Last Sunday the Man did that thing that people sometimes do to their backs, which pretty much puts them out of commission for a period of days, sometimes weeks. It started out innocently enough - just a strain, perhaps it'll be better by tomorrow - but by Wednesday he was immobile, and I was trying to put his socks on but actually just tickling his toes in a way which made him laugh and then cry out in pain from laughing. And he was spending up to two hours trying to get from prone to upright and it was so painful and shocking to see that it was somehow also hysterically funny, and every ten minutes or so I would leave the room to giggle, like a child (when I was 6, my best friend broke her arm by trying to do a back handspring in my parents' living room, and I ran into my room and laughed uncontrollably, even though I didn't find it in the least bit funny). Although also somehow the injury had made his pelvis jut out at a funny angle, so it looked a little like he'd got stuck doing a sort of Elvis dance move, and if you didn't think about the pain or the awkwardness, that was pretty funny, in a way. Anyway, it hasn't been the smoothest week, really.
So today he was feeling well enough to leave the house for the first time since Monday. We thought we'd celebrate by going down to our local pub for a roast lunch. It's a manageable walk because it's only about ten feet away from our house, and the food is never disappointing, and I'd spent all morning in bed, moaning about how I'd squandered the entire day already and WHAT WAS THE POINT, so I think secretly the Man was hoping I'd order myself a glass of wine and CHILL. THE. FUCK. OUT.
But instead what I did was order a bloody mary even though I wasn't hungover and then sipped it so slowly that I'd still be sipping it if i hadn't given up at a certain point and abandoned it on the table. The food was lovely and the Man was able to sit upright and I flipped through the Sunday Times Style magazine and wondered why we were looking at spring dresses already when it isn't even February and every morning I wake up under a layer of frost and think it won't ever be warm again. And I'm sorry if it's unfashionable: I am not going to start thinking about my SPRING WARDROBE, I am going to continue stockpiling jumpers because you never know when it will be so cold that you will want to wear them all at once. (Today, for instance, I am wearing just two, but a few days ago I wore four at once.)
And actually the whole experience would probably have been lovely, except that the pub was full of pretty young people having fun.
How annoying is a bunch of pretty young people having fun when you're not in the mood for pretty or fun? There were all these girls mincing around the pub. The sort of beautiful girls that look at you - or rather, quite deliberately don't look at you - and assume they have right-of-way because, well, they're prettier. Or, more accurately, they're more expensively dressed and their skin is tan even though no one in Britain has seen the sun in about six months. And they looked what I think is called "radiant". Even their teeth were whiter than mine, and let's be honest: as an American, I should have the advantage there. It's my right. They get the cute accents and the sense of style, I get the gleaming teeth.
And the most annoying thing, of course, is that actually they're probably just as insecure as everyone else.
So these sort of pretty-Sloaney girls with serious cheekbones and wide eyes who were probably just as insecure as I am were making me feel unwelcome even though they weren't doing anything unwelcoming, and I'd squandered the rest of the day by eating a sandwich and not finishing my bloody mary even though the day wasn't, technically, over yet. And it was sunny and beautiful outside but not warm, and the Man's back still hurt, even if he could put his own pants on now, and time - "like an ever-rolling stream" - just kept rolling, and I was not its master, and soon it would be evening, and soon enough night, and soon enough the weekend would be over, and pretty soon, really, it would be spring, and I would be wearing a sleeveless dress and flipping through the Sunday Times Style magazine looking at autumn-coloured knitwear and wondering why I would want to think about scarves in this glorious weather.
And back at home there was laundry to do and never quite enough time to do it.