Saturday, January 9, 2010

The lights have gone out.

The lights have gone out. Actually, the internet went off first of all. I was watching “Of Mice and Men” when the screen went dead. I thought it was because I’d hit the cable with my foot but then I found the lights out too.

An hour later I’m stalking myself in the apartment: quiet. There are no lights in the corridors of the block. I go downstairs negotiating the blackened steps to see if there was a notice about the electricity being shut off for maintenance, but nothing. Near the notice board I see the electo-magnetic closer that holds the block’s front door shut has stopped working- the door swings, to and fro, an inch or two from a breeze outside.

I feel this sadness about everything. I make some coffee. The stove is a gas stove: I light it with a match. Everything happens very slowly. The kettle heats the water; the coffee percolates with a faint bubbling sound, I stand around. I dd milk. I don’t want coffee but I can’t think of anything left to do. It’s 5pm.

It’s not a great feeling, that listlessness, like a sort of Richard Brautigan feeling, like in “Trout Fishing in America”.

I’m not fed up enough to do anything radical, that’s part of the problem I guess.

The trees in the distance from the balcony are softly green in the drizzle that everywhere outside smothers. I shuffle from the kitchen to the balcony an back again holding my cup. For a moment I think of listening to some music but then I remember about the electricity. It’s sort of not quite raining. I lack the will to go out.

A girl with big boobs comes to the window of a flat in the block opposite. I watch her for a moment, then creep back into the flat. I know if she caught me looking she’d know I was looking would be just because of her boobs. It doesn’t help that she’s wearing the most diminutive vest-top imaginable. I guess her boobs are her main thing. I peer from within the room and see that’s she’s gone.


It’s spitting with rain now and I stand on the balcony again hearing the birds chirp and the workmen on the site across the road. They’re banging on something. The sound echoes between the blocks. The light in the flat is wan.


I have a feeling that now is a very bad time to be alive. Everything seems to be going wrong.


Illustration: "Unknown Feelings", Monotype, 2009


  1. Can I steal that line: "stalking myself"? I preferred Lon Chaney Jr's Lennie to Malkovic's. Have you checked out "a journey around my skull" blog (google, journey around my skull)?

  2. Thanks for the "Journey" reccomendation- it's a lovely site.

    I haven't seen the Chaney, "Mice". I recently also saw Malkovic in "Disgrace", based on the Coetzee novel.

    I regret that he has become typecast in my mind and whenever I see him on screen, no matter how well he acts, my mind immediately associates him with camp, louche roles ("Colour Me Kubrick" being my favourite). It's a bit like those pieces of classical music which are forever ruined by their association with products from advertising campaigns.