The day was extraordinary, by past standards. Totally unreal for the little of me. For all experiences now, surreal, right here … who would have thought…
Like many of you on the Silver Street, mornings are the best times. The nights are fraught with ghosts of swirling, but the mornings are the music of bold and new beginnings. This morning, the sun greets. That in itself, for this one, is a gift.
Last night, I decided to decide. For too long it has been the surviving of it all … the Camille on the couch. Forever wanting what was, lamenting what might be and just going, oh, what the the hell … and hitting the stop button on the alarm long before the sun rises. Another day at the office. I have many offices . The Travel office, the cafe office, the tour guide office, the other office …
Today the cafe. For those who are new to this scenario, working in a cafe in a glorious part of London has been a total joy. Two years she thinks, has it been two years already? My sort of ‘Mary Poppins’ job and yup, she is still my crush. The walk from Putney Bridge along Hurlingham Avenue is one of fine suburbia. Dogs, children skipping to school, uniforms of gingham and velvet trimmed collars. London Planes symmetrically tall to shadow elegant homes. ‘Tis London pretty in the city. The locals returning from their Christmas holidays.
‘Hello!. Happy New Year.’ Catching up, sensing the world sway to the equilibrium – got the coffee orders down, catching up and pushing all doubts and fears to the back of my mind regarding my next address. I learn from each one, look into their stories, there for their updates and as they rightly see me behind the counter, realise they know nothing of mine. But it is good. Checking for messages, doing the social media thing … a normal day at the ‘office.’ Planning. Am I always planning? When does it get to the … this is it and not … what is it to be, she thinks.
Before my shift ended, the dream celebrity comes for a while . Now in London, celebrities are taken as the norm, we see them often, unlike the early days when my mouth dropped open. my throat dry, visions of ‘I saw you in this movie’ etc. We just let them be. And in letting them be, like Mr. H who came in today, I sometimes find myself deliberately ignoring, hoping the indifference signifies a respect for privacy. Even that is odd – chatting to everyone else and then causally distant to him seems out of place, it may mean I am really not that good with celebrities. How can I not look at him? Pretend he is not there, other than the ‘is everything alright’ or ‘here is your tea’? This is new for me. Fumbled quick chat about juices (shall rue my twittering answer) So we chatted briefly, me wishing I was not in the apron, with the oh, so unsexy, practical shoes. Mr. H, I am not always in these awful shoes, wearing an apron … God help me, I do have a life outside of the picture I present. He was sweet, I uncool and left, mentioning perhaps a little too loud that I was working again on …. Sweet, this would not have happened a few years ago.
Tick why I love London.
To Soho. Meeting my boss (at my other job) at Soho house. Why did I not think of this concept? A members club where people can work, have meetings and find their ‘space’ in this busy city? Brilliant concept. Now multinational with places all around the world, I land in a cloud of conversations about filming. marketing, business and finance – the most interesting people, all entrepreneurs, doing what they believe is exciting and different. I cannot help listening to all the chatting around me, all the while thinking … this is so foreign to crumply, unsexy, practical shoes, me. We plan, we strategise. we throw the resolutions out the window as we order wine and discuss wonderful ideas. And I cannot help thinking … how far from the realm is this that I know? It is a new sphere, but let’s face it I have just served Mr. H his smoothie, am now in Soho so what is not to like?
As I leave … walking through China Town, towards the tube, Soho is vibrant. The restaurants are full, the streets seething with hopefuls and those looking for a good night out. London life never stops – we simply throw on more coats – it is busy, bustling. I pass shops offering Peking duck, wraps with wasabi, grocery stores with ingredients I have never heard of. An orchestra of music emanating from all the different offerings. I walk, I pass buskers, lookers for love, tourists and locals. Am I the only one going home? The night is young and I believe, I am the only one going home.
Earls Court told me different. Lining up on the platform with many doing the same. Three rows deep. It is now past eight and for all of us, the journey home is only beginning. To repeat in the morning, hardly time to be with family and having some down time. I stand all the way to Southfields. Exiting, it is past Michael, the Chippy Man I have known for nine years … walking home in the dark and then the gremlins come. It is a long walk of wondering about the sunny shores, the garden, the veranda and swimming pool. Community of friends forged forever. All seems so terribly lonely, as if it is all tinsel rather than tree, but I had to admit, today was so very different … so alive and brimming with possibilities … so totally interesting. How many experiences in one day … how magical it all was.
I saw my Mr. H. Was part of a community who does not judge. Planned a future. Broke all the New Years resolutions. Found myself in China in London. Always safe. Not what I imagined.
All I can say is, if this is what I experience on a Silver Street day, what can you do to make your day interesting? Maybe no celebrities, maybe no Soho, maybe you are in a different place .. but the point is… learning. I am learning … and the decision time will come, but in the meantime, take every experience and the wonderful knowledge you gain, who you are and add it to the list. And then decide …
Been surfing the city for nearly ten years.
The wind is changing … is Mary coming?