I was waiting for a train, desperately trying to think of something that wasn’t terrible. My phone – that usual bulwark against darkness and commuting – stayed in my pocket: by any measure we’re living through a tumultuous year, but at that moment the news seemed so unrelentingly grim that I couldn’t even check twitter without getting depressed and teary. I wanted to imagine something, anything, that had some delight in it, that wasn’t defined by hatred or uncertainty. Just one good thing.
As the train pulled up to the platform, it came to me: I started thinking about how much I enjoyed it when I poured water from the washing up bowl into the sink, and the bowl floated around like a boat. It was small and silly, but I felt better for the mental image. It reminded me that even when times were difficult, my days were still dotted with moments that brought me pleasure. Although their slightness made them easy to overlook, that was also the very thing that made them special. For a brief interlude, instead of fretting about what was happening in the world, I was overwhelmed by thoughts of green ink, independent bookshops, David Attenborough, kissing under streetlamps, and the way sunblock smells precisely like summer.
I knew that I didn’t want to let it go. I could either forget about these fragments or try to share them. By the time I arrived at my destination I’d decided to opt for the latter. There was only one meaningful home for this, of course: if Oh Comely stands for anything, it’s that there is joy in liking things. Since then I have tweeted every day at 13:00, and will continue to do so until someone changes the account password and confiscates my mouse and keyboard.
In writing these notes, the greatest pleasure – other than honing my own wonder-noticing skills – has been relinquishing the space to friends, family, readers, members of the Oh Comely team, or anyone else with a good suggestion. What’s encouraging about it is that the same seemingly idiosyncratic concepts keep coming up: I like the idea that there are all of these splendid things in our lives that feel incredibly specific, but are actually universal. In a country that has felt alarmingly divided of late, it’s cheering to know that at least we all enjoy remembering that we’ve made a cup of tea, and finding that it’s now at the perfect temperature.