Some people, other people, cool people, like Debbie Harry, lean in corners, or they lounge – probably louchely – but whatever they do, they do it effortlessly and everybody is impressed. They are the in-crowd and they go where the in-crowd go.
I’m not like that. I’ve tried the ‘I’m so uncool, I’m cool’ thing, but no one believes it, not even me. The cool people are slim, taut of buttock and chisel-cheeked. They smoke. Their clothes are elegantly understated or kookily creative. There will be leather involved somewhere. Even when they flout society’s rules, they do it in just the right way. It’s what makes them Cool.
This is the thinking that preoccupied me as a sat at the bus stop the other day. (Yes, I catch the bus. I know. There are no members of any in-crowd at the bus stop for the number 6.) I wasn’t leaning, rather i was perched on the ledge thing they provide instead of a seat. It was raining, obviously. I was wearing a coat that fits neatly into the genus cagoule, but less outdoorsy and more mumsy. I’d just retrieved my bag and its spilt contents from the (wet) ground: notebooks, unposted birthday cards, laminated (yep) quotes, tissues, Co-op receipts and the googly eye from a rock pet I forgot to take out of my bag (no wonder it was so heavy). And to complete this portrait of uncool, I’d just picked a spot on my nose and the blood was welling out like a oil strike in old time Texas. One of the slightly damp tissues was handy for dabbing at it.
And as my brain wandered over to the writing ambitions represented by the (damp) notebooks, I despaired. I was doomed (doomed, I tell you). According to the last rejection I received before I entered my latest long, unproductive period of pout (no coincidence), I need to be ‘fashionable’ to be publishable. That means I need to be part of some recognised in-crowd. And I’m not. I’m out of fashion or just not in fashion. Bugger.
And yes, I know, my bitterness is blatant. I’m so uncool that it matters.
But – there’s a but – I am not just uncool, I am also old(ish) and, quite slowly, as the years pass, a cloud of fuck-it is blooming in my head. I am unique and what I write is unique. And that is cool. And one day, someone will want to publish my uniqueness. And if they don’t, fuck it.