1:00pm, aka Maybe The Lunchtime Lull
Yeah, hi. So, it's Bank Holiday Monday here in Tourist Town, which is a fantastic time to be... 'off colour', shall we say? From the moment we arrived this morning, all we could see in every direction were hoardes of determined bargain seekers heading for the car boot sale, hoardes of blue-rinses shuffling towards the market, children everywhere and bad drivers veering all over the place. Good times.
Happily I spent the first hour of the working day in the office, getting a stack of books ready to overhaul the YA shelves, sifting through boxes and pricing up a couple of board games we were given to sell on if we could. This meant that I only had to listen to the small Tasmanian devils in the children's section through the door, rather than first hand. During this hour Mum read as much of my Nora Ephron book (I Feel Bad About My Neck) as I've managed to read in about a week, and when I came back out into the shop we were full and I wanted to hide under the desk. Oh well.
Weirdly, I'm actually hungry right now - very unusual at the moment - so I'm having an early-lunchtime Graze box. It's the first time in days I've really fancied one, but it's yummy. The 'Bounty Hunter' - coconut slivers, dried cranberries and chocolate drops. And my favourite customer came a-visiting and I just about stayed friendly and chatty. Well done me. He doesn't like Bank Holidays here either, wise man.
Next phase: Operation Find Projects To Distract Me. Things like editing my Twitter feed, combing my LT library for books to go, maybe editing a Pinterest board or two? Filing but on the netbook, essentially. Anything to avoid sitting here with my heart pounding, wishing everyone would sod off. :)
On a sidenote: Being depressed makes it MUCH EASIER to respond firmly to people attempting to get discounts on books. I think it's the 'I don't care' factor. I'm not bothered if they get shirty about it, because I don't care. Makes me less likely to get all British and embarrassed. Just a straight-up, slightly weary "No, sorry, not on a book this age with such a good dustjacket." Simple, clean, to the point.
2:30pm - Afternoon Madness Begins
Half past two. One hour until my unofficial 'depressed state' tolerance cut-off point. I can just about scrape through until 5pm on a good day, but it winds back to 3:30pm when I'm in a bad way There's a child throwing (heavy) books around in the children's section. Oooh, and a game too, goody. And picking everything up. And one's run outside. The mother's yelling like a banshee. Will I even make it that far today?!
There's an old lady glaring at me from the doorway, that's always fun. Two hours left, two hours left, two hours left... *repeats like mantra while rocking slowly, gritting teeth and clenching fists firmly* The child is now running and throwing books outside. And opening and shutting the cupboard doors. If you don't hear from me, I'm at the police station being charged with braticide.
4pm: Almost There
Iiiiiinteresting. So, as it turns out, the 'comfortably numb' stage of depression is actually WAY better for Bank Holidays than the 'EVERYBODY SHUT UP AND GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME' stage. Less rage, less angst, less upset. Just me sitting blank-eyed behind my netbook quietly thinking, "You know what, do what you want. Look at every Paperblanks journal then don't buy one. Mess up the books. I'll just wait until you've gone then drift round and tidy up really slowly. Whatever."
I'm still eating that Graze box. I've also eaten seven cherry tomatoes and drunk multiple cups of decaff coffee and chai tea. That's it. The appetite thing's clearly still a bit slow despite its early buzz today. My sister's made four different kinds of cookie while we've been at work, though (two of them involving Nutella and ALL involving chocolate) so I'm sure I'll manage to sample one of those with a cup of something hot and another episode of 2 Broke Girls at SOME point this evening. It's the little things...
6pm: Home and Dry
Made it. Naturally the whole world poured into the shop at quarter past four, but in a VERY unusual stroke of amazing timing, they all left again dead on half past and I scurried out and closed the door. One of the very last customers was a fellow bookseller. He came to the desk with three HUGE books and said, "I'm in the book trade, I don't know if that gets me anything off..." As soon as he said it I knew he'd bought books from us before and said, "Ohhh, I thought I recognised you!" "Was it the sullen expression on my face?" he said with a grimace. I actually laughed and said, "Aaaah, now I KNOW you're a fellow bookseller." He got his 10% off and it was still a £30 sale. He had a glass of water before he left and while he was sitting drinking it a woman piped up, "Excuse me, love, but are these books alphabetical by title or author?" "Author," I said, rather shortly. "So, if I'm looking for Lesley Pearse, would that be under L or P?" she called. THE GUY LOOKED HEAVENWARD AND ROLLED HIS EYES. And I smiled again. Good man.
And now I'm home, my laundry's in, I'm in my PJs and dressing gown, and Mum and I have already shared one of my sister's Nutella-filled cookies. GOOD SHIT. I'm not entirely sure how to fill my evening now. I'm flat out on the bed and I've got music on but I'm skipping half the songs that come up, in that way you do when you don't really want to listen to music at all. Should I watch a film? A load of back-to-back sitcoms online? Try to read a bit?
Miscellaneous good news: my library books have, by some miracle, renewed hassle-free for another three weeks so I can keep plodding on without rushing or being annoyed that I'm halfway through two and don't want to take them back until I'm done. Because it might take a while. PRESSURE OFF.
~ Journal extract ~
(from a week or two ago)
"Yesterday was terrible. It was such a beautiful day, and it felt quite productive really. I got up a little late, had breakfast, and cheerfully did some of my cleaning. Then I went and sat outside in the sun, nursing a headache, sipping coffee and reading and watching the cats pretending to be flowers so they could watch the blackbird. So far, so good, right?
But for the whole day there was pain throbbing just under my skin. It's barrelling upwards towards fever pitch. There's so much wrong, and I think having to keep it bottled up is taking its toll. Living in close quarters with my family, there's no space to FEEL without being checked over and asked questions and seeing worried glances following me wherever I go. So I don't really feel. I keep everything pushed down, so that instead of crying and watching sad movies and dancing and generally getting it out of my system, I'm letting it eat its way through my chest until my heart flutters and the pain spreads like ink in my blood until my hands are shaking and my breath catches in my throat.
A while back I watched Russell Brand's documentary on addiction, and something he said cut to my core. He said that addiction, and addictive behaviour generally, happens because there's something sad and empty inside us and we're just trying to fill it. For me, it's a sad and empty place where life should be. Life, and people. Is it any wonder I rattle from one obsession to another, one means of control after another, one means of escape after another? Anything to try to forget the howling void left behind by having nowhere to go, no autonomy, no one to call, no one to love, no one to make me feel loved and special and worth knowing, quirks and demons and all..."
I really think it's important to be honest about this stuff sometimes. Otherwise, how will anyone else ever know they're not alone, that other people feel it too?