My day job is Admin Assistant a few days a week for a charity. They do really good work in the community which satisfies my desire for meaningful work. Being a charity, it’s a bit free-wheeling with lots of projects beginning and ending at different times and also has a, how shall I say, unique style of management and spontaneous method of organisation. I’m not a dyed in the wool administrator and my creativity and flexibility serve me well in this setting.
Yesterday, I provided some of the support for a bi-annual meeting. When it came to the time where many Post-it notes and pens were required for a group exercise, forty pairs of eyeballs were on me as I said, ‘They weren’t on the list I was given’. It was all OK, but I felt mortified. I’m a somewhat perfectionist, a conscientious employee and hate being in a situation where I screw something up. Even if it isn’t my fault!!!
After I left work, I had a few minutes to skibble around the library and plucked Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s stylized novel, “Running Away” from a shelf. A sort of existential mystery, the story makes selective use of noir elements: it forsakes femmes fatales, double-crosses and murder investigations but retains chase scenes, ambiguous relationships and bountiful mood lighting. This dreamy, almost surrealistic book doesn’t paint believable characters within a cohesive narrative, but poses existential dilemmas stitched into an ever-unfolding fabric of coincidences and misapprehensions. As the story shuttles around Shanghai, Paris, Beijing and Elba, the book broods over how the trappings of globalization — cellphones, mass transit, the use of English as the lingua franca — have done little to further intimacy. Toussaint’s prose is very poetic and descriptive, almost visual. I envisioned ‘North by Northwest’ in the hands of director Wong Kar-wai and cinematographer Christopher Doyle.
A very elegant and artistic read which I savoured in episodes, like imbibing by the glassful over a long evening, a fine bottle of red wine.
“It was as though this trip were the quintessence of all the trips I’d ever taken in my life,
the hundreds of hours spent in planes and trains, in cars and boats moving from one piece of land to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another, during which my body, motionless, moved through space, but also — inconspicuously, in an imperceptible and insidious manner, furtively, gradually, with distorting, destructive effects — through time.
I had felt the passing of time with an acute awareness since the beginning of my trip, all the hours, unvarying, drifting by amid the constant hum of engines, each the same as the next — time, ample and fluid, carrying me along in spite of my immobility, with death (and the wounds left by its claws) the measure of its dark progress.”
– Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Running Away
Vrai, n’est-ce pas?
I read about half of it on the bus ride home and some more in bed prior to a restorative nap upon my arrival home. I simply adore going into our bedroom, drawing the blackout shade, slipping into some silk and wool, sliding between the flannel sheets, putting the clock under a pillow and sinking away for a while. I do this about 4 times a week. Nap seriously.
I got up about 30 minutes before I had to leave to walk to the gym for my Wednesday Spinning class. I love it and this is the second one I’ve been to since the New Year, due to illness. It’s just me, my ponytail & hot pink towel, and nine other people on their bikes. Going as hard (or not) as I please.
I burn about 600 calories in 45 minutes and am drenched at the end. When the going gets hard, I invariably think of my Muscogee (Creek) ancestors who walked the Trail of Tears from their ancestral home in the Southeastern part of North America to Oklahoma. A journey of 1500 or so miles, give or take a few hundred. I come from the stock of survivors.
Finally, after my Spinning class yesterevening, I retired to my bathtub sanctuary-cum-reading room where I finished ‘Running Away’. With a glass of Washington State Merlot. A nice finish to a spinning day.
Another thing I love about my job is that I can pretty much wear whatever I feel like wearing. Today, lest we forget is ‘Cupcake Thursday’.
Melinda is The Terministrator!