Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Sunday, 5 April 2009

Tree Climbing

"Are the voices back?" my mum asked in concern on the phone this afternoon. I had my eyes closed: it's extremely unhealthy to sunbathe with your eyes open. UV damage etc.
"What are you talking about?" I replied, scratching my nose (could feel freckles popping up). "They never went away."
"What are they like?"
"Perfectly friendly. Very interesting, actually. And they're not mad voices: just conversations. Totally normal. It's like being in the pub, except you're not actually in the pub."
"Oh. Can I say something?"
"I have no doubt that you will anyway," I sighed, "so yes."
"I'm glad you didn't get through to the final. Does that make me a bad mother?"
"Yes." I took a sip of full-fat Coke (am no longer going to be on telly in bikini, so will never again touch a diet drink. They taste of metal). "I'm glad too, actually, but I would also be a bad mother. Why are you glad?"
"It wasn't right for you. You were never a tree-climbing kind of girl."
"Hey!" I put my drink down crossly. Being told what kind of 'girl' you are or are not is one of my least favourite past-times. It's almost always an unpleasant revelation. "I've climbed plenty of trees, mother." 
"Name one."
There was a long pause while I tried to remember climbing a tree. I couldn't. I remembered leap-frogging a stump once, but that didn't really count: especially because I did it wrong and ended up with splinters up the insides of my legs.
"Climbing trees," I said with dignity, "is over-rated. You climb up, you get stuck, you cry with embarrassment and then somebody has to come and get you down again. I've watched the cat do it plenty of times."
"Point made. So what's the plans now?"
I closed my eyes and grew a couple more freckles for a few seconds.
"Am going travelling," I decided lazily. "Before summer. I'm set on that now."
"Think that's an excellent idea," mum said, "as long as you don't go anywhere dangerous where you're likely to get murdered. But, baby, I'm going to miss you," she added sadly.
"Of course you will," I replied chirpily, lighting up a cigarette. "What's the point in having a mum if they don't miss you when you go somewhere?"

Mum, as usual, was right. I was never a tree-climbing girl: when everybody else was clambering up the branches, I would throw myself against the trunk with my notepad and write a poem about it.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to stuff as many envelopes as required to leave the country for a good, healthy chunk of time, and see as many things as I possibly can. I'm going to pack my bags and go on my next adventure. For what is life if not a lurching from one kind of happiness to another? 

Anyway, I thought as I smiled in the sunshine (just before the sun went in and I had to put my jumper back on in a sulk), there are thousands of trees out there that I still need to sit under.