This morning I was waiting for our grocery delivery. We don’t always order our groceries online, and even with free delivery, for no reason I can understand, our money doesn’t seem to go as far when we do. But this week some of us wanted cat food available only from the place we get our groceries when we shop online. So we did that. The delivery slot was 11 – 1 pm, so I waited, and sure enough it came in about the middle of the slot.
Now it’s the afternoon, and I’m waiting for the meat order from Eversfield Farm. That’s the only place I know to get pasture-fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat. Their delivery slot is the your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine variety. It’s meant to get here by 6pm – or any time earlier in the day – and mostly it does. Though once it just didn’t turn up, they put it in a fridge somewhere, and the slot relocated to the next day. So I spent two days waiting for that particular meat delivery.
We get most of our shopping online – clothes, books, birthday presents. Though there’s usually a postage charge, that’s a lot less than a train or bus fare. And if we go to some town with good shops, looking for purchases takes a while, so generally we want something to eat while we’re out. And of course, if we don’t find what we want, a lot of money has been spent of the train fare and eating out, with no result on the desired thing. So we buy things online, and that involves waiting in for deliveries. What sort of things? A scarf, a tree, a beanbag chair, a hairbrush, a sweater, trousers, funeral shoes – those were some of the recent things different ones of us bought mail order.
This last week has had moments in it so stressful and difficult that it’s sent my mind off track and no good for writing. I’ll come back to that next week. I’d like to go for a walk, or . . . no . . . I can’t think of an ‘or’. Everything apart from going for a walk costs money.
I’ve read some interesting articles online – about gender variety, if you were wondering. I’ve done the puzzles in the Radio Times. I’ll watch Pointless when it comes on the telly. I’ll feed the crows and the seagulls, the badgers and the foxes. I’ll read more of Sam Harris’s book Lying when I’ve finished writing this. Meanwhile, I’m just waiting. Waiting and eating strawberries. Waiting and drinking tea. Six o’clock is not for another two hours and twenty minutes.
However, all this waiting and not-writing and reading about Lying and gender-bending has brought my mind into a kind of point of resolve.
The last few months have been mind-bogglingly expensive. Everything costs more than it did, and the money just seems to flow through my hands like water. I do know where it goes because I keep track, and in any case it all goes to the same place: Away.
So here is what my one-pointed mind is about to erupt into, like a rocket or a boil or something. I am sick sick sick of waiting. To be paid, for the deliveries, for people on indeterminate time schedules to turn up, for it to be time to get up without waking everyone, for things to end and things to begin, for it to be time to set off and time to go home, for the sermon to finish and it be time to sing again. And, I’m sick sick sick of spending money – with all the associated worrying and guilt and failed striving after frugality, and anxiety over the shared finance implicit in marriage.
So, once this pasture-fed meat has finally materialized, that’s it. No more. I am not going to buy things, not going to wait for things. I’ll cut my own hair and clean my teeth with salt and eat whatever’s in the fridge. I’ll go out when I want and stay out forever, by the sea, in the woods, in Komorebi. I’ll work on my book and stop stopping to fulfill errands and expectations.
When I was a student at York University, a friend of my boyfriend (who later became my first husband) saw me standing in the foyer of Vanbrugh College, and asked me, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘Waiting for Rog’ (my boyfriend). And the mutual friend said something like, ‘That’s what you’re always doing.’ And how right he was.
My childhood had a lot of waiting in it. Afternoon rests, waiting to be allowed to get up. Bedtime in the summer, listening to flies buzzing and the lawn being mowed outside, waiting for elusive sleep. Waiting for the school day to end, for it to be time to go home. Waiting for the bus. Even waiting to pee – ‘Just hang on a bit longer, we’re nearly home, only another five miles’ – sometimes unsuccessfully.
And then the early adult years. The childbearing decade. Waiting for a toddler to fall asleep, walking at the pace of little children, waiting for their father to come home, waiting for an adult to visit.
There has been so much waiting, and it has also been associated with spending money. Being an introverted hypersensitive anxious depressive with permanent low blood pressure dizziness – Geez, nothing like it for keeping you indoors! And the discipline of solitude for writing, keeping at it to the point of feeling physically ill, gutted tired, keeping on. Writing, writing, writing. In the interstices, for the cheerfulness, exploring alter egos and interesting things, the number of online purchases I’ve made! It embarrasses me to even think of it! Eating, shopping, Facebooking, makes pegging away half bearable.
I think I won’t do this any more. In a week or two this book will be done and sent in.
The groceries have come, the meat has arrived, enough enough. No more waiting. From right now, things are going to change. I’m not going to wait any more. But I think . . . I’m not sure . . . how do you do it? What is there to do but wait and write and spend money on groceries and secondhand clothes and books? How does a person, who feels chronically tired and dizzy when she stands up, live? I don’t know, I don’t know. How does a person who can offend other people without even trying, survive outside her own home? How does someone who hasn’t even the stamina for a church service, sits gripping the pew edge willing it to be the end, succeed in joining in with anything? I don’t know, I don’t know. But I think the time is coming to go and see.
I will take a book. I will walk to the sea. I will sit down there. And that will not cost any money, and be somewhere else.