It's Christmas Eve this morning. It hasn't snowed. It's 12 degrees outside. And raining. I feel... Excited. Not how I did when I was younger. That was magical. How does one describe it? Is Christmas an emotion? I can remember when I was little being afraid at 10 o'clock at night one Christmas Eve that we'd be too late for Father Christmas to come. It was all so real. The presents, the food, playing with my new toys, Doctor Who in the evening. It's changed a little but I love it still. It just keeps coming round too quickly. All these traditions are lovely but I feel I'm on repeat. I didn't do this a year ago, did I?
Christmas is weird. It's like some sort of nostalgia fest for adults over their childhood. I'm only 18 and that's what it feels like for me. All the joys I had as a little girl are now but funny memories and far off sensations of "Christmas".
Now it's different of course. The main focus of the whole ordeal is my family. I can't wait to be with them all day. To eat and drink and laugh with them. We do that most days, but this is more intense. It is like we've selected a day to not part each other once and give gifts and eat a gigantic meal and tell each other we love each other without actually needing to say it.
Perhaps the magic of that Christmas feeling will come back to me again one day. It's probably just my age. Or the weather. For now it shall have to become simply the best family day of the year which, actually, is quite alright by me.
Saturday, 12 December 2015
I met a tramp the other day, on the train. He called himself that. He sat down next to me and said "I'm a tramp." He smelt and looked like one, he was carrying a plastic bag full of belongings. I believed him.
He had glazed over eyes, bright blue, and one of them had a red cut through the middle. He had a fresh cut on the side of his face too. And scars underneath that. When he spoke it was thick with a Glaswegian accent and the slurring effects of alcohol so the odds were against us to understand everything he was saying.
He immediately began telling me about his terrible life. His fiancée had died, he had been in the army, his parents had died. I think I managed to pick up a vaguely racist story about some "black boys" who had stamped on his stereo on the bus. It took a while to try and decipher that one, I'm still not sure I understand.
On some occasions he'd actually cry. On others he'd pretend to punch an invisible man in front of him. On another occasion he actually rapped.
He asked me for £20. My heart dropped. I only had £20 to go up to Leeds for the day with, to get food and bus tickets and such like. At first the £20 would be going towards funds to get a train to Glasgow. In the midst of explaining that to me he pointed to a ditch in a field and said "that's where I should be." I timidly said "no."
A few minutes later the £20 was going to go towards a cheap stereo from Sainsbury's. He then handed me a CD that he apparently made with "his boys" and he was DJing. At this point I was confused, and I still hadn't said I would give him the money. I had told him I didn't have any cash on me. He had simply replied that we could go to a cash machine when we got off the train. I had somewhere to be when we got off the train.
I didn't give him the money in the end. I didn't get the chance to. He moved away eventually, saying good bye to me across the other passengers. At Doncaster we were delayed for a few minutes. As we left the station the driver explained that someone had been removed by the police. Other passengers in the carriage laughed as they realised who it had been. I noticed he had left his hat on the seat next to me. He wouldn't have it wherever he went that night.
The whole time I spoke to Jamie I felt on edge. My body language probably told him that: he was on the outside seat and I was facing quite deliberately towards the window when I could. When he took my hand I probably shook it feebly. I didn't want to be pathetic and tell him to go away. Part of him was only making conversation. But I didn't enjoy the decision making over whether I would give him money.
I don't know whether I would have paid him the £20 in the end. Or whether I should have. My values should dictate that he needed it more than I did. But he made me feel uncomfortable, and I was nervous about going up to Leeds alone for the first time, and I wasn't even sure he was always telling the truth. My response to him has probably been terribly middle class and overthought. It might mean I'm a bad person. I'm not sure. I just keep worrying that he might be cold without his hat.
Friday, 4 December 2015
I don't want to talk about bombing Syria. I don't want to talk about innocent deaths in the name of a violent gesture against a violent gesture that can only produce more violent gestures. I don't want to talk about the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters. I don't want to even think about the images of young Syrians looking around in despair at the rotten carcass of their homes, their heritage, their world. An open wound.
And what about the martyrdom? The ideology that cannot die, not when successors watch their predecessors perish at the hands of their already enemy. Let us look to the birth of Daesh, the Taliban, Al Qaeda. And then look away, blinded, and carry out the guns. Our brilliant solution. Our. This is not ours. This is not mine. I do not sign my name anywhere near this idea.
"We need to think of our service men and women and their families at this time" Yes. And the people of Syria who didn't have time to escape to our unwelcoming island. Think of them also.
I bet you all four of my limbs that these airstrikes will not be successful in eliminating the "enemy". I am not very well politically educated on the topic of war, but I have never seen anyone truly benefit from mass death, mass sorrow, mass destruction. Not in my short life, in which war in the Middle East has never really ceased. This is a twisted, sadistic response and exactly what our enemy was asking for. Here you go, Isil, have our anguish on a plate.
I don't want to think about bombing Syria. But, oh look, I just have.