What to Wear?

I’m slowly beginning to realise that there is such a thing as having too many clothes. Last Friday was V’s party and after wrestling with my velvet Fanchulla dress for ages (moving buttons, sewing and unpicking illegal seams, swearing a great deal) I finally had to concede that it was obviously made for someone with a much longer torso than mine and would never do grace to my curves in the way that I wanted. And so, feeling bereft (for it would have gone splendidly with my red boots), I pulled everything else out of my cupboard and tried to find something else. Several hours later I decided on my bottle green top, asymmetrical black skirt and the boots, and then I reflected how appalling it was that, even though I my mind was slow with exhaustion and I’d been cooking hors d’ouevres in between, one could waste so much time trying to work out what to wear.

I know that I have too much stuff because the only recurring dream I have is of being late for something because it takes me hours and hours to pack everything, or hours and hours to find something before I can go somewhere. I think I have only ever once successfully got to where I wanted to be before I woke up. But this won’t stop me from buying more clothes; there are just too many pretty things in this world that must be possessed.

And speaking of not reaching one’s destination, it seems that every time I try to get to the Orangery in Hyde Park, I am late. Last time it was daylight saving: as was my wont, I wound my watch back instead of forward and left H to read the paper for two hours until my arrival; however that was the last time I ever get it wrong, because a friend has since taught me the very useful maxim ‘Spring forward, fall back’. This time I left my bus pass at home, and being an impoverished student (in theory, at least) I can’t afford to travel without my Oyster card. I was already cutting it fine, having taken too long to get out of bed, which then left less time for the crucial activities of applying one’s makeup and doing one’s hair to one’s satisfaction. Then of course, the Tube was fucked, and it stopped, as it often does, in the middle of a dark tunnel. This is why I tend not to take the Tube. When it stops in dark tunnels, my heartbeat vaults and I start hyperventilating with claustrophobia. I marvelled, this time, that the woman next to me could read so calmly, and take out a packet of rice cakes and munch on them.

On recounting this to H and R over coffee and cake (‘This one is low-calorie,’ said the waiter as he placed a berry tart in front of us.’ After he’d gone, I took a bite and said, ‘Low calorie my arse.’ But I appreciated his efforts to make me eat it, which I did, as calories tend not to bother me), H said that if I ever do have a panic attack, I should go all-out, and scream, ‘I’m going to DIE!’ and that would set off everyone else in the Tube who was on tenterhooks. A bit like the kid who vomits on a bus, and sets all the other kids off barfing.

And just like the last time I was late to the Orangery, there were gale-force winds to contend with and the ground was soft with rain so my stilettos insisted on aerating the soil and the wind blew my hair into my face so that it got stuck to my lip gloss, and I was in a right strop by the time I got there, esp as H and R had not arrived after I walked so fast to make up (however slightly) for my lateness. But in the five minutes it took them to arrive, I calmed down, found a bench, combed my hair and tried not to squint against the light, as one needs to get as much light in winter as possible, to regulate one’s circadian rhythms.

The next day as we walked along the canal, we told B about the swans clustered around the man feeding the birds by the pond, and how they came up to his waist, and B in turn told us of some trashy newspaper like the Sun that had the headline ‘Asylum Seekers Eat Swans’ and I thought how interesting that was (regardless of whether it was true, which I doubt it was) – it would be like someone coming to Australia and eating all the koalas. The asylum seekers were eating the swans that were protected by the queen – they were eating the heart of the empire, so to speak. Though I doubt the Sun shone that particular light on it, except subliminally.

At work, a wall overlooking over the quadrangle is covered with leaves that are slowly turning red. But they’ve started turning on the outer edges of the wall, for what reason I can’t understand. So the centre is greenish, but the rest of it is red. In summer, when all the leaves are fresh, the breeze makes them ripple like a green ocean.

Mum said that yesterday it snowed at home – in mid-November! And also in Ballarat and other parts of Victoria. The weather is seriously fucked. I’m not complaining that it’s warm here – I loathe the British winters – but it’s disturbing when you see blossoms coming out on the trees at the Barbican in Autumn. What will they do now when Spring comes, and they’ve already flowered?


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