Routine is a fickle validity

Monday, 2 June 2014

It's a Tuesday night and we rush our last mouthful of wine, 10 minutes until the last train and a 20 minute journey to get there. My toes ache from un-stretched boots and they clack with fever and beat to the closest corner I can buy 9 chicken nuggets, surging satanically from one platform to another until I can finally slump in a half dozed unconsciousness for 15 train stops, ketchup reapplied as lipstick. 

Routine is terrifying, it's a fickle validity that tricks us into a safe lull of boredom that slowly we begin to welcome as life. 
We grow to like it, we learn each and every step, a handed down instruction from the months before and suddenly we are the mechanical and mechanised and we don't seem to mind. 

Unanticipatedly, I became routinely. 
Living by the last train, the last orders, the safe bedtime.
Drinking in the same place, dancing in the same kitchen, texting the same people so I could wake up the next day and avoid the same messages, spinning myself into a web of mock gratification as I rest my head upon the same pillow.

Panicked by it all, last Thursday I took a stand. 
Fortunately I am surrounded by people who have a total disregard to the conventional and customary, friends whose passports are dense with stamps and enough adventure stories to rival your favourite grandparent. I wanted to learn a thing or two.

Someones watch beeps 3:00am but nobody winces, because nobody hears. It's drowned out by live Jazz music at Ronnie Scott's in Soho.
In the depths of the audience, I have lost my friends to the front stalls of the gig, music that's so insouciant and undemanding played out by a grinning bass player plucking them into an uninhibited trance, it borders on the surreal. 
I hang back at the bar with an American filmmaker come journalist come friend of a friend and we exchange sips of Old Fashioned's and Brazilian cocktails neither of us can afford or handle this late into the evening.
We talk about slam poetry and the ethics of creativity and briefly Harry Styles, he uses the word 'cadence' and my eyes relax over his tanned cheeks like I'm met face to face with James Dean. 

We stumble out as the music stops and rent bikes off the street, 6 of us cycling through sleeping London, along roads that are usually armed with somewhat perilous psycho drivers left bare for us to roam. It's not until we ride past views of the London Eye that I realise I've not sat down on a bike since a kid, that I've always been too bound with fear of embarrassment to step back on, that suddenly as the wind and adrenaline falls fast through my hair and across my fatigued eyes, I am totally free of self consciousness for the first time in months.

7:35am and my best friend and I cradle bagels and baguettes, enough croissants to feed Paris and Latte's to drown London waiting for our train home.
Bustling business men march stiff in their shirts, glazing and hazing static eye contact over our smudged mascara and goose-pimpled legs, we are a reminder that the children they have left asleep in their beds could one day grow up to be as stupid as us.
We don't feel stupid, we feel exhausted and hungover, desperately dreaming of duvet diving and sleeping until early evening, we feel as though we've done something totally out of routine.

Thank you Ben, Louis, Mark, Alex and Shannon for plummeting me out of a deadly cycle for one night.


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