Saturday 8 August 2015

Edinburgh Ennui

It is now week four of my time in the U.K. Laura and I have settled ourselves in Edinburgh for the moment, as mentioned previously, and are both working and living in a great, though expensive, flat. By all accounts one could say this endeavor is a success, thus far. Yet I have been having some stern words with myself these past two weeks or so about having a bit of an attitude. My job is working as a barista in a good coffee shop in central Edinburgh, it only takes half an hour to walk there or back from my flat and the walk is through a beautiful park called The Meadows, surrounded by majestic old stone buildings, where people have picnics and frolic with their dogs.

So why have I been afflicted with gloomy, grumpy ennui?

You wouldn’t know it to interact with me at work, I’m pretty good at acting the chirpy, friendly barista part, but in my head I have caught myself frequently thinking ‘gggghhhh I hate this’ or mentally snarling at piles of dirty dishes. Now, I’m not sure what the deal is with this. I have worked jobs just like this before, and while they’re not the most mentally stimulating or rewarding of jobs they’re not overly difficult or unpleasant either. I haven’t minded such jobs in the past, and now all of a sudden I want to throw all the crockery on the ground and walk out, never to return. I have some theories.

Firstly, I suspect I may be reaching my relatively low threshold for this sort of job. I am not naturally a people person, which is a primary element of the barista job, so I exert a lot of unseen energy to appear bubbly while talking to more people in half an hour than natural inclination for human interaction would see me speak to in a week left to my own devices.

Secondly, I believe I am in something of a teething period with this new place, lovely as it is. There is a reason most people don’t just pick up and move halfway around the world to a city they’ve only visited once before, for a couple days, and don’t know a single person in. It’s a bit of a challenge. I find every new adventure has this period, when you feel moody and just want to be a shut in binge watching TV shows or movies and ignoring the fabulous new place outside because the idea of getting to know a whole new place, where everything is, how people live their lives here, trying to make friends, etc. is just too overwhelming. In the very early stages of this you’re also generally jet lagged, missing your own bed and can’t seem to get the temperature to come out right in any shower you use. 

Laura and I also managed to both acquire colds, complete with hacking coughs and runny noses, not long after we arrived and are still trying to shake them, and I, due to some poor shoe availability and decisions in my early days of work, am currently missing a very sizable chunk of my right heel and what’s left is a pretty gross mess which I don’t even want to look at. The rest of both feet are covered in large blisters. This situation also causes me to limp and walk slowly, unfortunate factors for a person who walks to work. I had to leave almost an hour early for work today to do what is usually a thirty minute walk. Being elderly is probably something like this but worse, I couldn’t say for certain of course but I do know it’s not research I want to do at 27.

Also, my workplace seems to have its own hot, moist, jungle climate, causing everyone who works there to perspire constantly on a scale of mild to severe at all times depending on the level of activity they’re undertaking. I went into the bathroom to change after work today and had to peel my work shirt off of me. Then I was standing there with toilet paper stuffed up my runny nose while using more toilet paper to wipe pus out of my shoe from my hideous, mangled foot while standing like a demented, hot mess of a flamingo on the other foot. Dignified, elegant, sanitary... These are all words I absolutely would not use to describe the situation.

So, this brings me back to the stern words I’ve been having with myself lately. Yes, this transition period is...awkward. But, I need to get over it so that I can get into the swing of enjoying this beautiful new place! So today I decided perhaps stern words were not the best choice for dealing with my moodiness during my odd, new place, struggles. After all, I wouldn’t appreciate that approach from an external source. So after work I stopped into a shop and bought myself a little picnic, complete with green grapes which are my comfort, feel better food, and only limped half way across The Meadows before giving myself a little sit down to enjoy it. The sun came out and I thought nice, kind thoughts to myself like ‘well done doing all that standing and walking today with your maimed foot’ and, ‘Laura will probably make you a cup of tea when you get home, isn’t it great having Laura here with you, it’s so much better than doing this on your own’ (she totally did make me a cup of tea). I people watched, looking at the parents taking their little kids out for walks, the other picnickers, an amusing squirrel, and all the cute dogs running around, then I limped the rest of the way home, it was very soothing. Not the limping but, you know, the rest of it.

 Plus, at the edge of The Meadows a dove almost pooped on me. Missed me by a mere inch. I probably haven’t mentioned this previously, but for reasons best known to the Universe and some kind of international bird mafia, I get pooped on by birds with some frequency. Now I have heard (and by that I mean it was a line of dialogue in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun) that it is lucky to be pooped on by birds, a good sign in some way. Why we would believe such a thing is a mystery, I can only assume to make ourselves feel better about having other animal’s shit on us. Whatever the reason, if this is the case then one could look at it as good things are on the way, they’re almost here, you were almost pooped on by a dove. So, either things will now start feeling easier and more natural going forward, or, at the very least I can look at it as I was almost shit on by a dove, but I dodged that bullet and don’t have a gross hair washing task to undertake, and that’s pretty good too.    

1 comment:

  1. I am in tears here giggling at the end bit. You are such a good writer my friend. I love you.