What I Read This Week - 24th February

There's a bit of snow floating aimlessly, but it won't settle. The evenings are a little lighter but the air is so cold it hurts my ears. I have pre-birthday anxiety (there's nothing useful or profound about thinking 'Oh God I will never be this age again when I'm no longer this age' but that never seems to stop me thinking it). A few stray green things have started to appear in the garden but they still look a little unsure. - This is How You Healthcare: American Death in London (Sarah C R Bee at NSFWCORP)

The main things that keep me sane are the airy beauty and peacefulness of the hospital building, messages from friends and family far away on earth, the mundane magnificence of the staff: and the knowledge that all of this is free and taken care of and I do not have to fill in a single fuckforsaken form or bust one precious braincell worrying about how I might have to find money to pay for the futile care of my dying deadbeat dad.

I return to this miraculous fact many times a day, in exactly the same way that I return often to the little visitors’ bedroom, lock the door and curl up on the bed. The knowledge soothes me like clean sheets and heat.

Imagine, I think in the middle of the night. Imagine if I had to worry about that stuff. With what, exactly, would I worry about it?

Usually paywalled, obviously, but evidently (and wisely) accessible for free at the moment. So very worth reading.

Review of Pondlife: A Swimmer's Journal by Al Alvarez (Kate Kellaway at the Observer)

Swimming is about living in the present and against the tide of age.

Carpet is a Class Issue (Meghan Daum, essay from My Misspent Youth reproduced at The Billfold)

The kind of class that I associate with wood floors is the kind of class that emerges out of an anxiety about being classy. People who must have wood floors are people who need to convey the message that they’re quite possibly better than most people. They’re people who leave The New York Review of Books on the coffee table but keep People in the bedroom. They’re people who say “I don’t need to read Time or Newsweek because I can get everything I need from the Times.” They’re people who would no sooner put the television set in the living room than hang their underwear to dry on the front porch. They buy whole-bean coffee and grind it in a Braun grinder. They listen to NPR, tell other people what they heard on it, and are amazed when the other people say they heard it too.

I am one of those people.