I put this post together for a photographers’ group that later deemed it “inappropriate” and removed the entire text, so I’m no longer linking to them.
August 15 was — interesting. By which I mean terrible, but not as terrible as the weekend before that, when I’d just gone off medication and was crying and hopeless and suicidal.
August 15 was the start of a weekend where basically all of my plans fell through in some way or another, some because of me and some for other reasons. I woke up just a little too late to make my first one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy appointment, and had to reschedule — to September 5. My landlady came back from vacation early and insisted I move back to the smaller room (I’d been using the double since no one had been home for a month, even though she wasn’t happy about that). I had my first photography assignment for a website I’d been in talks with, and it went awry in ways that still confuse and anger me.
But, as I’ve done every other bad day, I survived it. And at least I had a new bag and a new LG G3 smartphone I’d been sent to shoot the Notting Hill Carnival, which helped keep me stable some. Nice new things are magical that way.
Morning routine: my (temporary) bedroom; lounging around in a towel playing with my fancy new smartphone; then time to take out the trash and put on my glasses and brush my hair and basically make myself human.
The view from my temporary window, if you crane your neck to look out of it because it’s not like it opens very far. (The headboard of the bed is in the way.)
Ran out of juice and ice cream and I’ve been trying to stay off coffee since I went off antidepressants, so I attempted tea.
The living room, still blessedly empty; broccoli steaming on the stove; broccoli before I ate it; the small bedroom, still blessedly empty as well.
And then it was off to my photography assignment, only my landlady showed up and delayed me a bit. I was still on time, though.
Taking the overground train from Hampstead Heath station to Kensal Rise.
I lingered as I walked to the house my assignment was in, taking pictures in the Kensal Rise area:
That picture is probably the best thing I got out of this whole ordeal. Which, namelessly and facelessly, can be summed up like this:
It was a pasta-making class I was supposed to photograph. I knocked on the door and rang the bell, and eventually had to call the person I was working for on the phone to be let in. We’ll call her Mal. Mal sees me and says, “You’re late.” No shit. Her clients are also late, but she makes no attempt to tell me what she wants photographed, or help me get a portrait, or give me any sort of rundown. I assume she’s never done this before. (She has.)
She tells me to get my stuff (my single bag) out of the way, which I do. I take some pictures of the stuff on the table.
The people taking the class arrive. They don’t look happy about having a photographer there. I put some distance between them and me, though I’m starting to wonder how I’m going to get candid pictures of them as the briefing asks for if they want me to ask every time I take a picture. I assume Mal hasn’t told them I’d be there. (Apparently she had. I still have my doubts.)
They’ve brought wine, and they go straight for it. Bit fuzzy here, but I’m pretty sure they ask me if I want some, and I say I’d love a glass of white if they have any, but no one does anything about it, so I retreat further, wineless (and tealess, too). I don’t mention it. I take some pictures of the class until Mal tells me I’m making them uncomfortable. At that point, I sit on the chair and wait for them to be done, assuming she just wants me to take pictures of the meal part of the class.
They eventually head off to the kitchen, and Mal tells me not to go with them. I ask her if she wants me to take pictures of the table. She says, “I want you to leave.” I assume she means until the meal part of the class begins, and ask where she wants me to go. She says, “To your house. I no longer require your services.”
So, far too confused and unpaid, I leave.
My bag at Kensal Rise station. It’s an awesome bag, isn’t it? It’s one of the leather handbags for women Joules carries. It’s so beautiful. I love it so much. I’m still over the moon about it.
On the tube ride home, I start to get really pissed off that Mal wasted my time like that. She’s not planning to pay me, is she? She’s not even going to refund me the travel expenses. I’m optimistic that the organizer at least might see my sight of things, as the reply I get to my initial confused email is that it’s never happened before and she (let’s call her Isla) will talk to Mal.
I won’t leave you hanging like I was. On Monday I got an email from Isla saying we needed to talk about the situation on Skype. It had to be Skype. I was terrified even though I had nothing to lose except, you know, a regular gig I was actually kind of excited about. We miss each other, and we miss each other on Tuesday. I email her asking if she can just tell me via email because it’s making me really nervous. She refuses. On Wednesday, we’re on at the same time, only I’m at Starbucks, so I ask if we can IM. She says no. Just that. “No.” So I get online.
And then she proceeds to tell me Mal’s part of the story — that I’d been late (a little bit), intrusive (on what planet), and that I’d gone straight for the alcohol. I am confused as hell, and really annoyed, and ask Isla if she’s going to give me another chance a couple of times. She knows I’m confused, but she’s worked with Mal before so she has to take her word, not mine. She keeps going on about this. Eventually my self-preservation kicks in and I go, “Okay, if you’re not going to give me another chance or explain anything or believe me when I say the only thing I drank at this shit was my own bottled water, we might as well not dwell. I have stuff to do.” She says good luck.
Five minutes later, I feel compelled to email her and tell her that it was incredibly cruel and selfish of her (worded a bit more nicely) to make me get on Skype just for that. I hate people who waste your time to make themselves feel better about their decisions. I already had someone do this to me at a flat viewing the Tuesday just before.
But I try to let it go, because fuck it. Being angry won’t help me, and trying to boycott Mal will just be publicity she doesn’t deserve.
So I go back home, and I decide to go to Starbucks even though I’ve already lost the afternoon and they’re closing in half an hour. I order the cheapest thing they have (plain coffee) and don’t actually drink it, just try to relax. It’s a nice autumny day, and I love autumn, and I’m living in Hampstead Heath, and there will be more opportunities. While I’m at Starbucks, I get an email from my landlady saying I need to move my stuff out of the big room straight away, so I go home and do that.
I also try to make the room better for me by remembering the things that had bothered me the first time around. I put a duvet on top of the mattress so it will be more comfortable, take out the wooden springboard that only spans the middle of the bed and made me feel like I was going to dive off at any second, and turn the dresser around so it’s facing the bed and the plugs are in the open.
I leave my coffee for the next morning, because the last thing I need is tachycardia. I log in all my expenses and get rid of a number of papers and receipts that had piled up in my bag and drawers.
(I can’t remember if I skyped my mom; probably. I probably talked to my best friend in chat, and I probably indulged in some fanfic, or maybe just messed around the Internet and wasted time.)
And then I go to sleep, as one does.