What was the #1 song when you were born? Write about how the song relates (or not!) to your personality.
It’s ‘I just called to say I love you’ by Stevie Wonder, or Steven Wonder, as he must have been originally. I don’t like that song at all. It’s miserable. I get frustrated even trying to sing that title line, with the dreary pace of it. You could get up and get a glass of juice in the dead air between ‘I just called’ and ‘To say’, then go ahead and make a sandwich and reply to a few emails before ‘I Love you’ finally arrives. You need the patience of a saint. I didn’t always hate it though. It was in the air when I was very young. In fact I was completely fascinated by it, this person calling to say ‘I love you’. It pulled back the curtain on a netherworld of adult autonomy and telephone use and making weird meaningful declarations to other people. And it wasn’t just some shit sentimental song, as I recognise it to be now, no- it was definitive; that’s what life was like out there mood-wise, I understood. Until the next song came along presumably.
When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?
I’m embarrassed by myself a lot. It’s something I’d like to get under control. It’s often when I’m trying to avoid potential embarrassment that I really embarrass myself. For instance refusing to turn and face my friend head-on in the open plan showers after squash, week after week, unmentioned by both of us, for a whole year in 2010. I’d either get undressed quickly and duck round a merciful corner in the shower room before anyone else could get to that one, or shower with my arse to the room then hurry back to my towel. I’m fine, Joe Average, in that department- if what I read on the internet and what I’ve been told is correct. But Goddamn if I’m not a grower at times. I suppose that was pathetic though. I failed that test of my mettle that men, but not women for some reason, have to deal with in terms of how changing rooms are laid out. Failed it big time. Not an adult, for all to see. That friend is back visiting just now and he’s not so ready with the text messages any more, despite us being the closest of friends back in the day. The memory of that changing-room debacle has stopped me in my tracks several times today, where all I can do is just gasp ‘Oh God’.
My major challenge of the last six months was furnishing the flat I moved into, to which end I used the savings I had from a very fortunate purchase and sale of bitcoin in 2013. I dreaded the task and thought about hiring an interior decorator. Decorating and even dressing and stuff is always more about self-assertion than self-expression with me. Trying to position myself a certain way to outside eyes over an entire flat was not a fun prospect. Plus the interior decorator, namely a cool girl, would charge just 15% of the price of the stuff to make all the choices for me.
I couldn’t bring myself to hire one in the end though. I thought I couldn’t live with myself if I ducked that responsibility. It’s a rite of passage, doing up your first home. I saw it in an ad for Mastercard once- the young woman covering a crack in her wall with her new mirror from the fleamarket, then dancing around her new living room in joy. Priceless. What kind of monster would I be to hide in the gloom while some girl comes in and does these things for me? I’d be barely human. And then to live in an environment someone else has created. It would have been a capitulation. On top of that, one of the first things I found was a nice lamp which I liked with instinctive certainty. That encouraged me to keep going with the rest.
But as it turns out the lamp was nearly a one-off (a two-off- I like the table I bought too). Everything else was a complete ordeal of endless second-guessing and I’m only lukewarm about the result. Being able to create a pleasant home for myself would be good but I’ve found out that for me it’s more worry than it’s worth. If I ever had to do this again I would give the 15% to a decorator. It wouldn’t be giving in to weakness, it would be the smart move.