It is often only later that I can fully appreciate the neurotic peculiarity–sometimes even desperation–of actions I have turned to so readily in the past. Fear, inertia, the drive for comfort, these are powerful masters.
Filling a mug with water in my kitchen, sock feet on swollen checkered tile, a memory:
living in Paris, I often would make my tea by reaching into the tiny alcove that was my bathroom, all shower, and turn the faucet as hot as it would go. Steam rising everywhere, I would fill my mug. Good enough for the cheapest black tea sold at monoprix. But there was a kitchen just down the hall, usually unoccupied during the odd hours I kept. I even owned a pot I could have used to heat the water instead of the microwave. But something about that just seemed like far too much. The possibility of seeing others, especially other American strangers, was overwhelming in its horror. In those panics, late night, early morning, mid-evening, alone, I did not want to see anyone. There were of course many nights I went out, bought drinks to both hide and forget my poverty, spoke awful French with charming, well-dressed foreigners, did a great number of other things, but in Paris I slept alone. I spent much of my time alone, locked in that room drinking tea and trying to write. I do not, in fact, have much writing from that period. But I did spend a lot of time trying, and a lot of time alone, and that was how I did and did not want it.