The Universe rolled the dice and they came up strongly in favor of the House of Glass. It must be said that they usually do. Dr Glass is now a university lecturer. I am leaving the laboratory to edit an exciting, inspiring science journal. We purchased a narrowboat. We purchased a Volkswagen. We flexed our new responsibilities and purchased a pair of goddamn iPhones, because we had a pair of pay-as-you-go Nokias around somewhere that we never bothered to charge, or top up, or answer, or even look at.
Some obscure line was crossed here. I feel as if we have suddenly, mysteriously Leveled Up somehow, catapulted into a new stage of development. We were adults before, but now we are, by virtue of getting here, capital-A Adults. Our lives, always rich, have Filled Up.
And it’s always good to have your hands full.
We went to the Netherlands with a pair of dear friends. My advice to you is to not let traveling with your friends make you hate your friends. Some friends are just not for traveling with and that is perfectly okay.
Here’s a familiar fool doing a comedy bit on Science Showoff:
My bit was inspired at the last minute by the discovery that Reddit thinks it can tell that I’m not a scientist from a photo of me. As science is possibly only for the prettiest of people, I dressed as a Blonde Bombshell (note radiation symbols) to lend legitimacy to my standup.
Members of the Awkward Army showed up, like the wonderful stars they are, and were good-natured about the whole thing – even the mysterious Alex, who I claimed that I would take with me onto a dinosaur-infested island for his knitting skills (but not for his status as a mathematician.) I’m not experienced with stagecraft or comedy, so during a moment where I was scanning the crowd, it was incredibly touching and uplifting to unexpectedly lock eyes with FunnyGrrl and her gorgeous gentleman. They are a couple filled with light and radiance, and I met them on the Internet.
At the intermission a pair of beautiful and intelligent young women came up to me and apologized for the behavior of the entire Internet, which they really didn’t have to do. They were biochemistry students and they said I was inspiring. (They would not tell me who had paid them to say this.)
An image from our laboratory, which I colored, named and described, made it onto the Guardian. Within hours I got to experience the pain of journalists repackaging my content for profit while removing attributions. I think this means that I have also leveled up my science.
My weekends currently belong to a sixteen-year-old narrowboat that needs to be coaxed into becoming a habitat. By September. If you feel the need to hear about our adventures making this happen, partake in OH! SWEET CLEO, which could either become an alternative lifestyle blog of uplifting charm and spirit, or a long-drawn-out screaming noise! It’s renovation – it could go either way.
There are a lot of narrowboat blogs, and there is a lot of talk (propagated by many of these blogs) about how vibrant and lovely the boating community is. Research indicates that it is mostly composed of middle-class British Baby Boomers with lots of disposable income, who use the phrase “politically correct” as an insult; many of whom have already decided that they hate me. What are we to make of this? Can one write about hostility and bigotry within such a community without alienating its members? I suspect that if I try, they will smash in our boat’s windows and cover up the chimney. There will definitely be a tinge of anthropological discovery in this new adventure.
But, you know, I say these things, and a pair of British Greatest Generation-ers spent their weekend with us, getting their hands dirty, to help us build something out of pure love and support. It’s not who we are born but what we do with it; it is, again, the balance between “tearing down” and “building up” that we, wobbly and imperfect, try to strike. Perhaps even a community composed of the Officially Worst Demographic can surprise you with its hope and its heart. Oh, Sweet Cleo, we will have to see.
And that is how we have gotten here, with full hands and unsteady hearts. We’ll close with a piece of poetry from Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night; hat tip to dear Jem at Quite Irregular for transcribing it.
Here then at home, by no more storms distrest,
Folding laborious hands we sit, wings furled;
Here in close perfume lies the rose-leaf curled,
Here the sun stands and knows not east nor west,
Here no tide runs; we have come, last and best,
From the wide zone in dizzying circles hurled
To that still centre where the spinning world
Sleeps on its axis, to the heart of rest.
Here is hoping that you, my Best Beloved Readers, are close to finding your own hearts of rest.
And since my laborious hands have been so full, please forgive me and tell me what you’ve been doing – link me to your things, your posts, your projects, and let me love you. I know that I have missed a lot, so please help me fix that, if you have the time.