I’m writing this on a particularly cold and grey Tuesday afternoon in London. Over against the exposed brick wall, cloaked in dim light, two men–one young, dark of head, dressed all in black and one older, silver of head, dressed all in flannel–discuss things over a glistening computer screen the way one supposes that on the dark afternoons of some other century, people discussed things over candlelight. Across from me, a woman eats her coffee with a spoon. I’ve heard of this but have never chanced to witness it. Oh! There she goes again. Mug held up like a bowl. Spoon scooped through and up, then slipped between her lips. People. Fascinating creatures.
Of late, there has been much talk in our flat–and in pubs, and restaurants, and the occasional cafe on some dark afternoon–about how, over time, I might experience many more Tuesdays in London without having to resort to hiding with the toshers. We’ll work it out, I’m sure. It’s simply a matter of time and effort. Applying for a visa does have the unintended effect, though, of making one feel like a criminal. Possibly, that’s silly. It’s very possible, after all, that this effect is not at all unintentional.
Recently, a small gathering of lovely people gathered at our flat to eat a ridiculous amount of food and discuss important things such as clowns. This was a past Friday evening. It wasn’t December yet. Nor was it particularly cold. Nor were there women eating their coffee with spoons. It was a different time. A simpler time, in which friends appeared with wine and dressing and brownies and corn bread and quinoa salads and sushi. Yes. Sushi. People. Fascinating creatures.
We sat around the living room, on couch and chair and floor. We ate and we discussed. Old friends and new. All together, and in our own, smaller clumps of conversation. We learned things about each other and about the world. Among other things, some of those things we learned were:
As mentioned, clown eggs. Apparently, it was, possible is, traditional, in order to make sure no two clowns stole the face of another, for one to visit the room filled with clown eggs and compare and design one’s own face and place it upon a egg such that future clowns will see all of the old eggs, as well as your egg, and no two eggs will be the same. This particular slice of the conversation began with one member of our group describing their travels through London and spying a great many clowns filing out of a building and he wondered, ‘Why are there so many clowns here?’
In Japan, this sort of thing happens. This sort of thing being ‘radio taiso’. ‘Radio taiso’ being the sort of thing where people wake up really early and gather together, in body or spirit, turn on the radio, and exercise.
Shipping. Some people did not know what it meant to ship people together. Some of these people will never again hear the shipping news in quite the same way again.