Sunday, September 27, 2009

Enjoy The Silence?

Believe it or not, I'm an optimist. I actually believe that one of those single women from that dating website will reappear and get in touch.

This is despite a week going by, and not hearing a thing from them. That's not to say I haven't been contacted at all. Several other women have written to me and been delightful - at least the ones I've read have - as rejoining said dating website has reminded me of a certain little thing that made me leave in the first place: GUILT.

I know beggars can't be choosers, and I know that I've whinged about being single for over 3 years but, well, I just ain't that into them.

And that makes me feel awful. AWFUL.

I don't want to ignore them. They're only being nice and saying hello, but dammit, I just can't see the point in engaging in a dialogue that'll head inexorably towards a date I don't want to go on.

Having said that, a date may be happening soon with one lady. I'm slightly unsure about the whole business as I kinda only joined to desperately get back in touch with one of those women who wrote to me a year ago without my realising only to take the supposed snub and move on with their lives but, well, I'm not getting any younger.

But neither am I that bothered about a date with someone I've started chatting to because, like Pringles, she was just there.
Oh hello, More Guilt.

God, I'm confused and anxious.

* * * * *

Update: I just popped online to check if any of those women had reappeared (still No) when someone flashed up a window to chat. I pressed 'ignore'. This is absolutely horrible. Please can someone reaffirm that I'm not alone in finding these sites utterly bizarre.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

FUCKING HELL!!!

The weekend. I'm heartily ignoring the rubbish book I've written to masturbate to pornography, eat half a dozen doughnuts, and smoke half a pack of cigarettes. And as the thoughts of self-loathing took hold, I found myself gravitating towards finding "love" online. I checked into an old dating website I belong to and spent a considerable amount of time 'browsing', when I came across a ladyperson I liked from waaay back.

Somewhat piqued to notice that she'd viewed me before, I tried to contact her but, alas, the fuckers demanded I re-register. Instead, I thought I'd hit their 'Click' function. Simply put, you can indicate if you think you'd click with someone and, if they've already thought likewise, an icon pops up indicating a match.

So imagine my surprise when a match popped up between us.

I began to yell. I stood up in my room and my towel fell off as I scrambled, fat and naked, for my credit card.

I re-registered at a not insignificant cost, and that was when I really began to feel ill. There were 151 unread emails and messages for me.

Said lady had already written to me over a year ago. An equally lovely lady and fellow blogger had written to me a year before her. And sandwiched between them both like an oestrogen filling was a local lady who'd stolen my heart only to ignore me - except she hadn't. She'd written to me three times, only to end with an apology for ignoring me the first time round as, she'd assumed, that was why I'd ignored her. Others wrote to me including one (clearly delusional) young woman who used the word 'adorable' in a totally non-ironic way.
Too bad she's in Florida.

Suffice to say, I feel ill, and that's not just from the doughnuts. To think all these attractive, intelligent women with low standards were contacting me for the last couple of years, and I had absolutely no idea.

It's probably for the best. They're missing out on a chain-smoking, doughnut eating wanker who thinks he can write.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Home Is Where The Start Is

I've been back home for nearly a week, and I'm in a strangely positive mood. It's tempered, obviously, by not being on holiday anymore, oh, and having to go to work and, oh yeah, a couple of days ago I drunkenly dropped my left contact lens down the sink and spent half a fucking hour with my hand up a stinking pipe pulling out clumps of pungent grey slurry at three in the morning finding nothing but backache and a swiftly erupting hangover. My new eye test is now booked for this week.

My twenty-odd bedbug and mosquito bites are subsiding, I've done three lots of washing since my return, spent a Saturday night ironing shirts, tidied my room, and done my utmost to enjoy evenings free of writing a shit (Ha!) novel.

It hasn't helped that 50% of said novel feedback has been "Look at it this way; at least you've finished something." All other comments ranged around immature, or poor character development, and a somewhat disturbed opinion of my state of mind; Pretty much all the things that'll make you wish you never go near your endeavours again.

But I couldn't care less. I've had a pleasant break of no sex where I realised I look like an ageing elephant in all the photographs (because the camera was pointed at an ageing elephant), so I've put myself on a diet.
Granted, a quiet weekend of wine, fags, pizza, crisps, a small homemade chocolate brownie, two custard doughnuts and a dozen ricecakes to make amends doth not a healthy regime make, but it's Sunday night and thus I'm back on the sushi.

I'm attempting to cycle to work for the rest of the year, and cut out all the crap, and, more important than that, quit my job. I feel that with a 'book' under my (large) belt, I can leave. I have no idea what for, but it's got to be for more money, and less hours, and at least one member of staff with a womb.

And with all these things in mind, I'm feeling pretty optimistic for once.

Yeah, okay, give it a week.




















On the way to Ljubljana. Art installation, or someone's outdoor kitchen?















Ljubljana.















Breakfast; Kebab.















Goodbye, potential future king, hello First World War.












Downtown Sarajevo.




















Uptown Sarajevo.




















Mid-air whinging idiot.




















Mostar.




















Dubrovnik.















Barely alive Croatian cat.















Cavtat, end of the line.















You might well think this is us. I couldn't possibly comment.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Drinking in Dubrovnik

I came to after six hours sleep, numb from the air conditioning. Martin was passed out in his neighbouring bed, so I woke him up to tell him to shut the fucker off.

I tried to get back to sleep, but the moment had passed. I left Martin in a near-catatonic state and staggered down to the port of Dubrovnik for a couple of lethal coffees and a dozen cigarettes. The previous night, we'd traipsed through the old town, a stunning walled citadel with polished marble streets and gleaming baroque churches. It was yet another beautiful destination to be in, far too evocative and romantic for the likes of us.

Mostar too, visually at least, had been beautiful; a picturesque town with its rebuilt bridge towering over the Neretva river, and not much else. For all the beauty of that place, the majority of its citizens redressed the balance by being surly fuckers.

And now the holiday's almost over. We've no more buses or trains or catch, our last mode of transport a large plane tomorrow, bound for Gatwick. We caught the Mostar to Dubrovnik bus yesterday, seconds before a strange Balkan downpour thundered down for several hours, shrouding the allegedly stunning coast with its islands and turquoise seas in a very British gloom. Yet my spirits were anything but dampened. It was Saturday, and we'd planned to end our trip with a bang. I was so happy that I'd even talked to ladypersons on the bus, one of whom was a stunning blonde Swede who indicated her nationality by pointing at her vast breasts with the words 'Sverige' stretched across her t-shirt.

I went red, and slunk back in my seat, none too pleased to see her leave the bus well before we'd arrived at Dubrovnik.

After lunch chatting to two lovely Australian ladies, and a nap, we'd hit the town. It felt rather odd to be drinking in bars in such a breathtaking place as we guzzled booze with all the sophistication of a knucklehead. I'd attempted more chatting; two charming English girls in the first bar we'd visited, but as I realised they were barely into their twenties and attractive, and I was waaaay out of my depth trying to chat them both up, I'd decided instead to sweat profusely and slink back to my corner from whence I'd slithered.

Then, oddly, a semi-naked woman jumped on a cube in the centre of the bar to gyrate to bad Euro-pop. I didn't quite know where to look as I didn't want to seem like a leerer in front of the two British girls, but then again, in front of me was was a semi-naked woman gyrating to bad Euro-pop.

The girls left soon afterwards, and generic guilt led us outside and on to another bar, then another, and before long we were in the worst place on earth: a fucking Irish pub. We'd only gone there for one, mainly out of laziness as we were having trouble trying to locate an amazing bar that existed only in our minds, and found ourselves chatting to a blonde Australian hayseed. Suddenly, there were three more, and I bought them all drinks because I'm a total fucking idiot. They chatted to us by way of payment, taking it in turns to nod at our weak jokes before running off to leave another luckless girl to it.

Martin and I posed for their photos which rather unsettled me. As one of them threw a drunk arm over my large shoulder, her hand brushed against my hair, my wet, sweat-saturated hair. Her "Ugh" will haunt me forever.

Somewhere near this internet cafe, that gang of Aussie birds (collective noun: a hangover) are waking up to snaps of a fat pink bloke with a damp head and eyes half-closed as he mouthed the words, "Seriously, I don't look good in pict..."

The Irish pub had been the beginning of the end. Up until then, I was in a rather splendid mood, with my smart shirt and generic joie de vivre.
I was relaxed.
I was a bit drunk.
I was happy.
"Tonight," I remarked to Martin, "something might just well happen."

And something did, if the definition of Something has changed to Nothing.

The Aussie bird chatting to me suddenly fled the pub. This is quite literal. She took off mid-sentence without so much as an "excuse me", when four Australian Burps swaggered in with their balls clanging.
"Jeffo!" she'd yelled, and sprinted off in the middle of her telling me about her family in London.
"Bye, fellas," said another as they'd walked off into the night.

"We're offta Belvederes," I heard one of the blokes tell them.
"Fuckers!" I said to Martin. "I wanted to go there. Now we'll look like stalkers."
"Then we should go to that Latin club across the road," he replied, as a fresh hell had begun.

My Middle Age became official in Club Fuego. Martin and I sat in their courtyard as braying fucksters peacocked past sneering women, whilst I chainsmoked and pondered never setting foot inside a club again. Earlier, one of the Australians had said I looked about 24 (Sign #6 of the utterly wretched: Playing 'Guess My Age' with young women), and I'd half-considered clubbing until I began to atrophy but then again, it probably wasn't a good idea taking compliments from someone who'd said wherever they travelled on earth, they'd make a beeline for the nearest Aussie bar.

"I think my clubbing days are over," I said to Martin as the club got busier and we watched a mass of people force their way downstairs. "I'm going to take one last look around, to remind myself what I'm missing."
I stood up and walked over to the back of the crush, and peered into the club proper. People were stood shoulder to shoulder, smashing into one another to a godforsaken R&B soundtrack. Occasionally, one of those heads would be pretty. Mostly, they were shaven-headed fuckhats, and more Brits than I can bear to be around when not in Britain. (Thank you, Stelios.)

I frowned, seeing little point in forcing my way through for no reason, and potentially getting into a fight. I tend to get funny, as Martin had earlier, about patting a guy several times to get past, only to be ignored.

"Fuck it," I said as I walked back to our table. "Let's go get a kebab."

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Inevitable Funk

I know it's rather undignified to bitch whilst on holiday, to be hundreds of miles from my desk and work and bloody customers without a care in the world, but a couple of nights ago, I fell into a funk. Martin fell into his the following night.

Living out of a rucksack, waking up early and being constantly on the move, and drinking large amounts of 'British-Personalityjuice' every single night had taken it's toll. I had become bored, rather upset and disillusioned with the world, and somewhat unhappy with my entire existence yet a-fuckin'-gain.

It had been our last night in Sarajevo. I had decided to forgo the smart shirt and jacket look I'd adopted the previous night (women hadn't noticed anyway), for a simple black number that had been rather restrictive around my fat chest. It was odd - as it often is in those places - to be making merry in a former warzone; Sarajevo had, after all, been bombed to smithereens from the surrounding hills it's nestled within for four years, its citizens ducking from sniper fire and assault weaponry at exactly the same time I'd been having the greatest time of my life at University.

The background to my funk had been simple; joining Martin and me was that miserable git, tagging along uninvited. I'd see him now and again as we passed shop windows and caught his reflection. Whenever Martin took my picture and showed me the digital results, there he was, sunburned and grinning with his chin-gut swaying in the breeze while his sweaty forehead glistened like a honeyglazed ham.

"Delete it," I'd say after being shown the latest photo. I've since advanced to having my picture taken and watching Martin collapse into paroxysms of laughter - I now tell him to delete it without bothering to review the abominable result.

As we'd waited for our Sarajevo-bound train at Zagreb, we noticed two swaggering dicking machines. We recognised them instantly as The Enemy, a pair of young, slim Twenty-somethings, chock-full of confidence and semen. One wore his hair in dreads, the other kept his laid-back and floppy. Both wore t-shirts and shorts that weren't saturated with sweat, and looked every inch the cliched traveler. We'd clocked each other as we stood at the station, and kept our distance. After all, when backpacking, groups of men are like packs of wolves; a threat to one another as they compete for the same hunting ground, that small yet fertile land of lips and breasts and smiles that, if nurtured properly, will let you fuck it.

And thus, my funk grew. Martin and I visited the Sarajevo photo museum (sweating the back of my clothes into a stained Turin Shirt as we walked there in the midday sun), and surveyed their harrowing exhibition that shamed me with my lack of Balkan War knowledge. We'd gone back to our hotel and freshened up for yet another night on the town. We'd eaten at a restaurant where I'd had to eat profile in front of four French women - not my best angle, all chins and nose and solid, rectangular body - and winced as I glanced at them only to note their absolute refusal to look even vaguely in my direction in case they melted like that guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

"I'm going on a diet when I get home," I thought as we made our way to the bar we'd end up in every night. The two travelers were in there chatting to a random woman. The night before, they'd sat with three Polish girls and left, giggling, en masse, a fivesome of travelling strangers, no doubt minutes from getting naked and penetrating one another. It was at that point that I got more depressed, guessing that us Brits tend to holiday in bars and get hammered, hoping that something sexual might happen, whereas the French, as these two lads were, cut straight to the chase.

I'd complained to Martin later that night that I was almost certainly never going to have sex again, that I had no right being in bars in the first place and besides, at 35, it was verging on sad and pathetic. My only options in life, I'd concluded, were suicide, or rape.

So imagine my joy when, upon yelling out the aforementioned ferociously tongue-in-cheek comment as we'd stood up to leave, I'd discovered sitting opposite us two English-speaking, if not English, girls. (For the record, they were with men. And for the record #2, I don't think they'd want to meet tubby, pink men who mull over self-harm or violent sexual assault loud and in public.)

I could go on, but I won't. We're now currently in Mostar, a visually beautiful if rather quiet hamlet in southern Bosnia. You may have heard of its bridge. It's seems almost solely populated, at least in its old town, by tourists. Of the locals who have to serve them and their constant cries of attention, all, barring our beautiful hostel owner, are surly and miserable.

And so we are leaving for Dubrovnik tomorrow. I'd stay in this hostel forever, if only to catch the life-affirming smile of the young lady here, but it'll only end in tears.

I'm about as appealing as AIDS on toast.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sarajevo, With One Eye Closed

I am sat in an Internet cafe, looking like a pirate without an eye patch. It would appear I've developed some kind of infection, or scratched my ocular ball, and wearing a contact lens in my left eye causes said eye to go bloodshot and make my nose run. Needless to say, this isn't a look I want to cultivate; nor is wearing my ridiculous fucking glasses as they're thicker than the combined attendees at hairdressing seminar. So I have just the one contact lens in, whilst occasionally closing the other in order that I can see. Sexy.

We're now in Sarajevo, the rather charming capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina that we've yet to check out properly. We're here for a couple more days as we cut the Croatian capital of Zagreb short due to lack of interest. I wish I could say nicer things about it, and I wish we'd done more cerebral things than just drink and eat but in the event, we didn't. I'd managed to book a hostel that was over an hour's walk from the town centre, a walk first undertaken with our heavy rucksacks whilst Martin swore at me. When we did go back into town on Saturday night dressed in smart shirts and suit jackets, we both wished we were in t-shirts as teenage girls giggled at us and hooded Croatian chavs frowned. Even among adults, we were the only ones dressed up to go out and, after a few hours wandering around trying to find Croat life, we gave up and undertook that fucking walk back to the hostel, as the trams had stopped running.

Sunday was spent chilling, and watching a dodgy copy of Idiocracy we'd found in the Hostel's common room. We were actually enjoying our evening's sobriety until, a good hour or so into the film, the fucker packed up so we'd gone to bed to be up early for the trip to Bosnia.

Nine hours on a train ain't fun, particularly as the ebb and flow of humanity grabbed seats next to us; all gruff, stinking men who'd managed to jump ahead of the lithe, modelesque ladies, who'd peered in to our now crowded booth as we got crushed by belching, chainsmoking fuckhats.

And now we're in Sarajevo. It's one of those placenames like Beirut and, now, Baghdad, that seems to resonate with images of war and destruction, but it's really quite nice - particularly as the Bosnian war's over. There's a strong Muslim prescence here, lots of white-ish looking women in scarves, and of course the Roman Catholicism of the last couple of countries we've been in now has to jostle with eastern Orthodoxy. Don't ask me why, but I keep thinking I'm in Turkey.

Anyway, I'm going to get out of this Internet cafe to look for some motherfucking Optrex for my shagged sight. I can't spend the next few days with vision in one eye only. And neither can I sit among 12-year-old Sarajevan boys as they shoot one another online whilst singing Bosnian folksongs.

Bloody hell.