Monday, May 17, 2010

Work Shmirk

Perhaps I'm naive. Maybe I'm really an optimist. But deep down, I knew this moment would come. I even thought of killing off this blog as, well, buying New Place and waving goodbye to rented cesspits seemed like some kind of end-of-an-era, but it isn't. It really so fucking absolutely isn't.

The fact remains, as I marched into work this morning, that I don't want to do my job anymore. The new commute has been strangely exciting these last couple of months; catching trains instead of tubes, seeing slight different miserable faces every morning, walking to my desk from a different direction, but it's all largely bollocks ~ fripperies to make me forget that I really don't dig what I do.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not above working for a living. I'm not even sure I'd know what to do if I didn't have to. I couldn't just do nothing after all, but life's gotta be about quality, and getting out what you put in. Yet all my jobs have felt mandatory, shackle-y, rendering them all just a notch above a prison sentence with a pay packet attached.

I guess whatever I used to find rewarding about my job just isn't there anymore. You could teach a chimp to slam its fists into a keyboard and pick up phones and it could do what I do. Probably better, too.

I now despise phones to such a degree that I barely recognise myself. I hate mobiles because the voice on the other end is very rarely clear and unbroken, and unless that voice is coming out of some Amazonian goddess you'd met a few nights earlier, chances are you're going to have a very frustrating conversation. And I hate regular phones too because 9 times out of 10 at my work, it's going to be someone who wants, nay, expects you to drop everything you're doing and start helping them, because THAT'S THE KIND OF JOB I'VE GOT.

I'll be sat at my desk trying to wade through spreadsheets, preparing quotes, invoicing clients and so forth when the phone'll just ring, completely unannounced, totally at random. And you'll have to trust me on this...

... sometimes, when it rings, I can actually feel my heart sink.

And these people, our customers, scoff at the prices I give them.
Or they 'tut' when their goods aren't in, and start asking me difficult questions like, "When will it arrive, then?"
But normally, they'll just place an order and describe items in the vaguest possible terms, meaning I have to back up my spreadsheets, stop working on quotes, and drop invoicing clients because the guy on the other end of the phone wants "what I normally get", forcing me to wade through all their previous orders in a verbal version of pin the tail on the donkey.

And I know I'm in a bad way because I can normally put enough 'chipper' into my voice so they never really know that I want to pick-axe their heads.
But lately it's all I can do to sigh, and grunt in monotone. I can't be bothered to disguise my frustration anymore, to the extent that a couple of customers now refuse to speak to me. My boss has even dropped hints that I look for work 'nearer to home', as if I've moved to the Outer Hebrides or something.

But this is old news. And it scares me. Because I haven't moaned about work in a looong time. I had a completely different post planned, a roller-coasting one with barbecues and South American women and sweating visibly during awkward family situations but instead this happens, and I'm bitching about work.

So please leave a comment if your day job sucks, because if there's one thing I love, it's a whinge shared.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Man On The Verge Of A... Not Much Really

There's something about living alone that's rendered doing anything so damn difficult. For starters, not coming home to a Large Northern Flatmate watching TV on a cheap sofa means I can jump onto my flash cosy one and do likewise ~ It also means I don't get any creative writing done as I used to with my evenings back in Chiswick (or at least that's how I'm choosing to remember it).

Not having another human being sharing my living space, whilst utterly blissful, is also slightly bizarre, as it sets the scene for a nice spot of mad loneliness to enter stage left; a bit of talking to myself here and there, and a spot of not leaving the flat as I'm too apathetic to amble around a park/ catch a movie/ grab a coffee on my own. (And whilst I've apathetically not done any of the latter, the former has, thus far, been so far a few world-weary sighs, and - and I remember this quite clearly - an "Oh God" on my birthday evening as I crawled into my cold bed alone.

My birthday itself, well that was a washout as it was a Wednesday and I'd kept it to myself, which proved to be a little dumb for a sensitive little sausage like me, which is why I found myself sending an emergency party email on my iPhone (now dropped so often that I haven't been able to turn it off - one month now, and counting.) I sent it to some half a dozen friends who I thought would likely be in central London on Friday.

It ended up being just me, and Martin.
My Fridays are always just me, and Martin.
Don't get me wrong, because I enjoyed it. As I said to Martin at the time, at least we got to catch up - again - and had some quality time - again - instead of some lousy larger event with more of my friends all out in one place together.

And a week on as I type, I still haven't heard back from a couple of my oldest, dearest friends to say that they can't actually make it. Not even a Happy Birthday.


Other than that, things are fine and I'm settling in to my new rut nicely. I'm getting used to the commute and its reassuring daily certainties; leaving my flat bang on 7:50am and walking to the train station past the frightening tiny schoolgirl with the head of a 40-year-old (on her shoulders that is, not in a bag, or anything).
Sharing the platform with a man who walks like a duck.
Walking to work and passing a young blonde, angry of face, sturdy of thigh, and heaving of breast.
And getting roundly ignored.

And then getting on with that job I've been doing for nearly five years, that job that even my boss is hinting I pack in for something "nearer to home", that job that is starting to get annoying again, now that the deviation of buying my own place has come to its natural conclusion.

So things look like they're getting back to normal.

Next Week: My exciting weekend self harming in a darkened room as the eerie silence is broken by weak croaks of 'Why???', until I remember I can bring some sunshine into my decaying existence with eight-and-a-half minutes of frenzied self-love thanks to a wardrobe full of porn, an industrial-sized bucket of moisturiser and a towel, leading inexorably in one direction; more sobbing as my balls empty and hot tears roll down my face with the intensity of a thousand suns.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It Was My Birthday And I'll Bitch If I Want To

It was my 36th birthday yesterday and, despite my best intentions, I couldn't help feeling profoundly, utterly wretched.

I went to work as normal, and kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to broadcast the fact that I was entering the wrong side of my Thirties, and I didn't much care for the fuss. It was, after all, a bit of a nonsense; just a man-made calendar-based anniversary of my birth, hardly an achievement, nothing to write home about and celebrate.

So I went to work like any other day and answered the phones like normal.

And served customers like normal.

And queried my colleagues about mundanities like normal.

Meanwhile, I kept an eye on damn Facebook. My ex-girlfriend (American) bizarrely celebrates her birthday the same day as me, as she's exactly a year younger. She was getting inundated with 'Happy Birthdays' and 'Congratulations' on her spurious achievement of ageing one year.

I, meanwhile, received not a word. Not from her, who undoubtedly knew it was my birthday as well, not even from my sister who lives only on Facebook and where we conduct our fragile relationship as she won't talk to me otherwise.

But I was now 36 dammit, and above such fripperies.

Then I remembered the email I sent ex-girlfriend (American) the day before. Yes, I didn't mention 'Birthday' or indeed 'Happy', but I did allude to our upcoming anniversaries in my own stupid way as I sent her a cute, personalised Swedish meme currently doing the rounds.

'Oh yeah,' I recalled. 'She still hasn't replied to that. Must be busy.'

I was getting tetchy as the day drew to a close. I hadn't received a single card, much less a present as, well, my family have been instrumental in helping me buy a flat and all that that entails, so the last thing I was expecting was just more gifts.

But something, anything, just a dumb little whatsit to make me feel the giddying thrill of blood coursing through my veins on my apparently special day, that would've been nice.

The day wore on. My phone rang. Blocked number. I answered it excitedly, only to discover an automated recording wanting me to rate the services of a broadband repair line.

So desperate was I for contact that I actually relished the attention - then felt really rather deflated when I accidentally cut it off.

I considered going to Waitrose and coming back with a big cake, but felt that was a bit pathetic.
"What's this in aid of?"
"It's my birthday."

So I checked into Facebook.

'Blah blah blah voting, blah blah blah taking the kids to school...'

Unable to stop myself, I updated my status which had previously been, 'I should probably go to bed', to 'Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes. Oh, wait, there haven't been any'.

This provoked at first a couple of insults. Then a small drip of genuinely nice "Happy birthdays," followed by a slightly larger drip of a few more.

It fed my soul as the work phone rang and a colleague mumbled something about pricecodes.

It was coming up to 5pm, when I made my excuses and left a bit earlier. Just the day before, I had phoned my Mum and asked her and my step-Dad out to dinner. Thank god I did, because it became the nearest to any kind of celebration.

We arrived at the restaurant. My sister was already there with her two girls, and I felt the tension dissipate as I had a couple of beers and opened my first cards. The waiters congratulated me on seeing them - one of whom wishing me 'everything my heart desires,' which I found to be both a little over the top, and desperately brilliant at the same time.

I stuffed my face and listened, with a grin, to a waiter ramble on about Chinese tea, and caught my sister silently judging me, I thought because she thinks I might be gay - as not much else explains turning 36 with the only hint of a woman being one who ignores me from over 4,000 miles away.

Pictures were taken - and annoyingly uploaded immediately onto fucking Facebook - where I looked massive. I tried not to think about all that extra weight being a colossal contributor to my lack of confidence in the lady-dating arena.

And then I went back to my flat, my lovely, new, empty, modern flat, where I'd never felt so alone in my life.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Comfort Zone

It's all I can do to sit here and not stare lovingly at my sofa as I type my first proper update from my now settled New Place.

Said sofa is in, ensconced opposite large new HD telly. I have broadband. All my furniture is bought, and I think it's safe to say I don't have to deal with any more estate agents, mortgage advisers, or solicitors.

All I have to do now is live, and I may start remembering again that I could do with a more exciting job. Oh, and a girlfriend.

But it's great being an adult. Frequent visitors may recall that this was what The Pit looked like, back in Chiswick...

Now my bedroom looks like this...

But the nicest thing about that bedroom is the fact that it's become just that, the place I go to at the end of the night to cry myself to sleep. Most of my time is now spent in the living room, pretending to write but instead surfing the net and staring occasionally at the sofa and wondering why I'm not lying across it in a drug cocktail fug...

The irony though is that I'm not doing anything else; my friends are now spread across London including Large Northern (Ex-Flat)Mate, whom I've spoken to the most as he deals with the crippling depression of unemployment in another friend's house near where we used to live.

As for me, I'm skint, having spent all my money on things like cupboards and blinds and the like that's forced me to stay in all this weekend, but I was overwhelmingly overjoyed to discover on Saturday that my newest neighbour is a single (as in "Living Alone") young lady who is really very attractive. She is also doubtless dating some gormless meathead I've yet to see squeezing her arse in the lobby one morning.

Having said all that, we did exchange fattening cake products through the window as her guests hung out of hers, smoking. Nonetheless, Gorgeous Neighbour was careful never to rise above disinterest, something I'm very used to in attractive women.

So that's everything thus far and things seem to be going well, other than discovering that part of my new development has been given to the local council housing association.

While I don't wish to sound unkind towards the less well-off in society, I'm none too impressed that my neighbours and I have paid a fucking fortune to move in here, only to discover some places have been given to those on welfare, for free.

I don't want to sound elitist, but one such recipient of a brand new house may have been the young man who last week drove, tyres screeching, into my block and gave me evils as he turned at speed round the corner.

It may even have been him who wrote 'I was here 2010' in biro on the brand new carpeted corridor outside my front door.

Either way, it beats what was outside my Chiswick front door last year...