Monday, February 12, 2007


It's officially my birthday - exactly 00:00 on the clock. I'd hoped I'd be asleep by now, to awake tomorrow morning looking fresh and well-rested for my day off. But thanks to a car alarm outside, a few drunkards loudly expounding their pearls of wisdom on the street, and our weird new neighbours doing what sounded like the lambada upstairs, I'm awake and pissed off.

I don't know what it is with the people upstairs. We've never seen them, and they seem to keep very antisocial hours. There's a lot of walking and moving of furniture, and then there's that creaky sound, not unlike a swinging chandelier, late at night. Unfortunately whatever it is they're getting up to, it happens to be taking place directly above our bedroom.

As for the street noises, well, it's the downside of living in (central) central London. We're not exactly in what you'd call a residential area, although there are apartments on our streets, including our own apartment block of course. But because of the business's, shops, bars, and hospitals, people tend to forget that there might actually be people that live in the area - people like us who need their sleep, and they make an awful racket with their screaming, laughing, and singing. They'd think twice about doing that in a suburban area, but here anything goes. And I swear the drunken singing gets more prolific around the time the X-Factor is being aired.

Anyway, I'm 32 today, and I suppose I should be in an introspective mood, as opposed to an overly-tired annoyed one. For what its worth, I don't feel any different, though I can say I've enjoyed the two years of my thirties more than my 20's. It's undoubtedly tied in with things that have happened in the last few years (not least of all marrying the love of my life), but I also just feel a lot more settled, a lot less paranoid, and certainly more sure of myself. I still have a tendency to please and care about what other people think of me, but then again those are the kinds of vices that take a lot more than 30 years (and a lot more cynicism) to get out of one's system.

My grandmother is a master when it comes to cynicism and a blatant disregard for other people's opinions of her. She has been going to the shops in her slippers (because they are comfortable) ever since I can remember, and has always been very direct with regards to her opinions, regardless of who's company she is in. Most recently she informed me that there are no such things as friends, and the only true friends one has are one's family members. Clearly she hasn't been watching enough Ricki Lake - which if it teaches us anything, it's that it's precisely one's family members one should be most wary off in the treachery stakes.

She asked me an innocent enough question, which should immediately have alerted me to the fact that she was up to something, and a lecture was brewing:
Her: So, have you got many friends?
Me: I wouldn't say many. I have a group of good friends, yes.
Her: Are those women friends?
Me: Mostly, yes.
Her: Don't trust them. Especially around your husband.

My grandmother is of the firm belief that one can never trust another woman around one's husband. I should have pointed out that perhaps this kind of thinking had a bit more to do with how much one trusted one's husband, rather than the women his path happened to cross. But she'd most likely tell me I didn't know what the hell I was talking about - I mean, at my age, how could I? Or worse, and more ominously, she'd say, "Hmmm, you'll see for yourself."

To avoid these conversations, which invariably leave me feeling uncomfortable and vaguely paranoid (should I be worried, should I?), I've now learnt it's best to keep the subject on her. I ask her about her health, her garden, her digestion, and these things seem to please her and keep her mind far from more dangerous topics like how my friends are just waiting to cuckold me.

Right, and now I really am going to try and get some sleep, and hope to god the car has been successfully stolen, the drunkards are safely in their beds, and the vampires upstairs have completed littering the flat with their native soil, or whatever it is they do up there.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

letters from london said...

Thanks very much :-)