Friday, 29 June 2012

London Calling

“How’s BN2?” the instructor said suddenly today, mid-workout.

I’m in London, and was at my favorite Heartcore Pilates, with the very instructor who taught us the day I dragged BN2 to class at least three years ago. (I’ve been living in New York for 18 months, BN2 and I split up nearly a year before I moved, and I seem to recall the time we went together was in the summer.)

I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been, actually. I haven’t been to London for nearly a year (I believe last year I landed on July 1), and every step I take – and I love to walk in London – unleashes a flood of memories. It’s not unpleasant; just loaded with psychic baggage. Like walking at the bottom of a pool.

Wednesday night I went to Putney, where I lived all but fulltime for two of the darkest years of my life. I did not see BN2, thankfully, but it was like stumbling into the soundstage where my nightmares are shot. I nearly cried walking over Putney Bridge, remembering all the journeys I’d made there and the dread of what mood he might be in when I arrived. And I realized I didn’t fully exhale until a couple of hours later, when I crossed back to the north side of the river.


Today is a year to the day since I left the horrible job – the job for which I gave up my entire life in London. I stop myself from saying the job is the worst thing that ever happened to me because (1) it isn’t, and (2) frankly, I should be so lucky that the worst thing that happens to me in my entire life is a high-paying job at a prestigious company. Hello, first world problem.

It has been a long, hard year, and I’ve learned an awful lot. And I’m almost afraid to say it, lest it be taken away, but lately I have been having a seriously good time. I still work far too many hours and pull all-nighters freaking out over my New York Times stories (the last one – yowza! I tried and tried and tried to write it but just could not get anything down on paper until 3 am. I swear with every story I keep waiting for an editor to say: OK, that’s it. You’ve failed your way upward but it is all going to stop now.) But on Saturday morning (yes, the work spills all over the place), I slammed my laptop shut after speaking to a source in Nicaragua for an hour and thought: I love my job. Yes, I am self-employed and sometime my boss really sucks (honestly, what is she thinking doing some of these stories?), but I am actually making a living doing something I love to bits. I almost can’t believe it.


So if life is so great, why am I bingeing so damn much?

Last Thursday I hit 21 days without bingeing, which happens to be more than I have managed since February, when I hit about 25 days. Then on Friday, in Washington DC for some meetings (and then my triplet nephews’ second birthday party Saturday), I started bingeing that evening and could not stop. I binged for five days, off and on – through the birthday party, but somehow not during the six hours of queuing when my flight was cancelled or on the flight itself (though I did overeat on it). Then in Oxford (what’s a nice Jewish girl like me doing at Jesus College, you ask? Me, too), and again on my first day in London on the 26th, when I made it through the whole day and then started bingeing at 10 pm. Five days of bingeing is more days in a row than I have done in at least a year, and possible not since 2006.

I promised myself that if I could not stop bingeing I would have to get on a plane back home, because if I’m bingeing, I am not really here. I am off in my head, plotting what and where and how much and how on earth I’m going to get it.

But I didn’t binge yesterday, and I have not binged today. I have eaten more than usual, and had an extra snack both days. I’d like to say I don’t really care, which is almost true. It is a relief not to be bingeing. Now if only anything in my suitcase fit besides a maxidress… and, um, my gym clothes.