I have these moments every once in a while, when it feels like I’m there, wherever there is, and I get how it all works, at least enough for now. These often bring to mind cinematic moments that impressed me when I was a teenager – there’s a very precise feeling about those scenes where a bunch of people are sitting around having a good chat and a good laugh that always made me think, “I want to be like them when I grow up.” Why were these moments so compelling? (They still are, yes, in case you were wondering) It’s not because everyone in them is usually pretty and they’re well lit and they have lots of booze (although these things are generally helpful) – it’s because everyone in them seems to be completely immersed in where they are. They’re at ease with themselves and with each other, genuinely enjoying their moment without a thought of what came before or what’s next or even what’s immediately outside their cocoon of laughter. Which is of course why they’re there – it makes the impending breakup or tragic death or murder-by-axe-wielding-maniac that much more powerful.
All of this is by way of saying that I’ve had a weekend brimming with those moments. I’ve spent big chunks of time with some of the people I love the best, I’ve met new folk and exchanged glances across shoulders and engaged in lively verbal sparring matches and resisted the urge to be mean to evil little actresses and had people round til 4 in the morning and laughed while we waited for the snogging new couple to come out of the bathroom and eaten more enormous delicious roast dinners than should really be allowed. And I’ve still got an afternoon/evening of cosy domesticity ahead of me, complete with fuzzy little joy-bundles to get in the way of my cleaning. I haven’t made such good use of a bank holiday weekend in quite a long time.
What’s best about all this is I feel like I’m getting it again – getting into a good rhythm, getting what it takes and what it means to be happy in the world and in my life, like I’m getting the balance right between new and known and what makes me comfortable and what makes me nervous, after a rather rocky bit.
It’s hard to write about being happy without sounding like an idiot, isn’t it?
So that’s that.
On a totally unrelated note, I would like to mention how very much I have enjoyed the abundant and vicious criticism of The Da Vinci Code. I realise it hasn’t hurt its box office performance but I don’t care. There’s something about reading cruel reviews with which one agrees completely that’s deeply, deeply satisfying*. The only blip in this otherwise unbroken radar of joy is that some of my favourite critics seem to be struggling a bit with the subject matter. I get the sense that there was simply too much awfulness to attack all in one go, too much to tear into confetti, to fit in the usual space. I can only hope that somewhere David Foster Wallace is writing a nice long essay even now.
* This isn’t entirely fair – I haven’t seen the film (and intend to see it only once it’s out on rentable DVD, and even then only to see Sir Ian and scoff at the rest). But I did read the book, and I have borne witness to the attendant hype and bloat, and it’s all been really rather offensive so I’m happy to take this criticism and sort of extend it backward over the whole sordid experience.