Friday 1 July 2011

An unquiet grave

Try to stay calm, but I’ve finally been reunited with my belongings from Scotland. It’s been six and a half years. I didn’t realise I’d been in Ireland for so long. (Why did nobody tell me?)

They’ve been lying unused these past forevers, stacked in cupboards and the occasional spare room, listening out as a procession of gullible tenants slouched by in their dirty, dirty shoes. (What is wrong with people?)

I’ve got all my old photographs, things to be held in the hand. They actually exist as physical entities outwith the control of Steve Jobs - I know – and may be looked at without first asking for a digital permission. The olden days are back.

And letters from decades ago. On paper. Written with a pen, strategically licked, frogmarched to a post box and then picked up and delivered by An Actual Postman. We would write to each other, you and me, and we were forced to take care with our words. Do you remember? We read things carefully and responded in kind and took the time to express ourselves clearly. We were good.

And who on earth were pen-friends? Seriously. Who were these people and how, exactly, did we find them? Was there a directory? I had pen-friends from around the world and waiting for their letters was excruciating. The anticipation made me want to scream or pee (or something or both). I stopped collecting pen-friends before I was ten, however, and none of their letters survive. Shame.

Dear Jami, I am pleased for to incur your letter, thank million. Is so sad for your dog to dead. Aww!! You like for to wear speedos swim tronks? I like for to wear speedos swim tronks. If now you sends photographic of you with wear speedos, I am forever send returning me with speedos also too, yes please? Paulo xxx

Good times.

Mummy? Where’s the camera?
It’s….why are you wearing your trunks?

And then we waited. It’s not just that we would endure an actual wait for an actual roll of film to be developed in an actual shop with realistic-looking people standing behind an actual counter; we would also need to wait for the film to be used up before taking it to the camera shop in the first place. This could take days, potentially weeks. “This isn’t the digital age, Jame, it’s 1976. You can’t just snap away at any old thing and upload it to your computer the same day and then forward it to friends by email – should the technology ever exist.” (What?)

But an actual deferral of gratification. Stunning. It’s a lost – or at least rapidly fading – art.

Six mois plus tard…..

Dear Paulo, I hope you like the pictures my mummy took and blah….and blah. At school today blah….can you understand when your teachers don’t speak in English? For holidays this year…blah. There is an “e” at the end of my name, Paulo!!! Love from Jamie xxx

Dear Jamic, I am smile gratitudes for provoke of your letter. Is only for funny time – I not a girl!!! – but also so good for to put lipstick on mouth lips (for funs yes!!!) when blessed in speedos swim tronks. I like for to laughtering with this. You also like to do? Mine camera abides kaput this day so I missing all the funs!!! Makes sincerely good next day. Paulo xxx

Mummy? Can I borrow your lipstick?
I don’t wear lipstick. I don’t own lipstick. Never have, never will.
Could I borrow some from the girls then?
And they certainly don’t have lipstick, either.
Right so.

Accosting the first of many passing sisters….

Can I borrow some lipstick?
Sure. Do you want me to put it on for you?
How come you’re wearing your trunks?

Nowadays, of course, such pictures would probably be posted straight to the swimwear section of one of those kiddy sites that pasty-looking men get sent to jail for gawping at and wheezing over. Sweet. (OMG!! OMG!! I can’t believe a guy actually thinks I iz fit!!)


This was meant to be about something else, but my imagination got the better of me. It happens.


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