I woke up this morning feeling slightly blue. The prospect of a year stretching out in front of me with no work on the horizon, was weighing very heavy on my mind. It’s so frightening to think that my 37th year could begin with absolutely nothing in the coffers, or with me working in a cafe or front of house in a theatre. The major worry is that I've now missed out on those three crucial end-of-tax-year months, when all sorts of decisions are made about creative projects.
As I sat in that dreadful meeting room on Tuesday, it struck me that every single person I was talking to would still have a relatively well-paid job whether or not they decided to commission my project, and at that moment I learnt a very valuable lesson about life... I think it's possible that you can end up being valued less by an organisation if you're relentlessly loyal, than you might if you creep about in the shadows, setting up meetings with the opposition.
Anyway, after mooching around the house for a bit this morning, and eating a tin of tomato soup for lunch, I started to feel a bit lonely, and decided to walk to the gym via Waterlow Park, which was just delightful in the early spring sunshine. I very much wished that I had Fiona in tow. I associate that park with her, and wanted to sit on a rug and share a picnic with someone.
As I approached the park, I came upon a doddery old man creeping his way down the very steep lane in front of me. He was walking painstakingly slowly and by contrast, I was walking very quickly. Just as I was about to overtake him, someone coming up the hill passed him on the other side. The doddery old man did the most illogical thing, and instead of staying put, stepped straight in front of me, causing me to bump into him, and him to panic. I steadied him, and made sure he wasn’t going to fall over, and apologised profusely, and asked if he was alright. He shot me a look of wounded patheticness, and refused to answer, or apologise himself for being illogical. This instantly made me feel angry. “Well you did just step out in front of me...” I said. He simply looked at me, like a frightened rabbit. I walked away, feeling terribly guilty.
To compound my guilt, I then saw a little old man walking his dog down Dartmouth Park Hill. I've seldom seen two creatures walking so slowly. The dog was fat – probably through lack of exercise - and the old man was bent double like a beggar under a sack. He couldn’t lift his head and merely stared at the pavement as he walked along. 2 hours later, when I returned from the gym, they were on the same stretch of road. I’m sure – at least I hope - they’d been somewhere lovely in the meantime, but I very much feel they were sent to show me how old people struggle in this world, and re-inforce my feeling that I shouldn’t have barked at the old confused man, simply because he made me feel like an ogre.
Further up the hill, I walked past a set of dogs tethered to a lamp post who were barking like seagulls... which was very surreal. I write this a pro pos nothing!
A few seconds later, a reminder in my phone beeped to tell me that it was my old friend, Tara’s birthday and that she was having drinks in the pub opposite our house. The thoughts of having someone to talk to put a spring in my step, which made me feel very pathetic indeed! It was, however, lovely to see Tara. She looked stunning, and her friends were very interesting. Midway through the drinks, we went to look at the enormous moon which was appearing in the South East. The perigee moon, as it’s called, is a once in a generation experience, and apparently, minutes before I saw it, was even larger, and bright orange. Nathan called me from Birmingham to tell me that he was watching it from a service station. My parents were watching it in Thaxted... I felt a bit left out.
March 19th, 1660, and Pepys went to the theatre to see The Bondman acted “most excellently.” Pepys was much taken with this, tragi-comedy, by Philip Massinger and saw it often; “and though I have seen it often, yet I am every time more and more pleased with [Thomas] Betterton’s action.” So there.