Funny Summer

I'm having a patchwork summer. Mostly I work, and then occasionally something else happens, and the months are like this weirdly pieced-together quilt of something elses. In a way I like looking at my life like that. Don't you ever think how funny your life is? But really it's only funny because you're looking at the funny bits. So I had this idea, to put together a story (a story? well, a string of stories, I guess) made up entirely of those funny moments, you know, when you think, isn't my life funny? Isn't it weird? I think if you put them all together, with nothing else in between, no matter who you are, you'd have something like a Wes Anderson film, one of those films where you sit there thinking, this is so cool and hip and everything but really, whose life is like this? Not that it matters - it's a film, it isn't promising to accurately reflect the way people's lives really are, that's the whole point - but you think, it's just so quirky, it's too quirky to even have a basis in reality.

But actually, if you stuck all those moments of your own life together and pretended that they happened very close together, and left out all the mundanity in between, you might be left with something that looked as quirky as Rushmore. I guess I don't really mean mundanity; often these weird moments are very mundane. I guess I mean it's all about how you frame things. I guess I mean I'm having a funny summer; I'm feeling very old, very young, I'm having visceral dreams about having children, I'm talking about buying a dog or buying a house, but I haven't come very far from where I was not that long ago when I couldn't even talk about buying a bag of groceries without bursting into tears. Or at least, maybe financially I've come far, but time-wise I haven't. I'm still young. I keep thinking I'll always feel young, and at the same time I think I feel so old compared to how I felt when I moved here.


One hot night we sit outside at Freud's. I haven't been here in years. That's a lie, I was here two weeks ago with my parents, we sat outside in the daytime because I'd taken the day off work and it was sunny. I had a latté and sweated in my metal chair. But before that I hadn't been here for a long time. The first time I came here was with Xander; we sat inside (it was summer, it was probably raining), we had just met, we were getting to know each other and he was telling me about how he'd used to work here and I was too busy staring up at the ceilings to care, and a drunk man fell over our feet and asked if we'd just met, had we, in fact, met here, tonight, and laughed. No, we said, we hadn't just met, not tonight, acting as if we'd known each other forever (we'd known each other a week, I guess it felt a bit like forever, we'd hardly slept and I was jetlagged and confused about what it was I was meant to be doing with myself) because it was embarrassing, I guess, that someone who couldn't even walk straight could see that we'd only just met. We were at that awkward stage of intimacy where it's uncomfortable to reflect on how quickly someone can come to mean something but equally uncomfortable to try to pretend that it hasn't happened. And anyway I do feel a little like someone pressed the fast forward button on our relationship and we went from not knowing each other to living together in about a fortnight (probably because we actually went from not knowing each other to living together in about a fortnight).

But anyway, this year, this summer, hot and not raining, we sit outside at Freud's and a parade of drunks go past, falling up and down the big stone steps. Later, after the bar shuts, we call an ambulance for the man who's fallen over near the Co-Op into a pool of his own sick. He's a doctor, we eventually find out; he's getting married in two weeks. He keeps telling us this as if it will help him find his way home, or help him understand how he came to be precisely here, in precisely this way, on precisely this evening in June. But no one wants to claim him and we don't know what else to do except to involve someone else, some higher authority, someone with badges and access to lifesaving apparatuses.

The ambulance arrives and he doesn't move, except to compliment our friend's sneakers and then be sick on them. Then the police arrive and he lurches upright and goes a few steps down the street and falls into someone's walkway, and there he lies. The policemen - there are two of them - just stand there. I lean against the wall. I listen to the policemen talk to the ambulance driver. "Waste of time", seems to be the consensus, but then, here they are anyway, wasting time at one in the morning. After awhile the man is still lying on someone's walkway and the younger policeman discovers a discarded sausage on the pavement. So he puts the sausage into the drunk man's back pocket. "Ha!" he says. "He's got a sausage in his pocket." He nudges his partner in the ribs. He looks straight at me: this is our joke, apparently. "He's got a sausage!" he says. "In! His! Pocket!"

After awhile the policemen give up and go home, or back to the station, or wherever they go when they're done wasting time in one place and want to waste it in another, and the drunk man gets up and remembers where he lives and we call him a cab and he calmly removes the sausage from his pocket and leaves it on the street and tells me again he's getting married in two weeks.


Before that, we're in Wales. We get back from a party and have a glass of red wine and some cheese before bed and everything is happy until we get int a fight because I find him standing in the bathroom finally reading an A.A. Gill essay about fatherhood. I think I actually say that - "finally!" - even though I only told him to read it earlier that day, and I only told him to read it because it made me cry, which is, if we're honest, not always the best recommendation ("oh hey, this book made me bawl my eyes out and doubt everything, wanna read it?"). The argument starts with me saying "why are you reading it here?" and then I suppose becomes about something else, something quite different and bigger and not at all to do with reading A.A. Gill whilst standing in someone else's bathroom in Wales but really, in the end, it's just about that. And somewhere between that moment and the morning, quite unconsciously, we make up and wake up snuggled quite close, or as close as you can be snuggled while sleeping on two twin beds which have been pushed together to form a faux-grownup-sized bed, and the A.A. Gill book is still in the bathroom and he still hasn't read the whole fucking essay.

Later in the week he reads the whole essay and agrees, it was very good. But the fact remains that we had a fight because I found him reading a book in someone else's bathroom. And I promise you this: when I moved here, when I graduated from college or high school or 8th fucking grade, I did not imagine that I would have a boyfriend who read A.A. Gill standing up in the low-ceilinged bathroom of a Welsh cottage or that I would listen to a policeman laugh because he'd put a sausage in a drunk man's pocket.