Friday, September 30, 2005

Fashion here, as I think I’ve said before, is a really strange thing. One of the bigger trends now is patterned tights. Stockings. Whatever you want to call them. But they have lacy patterns on them, generally, and a lot of women wear them. I’m not totally against it – it’s a clever new twist on a very old clothing staple (though why they’re needed in the first place is beyond me, though given how far north we are I’m guessing it’s warmth). However, the patterned thing concerns me a bit, because very often at first glance it looks like the wearer has a deeply unfortunate skin disease.

Moving on.

What a delightfully enlightened country this is. I went to the clinic this morning, leaving at 7:45 for the hour walk there. I wasn’t too put off by the early wakeup-and-walk as this gave me solid motivation to see what mornings are like in Edinburgh (conclusion: gray). Turned out that the walk was more like 35 minutes, so I tried to kill time by wandering around. I finally stopped into a Gregg’s, which is a local chain bakery. The smells that waft out of these bakeries is enough to stop even the most stringent anti-refined sugar activist to start salivating profusely. I got a chocolate doughnut. It was fine, heartier than Krispy Kreme’s melt-in-your-mouth-and-drip-onto-your-trousers doughnuts. But it was a nice way to start the morning.

And to everyone who thinks a brisk walk in the morning is a good way to start the day, I say with deepest respect, HAH.

At the clinic (still 10 minutes early) I got to fill out a standard form, and then sat in the waiting room. It was chock full of all sorts of quality magazines with thought provoking articles (“Surgery left me with no top lip!”)(seriously), and I got to peruse pictures of Courtney Cox-Arquette. And lo, I have a whole host of new and completely useless information about celebrities. Great.

Other people came and went, including one woman who left the waiting room when someone said “Oofgweih,” over the loudspeaker. At which point I had a jolt of terror that they’d call my name and I wouldn’t understand what they were saying and have to come get me and I’d be embarrassed. These are the things I think at 9am.

As I was contemplating taking a nap in my chair they called me upstairs (I did understand them when they called me, thank you for asking). I walked into the office and saw the examination table. Oh lordy. I promised the remainder of my karma points to whoever takes care of these things if it meant I wouldn’t have to have another damn poke-and-prod session. I just had one of those a month ago! So I wouldn’t have to have one here! Come on!

The doctor sat me down and asked me the standard questions, including how long I was staying here and what kind of prescription I had. She took my blood pressure and asked if three months’ worth would be okay. I calculated how many months I had before going home – and I’m not proud of this but blame, um, the celebrity tabloid, yes, that’ll work – by counting on my fingers. The answer was three. And I said three months’ worth was fine, thank you.

And she brought me three months’ worth! For free! Everything for free!

Guys, this is a great country.

When I asked about payments they said there wasn’t any fee, but they suggested making a donation. Thinking they would ask for it at the desk at the end I had my wallet at the ready, thinking £10 is a solid amount, even though it took out about half of my daily budget (see: free, and also following deep appreciation). But all they had was a ceramic pig on the desk into which donations were made, so I gave £2, which was half of the change I had (so I was a little cheap at the last minute – shut up) and was praised to the hills by New Front Desk Lady for my generosity.

Walked back home (again with the walking)(as though I’m going to wake up one day with keys to a car or similar) and felt like hell. I’d woken up at 7, left at 7:45, and gotten back at 10. The appointment itself was about 15 minutes long. I was tired. And I crashed, even though it was already late-ish morning. Woke up again at noon and felt like lead. It was exceptionally difficult to move. I wondered if I didn’t somehow manage to catch the flu from some infected passer-by who happened to open my window, sneeze on me, and then close the window again. Taking note of the rationale behind those thoughts, I went back to sleep.

Woke again at 12:45 still feeling like a sack of potatoes (which are, as we all know, very similar to lead) and, being the sensible woman that I am, decided to go out.

See, the thing is that I feel like any day here where I don’t do Something is a day wasted. And I’m only here four three months, so I have to utilize all the time I have and I can’t spend a day indoors, taking care of myself! Carpe Scotland!

Also, I saw this hat that I really kind of liked and so I had myself almost completely convinced that I should buy it. As I wandered up to Prince’s street and back I bounced between two modes of thought:

1. I feel okay! I can keep going! There are, after all, other things I could use! I will just find them and then I can go home and watch a movie or something. Perfect!
2. I wonder if people would mind if I just sit down in the middle of this department store/sidewalk/escalator/street for a while.

I did end up finding what I was looking for (do you know how hard it is to find chalk around here? Really hard), went home, and sat around in my pajamas for a while.

I’d run into Theatre Royal Pub Manager Zoë on the way back from the clinic and said I might stop by that evening. She said she was going to be there until 6, so I should show up before then. Naturally, right before I left I got a phone call and ended up missing her. I didn’t feel up to walking all the way to the ‘net pub, but packed up my computer anyway, figuring I’d grab some dinner at the TR pub and, if I felt totally motivated, would then go to the ‘net pub.

When you don’t work you tend to forget things like days of the week. It’s Friday, for those of you who might be unaware, or reading this at a later date. Both pubs – and most others – were packed with urban professionals celebrating the beginning of the weekend. I wasn’t totally keen on dealing with them – eating alone is one thing when the place is near-empty, but it’s mighty awkward when you’re alone amidst a laughing, semi-drunk crowd. And that’s assuming you can find a table. Or place to sit. So I opted to head home.

Bought food and beer, and am rather confident that I made the right choice. Which isn’t to say that I wouldn’t readily encourage other options, but… I don’t really have… hanging-out-style friends here yet. I texted Rita the other day but I haven’t heard back from her. It’ll happen, I’m sure, but for now… this was about it.

I feel sometimes like I’m missing out on being here. I enjoy hanging out by myself; I’ve always been keen on solitude. But I feel like there’s more that could be happening and isn’t. Chatting with more people, planning things – having friends. When I’m at swing dances people are really kind. I can go up and start talking to someone, and more than one person made sure I was in the loop on seeing a big band play next weekend. But outside the dances – well, Alan said he’d call, but that’s different. It’s one of those things that comes with time, but that doesn’t really help now.

Though even if I had the option tonight I’d likely stay in. I’m still pretty knackered. Still. The option would be nice…

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