Written from about midday in The Pantry, Newmarket, on Thursday 1st August 2013.
I am sitting now at The Pantry. It hides itself mischievously on the edge of an ugly shopping centre. A humid breeze that grazes the back of my neck eases the midday stupor I was earlier completely entangled in, crying out as the last of the dodos. It reminds me of one café/bar I collapsed into in Bandung. There were massive water features there, and the senior Dutch lady I was with was really content to sit and smoke.
Noone smokes here. We’ve got laws forbidding it. I’ve had people tell me recently that these smoking laws are the beginnings of Fascism in Britain.
I am told it’s table-service here.
A short girl with a wonderful orangey-red summer dress comes over to me. She immediately comes off as being about ten years old, but soon reveals herself as the waitress. Her voice is as if on helium. I theorise that, perhaps, she receives no troubles from people. She walks with confidence, and seems at the moment to be one of the happiest, most contented, people in the world.
She is too fast. A couple of audaciously American girls sit at the table next to me – in full sun. The waitress pounces on them, as alike Tigger in Winnie The Pooh. I miss what she asks one of the girls, but the response grips me.
“Oh, ah, no…that’s actually a guy, but everyone thinks he’s a girl… He’s Krishna, and the other one’s Ganesh.” She raises the pitch at the end of every fourth word or so. I look over and see a blue Krishna motif tattooed on her left upper arm. I’m almost impulsively gliding in to talk Hinduism with her, but something makes me hold back for some moments.
I hear the conversation between these girls switch straight to focussing on discussing about products that are available in Waitrose, and how these relate to their counterparts in the States.
I don’t know what it is about a lot of Americans in Britain, but somehow they make their conversation known to me a lot more than any other people around. My dad also does this, whether as my mum often comes off as muted and she tries to makes sure that people she’s with don’t talk so loudly in public. She gets embarrassed if they do raise themselves out of the general hum.
There is no surprise that she came out of the marriage with my dad in such a broken-up way. Amongst other things, for fifteen years she would be embarrassed in public by my dad being so ridiculously loud. He would always be the loudest person around, and if he appeared not to be so he would soon be in competition to become the loudest.
They aren’t here right now. Really, to me in this moment, they are just energies interlocked within me – it’s probable that I’ll soon reconnect with each, but not definite. Never, ever definite.
Another phase of the stupor becomes me. Was it deliberate to make ‘stupor’ be spelt so similarly to ‘stupid’? I am in quite a rush to get to the toilet, leaving the overwhelming/overwhelmed Americans in this time.
I feel like I’ve gone to a new world, in this toilet. Why bother creating a revolution in the massive Earth-world when I can just simply concentrate on holding a revolution in this toilet? I am reminded that, right now, Lin Patterson is halfway through a three-day illegal occupation of a public loo in Twerton, Bath. I occupied a part of a park with her for a month in November 2011, and now she is occupying this toilet.
The toilet is one of a handful of public toilets around Bath that are due to be closed by the council over the next few months as the council attempts to make the figures add-up for a little while. The argument is that many local people, especially elderly people who may not be capable of holding out until they get home, rely on the toilets being open and that, if they were to close, there would be no alternative within a long vicinity. I have used these particularly toilets, in Twerton, on countless occasions, as for some reason my bladder tends to become weaker when I am in Twerton.
I’d be there, occupying with Lin and others, within an instant, but I’ve left Bath for now. I’m almost two hundred miles away. I feel the revolutionary spirit in this toilet of mine. A spark comes out of the hand-dryer after I touch it with my wet hands, and I leave for the outer-world again. My revolution has ended abruptly, but I pray that Lin’s is much more successful. This loo wasn’t even going to be closed down, so maybe I lacked the same impetus as Lin has to inspire the duration of the occupation.
This coffee has absolutely sent me off my rocker. There’s nothing surer for me right now. The senses have fuzzed out somewhat, and things have become more of a hum. I feel that I could do everything, but maybe nothing, at once, in this time. I need a serious amount of space right now. Everyone around me has become wondering critters, moving in directions away from me. Is this liberation, I wonder? Has this stupor given me a greater connection with an existential oompf that I was lacking before?
I am wonderfully alone, sat at this table with my tropical heat warming this head. The town swirls around, but it has no bother for me as the hum times out. There is no clock around, things are timeless, yet there is a ticking in and around me that directs the mechanisation of the this-worldly existence. I am this, and this is that. We are all moving.
I see my little sister walk past with my hat on. She’s oblivious of my physical presence. There is, after all, nothing bus this hum in this time.