The Four Day weekend: A respite from the daily grind. An opportunity to leave my pit and do as much wandering around London during unseasonably warm weather as I can.
Except I didn't. Instead, I got drunk on the first night and bitched about it for three days.
Thursday night was going to be tremendously exciting. I was to meet up with newly-engaged Luke and Sabina, as well as my other ex-flatmate Robert who had also inadvertantly got himself engaged to his girlfriend. Gary was there with Suzie - another ex-flatmate who'd been engaged and is now married. Only two were missing: Hippy Dave (who has yet to get engaged but mark my words, like all Dave's sexual experiences, it won't be long), and Nick, who started this bizarre engagement ritual at the end of last year.
Nick, Luke, Rob and Garry are all old schoolmates from years gone by. A fourth, Hippy Dave, was this hippy I met at University. I'm very fond of them all, including Ally and another Rob, so I was overjoyed when Nick told me about his impending nuptuals. When Luke told me a few months later that he'd proposed to Sabina, I was overwhelmed. After all, I used to work with Bean, and in this strange circus of life (with more clowns), I was the odd link that dragged Sabina to the classiest of joints, the Walkabout in Embankment, when she first laid eyes on the man who will now become her husband, my former flatmate. (I'm tempted to reveal in my Best Man speech that he'd earlier vomited into a pint glass before she'd arrived. Or perhaps I should say he did that after he met her, for comic effect. Actually, it's probably best if I don't mention that at all. Except here.) When I found out that Rob had also proposed to his girlfriend my joy canoe, whilst still afloat, was fast careering into the rocks of OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE.
Don't misunderstand me, I'm thrilled for them all. But in the several decades it has taken me to get used to the idea that every single one of my friends are allowed to have girlfriends bar me (and Large Northern Flatmate, my partner in free time), I now have to deal with my internal nagging voice (that sounds a bit like my Mum, and occasionally is), questioning and probing as to why I'm undatable let alone unmarriable and am essentially a male Bridget Jones albeit without the sexual escapades or waist-reducing knickers.
The rest of the Bank Holiday was a blur. I wasn't that drunk - I just didn't do much. All that me-time I so desperately crave when at my desk at work, and all I do when I actually have it is watch Seinfeld as I curse myself for not having the balls, talent, or commitment to write something myself.
While eating pizza.
It wasn't all a moody, introspective waste of time. Occasionally, I'd sink a bottle of red whilst skimming the net for porn.
Although there was one notable moment in all that fun; On Saturday I met up with Phil, Natalie, Jamie and Claire, and watched the Boat Race, or more accurately, waited for two rowboats being propelled by immense toffs to pass a post to the accompaniment of drunken roars from braying Hooray Henrys and Henriettas who surrounded us, making me feel like a dreadful oik. (Cambridge won. Whoop-de-doo.)
That evening was spent in a delightful pub near the Thames, in a marquee with an appalling DJ in honour of the cash-in-athon that was the earlier race. And in the toilets, I suffered an almighty bout of Paruesis. This charming condition, although I'm not so sure it's that much of a condition than a simple mental block with a fancy name, means that every once in a while, I get this sudden, unannounced vague sense of unease and panic, meaning I couldn't wee if I'd drunk fifteen barrels of coffee, my bladder had declared a jihad on its neighbours, and I'd been jogging on the spot for a year. I just freeze, with my cock in my hand (a bit like my sex-life.)
The really embarrassing part was that I was in the relative safety of a cubicle. The man in the neighbouring enclosure had been on the phone and had suddenly become very mute and still, almost listening, waiting. It was as if he was in the cubicle with me, silently looking over my shoulder while I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to think of the Niagra Falls or a tap with water gushing out so fiercly that it's shaking. And then some cunt banged on the door and I had walk out defeated, triumphantly lying 'All done' whilst walking for the exit like John Wayne.
I think it stems from when I was a kid. With an upstairs and downstairs toilet to choose from at my childhood home, I would always use the one that had the least amount of relatives within earshot. And now I'm stuck with this. Even when at friends' or relatives' houses, on discovering that the bathroom is right next to where everyone is gathered and I can still hear them chatting from within the functional confines of the toilet, I normally allow myself a little swear, a mumbled fucknuts while my guitar discreetly excretes (eventually, after half an hour's nervous pleading.)
Why the fuck did I admit to all that? My secret shame.
But on the plus side, I'm off to New York tomorrow, for a week. I'm going to see my American ladyfriend who I would be dating if indeed we didn't live 4,000 miles apart. Ironically, just as Britain's hotting up and I cycled back from work in my t-shirt for the first time this year, I'm told that NY is stll freezing and I'll need to fetch my scarf and gloves I'd only just stuck at the back of my wardrobe yesterday.
However, I may well be having coitus very soon, as well as spending some quality time with a very lovely and intelligent lady, having some laughs, cracking jokes, skipping through Central Park, then comforting her when she bursts into tears and lays all the heavy shit on me in three days time.
Next post from the USA.