The problem with having a blog dedicated to bad things and bad people is that readers might get the impression that my life is one long miserable series of tribulations. Not so. I choose to write about what annoys me, as a way of getting it out of my system, eliciting sympathy from my readers (no, not really), showing that we all have the same problems, and, finally, making people feel better about their own lives (‘Well, at least, nothing like that has ever happened to me’ kind of thing).
Sometimes I want to share the nice things too, but since I can’t start writing another blog called Blessing of the Day (not only would I make myself throw up but frankly, on balance, I wouldn’t have enough to write about) I have to use this platform and wonder who or what I can slap at the end. Let’s see how it goes...
A little while ago, I told the story of a failed getting-together-again-after-so-many-years with someone I met when I was having fun with – er – teaching French civilisation to kids in Tewkesbury. The young, bohemian guy I knew then had become a dirty old man and I didn’t feel like having anything to do with him now. I more or less swore not to try to track down any more people I had lost touch with years ago: we were bound to not have anything in common any longer and meeting again might destroy the good memories we had of each other.
However, one of my recent commenters turned out to be someone who studied English at the same university and at the same time as me: I didn’t know him personally and he didn’t know me but we’ve been able to remind each other of people and things we encountered then. He’s a charming man and I hope we can carry on reminiscing together.
Encouraged, I decided to see who else was out there. I googled some names and hit the jackpot.
I used to smile when my mother visited her ‘school friends’: women, who, like her, had managed to escape being murdered by the Nazis; little old ladies she knew when she was a child in Poland, with whom she walked to school, her pockets full of hot sunflower seeds in winter. To me as a young person it seemed slightly ridiculous but yesterday I talked on the phone with someone I knew when I was 11 years old and hadn’t spoken to for 45 years. We were best friends at school, and the last time we met we were 14 and we were both in tears: I was leaving Paris with my parents. She still lives in Paris and has two grown-up daughters, and we giggled like schoolgirls on the phone. I’m so looking forward to seeing her again soon.
So, you see, it’s not all aggro.
Who shall I slap, then? What about myself for not looking for her sooner?