18 – A Design for life

I was about to write something beautiful. Relaxed, and light, and funny. I spent the weekend randomly attempting the Juliette’s aria, going on about how I want to live in this intoxicating dream for one more day, but just as she correctly asserts in the very same piece, the thrill only lasts a day. And also, yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone, long live Sir Keith Richards!

OK, in my darkest moments I confessed here how much I cannot stand this city. And I mostly cannot, especially the Londoners. I guess it goes with the environment I work in, the City, people in the City, who I have very little in common to start with; and I don’t want to claim I am better or worse than them, really, we just have different views on what’s important in life. I do believe, however, that the City brings out the worst in people. Not just the greediness, the drive to have everything quickly and with as little effort as possible; but mainly the absolute disregard for other human beings. Yes, they are all very polite in the office (in general, let’s say, the politeness does not actually apply to our desk). That is of course only if you consider asking how someone is and walking off before he has a chance to reply a polite behaviour. But come 6pm, the mask is gone. Is there any other city in the world where pregnant women wear “baby on board” badge (actually officially issued by Transport for London), because otherwise no one would ever let them sit? How many times have I seen ladies struggle with suitcases (or buggies) up the tube stairs, and dozens of “gentlemen” trying to negotiate their way around them (tutting nervously, too), instead of offering help? Every time I queue at the bar, and I point out to the bartender that someone else has been there before me, they look at me in pure dismay. Many men will not hold your door (many will let you hold it for them), but I doubt their reasoning actually goes as fas as questioning themselves about sexism, they’re just plain rude. Oh this one’s good: one morning I come to the office and hold the lift door for the person behind me. He looks at me ad says only: Two please. Two please???? I am not your bloody lift boy! And you are welcome, too. You’d think that this is a consequence of a culture where the gender equality has been reached. Only it hasn’t. That is, if you are willing to accept the thesis that no chivalry and even less manners is the same thing as gender equality. Truth is, in any field, be it investment banking or piloting commercial flights, any woman who finds herself on the same position as her male colleagues is bound to have better skills and smaller salary. That’s rant number one over, let’s move on to rant number two.

Saint bloody Valentine. Ok, I do confess that walking in the building reception this morning and finding the front desk adorned in red heart-shaped balloons annoyed me a little bit. Right, I come from a country where the day dedicated to the celebration of love falls on 1st May. This comes from an early nineteenth century romantic poem called May that we all study at school. I had a hard time finding a decent English translation online, so I’d really appreciate if someone actually had the decency to follow the link, but as most of you won’t bother, the story goes more or less like this: boy loves girl, boy’s father (ignorant of the relation) fancies the very same girl, boy kills father, boy wins himself a date with a breaking wheel. All this happens during May. For some reason, we think that this macabre story is the ideal matter for universal commemoration of love. However, the point was, in my country we celebrate love by snogging under a cherry tree in blossom on the first of May, we don’t go to the cinema on the 14th of February to watch 50 Shades of Grey hoping to get our girlfriends horny enough to get laid afterwards. On the other hand, good luck with finding a cherry tree in blossom in central London. So maybe flaunting undying love for one day is the safer option. Or more importantly, rather than love, flaunting the fact of not being single.

Please don’t take this as a single woman’s self-pitying rant. I’ve always thought that I’m far better off alone than in a wrong company. And although I miss waking up next to someone, smiling at someone, and all that jazz, of course I do, until that “right” person arrives, getting on with my life on my own will always be the next best option. Just as in the MSP song: Libraries gave me power (for knowledge is the mightiest of powers), then work came and made me free (free from anything I could ever want from a man, except for his heart and respect). This seems to be both very annoying and confusing (respectively) for the stronger sex (or maybe I’m just an over analyzing sarcastic bitch that no sane man can put up with). Which makes me wonder (although wondering if one’s happy is the fastest shortcut to just being depressed, as someone quite eloquently pointed out). What if my happiness does not depend on the presence of anyone else in my life? What if there is no such individual as the “right guy”? What if the best thing that has ever happened to me, and that is ever going to happen to me, is, well, just me?

2 thoughts on “18 – A Design for life

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