30 January, 2006

an odd day

I think I'm lonely! It's so odd to walk around and around my neighborhood, and the school neighborhood, and no one greets me or even notices me!  I am a total stranger, which does not suit me actually.  Some people at home have suggested, "What a great opportunity to reinvent yourself!"  But it turns out, I kind of liked who I was already.  There is one mother at Avery's school, an American naturally, who has been really sweet.  Invited me out for coffee last week and ended up spontaneously taking me in her car to a pet store where I bought a real litterbox and litter!  .s opposed to the roasting pan, YUCK, that had been serving as a litter box until now!  I know, now you'll hesitate to eat my roast chicken.  Anyway, this mom, Becky, is lovely and her daughter Anna is one of Avery's favorite girls in the class.  But when she told me that her husband was due back from New York that day, I had an awful moment where I realized that back at PS 234, I would never not know if a dad was traveling!  I knew the ins and outs of everyone's schedules, when Annabelle had piano, when Cici had Tae Kwan Do, when Michele's husband had his scary trip to the Middle East, what Catherine was feeding her four children that night.  And now, sob here, I don't know anything about anyone, nor does anyone know anything about me.  I find it lonely. 

I got Avery off to school this morning and then came home feeling sorry for myself, knowing that all the people I care about were fast asleep except for John who was busily engaging with his stimulating work contacts, and Avery, busily defending her netball goalie position.  I actually lay down and took a nap!  Isn't that the first sign of depression?  Or is it not being able to sleep?  I can't remember.  I woke up when the lovely porters, my crush Bob and his lesser cohort Iain, knocked on the door with two feckless looking boys to help carry all our junk away.  I pitched in, and the old saying "many hands made light work" was manifest.  So our kitchen is empty of all its charity rubbish, and I packed up the last of the rubbish rubbish to put out on the pavement (Brit for sidewalk, you know) this evening.  That at least felt good.  Then I went off to buy bookshelves, feeling that if I did something I'd be more cheerful, only to find there's a two-week lead time.  I'm about ready to do it, though. 

The eighty or so boxes of books in the study is not only ugly, but it means I'm reading the same things over and over!  It occurred to me that people always say exercise is good when you're unhappy (never one to shy away from dramatising a situation), so I determined to walk from South Kensington where I'd been at Conran's in the Michelin Building, all the way home, if I didn't get lost along the way.  I even executed the risky manouever of calling my beloved brother-in-law Joel to get an update on Jane, living dangerously when such distraction could easily get me to Islington or Chiswick instead of Mayfair.  But I tromped successfully all through Hyde Park, actually not making any wrong turns and hearing the latest Jane genius tricks, like her ability to pick out specific books from her shelf on command.  That child is a genius.  Which is so unfair, because like her cousin Avery, she's also gorgeous.  Totally unfair, like two investment bankers marrying each other.  Joel cheered me up with news of their house sale and the pressure now to find somewhere to live by June.  I allowed him to introduce this conversational topic (a true measure of my feelings for him) even though the word MOVE is considered foul language in our house.

So I got home safely, feeling virtuous, and headed straight to school pickup, still feeling melancholy although Joel's chat had cheered me up, thank you!  Next time I need to catch up with my sister as well. 

Of course I felt happy to see Fifi, and decided to go up to her classroom for the first time, to meet her beloved teacher, Mrs. Bickley.  This name sounded to me like she would look like Mary Poppins, all done up in Victorian garb with her hair in a bun, so I was not prepared for the youngish New Zealander I met.  A darling classroom, all sweet little brown desks whose tops come up, just like in all the novels where the miserable homesick girl hides her tears under her desktop.  No tears here, though.  "It's honestly as if she's always been here, Mrs. Curran!  She fits like a glove, and such a lovely, lovely writer!  Such an imagination."  The room is on the fourth floor of a gorgeous white house with circular stairway inside and lovely slightly shabby carpets.  I probed for reasons to worry about Avery's work, or something we should be focusing on, but this was all met with smiling reassurance that nothing can mar the perfection that is the marriage of Avery and King's College Preparatory School.  Finally I made a lame and pathetic offer to help out if she ever needed it, saying self-pityingly that I was a non-working mother, and with the air of pushing me out the door, although no pushing actually occurred, she said brightly, "How lovely, and so good to know."  Hmmm.  Don't think parents are necessary in the perfect world of school.  Avery kindly led me out of the school and we ended up in the patisserie in the High Street, where she tried to teach me to crochet.

Clearly I need to get a life.  Becky has invited me to the Wednesday morning coffee she has with some mothers from her kindergartener's class (the class I read with, actually!), so I think I'd better go.  And of course nothing can dim my interest in the foodstuffs on offer here, so tonight we're having a pork fillet (don't forget to pronounce the t in true British thumbing-their-noses-at-the-French fashion) with a marinade of garlic, lemon juice, white wine, rosemary and olive oil, mashed potato (why don't they say the plural?  don't know), and roasted beetroot.  It is the new super food over here, and Avery is heartily sick of it.  "But it cures everything," I maintained.  "We don't have anything to cure," she pointed out reasonably.  "Well, it also prevents things," I persevered.

Any suggestions for how to keep me out of emotional doldrums welcome, please.

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