the things we carry.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

All of that stuff down there was rumbling inside my handbag until about 3pm this afternoon. I had to tidy it out. It was becoming a bit of an ordeal trying to find my car keys in there after work. 


Among other things, I found: 

...at least two hundred and seven pens ~ two small forests worth of Random Bits of Paper ~ about six used-up order pads for work ~ various drafts of short stories I’ve been working on ~ two tickets for a recent heavy metal gig I went to (quite an experience...) ~ two tea bags ~ £6.86 in spare change ~ a name-tag from my brief stint as a poetry conference steward ~ my work tie ~ and two pretty good books (‘Consider the Lobster’ – a collection of essays by David Foster Wallace – and Carol Shields’ short stories. Having only two books is unusual for me, actually. I normally carry about a mini-library). 

No wonder my shoulder’s been kind of sore recently. I should do a clean out more often.


(p.s. in case you're wondering... those pandas are my socks. Cute, eh?)

I get words all day through...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Most days when I’m at work, I have some song or other playing on a loop in the back of my head. Maybe it’s the last song I heard on the radio before I left the car, or maybe it’s a lyric triggered by some phrase I’ve heard during the day. (Example: me asking a customer ‘How would you like your eggs?’ will invariably lead to the song ‘How do ya like your eggs in the morning?wedging itself into my brain for the next eight hours or so.)


I’m guessing this is fairly typical of most people, right? This is a ‘thing’. It’s not too uncommon.

Well, recently when I’ve been in work (and I’ve been in work a lot recently) I’ve noticed that, as well as having songs stuck in my head, I’ve also started getting words stuck in there too.

‘Scrupulous. Exodus. Arabesque.’ (For example).


These words, unbidden, will just randomly appear – ‘hello!’ – in the middle of my wiping tables, or serving customers, and I’ll find myself turning them over, almost unconsciously, as I go about the motions of laying cutlery and scraping plates.

‘Vehement, vehemently, vehemence.’ ‘Scrupulous. Dwindle. Umpire.

It’s like they’ve escaped from the dictionary – like penguins from a zoo – and have waddled into my head just, y’know, for something to do. I quite enjoy to find them – these stray words, with their crispy, satisfying little syllables, milling about in the back of my head. But it’s also quite strange. Because more often than not they’re pretty obscure. And words I wasn’t even aware I knew. Like: ‘incursion, machinations, and rambunctious.’ Odd.


I get the feeling this is slightly less common than the song thing, right? Probably the tired mind of a writerly English graduate trying to amuse itself during very long, very repetitive days of cafe work... I think I probably need a holiday quite soon.


Pictures by: Daniela Strijleva

Title of this post taken from 'Show Me' from My Fair Lady (... which is, of course, now stuck in my head.)
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