Carol Concert Circa no. 43 So Far
December 15, 2011 § 43 Comments
Went to a schtonkingly good school carol concert, rousing as all get out. Lifted the mood considerably in some ways, though I had In the Bleak Midwinder at my wedding and that always nails me, tears-wise, but I managed somehow to keep a tight rein on them and not to make an arsehole of myself. Phew.
Went alone, as always. I find that something of a challenge. It’s not about feeling lonely. It’s not even about having a sense that people are watching me, a loser. They are not. They don’t notice and couldn’t give a shit if they did. They are thinking about their own rendition of Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. They are thinking about their little Joe or Flossie’s reading or solo or lunch or the woman in the pew behind who has OD-ed on her botox so bafflingly badly that she has wound up with an astonishing face, like a sharon fruit. I am just so much invisible padding, squashed amongst the endless couples. What I find challenging, is thinking they’ve no fucking idea how something so simple and basic as this – coming together to their kids’ concert – has so much resonance, as much resonance as the trumpets filling the whole church and making it shake in its medieval boots, for those of us who don’t have a Significant to come with, and with whom to exchange sentimental looks that are all about history and family and shared lives and sex and the future and life and the passing of years and death and all the ruddy rest. That is what I find a challenge, being alone with these thoughts and observations, because they’ve never had them or needed to think about them. Oh, and the tedium of sitting there thinking all about myself and how I wound up the only lone woman in the whole bleeding congregation, and what’s the matter with me, and what’s so good about all of them? Better be careful or I shall turn into a right bitter old cow.
Anyway, there was just me, no Significant, craning to see my children belting their little lungs out, and thinking I never go to church and here I am yearning and praying for all the world like a pious person in ecclesiastical purple and pinneys. Cursing and praying; cursing and praying.
My hands and feet froze so the mulled wine afterwards came as a welcome thing indeed. Lots of chat to lots of couples about Christmas, and where I was going to be. With my mum, I said. None of them is going to stay with their mum. They might have their mums coming to stay with them, but none of them are going to stay with her. The difference says it all, really: plankton regression during the big life moments, like Christmas. Not that I really care. I love being with my family which, truncated as it might be, is extraordinarily functional and affectionate and close and loving.
Later, I went to dinner with a couple I love. In the space of five minutes after crossing their threshold, my old friend the husband had asked me more than once: “Do you have a boyfriend?” I demurred. “Are you getting lots of sex?” I demurred. I am very fond of this person. He is not a bully or aggressively nosy. He is just a man and all married men, it seems, are desperate to know the details of a plankton’s sex life (Charlotte says it’s because they are not getting enough when they’re at home so it’s scratching the itch of projection).
My answer was this: “Funny, when I was married, no one ever asked me about my sex life. Now everyone wants to know, and normally I am the most open of open books, no, I am an outsize Kindle on display at PC frigging World but, as it happens, on this one I’m gonna pass, on this one I’m not telling.”