Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jew for renewal

A few weeks back I was driving through Preswich on a sunday afternoon after a regular cycle 40 odd miles on a tandem with a visually impaired guy on the back sort of sunday morning. I was feeling a little woozy so pulled over next to a park in Prestwich. Those who know Manchester will know that this is on the north side and is pretty heavily populated with a jewish population which once led a dear friend of mine to refer to it as a safari park. I still love her dearly, though i've never forgotten it. So whilst I was parked up, I noticed a group of orthodox jewish girls walking by.

Now, having not taken a picture of these girls, and having found mostly lewd pictures upon putting 'jewish girls' into google images, I can only explain to those who can't picture who i mean.

I've probably lost half the male audience to google images, at least temporarily, but I'll carry on anyhow. Firstly, don't get me wrong, this is not what every jewish person looks like, but there is a certain image that sits in my mind. It's a white shirted girl, with a long gray skirt and dark tights and shoes. Dark hair and eyes that look like the black is bleeding into the surrounding skin. Sombre and walking like there's somewhere to go usually. I've always been very interested in the girls I see that look like this, even though I've been seeing them all my life in various jewish quarters, synagogues etc. I've always stared at them for a little too long and felt a little strange afterwards. In the past the reason for this hasn't seemed so clear, but on this particular woozy sunday afternoon the colour drained from my vision and suddenly these girls stood in a perfect black and white picture. Just like my grandmothers, their mothers, the mothers' mothers. These girls that I see are my walking ancestors. They probably have mobile phones and T.Vs and Ipods, but they look just like the people I know came before me. It's a strange feeling, to be connected to someone and yet not understand them. Our ancestors aren't supposed to be here now, they aren't supposed to understand and experience the things we do. Mozart couldn't have heard his music played on a modern piano let alone an 80's synthesiser. So perhaps it is for this reason that I never thought that I would be in a country that, for all it's problems, is a place where people can visit ancient jerusalem any day of the week, where it's normal to keep shabbat, and where people can swear and chat and write rock songs in an ancient language.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Please work

I am so very very unfocused right now - this is what exists of my review of the influence of size in pharmacokinetic behaviour of antifungal drugs (yes i know)...

The variation in size ...A Haze Nitrite Vision...A Haven Ionizer Tis It ...must...write...something...

oh bugger it.

The truth of youth

Lou: Jodi, you are my little flower.
Me: Well thats a nice thing to say. What sort of flower?
Lou: My little rose bud.
Me: Why am i not in the garden then?
Lou: You are.
Me: Oh. So what's that through the window?
Lou: A very big house.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The dreams that haunt

"I dreamt I was a butterfly, flittering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly...suddenly I awoke...Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man." Chuang-tzu

Last night I was at a funeral. Only it was some sort of strange game-like funeral where you have to guess who the person was. I considered this to be rather insensitive to the deceased but they all told me that this is what they would have wanted to I went with it. Everyone was given a piece of paper and told that it had a symbol on it. Everyone started opening their papers and shouting that they had the number one and trying to find two. No-one could find two and in the hussle bussle i was the last to open my paper, which i did slowly so that no-one would notice (I felt rather suspicious). I opened my page. It was not a two but a zero. It was too busy for anyone to notice but as it opened and looked at the zero it began to open itself over me. It became a hole that seemed to never end. I fell and i fell until suddenly I hit the ground. I was on the interstate. There were cars flying passed very fast but I got up slowly and walked carefully to the roadside, not looking at them. I walked straight through their paths to a car that had crashed onto the embankment. Inside the crumpled metal I could see a crumpled someone that I recognised. I was shocked, couldn't breath; tears welled up and spilled over onto the icey ground. There didn't seem to be anyone else around. I lay down next to the driver's window and rested my palm on their cold cheek. I watched as the cars rushed by, none of them had drivers, and their numberplates were only ones and zeros, and drifted off to sleep.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentines + 96

During this, the most 'cuddly' time of year, for reasons of both temperature regulation and convention, i've noticed a few things ...

The devil incarnate is currently masquerading as Engelbert Humperdinck in the Greater Manchester area...

...some people really can sleep anywhere...

...and sometimes doors really are looking at you...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Mrs Near

Its always nice to be able to see the look of terror

So amongst the other things that happened today I nearly got run over. Big deal I hear you say, you ride a bike, what do you expect. I feel like it still needs to be discussed in someway or another, and since you are my closest friend at the moment here it comes.

There I was, making my way along Oxford Road (in Manchester), just passing the quadrangle (which i'm told the AV guy is neogothic). I'd made it thus far, as usual, without incident. At this moment, however, i very pretty girl in a light blue Yaris thought that pulling out (to go left) whilst looking left was a good idea. I just wasn't quick enough in swerving you see and the front of this rather pretty blue Yaris pushed me sideways. Lucky for me it was in to the side of a bus. I know what you are thinking, into the side of a bus isn't so lucky. Believe me, i'm sure if it had been a moment early the bus would have knocked me clean in to sunday (which sadly is rather far away at present). Having said that, though i prefer to consider myself lucky, if it had been a minute early, she wouldn't have hit me at all.

Anyway, so a few yards on, I got off my bike, stood still for a while and probably looked pretty shaken up. She did stop, and was very apologetic through the window. At the time all I could manage to say was 'I don't think i dinted your car', which I imagine sounded pretty tame.

So there it is, I must say I'm not looking forward to the ride home much.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Just do what you do

Today I was sitting in The CafĂ© across from The Lab (guess who’s been reading The God of Small Things). Anyway, there I was eating my breakfast at 1pm (I had lunch at 9), when I saw across the room a fellow. He’s someone I know of, on account of many other people I know knowing him and him having, let’s say, an outgoing personality. Not wanting to interrupt I didn’t make myself known and presumed that he wouldn’t notice and would soon be leaving. Then comes that strange feeling when you are aware of your place in a room and how all the other things present relate to you, their proximity and movements, their interactions with one another. It’s not a feeling I’ve been able to escape once it’s entered through the door. You just become aware. So he did notice, and came and made himself comfortable across the table from me.

Then off he went, happily indulging in his knights-move thinking, explaining it as somewhere between genius and madness, which I’m inclined to agree with I must say, on the basis of vanity if nothing else. He told me all about his travels with a girl he met over a basketball in his first year of university, tested me on the triad of pellagra, told me about the distant places he's been.

I was anxious to get back to the lab and my newfound friends (lungettes as they shall now be referred to), so I explained I had to go and began to pack my things. Then, out of the hazy falling-all-over thoughts he had been throwing amongst the clatter of forks against plates and cups against saucers, he said ‘you just go do what you do’. It was a feeling akin to being clonked over the head by a heavy book. Doesn’t seem like a big deal does it? Oh but it is. You see that’s the thing that was said almost 3 years ago now, on an early summer’s day. At the time it felt important but unclear. Later, on my own, I realised that this was something I had wanted for a long time. To know that just doing what you do is enough, that you don’t have to make someone happy because, for the most part, you do it without knowing. This might seem a lazy kind of desire, a feeling that you don’t have to bother or some such notion, but it isn’t that; rather, it is the idea that there is something intrinsically right in you for that person, and in them for you.

These days have not been easy, and I have only barely realised that it is ok to say that things feel hard even when they look easy. The bruises that are left by words that could ordinarily be so easily kissed away, remain, accumulating in their glowing purples, yellows and greens. It is moments like these, in circumstances like these, that possess an even greater heaviness, a more profound weight, when you are reminded of the fundamental truths that are taken with you everywhere. Just go do what you do, and I’ll be around, it will be enough, and it will be ok. The proximity of the things around us will change, their movements and interactions will all be rearranged with time; but we will be linked, chained and tied, in knots which will be pulled taut sometimes and fall loose at our feet at others. So just do what you do.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

One man. In the middle of the road. Strolling into oncoming traffic. Incoming. Homecoming. Going. Gone. Two to Tango. India-Charlie-Alpha-November-Tango. Go on. One man. In the middle of the road.