People are boring

I know I shouldn’t be poking fun of new people at work, but when someone asks you to tell them a little about your hobbies and interests so as to compose an introductory email about you that will subsequently be sent out to the entire team, maybe you should come up with something a little more exciting than listening to music, watching movies, eating out and travelling.

I mean, even if you like all of these things (as people do), give me something a bit more interesting. Mitten collecting, working in pyjamas, writing pornographic Harry Potter fanfic, anything.

I like listening to music, watching movies, eating out and travelling as much as the next person, new colleague. But let’s just assume that – in fact – everyone likes listening to music, watching movies, eating out and travelling.

So next time, let’s be more specific.

For example, I describe myself as enjoying the following things:

  • grammar
  • swearing
  • medieval literature
  • feminism
  • ashtanga yoga
  • brutalist architecture
  • craft beer
  • fountain pens
  • cycling
  • electropop
  • whimsy
  • using semi-colons
  • not using semi-colons
  • coffee
  • coffee snobbery
  • teapots
  • G&Ts
  • G&Ts in teapots

I also like mitten collecting and working in my pyjamas, for the record.

I need a schtick.

Not a lot to write about, really. I’m fully aware that most of my recent blog posts are just duplications of instant message conversations I have with Alan at work that I find funny, which – more likely than not – are of no interest to anyone other than myself.

I suppose pleasing myself is paramount.

But I think of you, dear reader. Ever accommodating, me.

So what is there to write about? My day-to-day life is a bit boring; let’s be honest here.

  1. Wake up
  2. Cycle
  3. Yoga
  4. Cycle
  5. Eat
  6. Drink coffee
  7. Work
  8. Eat
  9. Argue with people at work
  10. Find funny shit on the internet
  11. Eat
  12.  Work
  13. Drink coffee
  14. Work
  15. Cycle
  16. Drink
  17. Eat
  18. Watch bad television
  19. Eat
  20. Sleep

I used to cook a lot and originally did food blogging in this space. But, well, BORING. Instead, I’ve started drinking. And drinking? Now drinking is much more interesting. However the cooking+drinking thing is pretty much already taken. And – I could be wrong but – My Drunk Living Room probably wouldn’t be quite as entertaining.

Maybe I’ll just start interjecting lots of yiddish in my writing.

Good news!

Even more encouraging for habitual coffee consumers is the finding that those with caffeine tolerance have reduced likelihood that a fluid electrolyte imbalance will occur. The more regular your caffeine habit, the more fluid your body is conditioned to retain.

After sweating my way to the studio this morning on my bike, and sweating buckets during my practice (more than usual, oddly), I got to thinking. Should I curb my caffeine habit? Should I drink more electrolyte-filled beverages to make up for my lifestyle?

No way, man.

What I’ve taken away from partially reading this one, isolated article on the internet is –
I should drink MOOAAR COFFEE!

London (coffee) is lovely

Last week I didn’t go into work.

I woke up at 5.30am each morning, rode my bike to King’s Cross and performed the ashtanga yoga primary series in a room with 200+ people as Sharath Jois counted out the asanas. Then I drank coffee. I had planned to do some stuff that I’ve never got around to doing – you know, cultural stuff – but instead I just drank lots of coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I hit up many of the London coffee shops I’ve been meaning to visit. And then I rode my overcaffeinated self back home to my flat and lazed around. And I went to bed at 10pm just so I could do it all over again the next morning.

Do I regret not doing London stuff that I had lofty ideals to do at the beginning of the week?

Nope.

Put a bird on it!

Red’s birthday was this past weekend.

On Friday I surprised him with a dinner out at Red Dog Saloon, a new BBQ joint that opened in Hoxton Square that I’d mentioned to him a couple months ago and he’s been vaguely referencing since. Unfortunately, Red Dog’s smoker wasn’t working all week, so there was no smoked BBQ to be had. It was still enjoyable; they still sold draft beer in pitchers; I still ate some delicious macaroni and cheese. But the absence of smoked BBQ at a smoked BBQ joint didn’t escape me.

Before that, though, I took Red to a basement cocktail bar – also on Hoxton Square – called Happiness Forgets. It was super cool in the we’re-just-a-downbeat-basement-cocktail-bar way. The lack of a theme – the fact that this wasn’t a Prohibition bar* – was refreshing, even if the drinks weren’t. Yeah, the drinks? TOTALLY FOR GROWNUPS. Not that alcoholic beverages are for kids, kids! But these were proper grownup cocktails. Think, like, that one time you tried to drink a martini to look all cool and adult and shit and you struggled to even palate little sips at a time without wanting to vom all over yourself. Yeah, they were like that. The unique ingredients listings of the cocktails on the somewhat limited drinks menu sounded, er, intriguing. But not in the hm-this-sounds-like-it-could-be-a-delicious-taste-explosion sort of way. No, more in the eugh-I-hate-absinthe-but-it’s-in-every-drink-so-I-guess-I’ll-go-for-it sort of way. Let’s just say, I took three sips of my ‘gin cocktail’ and left its boozy remains to die in the champagne saucer it was served in – along with its substantial lemon rind that made the entire drink smell deceptively of delicious lemons while it tasted only of aniseed gone wrong.

Laura and Jonny stopped in on us while we were eating at Red Dog Saloon, as I’d mentioned my surprise birthday plans to Laura earlier in the week, but they didn’t stay. We tried to find them at the new Vietnamese restaurant they mentioned they might go to on Old Street – Kêu! – afterwards, but no dice. So instead – stuffed full of meat (Red) and macaroni and cheese (me) – we waited for the 243 bus to take us to Waterloo so we could just go home.** But after 15 minutes of waiting and seeing other potential bus riders bail on the bus-waiting one by one, I got pretty annoyed and just hailed a cab like everyone else.

That’s one thing I’ve noticed about getting older. You unabashedly take a lot more cabs. I NEVER used to take cabs. Like, ever. The first time I got in a cab I think I’d been in London for at least a year and a half – and that was after visiting London on holidays no fewer than 6 times. I blame the expendable income. I took a £40 cab ride home from Canary Wharf the other week, although that wasn’t so much a luxury as a necessity, being that I accidentally stayed out drinking in Canary Wharf after the Tube stopped running. Oops.

Anyway. So we just came home. Because the next day – Red’s actual birthday – we were going to Hyper Japan, the convention of all things, er, Japanese. We got there early and still stood in a queue to get in. We had a wander around all the stalls and shit. It was pretty cool. We watched a few of the presentations. And I felt compelled to buy some weird hair fascinators that a girl (not Japanese) was selling. Mostly, I was drawn to the ridiculous parrot.

And then the enormous yellow swallow. And then the motherfucking sailboat. I bought all three and decided to wear the sailboat straight away. We left the convention and found the queue of people waiting to get into Olympia 2 stretched all the way down the street and around the corner and then all the way down that street. I tell you what – I’m just glad we got there early. Because – birthday or not – I’m not sure I could have waited in that queue. Just putting that out there…

We headed into Central London for a mooch about. I went to Monmouth to get a piccolo, and as soon as I walked in, the guy behind the counter said, ‘Nice sailboat!’ and gave me a high five. I love high fives. I am an American. The woman behind the counter also told me how much she liked my sailboat, as did the girl next to me in the queue. I told them what the ‘brand’ name was, and the girl waiting for her coffee next to me took a picture. Next thing you know, we’ll all be wearing sailboats in our hair. Red remarked on how every woman we passed while walking on the pavement in Covent Garden was looking at my sailboat – most were smiling, some had vague  looks of envy. Because, you know, who wouldn’t want a fucking sailboat in her hair?

Coffee consumed, retail compulsions assuaged – we headed home. Mostly because it was really fucking cold and I was woefully underdressed. Thinking it was summer and all, I wore a sundress and a small cardigan, not expecting it to be 15C, overcast and windy as hell. Stupid England.

Back home, we decided to see Harry Potter. And the whole film all I could think about was how I really wanted to eat some chicken, Nando’s in particular. Red asked me if I was sure I wanted chicken – since I’m a vegetarian – and I was sure. But the queue at Nando’s was ridiculously long and I wanted it to take away. So instead I insisted on getting KFC. All classy-like. Neither one of us knew what to get, not being regular patrons of Kentucky Fried Chicken, so – in a blind panic – I asked for a BUCKET OF CHICKEN. This, naturally, came with 4 portions of fries, 2 coleslaws and an entire bottle of Coke – not really a meal for 2 people, but hey ho. We got our chicken feast home and I tucked in. It was really quite delicious, and I forwent the fries, coleslaw and Coke just so I could eat more chicken. I was a chicken-eating machine. And, as I was eating this chicken, all I was thinking about was what kind of meat I might consume the following day. Steak? Bacon? Hamburgers? I finished eating and me and my chicken stomach reclined on the couch and watched banal television before going to sleep.

I woke up the next day, thought about the idea of eating chicken and felt vaguely sick. My meat-eating – it was short-lived.

_____________________________________________________________

*Disclaimer: I do love a good Prohibition-style bar. I won’t lie.

**I know, I know – we’re rockstars

A very Good Friday

The Easter Bunny was crucified on this day so that I could eat chocolate and spend a blessed morning mooching about in Southwark.

My alarm went off at 6.30am, and up I got. I dressed, shoved some yoga clothes in my bag and headed out the door, greeted by the still-cool air. It was a quiet commute from Wandsworth to West Ferry (via Canary Wharf because the Waterloo & City line was shut); everyone else was sleeping in on their bank holiday, I assume.

Yoga was invigorating, as always. I managed to get up into headstand at the end with straight legs (all the way up) and hold it for the requisite 15 breaths, despite being (down)dog-tired by that point. I even lowered my legs halfway down this time – holding for 10 breaths – all the way back up and down again without losing my focus or balance, thereby crumpling pitifully sideways onto the floor. A resounding success. I’m proud of my abdominal muscles on this day, because that shit is hard.

I hopped on the DLR, which bizarrely was only heading into Tower Gateway, so I decided to take a walk over Tower Bridge into Southwark.

Bombarded by bank holiday tourists on the way over, I forwent the Southbank and instead meandered up Tooley Street over to London Bridge. Borough Market was still relatively quiet. I poked in. I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, so Monmouth coffee was a must. The queue was epic considering how deserted the market seemed – a testament to Monmouth’s greatness (or maybe just to its mainstream appeal). But someone was working the queue and took my order for a medium-roast Columbian white drip*.

I took my coffee away from the shop’s mania and sprawled across a bit of nearby sun-soaked sidewalk.

I’m an urban warrior.**

About this time, I realised my hunger had subsided, if only as a result of the caffeine I’d consumed. But with Borough Market’s delicacies so close by, it would have been negligent of me to leave without eating. Problem is, at 10.30am a Kappacasein grilled cheese sandwich – as mind-blowing as it may be – simply doesn’t appeal. Nor does les pâtisseries de sucre that Borough Market has in abundance. I dunno. Maybe I was feeling really healthy after my 90 minutes of yoga this morning. Because sugar-filled pastries usually find themselves at the top of the list of Things Larissa Really Likes Eating.

I got a box from the Veggie Table instead.

It was kind of disappointing.

So as I walked by De Gustibus, some fresh hot cross buns beckoned me with the promise of better things.

I was met by a jolly old baker. A chatty chap.

JOB: Hello, my dear. What can I get you?

Me: I’d like some hot cross buns, please.

JOB: [packaging buns] And how are you today?

Me: Pretty good, actually. And you?

JOB: Getting better. Was a bit rough earlier.

Me: …oh yeah?

JOB: You American girls, you’re trouble. Just last night, you insisted on taking me out to the pub down there [pointing] and getting me drunk.

Me: Sounds about right.

I took my hot cross buns and my veggie breakfast Southwark-bound. Southwark Street was desolate, just what I needed after leaving London Bridge. The sun was beginning to beat down as I headed toward the Cut. Approaching Waterloo but not quite ready to go back to Wandsworth, I bought myself May’s Monocle and moved towards Lower Marsh.

I ran into one of my colleagues, Gillian, serendipitously and had a chat with her in the sunshine. We started off talking about not-work, but the compulsion to have a whinge about our workplace was just too great and we ended up venting a bit about some goings-on the day before. That was cathartic.

Anyway.

After parting ways with Gill, I continued down Lower Marsh, hoping upon hope that Scootercaffè would be open to welcome me with its backstreet, downbeat arms.

And it did.

*I am a twat – I know.

**Really twatty