Review 2005

Anna Pickard

It's Weird

I've been sitting, and screen-staring, and mentally shuffling all of the things that have happened to me in the past 11 months. From rental flat to rental flat. From mouse infestation to cauterised IKEAness. Conversations sublime and ridiculous. From 8-4, 10-6, 11-7, occasionally overnight, work, and work, and work. One professional moment I thought I'd never see, then another, and another. The moment my tiny nephew first walked towards me on shaky legs. My first beetroot.

"... describe a moment when you suceeded in doing something you've always wanted to do this year."

My mind riffles and flips through the hundreds of words I've seen move from my brain to various kinds of pages this year. Some were important, some were exciting, and some represented some kind of success. But for some reason, these don't seem to hold, to keep focus, as the thing that should be written about. I have the feeling that there are too many words to write about words, and I think I should be looking for just one. It's weird.

"It doesn't need to be a life changing event, but it really could be... what counts is how it made you feel."

It was strange. It was odd. It was - it was weird, but the first time I realised it, it felt good.

This year - for the first time in my life - I have finally driven into my head the correct spelling of the word 'Weird'. It's "e" then "i", apparently. Not the other way around after all.

I've known a lot of people who've had problems similar to mine in the past. People who always use two p's where one would suffice, people who have to write "accommodation" on a piece of paper in three various spellifications before they commit it to its waiting home - people who are underconfident about their sense of "necessity" and will slowly plod through it, repeatedly adding and deleting s's and c's with growing glumness of heart until they reach the y.

And why? Because it happens to everyone - everyone has that word, I think. That word they just can't spell. For me, it was 'weird'. It was always 'Weird', and before it was simply 'weird', it was all other words with e's and i's in as well. I often had problems with friends, found it difficult to talk about weight issues, or even height ones. I would avoid caffeine, if at all possible, and never, ever used the word inveigle. Until now, obviously.

Over the years I've tried desperately to teach myself - little incantations of "I" before "E", except after "C" - even way after the moment I realised that it was a stupid rule and barely applied to anything I was trying to spell at all. I before E, except after C. But weird started with a 'W'. So according to the stupid rule, that would mean it to be "i" and then "e"? Wierd. No?

Confused, I would try the tricks my mother had taught me. I would write the word down one way. And the other. Wierd. Weird.

Well it *was* weird, because the Law Of Jan said that when you wrote the possible spellings next to each other, one of them should look desperately wrong.

But Neither would look wrong. They would both look fine, and perfectly plausible. Weird. Wierd. I would read them out loud. They both sounded right too. Weird.

Eventually, I would give up. A bloody dictionary. The bloody internet. The chagrin of asking a passing competent speller. Or just the bloodyminded decision taken that whoever was reading would have to love me regardless of my pissy e's and i's.

It was a great problem. No matter how many times I looked it up, made my peace with it, and carefully folded and placed it in my brain, the next time I went to find it, it would have fallen out again, and the hole in my mind where it was meant to live would simply hold a mocking note, saying "ei? ie? 'oo knows?".

And for some reason that note would be in a French accent. I don't know why
But it sounds undeniably more disparaging.

It drove me insane. Every single time this cropped up - and it's a word I like to use, I like to use it a lot, I would stumble, and stumbling would slow me down, and I would lose my thread, and losing my thread would make me grumpy, and my appalling memory would make me grumpy, and the e's would just sit there and the i's would swim before mine and I wouldsit and grump and swear.

Because I couldn't, for the life of me, work out why I could remember whole swathes of scripts, song lyrics from chart hits long forgotten, and facts about ridiculous things that I would never ever need to know, but couldn't for one second remember whether weird was spelt with and i-fecking-e or an e-fecking-i.

Then, this year.

This year, for some unknown reason, something changed. One day I looked at the word "weird" and said "You know what? That is how you spell it. I think that's how it might have been spelled all along". And immediately wrote it on the side of my monitor.

And since that day, whenever I've had a momentary panic, I've simply looked down at that little 'weird' note, and smiled. Smiled, and typed, smiling.

It's weird, you see. Weird.

The "e" goes before the "i".

Anna Pickard writes

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

I still can't spell the name Micheal though. Michael. Michel. Micheal. Oh arse.

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