Marisa is in her late 20s and lives in London. She often feels useless and alone. This is the list of things she does when she feels that way:
1. Calling Her Mother
There is no answer. No matter how many times she calls. But she keeps on calling anyway. She believes she is listening, so she tells her mother about her troubles. Sometimes she spends some 30 minutes on the phone. Her monologues are emotional. She puts down the receiver, hoping that calls get through to heaven.
2. Watching TV
Marisa’s studio flat is rather small. She curls up on the sofa and flicks through the channels. She never watches a programme for longer than four minutes. Then she mutes the TV and comes up with a possible ending for a programme. Afterwards, she switches to the next. She sometimes wishes someone would snap her out of this odd habit and tell her: ‘Marisa, could we for once watch the whole programme?’ She, of course, would smile and lean on his shoulder. It would be cosy and she wouldn’t need to come up with yet another ending to distract herself.
3. Arriving at the office 30 minutes early
Before the email and call floodgates are opened, she walks around the office and admires the views of the riverside. She chats with the cleaner and teaches her some English. Then she goes online and checks out some flights to Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. She never books a flight. She knows how the prices have fluctuated since the beginning of the new millennium.
4. Never Speaking In Meetings
Her boss still hasn’t figured out her feelings towards him. So, when she feels useless and alone, she certainly doesn’t want to speak to him. She asks Martha to speak for her instead. When addressed, Marisa just smiles and says: ‘Martha has been working on this…’ By now, however, everyone – even her boss – knows that Martha didn’t help, Marisa just isn’t in the mood. But she’s good at marketing and so everyone just writes it off as Marisa’s eccentricity.
5. Refusing to Take the Tube Home
She walks. It takes her around an hour to get home on foot. She walks, even if it’s pouring down with rain. She makes sure to smile at every passer-by. She stops and speaks to shop assistants. She waves to bus drivers. And, yes, for the most part she looks like a lunatic, but she is trying to cheer others up. When she tries to cheer others up, she feels less useless and alone.
6. Performing Cabaret
At a bar in Soho. Usually two nights a week. Together with drag queens and effeminate gay princesses. They are usually rather conservative – heterosexual women are a ‘no-go’. But Marisa is different. Marisa walks into the changing room – a dingy box with four mirrors – throws off her suit and puts on the glitter. She comes alive. She might not have become a Judi Dench as she once dreamt but she has certainly earned the name of Ms Poppy Della Raunch.