Monday, 30 July 2012

Planet suddenly-not-so-lonely has been over-run with an invading tribe called Youth.

Youth are mostly benign, friendly and amiable, though given to odd bursts of sullenness and disagreeableness, and an unwillingness, for thirty minutes after rising, to meet your eyes.   Dependent on gender, Youth wear boxer shorts and clashing baggy t-shirts, or something suspiciously similar to your own lingerie, as day-wear.  Youth's day begins at 3.30 - just as you come home from work.  Youth calls you, usually from bed, at 2.30 before you leave the office to ask:
why the hot water isn't working
if you'll make quesadillas
where the key to the back door is
if you can buy a mouse/keyboard/printer cartridge on the way home
if you've seen there's a good deal on groupon for a spa membership
if you have a box big enough for another of the the items of clothing you purchased, at full price, from - insert the name of a middle range designer here - which they've sold for a fiver on ebay
if there's milk
where the double sheets are because their friend is coming to stay for a week
if you'll drive them home from the supermarket when they go to get beer
if you've filled in the student finance form
how to make a cheese sauce

This outpouring of communication, though welcome, is dizzying after months of silence.  The previously silent kitchen with the red armchair of sorrow where you sit, every night on your return from work, and look at the shining order around you in various states of despair, is full of half-folded laundry, handbags, and assorted possessions that wash up there, like flotsam on the beach, brought in by the tide from the wreck of SS back-from-college, that has run adrift in the hall, the sitting room, and the car.  So you can't sit down.  Youth, even in the midst of summer, need light in the form of every single bulb in the house being switched on.  Youth, eager perhaps to escape Planet suddenly-not-so-lonely must have the television on, the laptop and the desktop on, all connected to the internet even when they are asleep in another room in the house.  Youth like curry.  Other members of the tribe like sushi, and order it, delivered to Planet suddenly-not-so-lonely, while simultaneously worrying that their currency does not go very far on the Planet.

Youth like parties and are fond of celebrating.  They inform you that the Planet is the ideal place for a farewell/welcome/birthday/early birthday/cat's birthday soiree and ask if they may invite members of nearby tribes to sail in to join them.  This you agree to because you can no longer sit on your red chair of despair and fret.

So on Saturday, when you are usually, post-despair, lolling in bed with lover, and wondering what to do with the hours in between coffee and wine o'clock, Youth decorate the kitchen with clothing and banners, fill the fridge with strong liquor, sprinkle corn chips across the table and urge you, as the host, to kill a couple of bags of quorn and make your famous vegechili, without the chili, before the doorbell rings and other Youth arrive.  Equipment is set up in the garden.  More strong liquor appears.  The ritual of tasting the strong liquor begins.  Many Youth with long hair and skimpy clothes arrive.  Within hours they are clustered around the table, smoking the peace pipe of Shisha.  Ex arrives to participate in the celebration.  Awkward moments ensue when Ex and Lover and I are only people over 25 in a huge tribe of Youth in which elders are excluded and banished to the end of the garden.  This is the first time the two have met.   The cat, equally perturbed by sudden flood of visitors, balances on the sunshade.

Ex looks at tribe of Youth smoking, drinking, eating and laughing.

'This is why we must hold on to Planet suddenly-not-do Lonely as long as we can...'  He says, fondly.

You agree.  You know the red chair of despair is waiting at the other end of summer, but for the moment, it's just where the cat sleeps.  Then you take, temporary leave of Planet suddenly-not-so-Lonely and paddle to a neighbouring fairly Lonely island, vacated for the summer while a fellow Loneliest returns to her native island of Overwhelmed-by-Family in Brazil.  At wine o'clock you and lover settle into bed and watch X-Men on Sky.

She has a huge, big grey sofa of despair.

But you don't sit on it.