I’m going to Barcelona tomorrow! I have a whole week off work, starting now, and I will be spending five days of it in Spain. I’ve never been to Spain before, and it appeared on this year’s list of places to go, when I realised that I could easily afford it. I don’t want to show off about it, but I am naturally excited. I have my guide books, my flip flops and my sun tan lotion. I’m not going with anybody – I much prefer my own company abroad, it’s less hassle when you don’t have to plan everything with someone – but I have a list of English speaking AA meetings which I plan to make the most of. God do I need a break. Work is great, but I am tired. I suppose this is what life is all about, this cycle of working your butt off to be able to afford relaxation in nice places. I’m part of it now. I’m happy about that.
Yesterday evening I was able to see Sister Act the Musical in town, starring Whoopi Goldberg herself. It was an amazing show, an amazing performance. Boy was I glad to have my ticket booked months ago. It was a completely full house in the Palladium last night. I love going to the theatre, not just because it’s live and exciting and real – it’s a proper experience, an event. This is also what life is all about, for me.
I got home at 11pm, exhausted from all the clapping and screaming, but before I could go to bed I had to prepare a salad for 50 people. Every month on the last Friday at my office there is a ‘team lunch’, where four volunteers have to cook a meal for everyone. I’d put off volunteering for the challenge as long as I possibly could, but I’ve been there for nine months now and it was starting to get unfair. I’ve enjoyed nine of these free meals since I’ve been there, and in the end I decided that I had nothing to fear. As I stood in the kitchen last night chopping onions and tomatoes until 1 in the morning, I felt quite impressed with myself. I was reminded of the occasion almost a year ago when I was part of a team of four that had to cook for twenty others, on my creative writing retreat up in the North. I managed to pull it off that time, I hoped I could do it again.
By 1am I seemed to have produced something passable, a spicy Mexican salad that was certainly the most adventurous and colourful thing I’d ever cooked. It smelled nice, anyway. After all my effort though I had only managed to fill two medium sized plastic bowls, and I could be sure it wasn’t going to feed fifty people. Twenty-five, at a stretch.
Still, the other members of my team were responsible for producing the main course, chicken fajitas. When we arrived at the office this morning with our containers full of food I felt just like I did that day last year when I made something for others to enjoy: I was part of something good. My salad may only have been enjoyed by ten or fifteen people in the end, but I was given some very positive feedback on it, which was nice. In my regular life I wouldn’t cook stuff like that, mostly because I’m too lazy and I hate spending the time in the kitchen. But I can be certain that I know how to cook nice things now, when I want to. I’m not totally inept in the kitchen, after all!