The greatest roller coaster you can experience in England is that feeling you get walking down the stairs of a moving double-checker bus. It’s a full-body experience. The driver is forging on, as if the secret to life, universe, and everything in between is hidden somewhere behind the green light on Essex road. The bus stops and starts approximately every 3.7 seconds. I’ve gotten better ab workouts from bracing my core and activating my pelvic floor walking down a bus then from a grueling 45-minute pilates session.
Seriously, it takes your every last brain cell to not fall down on all fours and knock out a few teeth stumbling down that staircase of death (waitaminute, is that why the Brits have terrible teeth? Maybe I’ve cracked the code). Each time I get on the ground floor, I send a silent prayer to the gods of transportation, thanking them for another day without a broken ankle. I hang on for dear life to the bus pole until my stop, because the ride has not yet come to a complete stop. I wave a good-bye to the bus driver (it’s polite to say ‘thank you driver’ as you leave the bus I recently found out), and I exhale all the breath I’ve been holding in, as soon as I am back on solid ground.
For the last month, my Roman Empire has been a 25-point list. For real, I’ve been thinking about it almost daily.
I tend to procrastinate writing by reading and I recently read this book where the author used lists to organize the protagonists thoughts, not thoroughly, but just enough to show a sense of a chaotic disorganization fall into an organized mess. Lists are nothing special on their own, it’s been done before. But then, right at the action peak of the entire novel, there’s a 24-point list. And you read it, and by point 5, you realize that the list is actually not a list at all, and a play-by-play of the scene. And it takes a minute to let that sink into your brain. And then you go back top Point 1 and read it in a whole new light. And then your mind continues melting and by Point 21, you don’t know how much is imagined action and how much of it is real. And it’s brilliant, and it’s been set up all along in a truly mundane way that you don’t see the reveal coming. And it’s a truly brilliant piece of writing and on days when I’m stuck, I go back read it in with a mixture of awe and envy.
Sometimes I re-read it on a double-decker bus, but I always put my phone away before I walk down the stairs, because I value my life, and because those stairs a four-limb job.