thoughtwisps One commit at a time

late-night miso

It’s empty like it always is at this hour. Two servings of miso in disposable cups - the kind that you probably can’t recycle. In the table next to me a group of women laughing at something. A guy walks in, grabs some sushi and the soy sauce and settles down into a corner.

This is how I like it. The night owls are here.

I watch the escalators and the people. Suits and briefcases and tired, vacant looks. It’s late.

I’m here after a tech talk, which I left halfway through and then, instead of waiting for the bus (wardrobe choice for tonight’s weather was ill-considered) outside - I take the escalator up. Up past the Pret and the Paul’s and the Wasabi, up past the station concourse and the countless shops selling dress shirts and suits and oxfords, up to the Japanese fast food cafe tucked in on the last floor.

I order a miso. Make that two. And they arrive withing a minute or two in two identical paper cups. I don’t even want to know what kind of an environmental murder rate this place racks up during lunchtime. After all, it’s always easier to focus on the things you can’t see.

I split the chopsticks and stir the liquid. Some wakame and tofu swims to the surface. This is how lonely people, eat, I think. Late at night, in places tucked away, watching the lives of other people.

On the bus back I watch the lights and think of a passage from Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City.

Author’s postscript and a sort-of apology: As it happens with things and plans and the pretty lists of goals and things to do that one writes, they find their way to the bottom of the ecritoire (which I suppose one has if one has a fancy dedicated room for writing, I just have a folder on my computer that I don’t really check too often) never to be looked again. So it was with this piece too and it just happens that a bout of insomnia strikes in the early hours of the 2nd of October 2018 and prompts the restless brain to trudge through a graveyard of blogpost drafts and stumble upon the last words of this thing. Never finished and now half forgotten. I do remember which passage from The Lonely City I was thinking about - the one where Laing describes the millions of windows lighting up against the darkening city skyscape and the profound loneliness that sometimes envelops those that live alone together in megalopolises like London, New York, Paris, Tokyo. At some point or another, I’d like to revisit this idea, this image of millions of burning lights, but for now I’m going to leave this piece as I found it. A half finished evening thought.