat, I don't have to lose it...calm down, Jenny, calm down.

Then Rod Stewart started up on the radio and I found myself smiling. Rod Stewart reminded me of an old boss who would say, Jenny, do you have a hot date this Saturday? And I would ask why cautiously, knowing where this would lead. And he would say, how would you like to date me? Meaning, how would I like to write this particular column for the week, after which he would treat me to butter prawns. He had something about him, he made working Saturdays fun. I never knew how much fun until he left and working weekends became both interminable and untenable.

And I had a meeting with some bigwig who asked me if I would like to go back to my old newspaper and I said no. It was home, I grew up there, I loved it, but all the people who made it home, all the desks, chairs, clunky old computers, all gone. It had become a foreign place, gleaming and arrogant, not somewhere I would want to be. I told him, I don't fit into organizations. If you want to, give me work to do separately. But I'll never go back. Who was it who said you could never go home?

I don't remember.

But it's true.

So here I am at Starbucks, just getting along, trying to make it through today, trying to go home.

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