It’s been a stressful week. Ok, so it may not have looked spectacularly stressful from where you were standing, if you happened to be the waitress in the Coup de Coeur (an excellent cafe thirty minutes amble from my apartment) who has had the pleasure of serving me at least five time since Sunday. Incidentally, that journey used to take twenty minutes, but some well-meaning citizen decided to string barbed-wire across the sneaky, short cut gap. Vive the life of a quaint, romantic Gallic town!
I had embarked on this epic caffeine-fest because writing, like actual, real, proper jobs, has its up-sides, and sacking off work for coffee when inspiration buggers off without so much as a Post-It on the fridge regarding its return date, is the biggest plus. Writing’s biggest minus, incidentally, is inspiration buggering off in the first place. It’s second is caffeine poisoning and its third is being skint eight months of the year and regularly falling into depression that you are not a prolific writer with a bank balance so unbelievable you frame your monthly statements and hang them in the loo.
‘Having no ideas’ doesn’t seem like a big deal. But the equivalent would be an accountant who regularly forgets how to add up. At about this point I hear: ‘But you live in the mountains! How can that view not inspire something!?’ Granted, my current view of majestic peaks without doubt trumps my old Stoke Newington panorama of Majestic Wines. But – and here’s the romance smasher: It. Doesn’t. Help. In fact, looking at pretty things means the motivational tonic of workless (ie incomeless) panic subsides and I must immediately shut the curtains at risk of forgetting that the rent’s due in three days and I have to pay it with something other than the money I found behind the settee cushions.
So there I was, wandering down the road, passing nobody (in ski resorts, October/November is dead. No-one’s on holiday, and the locals head South ‘til the snow comes). I do however pass seven dogs, none of which are on a leash. This is very French. As are dogs in pubs, restaurants, sandwich bars and other places you don’t really want dogs to be.
I order. I sip. Not one idea comes into my head. Nothing ridiculously French happens. I don’t even see even a man in a beret on a bike which is (I swear) a common enough sight in these parts always guaranteed to cheer me up. Especially when they have a baguette (10 bonus points) and a moustache (20 bonus points)
I return to my desk and stare empty-headed out of the window. Grade-A view stares back. I close the curtains, suddenly realising that there is still hope, that there is something that will help a little.
My flat mate went out this morning and left half a massive bar of Galaxy chocolate open on the sideboard. Woop.