Rain, candles, rain, clean sheets, rain, tea lattes, rain, cuddling…
Seriously, I frickin’ love it. Even if I do manage to get drops on the inside of my glasses lenses every time I go outside. As long as this weather continues – and corresponds gloriously with days on which I don’t have to work – I’m going to continue existing in this state of modified hibernation,* and I’m going to continue talking about my homesickness for other places.
France, yesterday, was easy. Wales will be harder, as so much of it is tied up with my ex, his family, and my boredom. The part of me that still feels shameful and guilty for the end of our relationship doesn’t like to go there. But then, when I wrote about his proposal the other day, I allowed myself to say every spiteful, bitter, and mean-spirited thing about him I could think of. At first, I was energized by it – it was so freeing to be able to express my own frustrations and perceived injustices, and to have people respond and actually side with me. Then a coworker mentioned that, the way she saw it, he was just trying to evoke Romeo and Juliet.
“Shit. You’re right,” I admitted. Now that she’d mentioned it, I do remember him confessing to, and being rather proud of, this attempted literary reference. So I have to scale back a little and say that his intentions were good; his execution poor. Which pretty much sums up our whole relationship.
I’ll leave it at this, for now: my ex is a decent guy, if a little soft and Oedipal. He loved me and wanted what he thought was best for me. I loved him, but wanted what I knew was best for me, which, in the end, was not him. If I focus too much on what was right about him, I start to feel like a bitch for the way I treated him. If I focus too much on what was wrong about him, I start to feel stupid for being with him in the first place, as well as feeling like a bitch for, well, bitching. It’s a very fine line.
Back to Wales. We lived in a tiny village there – perhaps the same size as my Quincampoix, but with less charm. Like with Seattle, it doesn’t rain in the UK as much as you’d think – but it is perpetually grey and threatening, the kind of weather that makes me not want to go outside. And with nothing forcing me to leave (I only worked for six months out of the year I was there, and that only part-time), I usually didn’t. My incessant cabin fever, then, was an honest combination of my lack of independent transportation and my own hermit tendencies.
When I did manage to get out, though, the country was gorgeous and absolutely worth it. Spring and summer were particularly rewarding. In the spring, everything was green (here in California, the landscape is generally brown), and there were baby sheep and cows in every field. Someone once told me, “You can’t swing a dead cat in Wales without hitting a castle,” and that adage proved true; there are beautiful, peaceful, stone ruins everywhere.
I did a lot of reading that year – a year’s worth of New Yorkers, cover to cover, amongst a myriad of other books – and a decent amount of writing. I tested my meddle as a housewife, and found that, while I’m no natural, I am capable of keeping a home. I discovered, perhaps for the first time, that going for a walk is a completely acceptable way of burning off nervous energy, and counts as a personal accomplishment – especially when done alone, in less-than-perfect weather.
In short, I learned what I’m made of, and capable of, when left to my own devices. I learned to be with myself, and, for the most part, enjoy the company. When my San Diego life gets too hectic, it’s my Wales life I long for – days like the last few, passed in simplicity and beauty, at the mercy of the elements, with a heightened gratitude for anything warm, comforting, or intellectually stimulating.
*We did go out today, because we had to do laundry and run several errands, but I was rewarded in the midst of them with a half-hour spent sitting in Starbucks, reading about crazy people. And I actively encouraged Doug to buy a (full-price) bike jersey that looks like a Padres baseball jersey, which I’m pretty sure made his
day week year.