No, I didn’t accidentally lean on the y key when writing the blog’s title! The multiple ys are to mimic the pronounciation in the Beatles’ song, ‘In My Life’. This is my favourite Beatles track. I guess I’m just an old sentimentalist at heart. I love the fact it celebrates all the relationships that populate our lives, not just the romantic ones. It’s not that I’m anti-romance – far from it – but I sometimes (well, often) feel that our society is so skewed towards romantic love that we neglect the importance of other relationships. Long-time friends, long-suffering family & the briefest of acquaintances: all form the bricolage that is life. This post is a celebration of all the people who have populated my life in the last forty-eight hours, since my last post…
My sister-in-law: she is the complete opposite to me in so many ways, & I love her all the more for it. Whereas I’m a total navel-gazer & angst about the smallest decisions, she gets on with life & lives it. She laughs at my pretensions; I laugh at her spoonerisms. We’re like a pair of cumudgeonly old ladies together.
My niece: she is adorable. Yesterday I was extremely proud to take her to get her first library card, just as I did with her brother. She sat so still while the forms were filled out & said ‘thank you’ so beautifully to the librarian who issued her books – I could have cried.
My nephew: is a comedy genius. After we’d been to the library, he accompanied me to the local market. Asking what the traders were shouting, I explained that they were publicising their goods & did an impression of stall-holder banter; ‘Half a pound of bananas for a pound’ type thing. My nephew studiously examined the half-eaten Smartie in his hand, before loudly declaring – with perfect market trader intontation – ‘There’s chocolate in my Smartie’. It doesn’t translate so well into the written word, but it was the funniest moment I’ve had in a while. Again, I could have cried. I’m surprised I didn’t.
Two librarians at the local library: who served me & my niece. Just two really pleasant ladies who made the extra effort to be cheerful. Brief encounters that made a difference.
My mum: how can I possibly summarise her & do her justice? I’ll stick to three words: stylish, funny, caring.
My dad: ditto – it seems an arbitary task to even attempt this. But here goes: strong, supportive, fearless.
My beautician: over the last two and a half years, we’ve developed quite a bond (I even went to her engagement party. I’m surprised she recognised me fully-clothed). What could be a fairly mundane hour once a month has become a social occasion in its own right. I have never known anyone who can deliver the line ‘It was crap’ with such panache.
One of my closest, oldest friends: sometimes I see her weekly; sometimes we can go for a month without meeting up. But whatever the time gap, our friendship remains just as strong. She is the warmest person I know. I love her dearly, & over the last year or so we have actually started expressing that statement. I don’t know how it first came about. At first, it felt a little odd. But now I wish I could say it to other people as openly: ‘I love you’. Why shouldn’t we say it to our friends as well as our lovers?
Shop assistants at Harvey Nics: the friend & I went to a corporate networking type event being held at the store. Not the kind of place where one imagines a life-affirming event would take place, but it did. I don’t know if it was the intimate nature of the event – or possibly the alcohol that was flowing freely, for staff & attendees – but it was such a jolly experience. The assistants’ sense of professional pride & passion for the products was tangible. I don’t know why, but I really didn’t feel this was simply a sales patter; it felt more like chatting to a mate who was enthusing about some great item that she’d discovered. A healthy dose of girliness which was amazingly validating; it felt like a safe cultural space where disaproving censure – sneers of disdain & dismissals as ‘trivial’ – were refreshingly absent.
My friend’s housemate: delivers a wry line in cynicism. Even at 7am.
Helpful librarian at the university library: again, one of those brief interludes where the quality of the encounter can make such a huge difference to one’s day. She seemed genuinely happy to help & didn’t treat me like I am idiot, an unfortunate tendency amongst many people who know how to do something that other people do not know how to do. (I have to say, though, what kind of photocopier doesn’t have an option to change the paper orientation?!).
Two ladies in the bus queue: one of those moments that you wish you could record as the ultimate example of random banter between two strangers. One asked me if there was a bus due. The second lady asked the first the same question. The first lady told the second lady to ask me (my newly-acquired role as public transport information point appears to have been the simple result of having read the timetable two metres in front of us). The two ladies then began discussing the toddler next to us all in the queue. ‘Ooo aren’t they lovely at that age?’; ‘Hasn’t he got long eyelashes’; ‘Wouldn’t you like to be that age again, being looked after rather than always looking after others’ etc etc. I could have listened to them for hours. There is only one word to describe their conversation: nattering.
Kirsty and Phil: these aren’t strictly in my life; I just watch them on television. But after what must be ten years of watching them, I am convinced that I’d be really good friends with them if I ever met them in real life.
Old family friend: she sends the longest text messages in the world. The official abbreviation of SMS (short message service) is not a concept she is familiar with. When I see a flashing envelope on my phone from her, I get very excited about the contents: how many things can one person squeeze into a text? It’s like the classic ‘how many things can you fit into a matchbox’ competition. Work commitments meant she had to cancel our squash game tonight, but I didn’t mind too much as my other friends – Kirsty & Phil – were round anyway.
So, these are my close encounters of the past two days. And, to quote Lennon & McCartney, ‘In my life, I’ve loved them all’.