The people who really know me can easily be distinguished from those who think they know me on the basis of running the little Name The Actor I Love test. Those who think they know me may answer, on a incorrect sliding scale, least likely first, Owen Wilson, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Hugh Grant, Joaquin Phoenix, Christian Bale, although I may have to re-think a little after the fucked up tirade of late. Those who definitely do not know me may say Colin Firth or Ewan McGregor. Those very few who have me all sussed will guess right. But this is something that I have, somehow, managed to keep rather private, a bit like the location of my tattoo.
Something that close and not-so-close friends know is that, every year, at around about this time, I jet off to New York. I got married there a few years back, on the spur of the moment, during a Valentine’s break, hence its significance to my life has always been above and beyond the emotional attachment to any other place I’ve ever been to or even lived in. I’ve returned to New York nearly every year ever since, always around the same dates, always back to the same place, only skipping the awful time when I was on sick leave from work, skint and in pain. Last year at this time I was prancing around in my underwear trying (fake) furry hats in my bedroom, humming to myself and throwing silk dresses and treble-knit wooly tights in my suitcase. Good times.
This year I cannot go and everyone knows it. I cannot go because I am in-between jobs, tying up loose ends, as a couple of friends of mine so like to say, or, as someone else told me, making the jump from being a corporate number to someone who is in fact personally fulfilled by her own occupation. All of this makes sense of course but only to them. It doesn’t make sense to me. I know it is difficult to crystallise my convoluted thoughts when I’ve spent an entire week toying with the work I need to do and looking at the sky every time I hear a plane overhead (and I live next to an airport, so, we really are talking about looking up and sighing like... forty times an hour), but, believe you me, I so WANT TO GO NOW, that I am past caring whether I sound spoilt, insane, weird or a combo of all three. I am saddened by this non-development and, yes, I would give quite a lot in order to be able to spend my wedding anniversary doing what I always do, being with Rick, zig-zagging in Central Park, taking pics of the deep blue sky, aimlessly walking up Madison Avenue until we skim Haarlem while chomping on Godiva chocolate-covered strawberries, $ 6.50 a piece.
Naturally, it isn’t all about Madison Avenue or Godiva either, although they are significant in their own ways; it is all about having realised years ago that domesticity is a relationship’s greatest enemy. Stop making time for yourselves in new surroundings and you really are going to slide into the no man’s land of being together just because you are. When we are in New York, far away from the Tyranny of the Everyday, far away from the stupid gripes induced by food shopping, by maintaining a house, by putting the frigging rubbish outside, I can actually get to know two different people again; Rick and myself. I am such a better person when I am away from daily miseries I cannot even begin to tell you.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and although mocked by many and insignificant for some, it isn’t for me, as it is intrinsically connected to my anniversary two days later. I baked some heart-shaped cookies today and I am planning some more themed baking but I must admit that I feel deflated by even trying to act like everything’s normal. Whatever I think of doing (cinema? Theatre? Dinner? Park? Lakes? All of these?) has a that will do vibe to it that contrasts with the person I am at heart. I am not one of those who say they don’t really care about going to New York, they can leave it or take it, just because they don’t want to admit that their inability to do as they would really like to stings them (yes, I am no fox). It stings me and I freely admit it.
Heck it’ll be a miracle if those friends who have been kind enough to face the music this week will still want to talk to me next, narky as I was over the past few days. Furthermore, I see my current predicament as a monument to my uselessness from a work perspective. And I know that I am not useless really but, trust me, there is only so much overall fulfilment you can get from writing and researching when you don’t see a buck for either and, in fact, when you haven’t seen a buck for six months. After all, you can’t pay your bills in intellectual fulfilment currency. Now that really won’t do.