The Art of Lost

The first time I felt really physically lost was when I started driving in Trinidad. The roads are badly planned and a little pokey. The asphalt is piled higher than the sidewalks and dips into the drains. Streets are thrown wherever in a typical lazy, Caribbean aesthetic. Sweden we are not. It can be hard to find your way around if you’re not a local, so the fact that I was in fact a local and very lost was embarrassing to say the least. I felt angry that I couldn’t find my way, “I just want fucking lunch!” I exclaimed in my head.

My fellow Trini drivers, most of who drive however they please displayed their annoyance loudly and forcefully. Beeps and honks filled my ears and I clumsily manoeuvred U-turns and creative reversing to get out of dead ends and wrong avenues while trying to read road signs. In my impatience, I crunched my mother’s car bumper frequently.

“Oh, it’s ok. She said cheerfully. “I’ll repaint it when you head off to the UK.”

I hate not knowing where I’m going.

Right now, in this moment; I am lost in the figurative sense. It’s surprising to me how similar it feels to a simple wrong address. I’m angry and frustrated. People are either mad at me for disrupting their route or really forgiving and gentle, helping me figure it out the best they can. I feel guilty about both as I’m no new driver, I’m thirty years old. Societal expectation deems my age should coincide with some kind of adult stability. I don’t have that and my forethought can’t imagine a time when I will, my searching had been constant for too long.

There is also an acute fury towards those who seem utterly settled, I tend to revel upon finding out the truth of their lives behind it all. “Thank goodness they are a mess too” or “I knew her husband was weird.”

Though I’m not completely evil. I burst into tears recently which is unlike me. I never cry, I swallow it down and get on with it or write it out. I started working as a waitress here in England so I can supplement my life while penning my book. I hate it, I hate every minute of it. I spilled a tray of drinks on a nice, little girl last night.

“Smile Daniella, Relax. Smile, Relax.” My Italian manager kept saying while he brushed closer to me than needed.

I’m no waitress, I’m not a people person. I don’t like crowds or talking to strangers. My memory is terrible. Obviously on paper, I’m not right for service. But in the land of the lost you make impulsive decisions that sometimes work or fail miserably, better than staying still.

I haven’t quite decided if my impulse was right which is I think why the tears appeared. I’m frustrated in my ineptitude. That happens a lot. At least when staying still, no-one gets sprite on their heads.

My brain lately tends to not work very well. There is a muted panic and no grounding in what I say. I used to be so sure of every old chestnut and informed opinion. Now I’m contrary and multitudinous. Without weighty foundation, thoughts tend to fill with helium and float away as quickly as they appear.

It seems all I’m good for, is teaching the refined art of disorientation.

Example. Expect to be completely reliant on everyone else, I spend my life thanking others. I see homeless junkies on the streets of London  hoping to be paid for being pathetic and feel a kind of sick kinship with them.

“At least they have a dog,” I think. “So it won’t be too bad when it’s you…you’ll have a dog, yay.”

Worst of all, it’s seeing yourself in the saddest sorts. I marched up to the village train station a month ago only to be confronted with a cavalry of ambulances and police cars. Bunched up into the car park like a shoe cupboard.

A police officer stood at the entrance.

“What happened?” I asked, knowing full well that if EMT’s are at a train station, it’s never good.

“An incident.” He said.

“Someone jumped didn’t they?” I reiterated.

“Pretty much.”He replied.

I should have been traumatised, I should have felt some kind of nausea as I sat waiting and watching police walk by with evidence bags full of a handbag, a pretty cardigan and scarf with red roses weaved into the fabric. Finally they carried out the human remains in a bag like her scarf.

Instead of the normal reaction I experienced an intense fear. She was 57 years old and from a nearby village. What was her thought process leading to the second she leapt into the train path?

In amongst all the questions dancing in my head, one stood out plainly. “Is that going to be me in 30 years?”

There is a constant state of looking ahead and blaming behind. Trying to read the signs while not leaving destruction in your wake.

I truly cannot wait for the day when I arrive at my destination.

Yet, man…I hate not knowing where I’m going.

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