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Insisted there was more than this - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Insisted there was more than this
Sorry I've not said much lately. We're a week away from moving house and I'm in a state of neurotic despair about the whole thing. Normally by this stage of heading towards moving house I would have spent literally months struggling to pack everything without really having any time free in which to do so: scrounging boxes from friends and supermarkets, playing an endless game of Tetris with books and videos and other basically-rectangular units of clutter. This time we're getting professional packers to do it all, which means that instead of packing I'm looking nervously at the mountains of things and thinking "they can't really put all this lot in boxes in two days ... therefore they must actually be expecting me to do it before they get here ... and I haven't done it ... but they said they'd do the packing ... but they can't really do all this..." Repeat ad nauseam, quite literally. A constant sense of sick panic. It's like being trapped in one of those anxiety dreams where you're late for work and you're not quite sure why you haven't got there yet but it's 10am and you're already late and you've really got to get moving right now but you're not in work yet and you're not really sure why but it's 11am and you've really got to get moving right now... Like that, but with no hope of waking up. Also, I know we've got to dismantle the wardrobe while they're packing everything, which is so traumatic a thought that I just want to chop the whole thing up for firewood. We assembled the wardrobe on New Year's Day, it took about 5 hours, we didn't finish until 3 a.m. and we nearly split up over it. I don't want to go through that again, ever. I'd rather just reduce my clothes to two pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, and a handful of underwear; then I could keep them all in a large shoebox. Really, I have been trying to get rid of as much of my stuff as possible (though of course that doesn't count towards The Great Moving Effort because if I hadn't had so much stuff in the first place we wouldn't be in this situation, so all I'm doing is trying to undo a tiny bit of my own limitless failure rather than actually contributing anything), but it's monumentally depressing. I would be very happy to have less stuff, but the process of whittling it all away, giving a bagful of things to a charity shop nearly every day, just feels more and more like I'm putting my affairs in order. Everything goes into boxes in the end, I suppose. It's just a very slow packing process.

It doesn't help that we're moving out of a spacious flat which we've loved living in, into a smaller house which has holes in every wall, has nothing you could actually use as a kitchen, and is currently so thick with plaster-dust and general grime that I can't envisage even standing in it, let alone sleeping in it. We wasted about 50 hours of our lives trying to clean the walls (which were greasy and grimy and stained with whatever the hell students manage to cover walls in) and now the house is dirtier than it was when we started. What a stupid idea that was. I look around the flat and I just want to cry; I don't want to move. I want to stay in a house which has hot water and a kitchen and floors and ceilings. If I'm completely honest, actually, I want to stay in bed in said house. Under the duvet. With a MAGIC KETTLE by the bed which generates cups of tea without being asked. And an endlessly replenishing stack of new Chalet School books that I've never read before (I'm particularly looking forward to "Chalet Girls go to the Moon" and "Joey Catches a Terrorist").

It also doesn't help that work is so stressful it's literally giving me ulcers, small white stress ulcers on the inside of my mouth all the time, a thing to worry at (and the metaphor became flesh). No, I'm not in some kind of terrifyingly high-powered city job, I'm in the floppy fringes of para-academia; but there is a lot to do, and not enough people who are actually doing any work there to do it. Personal relations on the team seem so strained that you can feel the skin stretching and tearing at the edges, and morale in the department is so low that we're thinking of shooting people at random to raise team spirits. A bit of adrenalin might help, I suppose. Our team leader tells me at least twice a week how much he hates everything about the job and everybody in the team, and just wishes it would all go away; he's relentlessly negative about everything except when he's telling me I shouldn't be so negative about everything. The department as a whole is sick; as a body politic, it's leprous and gangrenous and suffering from several serious psychiatric disorders. There's still a lot of good in there, which is why I'm staying, but it needs a serious shock to the system. Electrodes in places you didn't know you could have electrodes. I'm sure you're all thinking "Just get another job! Simples!" but I like the people (even the team leader who hates me) and I like the work. That's why it hurts when it's all so unhealthy. It's like being in the sort of relationship where you sit crying on opposite sides of the room rather than having any idea how to help each other. (I've probably already mentioned this but I'd drafted half a dozen resignation letters in my head before realising that half of them sounded like 'Dear John' letters and the other half sounded like suicide notes. For heaven's sake, get a grip.) I don't actually think I'm bad at my job (I'd say I'm about average: a bit more conscientious than average, and a bit less talented, so it all balances out) and I don't actually want to leave. I just... well, I guess (just like the boss) I wish it would all go away. I also wish the Web Fairies would come and do all my work for me in the night, and leave a big box of chocolates on my desk. (But not a pony. I have never wanted a pony.) Neither of these things is going to happen.

I don't know what to do. I keep starting sentences with "I wish" in my mind and realising that I don't know what I wish. While desperately shuffling the metaphorical deckchairs in an attempt to tidy the bedroom (still somehow full despite giving away about 100 items of clothing at the weekend) I found the silly sparkly tiara I wore for my wedding, and just burst into tears; I felt like everything good had gone, nothing left but bits of tin, and maybe all the good stuff was only ever bits of tin, fairy gold turned to stones in the morning and the handsome footmen turned back into small brown mice. I feel like I'm drowning in it all, the things, the words. I just want to float out to sea and not come back, like a paper boat. A boat, made of paper: what kind of a stupid idea was that, then, what kind of stupid dream.

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