Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cracking Up

...and very much not in the laughter sense.

Regular readers may know that I have been trying to better myself these last few months. Namely, my Four Pillars of Hateism have been;
1) Writing, 2) Dieting, 3) Exercising, and 4) Not Smoking.

These are, and pretty much have always been constant desires throughout my unremarkable adult life, mere outlines to a richer tapestry of personal wishes and must-haves, viz: Acquiring a decent and well-paid job, one that doesn't have me crawling regretfully out of bed at 7am with tears of anguish pouring down my fat fucking cheeks and that might actually leave me with a fulfilling sense of purpose on this sodding planet; Having a firm, hard, and sexually alluring body with which I can a) have sex with lots of women or just one nice one please, if that's Not Too Much Trouble, b) look good naked, c) be able to jog up the two flights of stairs to my flat without it ending in me doubled over clutching my chest in oxygen-grasping, lung-fucked breaths while my left arm clings on to the wall for support.

Regrettably, I have been finding all my attempts at self-improvement rather difficult. Before anyone thinks, "Pshht, all you have to do is change jobs/ stop smoking/ eat a salad" (delete as applicable), I would first like you to imagine that you have a loaded gun pointed at a doe-eyed whimpering puppy with its head cocked to one side in cute confusion, and "All You Have To Do" is pull that trigger and blow its sweet little puppyface into the carpet.

It was the writing that was the first to stop. I wasn't really doing any novel (Ha!) writing since just before Sweden. I've certainly done nothing since my return. Then there was the exercise. I had convinced myself that 3 hours sleep meant it was too dangerous to cycle in to work so I'd tube it in (daily) to ogle the ladies instead. And in that time, I'd be eating pretty much whatever I wanted and, trust me on this, fruit and veg never came into it.

In fact, the only thing I'd continued to do was smoke as I couldn't right four wrongs all at once so I'd opted to concentrate on just three; three simple, life-changing things that, one by one, I quietly dropped like the hunt for Bin Laden.

And it doesn't help that I work next to a newsagents that do under-the-counter duty-free two-pound cheaper Marlboro Lights for £3.50 a pack. (Non-Smokers: Kindly don't bother pointing out that I could save myself £3.50 by not buying them at all. Lessons in Empathy #3,264: Think of something you couldn't live without. Then imagine living without it.)

So that's been my mini-nervous breakdown, my ocean of continual regrets ~ Wishing I'd never taken up smoking. Wishing I'd not eaten so much these last, oh, dozen or so years. Wishing I actually had a fucking plot for this fucking book I'm not fucking writing.

But there's more to my feeling like a South Ossettian when the Georgians had invaded. Last Friday week, I had left work to begin the weekend with my friend and his workmates as my work has no-one there but my boss and me. My last post mentions the cute young lady I'd talked to. My friend read it and wanted to know which one of his colleagues I fancied. I refused to tell him while he begged for clues. We exchanged a few emails, and met up on Wednesday where I continued to leave him dangling. Eventually, I got bored of turning a molehill into a mountain so I told him. He announced she was single. I quietly shed tears of joy. He offered to put in a good word for me, and I told him not to.

Then I got drunk and told him to go for it.

I met them all again this Friday, two days ago, and utterly humiliated myself. Things had changed. My friend now knew that I liked this girl. The girl knew too. Going by the grins and subtle glances of their colleagues, so did the entire room.

I shifted awkwardly as I sat down in front of her. My personality deserted me. I sweated - visibly sweated - and had to mop continually the torrent of perspiration that gushed down my face as if I were under a shower. I tried to act cool, but instead looked like a nervous fumbling teenager in front of a bemused and attractive woman.

Then I discovered that this long-term single woman is currently in the very, very early stages of 'seeing' someone and it could be going so well that it's only a matter of days before she rescinds her single status and becomes 50% of a couple.

Of course, I may never have stood a chance with her in the first place. For one thing, she's attractive and funny, and my guess is that a chainsmoking man with tits and a dull job who sweats like George Bush in a mosque and is incapable of self-improvement is unlikely to be considered Good Date Material by even the blindest and most forgiving of women.

Thus, two days ago, on Friday night, I'd realised with purity and total conviction that I have fucked up my entire life. I get this thought now and again, a mere fleeting reminder not to forget that I could've been someone yet wasn't but this weekend, those thoughts overwhelmed me totally.

I work in a small office staffed with five other men, four of whom only come in briefly. I was only meant to work there for a year until I got back on my feet.
Last week was my three year anniversary. Writing is my only way forward, but I can't fucking write.
I cannot talk to, socialise with, entertain, or (as if), engage in meaningful and deeply profound relationships with women, and having a job that doesn't even employ them is not helping me in the slightest. I am turning into an odder version of Barry George.

So I drank heavily this weekend. I've never been a vomiting, staggering, fight-provoking maniac, and in that respect my alcoholic descent was socially acceptable, almost imperceptible. But I did meet up with friends later on that Friday where I was clearly more inebriated, and loud, and annoying. I then went home to sink half a bottle of vodka, trawl Youtube for crap, smoke continually, and got to bed at 6am Saturday morning.

Later on yesterday, I met up with Abe and Ed and forgot that we were going to see Louis C.K. in standup. I was hungover and bitter all day. Louis proved to be a great tonic if you're bitter because he's even angrier, despite the fact that his career seems light years ahead of mine. But then the men who collect the rubbish outside my flat (sporadically) have better long-term prospects than I ever will.

So I went home and spent what remained of my Saturday night downing what remained of the vodka, necking a quarter bottle of rum, and trawling Youtube for crap while smoking continually. Things must be on the up though; I went to bed at 4am.

I've got a dinner meeting with my boss on Wednesday. I've got to watch what I say as I'm unhinged enough to resign properly - I last resigned from my job nine months ago whereupon we all forgot it had ever happened and never discussed it again.

I've got this urge to quit not just my job but my life and my family and my friends and run off around the world again, an aimless cry for help from a hotter country. Trouble is, I've done that before. It was great while it lasted but I had to come home eventually, where I found myself thinner, and happier, and confident.

Then four years on, I end up writing a post like this.

25 comments:

Dom said...

Can I recommend large quantities of anti depressants? They don't help, but they do mean you don't give a flying fuck about everything that's going wrong :D

Peach said...

sweetie - please quit your job - I was made redundant this year from a cool but unchallenging position, but I needed the work, so I thought... pregnant and without a boyfriend yadda yadda yadda ... and even though I am temping and it's mightily insecure, I don't miss that job one teeny bit. Even the money's better temping, albeit with zero security.

Take the plunge dude! And come rent a room off me, I need a new tenant !!

big hugs XXX

Angela-la-la said...

Hey it could be worse, you could have three kids and be nearly 40 and feel just as crap :)

Mail me your novel and I'll give you some feedback to make it publishable. Or take up Preggypants offer. You know which one of those makes more sense...

marianne said...

Please don't crack up, honey. Really. :(

Anonymous said...

move to Australia...that's what I did. Although I'm still single, at least the weather is great! Mining jobs pay bucket loads, or so I've heard.
http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/mining-jobs-in-australia.html

Anonymous said...

Mate, we definitely need to do beers and kebab Tuesday night. No matter what else happens, it's locked down in my diary!

Shit, this sounds worse than my thing in January. And at the time that felt as bad as I've ever been.

Drinking bottles of Vodka alone is not going to help.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

You know what...you can bloody write. Sod the novel. There's loads of other things that need entertaining writers.

I read this other blog briefly which was even more depressing than here. Just a whinging, whining single girl who was so down on herself, her looks, the way people were towards her, everything - I stopped reading because it was boring and quite frankly depressing, and irritating because she was just wallowing in her misery the whole time.

You, on the other hand, are bloody hilarious. You might be a miserable git but you're a funny one - for gods sake get a job that utilises what you're good at. Writing and making people laugh. The fact that this blog is as entertaining as it is shows that.

The Grocer said...

Finding a short evening class in willpower might also be useful. Alternatively get a video of current conditions in Zimbabwe to watch and see if you still feel as bad.
Dont wait for someone else to make your change for you they're not coming.

looby said...

That's a masterpiece. It's 5pm, I'm in a pub spending money I literally don't have and trying not to shake my shoulders too much as I laugh with that mixture of recognition about failing to make yourself the person you want to be whilst still clinging on to the knowledge that is is still possible. Your smoking is my drinking. Can't stop. And my job is shit as well, and with all respect to the previous commentators urging you to give it up...yes, OK, but blogging doesn't pay the bills.

Trixie said...

At least you weren't playing spider solitaire all weekend...that's a start!

Boo in London said...

Seriously? I am the female equivalent of you...let's go drinking and swap stories!

fwengebola said...

Dom ~ Two of my exes were on anti-depressants (which doesn't say much for me, although they were knocking them back before I met them.) I've never really seen the point in legal fug-drugs when you've got alcohol, cigarettes, pub psychiatry and staying up til 6am surfing youtube for documentaries on North Korea.
Peach ~ Cheers ducks. It's not the job, so much. I did a series of temping jobs prior to this one, and what I gained in meeting new friends and soulmates and a wife for my old flatmate, I lost out in boredom and not feeling like I'm getting anywhere, erm... hang on a minute... nothing's changed at all.
Well, I guess I like the responsibility of my job even if I'm a crap salesman who tries to avoid that bit, and for once the bosses are good guys, and that's a rarity. I can't temp again! Don't you feel a bit kinda... y'know... perilous?
I'd take the room but I have a large bald man in his Forties with me up West.
Ang ~ You feel just as crap? At least you have kids to look after, which I'm sure is unstressful and easy. Cheers for the novel reading offer, although I will have to lobotomise you after you've read it - unless it has that effect on you anyway.
Mar ~ No, I'm fine thanks ducks, but I do want drugs and booze and oblivion a little bit.
Anon ~ Cheers, I'm considering that. Summer here is atrocious - yet again - and the weather report is rain every fucking day.
Dare I leave everything behind and emigrate 13,000 miles so I can be miserable in shorts???
Anon ~ Yes, consider a kebab tonight a must. The first thing I need in my slightly fragile state is more beer. And kebabs.
PDEWYMO ~ That's terribly kind and embarrassing. Now I feel so elated with a personal frisson of despair that I'm going to find the nearest oven so I can stick my head in it.
Thank you though. I just need to have a Big, Long Think™ (again) and decide what the fuck's wrong with me (again). I'm guessing apathy's taken over (again).
TG ~ Oh, hello there. Yes, Zimbabwe. A shitstorm created by a fucking cunt. North Korea, much the same. Both shitty situations that don't help my petty insecurities and dismal self-delusions go away. They just make me feel worse for feeling less worthy in being down.
Are you my flatmate?
Loob ~ You're in the pub with a laptop? That is fun. What makes you think my smoking is your drinking? My smoking and drinking is your drinking. And if coke wasn't so damn expensive and of suspicious purity, rest assured I'd have a fourth substance I'd be abusing regularly (the third being Sainsbury's pizzas)
Trix ~ Erm, just cos I didn't mention it doesn't mean that I wasn't... never mind. (Nearly up to 2,000 losses on SS)
Boo ~ Yeah, ok, 'cos what I need now is a drinking partner to take me out of my hovel where I down spirits and into a pub to pay more for it with a facilitator. We can facilitate each other senseless.

Bianca (as in Jagger) said...

Move to the States. At the very least, you're bound to get some action. American women are true to stereotype and love the accent. The accent - and dry wit, if they appreciate humor - covers for a myriad of other faults. Such as: 1) having no discernible muscle tone, 2) chain smoking, 3) crap-eating, 4) being a penniless aspiring writer. In fact, #4 would work quite well for you, too.

Carnalis said...

Running away to a hotter country .. not such a bad plan. Maybe London is the problem, not you?

Just a Girl said...

I mainly lurk here but want to comment but can't find the words.

It did give me watery eyes though. And makes me want to hug you.

Quote said...

Weird.

Once I sorted out 1), 2)- 4) didn't seem to matter any more.

Don't stop 1).

Never stop 1).

Digressica said...

I intended to spend all of yesterday writing my novel. Instead I woke up at 9am and watched Richard Dawkins clips on YouTube until 1am the following morning, accompanied by diet coke and McVitie's chocolate digestives. Today I hung out with my boss and despaired over the fact that I have an unrequited crush on him, and then spent the afternoon consuming a bottle of chardonnay and trying to book a flight home to Australia, unsuccessfully. I am now waiting for my Chinese food to be delivered, and trying to open a bottle of cava but having less luck because I'm slightly drunk and a bit uncoordinated. I hate myelf, I hate my job, I hate the fact that even though I love London it leaves me feeling completely void as a human being.

Hope you're feeling better today, anyway.

Can I recommend watching Richard Dawkins clips on YouTube? As horrible as I feel, at least I can console myself with the fact that I don't still believe in Christ. Yikes.

fwengebola said...

B(aiJ) ~ Yes, I'd love to move to the States. I had a NY girlfriend recently (in year terms) but ended it because of that 4,000 mile divide. Probably should've given her a proper shot, and 1) I have some discernible muscle tone. That's what makes all this effort so irritating. 2) chain smoking, meh. 3) crap-eating, see (2) and 4) how is being a penniless aspiring writer attractive? I'd love to know.
Carn ~ Yeah, London's a pain in the rainy arse. I should really go somewhere fucked like Harare where I'll be able to lord it over the locals. Then get killed by Zanu PF.
JAG ~ Oh god, sorry. It wasn't my intention to depress you. But thanks for the hug offer. I think maybe I should buy a dog and hug the living shit out of it. It probably won't like being cooped up in a small third storey flat though.
Quote ~ Crikey, I suppose I've gotta write then. Bugger.
Dig ~ Been there, seen it, watched Dickie Dawkins on youtube a while ago. Did you see the clip of that mad ex-Jew who's become a madder Islamic Jihadist? Christ. Speaking of whom, I don't believe in him either. But then I'm Jewish and I don't believe god anyway. But I can get away with that because Mum's a Heeb, and so is Dad and his Mum, etc.
I had another weekend of booze and youtube. Probably best to avoid all that for a while. And not fall in love with your boss. At least you work with the opposite sex. Better unrequited than void of any love altogether. Shame that unrequited love is so fucking shit though.

Bianca (as in Jagger) said...

Most women love struggling creative types. Writers, actors, musicians pursuing their dream and all that. It signifies passion.

I'd say the fact that your last girlfriend was American proves my point. Lightning has been known to strike twice, y'know?

Anonymous said...

You are a very funny man. I would shag you. And Im quite comfortable with how I look naked.

Lilly said...

Hey! You can't be 'anonymous' with a comment like that! What a tease...

Anonymous said...

I'd shag you too x

fwengebola said...

B(J) ~ Passion. Yes. That's what I've got. In the form of fat and apathetic. My last girlfriend being an American (in America) just proves that she was that. Lightning could strike twice, but I'd have to go back to New York to get hit.
Anon ~ Well thank you. I love the amount of sex I'm offered when no-one can see me.
Libby ~ And welcome. I take it you might know Anon. Tell me everything.
Anon ~ Really? I don't understand women (I'm assuming you are one.) I bitch and whinge and moan and I get comments purporting to offer naked horizontal things.
I am suspicious.

luna said...

Maybe not as far as the Antipodes.

How about dropping the bottle for a week & treating yourself to a solo seaside hol to think about things?
With your novel and a stuffed labrador under your arm.

P.s.Remember to take the pills.
P.p.s The vitamin pills

fwengebola said...

I'm not even going to ask what a stuffed labrador has to do anything as your mind is more mysterious than Russian foreign policy.
But I like the rest of your propostition. Makes sense.