Friday 17 February 2012


When young I was stiff and impatient, on journeys, in queues. At the smallest sensation of being subjected to anything, there was a reflex to object. Then at, oh, around forty I began to feel tired. Stiff and impatient gave way to spaced out in queues and sleeping on trains and planes... and to nodding off at the hairdressers, previously a prime site of anxious irritation. There'd been pride, as well as discomfort, in the stiffness; in the growing weariness there was resignation and, almost, humiliation. All these years later, it no longer shocks and mostly no longer shames me, but I always notice, as I noticed just the other day the relief and gratitude I felt at being subject to a series of young women messing with my hair. Relief because this was remission from my seesaw life between the constant, rigid willpower needed to keep working all day and the plunge, each time it's over, into isolation and lack of structure. I wished the quiet, impersonal ministrations, gently filling time and space, would go on for a long, long time.

What do the words have to do with the pictures? The velvet tablecloth induced a similar feeling, I think: I wanted to just lay my head down on it and stay there (in a busy street, so not really an option).

1 comment:

Peter Clothier said...

Oh, yes, Jean. You say it so well, and with such admirable brevity and conciseness! Well written!