I feel like I’ve lost a body part; the Internet has been down at my house for nearly a week. And it’s still not back. Consequently, without any access to the vast information superhighway, it’s fair to say that this hypothetical body part is located somewhere between my thighs and never did anything much anyway.
I am now in an Internet cafe feeling awkward.
I’m vaguely disgusted at how addicted I must be to being online. Without the net at home I’m watching more TV. Large Northern Flatmate and I are actually having conversations. I potter around aimlessly.
And I’ve just woken up and switched on my computer, but all I could think of doing was playing Freecell, like it was 1988 again.
This lack of Internet is particularly irritating considering I’ve bitten the desperate bullet and joined a popular online dating service. It seemed like a good idea at the time, particularly when a girl I’d ‘favourited’, a preposterously stunning and woefully out of my league Thai girl, returned the favour and favourited me right back. In a pique of excitement, I immediately fumbled for my credit card and officially signed up, firing off a further four messages at a slew of lovelorn and equally attractive women now that I had been afforded the power of communication.
Then I realised the Thai girl hadn’t favourited me at all - I had been looking at my own favourites the whole time. In fact, this girl hadn’t even been on the site since November. She did reappear to read my message though and didn't bother replying, although this merely reintroduced me to that curious 21st Century phenomena; rejection from the comfort of your own home.
I am in touch with someone else quite cute though, someone who probably thinks I’m ignoring her thanks to my zero web connection, and who handily lives about 200 miles away. I’ve also had another response from someone equally cute, although in three days I’ve yet to read her email. I blame work – I’m based in a tiny, all-male office with my back to the rest of the room and my monitor in full view of anyone who cares to look at it – which is everyone, including cuntstomers.
So I haven’t replied yet.
I’m reaching crunch time with everything else. I haven’t cycled to work in two weeks, and my new second gym is currently going unused. All of which is making me feel really great. Not cycling in is also introducing me to the perils of a quick beer in the evening, which is particularly annoying as I tend to cram in what I can in those pitiful last hours of the working day, chainsmoking and talking crap.
On Wednesday night, I found myself in a pub confronted by a guy I used to work with who I hadn’t seen in years. We fell out and hadn’t spoken since, and there was something faintly disturbing about saying hello; two people who greeted each other politely whilst holding back from calling each other a wanker. It was particularly galling as, despite this guy and, erm, this guy too, I don’t fall out with anyone.
My problem with Gerald* (not his real name, obviously), was his propensity to laugh at my misfortunes. Now this isn’t ordinarily a problem. After all, I like making people laugh and I tend to make myself the butt of all jokes, so I'm used to a fair amount of abuse. But Gerald laughed a bit too hard, every day, for months on end, calling me an idiot in between guffaws.
And a twat.
And a fucking moron.
And more and more frequently, he would do so among a large crowd of our peers.
Then, like a pair of fiercely competitive teenage girls, our weight became an issue. Gerald was no stranger to pies, but would offload some of those negative feelings about himself by reminding me that I was looking like an elephant. When I’d returned from a backpacking stint in India several stones lighter and found myself back in London playing ‘throw the yellow plastic disc’ with my shirt off, I noticed him staring at my newfound manly physique with a very visible look of dismay and regret. When he noticed a few months later that I’d Pringled myself back into a fat suit, it was like all his birthdays and several childhood Christmases had all come at once.
I know because he gleefully told me that I’d become a fat cunt again.
So I stopped talking to him altogether. I’d tired of Gerald’s insistence to be regaled by another of my hard-luck stories just so he could feel a little better about himself. I no longer had to tell him every detail of my non-existent love life so he could laugh himself a new head, and I was informed much later that while he used to probe me about my private life constantly, the little tinker had been keeping his own one very private indeed, effectively bullying one of our female friends into a shag which I’m pretty sure his then-girlfriend and now-wife doesn’t know a thing about.
But seeing him again gave me pause for thought. Behind his half-hearted hello lay a crooked smile, the knowledge – I thought as he looked me up and down – that Thank God I wasn’t rippling and muscular. Subtlety was never Gerald’s strong point.
All of which made me remember that when bumping in to old acquaintances, it’s sooo much better if you’ve actually made a roaring success of your life.
All Change. Again.
So that’s that. Once again, I’m going to attempt this fucking life reversal – cycle every day, swim, go back to the gym, eat sensibly, and knock alcohol on the head for as long as I can. There’s nothing dignified about hiding behind a wall to surreptitiously urinate on a high street when you’re thirty-three.
I just have to go to Brighton right now to see Monkey Dave and dive into a beer festival first.