Monday, January 31, 2011

Removing Polyps and Ex-Girlfriends

I'm not at work today, which makes this one of the greatest Mondays on Earth. This is because this morning, I had to go to hospital where a nice lady injected an anaesthetic into the side of my tongue, and sliced out a tiny polyp.

This abnormal growth caused me no pain, or even made its presence felt, but was always there lurking in the background like an oral Jedward. The whole procedure from stabbing in my mouth to removal and stitching took about 3 real minutes, having initially been spotted by my dentist a couple of weeks earlier.

Now all that remains is a dull, irritating pain, like an actual Jeffrey Archer.

And in my excitement on phoning work to be told 'stay at home', I've done some spring-cleaning (I really can't tell you how exciting it is to be sat at a desk not covered in a 10-month old layer of grey dust), and washed my DNA-caked bedsheets which were as rigid as floorboards when I crowbarred them off my mattress.

All such new leaf-turning can probably be subscribed to a final war of e-words with my erstwhile Lovely American ex-Girlfriend, downgraded to ex-girlfriend (American), only to become, last night, 'bitch'.

It's all very unkind and a trifle sexist, but necessary if I'm to get the fuck on with my life. I probably have Tired Dad to thank for his helpful last comment to "Grow a pair" (although admittedly he could've been referring to a number of things I've been bitching about)

So how to best summarise this? We'd got back in touch (Me and my ex, not Tired Dad), she re-friended me on that fucking website. Pictures were exchanged for some reason, mainly from her, mostly when she was on holiday, or having returned from the hairdressers.
And I bemoaned my ever having dumped her (as I have been doing, admittedly, for several years.)
So I called her up a couple of times, and it was nice. And I invited her over to my warm cosy flat now that I'm all living on my own and independent, and she topsy-turvied that shit by inviting me over to hers instead, just a short, 6-hour, half-a-grand journey away - a little unfair as I'd been the last person to go over there 4 years earlier when she inexplicably treated me like shit and made me sleep on the sofa.

So I've been mulling over this potential new trip to the States for a couple of weeks now, even though it's been tempered by feelings of overwhelming stupidity. And I've been emailing her to gauge just how aloof she'd be if I'd turned up again.
And her response has been pretty aloof.

Which is odd, as she's been emailing me the occasional semi-naked picture of herself and telling me that there were many things on her mind that she'd been brooding over and wanting to tell me, then never actually telling me. And I'd let a couple of days pass before attempting any contact, but she'd be away with the fairies and nicely irrelevant when I did, and for nearly two weeks I'd tried to get a line of communication going until finally, yesterday, I got a lengthy e-lashing for, in short, bugging her.

So I replied to say it wasn't fair because really, she was sending me mixed messages. And as such, I didn't know where I stood, and I didn't really think that was particularly sporting.

I was about to press send when I felt something rise within me; Pride, I now realise. I re-read what I wrote, and saw that she was being pretty unfair. In fact, I had a bloody good argument on my side, so I added that I thought she was playing games.

That felt good, so I continued that it wasn't nice to fish for emails and phonecalls, then ignore them. And furthermore, it was also pretty childish to drip-feed me nuggets of attention, then pretend it hadn't happened.

In fact, I found myself typing, Fuck you, you silly little girl, and it occurred to me how utterly angry I was and how stupid I felt and I realised that I'd rather never hear from her again if it was going to be this one-sided forever so, with nothing else to lose, I told her never to contact me again.
What's the point if it's just to shore up her ego?

She surprised me by replying immediately. Apparently there'd been an enormous misunderstanding. She'd thought in my 'take the hint' email below that I was referring to her to leave me alone, but she wasn't particularly bothered. In fact she sounded like someone trying to gain the upper hand.

Angrily, I informed her she was completely mistaken. I reaffirmed that it was her loss, and that has been that. The chapter is finally closed as far as I'm concerned. Our relationship, even our friendship is doomed and no matter how much I'd like to see her again for old time's sake, too much water has passed under the bridge.
To use another old cliche, I'm drawing a line under the whole thing.

Which is a shame. Because this morning, as I came back home from the hospital eager to spring clean my living room, I accidentally came across the letters Rachel had written to me several years earlier.
I winced as I flicked through them, her neatly written messages on colourful paper that retold how her first trip to England to meet me had surpassed even her greatest expectations, another from a later time about how much I meant to her and then, finally, the love she felt for me which ached inside as she knew I didn't love her back.

That was the girl I was chasing, the one I'd hurt. The one I wanted to hold again and apologise profusely and run into the sunset with. The one who'd offered me her heart but I'd spurned it because I'm too fucking stupid and male and scared to realise what it meant. And now that heart has hardened and it's too late.

So that's that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just The 5 Problems But A Twitch Ain't One

Today was a day I never want repeated in a billion decades as, drip by drip, I was shat on from above by a vindictive diahorretic deity that doesn't exist.

It's very hard for me in my white male middle-class world to bandy about words like 'unfair' as all of the above makes me pretty damn privileged from the off. I'm also not comfortable sulking about my bullshit when you consider The Biggies; cancer, cot death, Rwanda, Gok Wan.

And of course from a personal perspective, my Mum's got MS. No reason, she just got it and hasn't stood up unaided much less walked for several years now.

So it's hard for me to feel 100% comfortable sulking and pouting, but today took the biscuit, because:

1 ~ My boss and I came to a decision, after consulting our insurers. With our van full of scratches, and a man saying I scratched a thumbnail-sized scar into his sports car, I'm not confident in the slightest, much less keen, to risk an already out-of-control incident going to court. I simply can't predict our chances.

The worst-case scenario, I concluded, will be a wage cut of £50 p/month over the next two fucking years.
"And that still puts me out," my boss reminded me, "because we won't be allowed to build up a No-Claims discount for some time, and... (a number of other factors I can't recall now but the upshot being he loses out too)"

I'm still hoping I won't actually be deducted approx £1,200 of my wages to pay for a £200 paint job, yet I had to tell my boss that my morale would be significantly depleted if I had to do the Day Job knowing I was being paid less thanks to an incident largely thrust upon me, and despite agreeing a few days earlier to pay outright the original 'normal' quote.

So that was a nice start to the day, discovering that I could possibly get a wage cut through no fault of my own, which may ultimately lead to my furious resignation.

2 ~ I was still brooding over this when my Dad walked in unannounced. Although he doesn't do it very often, it does piss me off. My office is not unlike an estate agents. You can walk in off the street and there I am, sat at my desk, scowling and wishing I was in Corfu. And he always makes me feel guilty, because I feel honour-bound to pay him a requisite amount of attention because he's my father and he's come to see me, but I can't because I'm at fucking work Dad, and you didn't warn me you were coming.
So I was curt, I'm ashamed to say, and didn't want to fanny about.
'I'm busy Dad, what's the matter?'
He grinned at me, sheepishly. 'Is it your new iPhone?' I asked. 'I'll set it up soon.'
'Yes,' he muttered, 'If you could just pop round one day and show...'
'Yes, yes, yes, okay. Is that it? I've had a bit of a shitty day and I'm kinda busy,' I said as I tapped my desk, slightly ashamed that I will one day live to regret being blunt to my elderly progenitor.
'It's just,' he leant in to whisper as I turned to see my boss on a phone call, 'I want you to (inaudible)'
'What?' I grimaced, 'You want me to do what?'
'Cut my toenails...'
'Jesus Christ, Dad.'
'Susan can't do it you see. They've got very hard and she can't...'
'Yes, yes, alright, alright. Just... I'll do it,' I added as I shooed him out.

Despite it being lunchtime having not eaten all day, he actually made me lose my appetite. I didn't nip out for a sandwich for another two hours.

I have since been informed by my sources that he can book a chiropodist's appointment with the NHS, but dare I burden the system because I'm squeamish about holding a pensioner's grey foot and crowbarring a scissorblade underneath a filthy, elongated... fuck it, NO WAY. The State can do it.

3 ~ But good news ahoy! I'm back in touch with my Lovely American ex-Girlfriend (again), following her downgrade to 'Ex-girlfriend (American)'. We're swapping emails once more, and photos, and I've even phoned her a couple of times. It's just like it used to be.

And in keeping with old times, it's all gone to shit again. I'm not known for my patience, plus she's developed this annoying habit of appearing to not give a damn in the slightest. A lethal combination.
So we'd reached this impasse where I'd invited her to Jolly Old England and my new flat, and she'd upped the ante by not agreeing, but inviting me to her new apartment instead.

Now I'm not stupid - alright, I'm a fucking idiot - but I'm not so fucking idiotic as to travel back to New York to meet a girl who relished the opportunity to be aloof and indifferent to me 4 years ago. I'd been there before, and it was SHIT.

But I did want to see her again, so I emailed her in my usual tactful way; 'How mental would you be on a scale of 1 to 10 if I were to come visit you?'
She wondered in reply if there was an insult therein, but I reassured her that I was 'testing the water by being deliberately provocative.'
She replied by saying I was being passive aggressive, a concept I've never fucking understood, alright? I reaffirmed that I just wanted a sincere answer, to save us all wasting our time. Perfectly reasonable, blunt, and specific, and eventually, she tells me that 'there's more I want to say and I am simmering the words trying to figure out how to best convey the emotions.'

'Oh?' I enquire.

And then, silence, fuckin' me-killing silence.

4 ~ 'John'. For those who can remember, I wrote a post, since deleted, about an old schoolfriend called 'John' who came back into my life 5 years ago after vanishing for 15 years. We'd grown up as best friends but he disappeared in our mid-teens to get up to no good and fuck as many women as possible. This was, of course, at odds with my life at that time, which was spent home alone, eating myself senseless and crying myself to sleep (I no longer cry that much).

So John reappears, it takes a few years to finally be repulsed by his character and morality, so I'd spent the better part of 2 months avoiding him; replying to one out of every four of his texts and ignoring his calls, because I'd like him to go away.

Now here's where I join everything together.

I decided, after 3 days of silence proceeding Lovely American ex-Girlfriend's ambiguous last email, to write to her.
It was about 'John'. I described our childhood, his disappearance, his reappearance then my slow realisation that I wanted him out of my life.
'The bottom line,' I told her, 'is I'm not replying for a reason. I just want him to take the hint and leave me alone.'

I thought this was a none too subtle way of seeing if - perhaps - she might want to be left alone herself.

Lovely American ex-Girlfriend replied pretty quickly. 'Continue to ignore him. He'll eventually get the hint.'

I grimaced. She hadn't got the hint, so I replied with this picture:

This didn't go down at all well, for some reason. I hadn't realised that her delay in replying was down to her moving apartments that weekend, and in the 3 more days of silence that have passed my badly misjudged picture missive, I can only conclude that whatever words she's "simmering" to tell me aren't going to boil over into actual communication any time soon. Not being told what's on her mind is irritating enough. Imagine what it would be like if I actually went to see her.


5 ~ So I'm sat at work today, pretty fucking livid with everyone and everything and, with all this shit cluttering my head, I'd decided to text the sports car owner, the formerly decent guy who I'd kept in touch with since the accident who'd understood the insurance implications and promised he wouldn't let things spiral out of control.
I was just typing, 'Thanks for letting this spiral out of control. I'm now getting my wages reduced, AS I'D SAID WOULD HAPPEN,' when my phone rang.

I didn't recognise the number and, out of curiosity, I'd answered. The phone was, after all, in my hand.
'Aw'ite mate?' said John.
Oh fuck.
'Ow's it goin'? Yer not answerin' yer calls.'
He sounded put out. Obviously. I'd been ignoring him for the last two months.
I ran out of the office and kept it light. Fortunately, I'd already spoken to my sister about him, and she'd given me some particularly good advice. 'Do NOT', she said, 'tell him to fuck off and leave you alone.'

Although I am very much of the opinion that you should man up and tell people straight, however unpalatable, this was one situation where I realised there'd be little to gain, other than a broken jaw. And my sister was right; There's something unwary about John. He told me in our conversation that after 20 years, he could tell something was up (that'll be all that ignoring, John). I told him about the whole sports car/van/insurance/wage cut debacle, and said I'd had enough with humanity and wanted to keep my head down.

Luckily, he bought it. Unluckily, he bought it. He said he wanted to meet up in February.
I said no. I was writing.
He said he had some pictures he wanted to give me.
I grimaced.
I really wish he's stop being so friendly.
And we hung up, with me certain now that I would see him again, and not because I would've reluctantly given in.

I can see this getting nasty. I can see it getting stalkery. I can see me getting the living shit kicked out of me by the hardcase formerly known as my Very Best Friend while my Lovely American ex-Girlfriend continues to ignore me and I get my wages cut to pay for a superficial scratch on the car of a prick.

Suffice to say, I could've done without a day like today. But my left eyelid twitch has gone.

Oh for fuck's sake, it's just come back.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

No More Mr Nice Guy

It has taken me quite a while to traverse happy go lucky fat teenager, to sincerely embittered and disappointed fat adult; Twenty years, if I have to put a figure on it.

Back then, I had my whole life in front of me. Yes, if you're being pedantic, I still do - but I don't like what's left.
Back then, I was quite the romantic. I believed in love, and fate, and The One™ (granted, the overwhelmingly unfussy yet phenomenally attractive One).
I was spiritual too, with this vague sense that if there wasn't a God out there, then there had to be some kind of lifeforce, an energy of some wishywashy, un-thought-out kind that guided us, led us, helped us to become better people and attain our dreams to boot.


There's no god. There's no nuthin'. There's us, the human being, an animal no different to a lion (barring fangs and hair 'n shit), living in our lion apartments and driving our lion cars with our lion rules and lion telly ~ Everything's random, nothing's bequeathed to us.

Basically, I'm mad about this car that I (ALLEGEDLY) scratched last month...

The scratch in question is a tiny white mark on the wheel arch. It was (ALLEGEDLY) caused after I'd used our work van to help a friend's cousin move house. I was seconds into driving home when I encountered the sports car blocking my path. He moved gingerly out of the way and left me next to fuck all to get past. I neither saw nor heard any collision, and when the driver stopped me, we couldn't see any scratch until the next day. I offered on the spot, much to my chagrin and with no admission of guilt to pay £20-£30 to get it polished out when it transpired the quote would be more like £200. It took two more weeks before I accepted, miserably, to pay that fucking figure, again with no admission of guilt - not that that makes any difference when I'm coughing up anyway.

And tonight, I received the official quote from the driver's two manufacturer approved garages; one for £1,200, and one for £1,800. Now take another look at that picture.

I am actually beyond furious. I mean that. I have gone from last week's plain furious at the thought of having to pay £200 for something I a) wasn't aware I even did whilst b) helping out a friend, and traversed through the anger to a kind of livid zen, where I'm calmly enraged beyond belief.

So, with an absurd four figure bill to pay for a tiny scratch on a wealthy man's vanity car, the walls have come down. I've had enough, and it's no more Mr Nice Guy.

I had a reputation as a man who'd never say No to a friend in need, even if it put me out. I even had a reputation as a man who'd never say no to almost anyone. I still believe in little acts of kindness, but if there's going to be a shady area where my now precious comfort zone will be put out in any way, it's tough shit, I'm afraid. No ifs or buts, I'm done doing favours for anyone.

Sadly, a very close friend recently asked for a place to stay for a couple of weeks.

And I said No.

- and if you're reading this, I truly hope you understand. This is NOT personal in a million years, but I can't have my small living space - my sanctuary - turned into a bedroom. Last month I would've accepted, no problem, bouyed by helping out a mate but the mate in me has died, killed by a man in a pricey new car who couldn't care less that he put himself in the path of a man helping his friend out. All he cares about, rightly, is a thumbnail-sized scratch he caused, thanks to vastly reducing the amount of space I had to get by. But the bottom line is that I'm liable, I'll have to foot the bill, or at least pass this on to my work's insurers where my boss - trust me - will insist I foot the bill anyway.

Either way, this is a fucking expensive and totally unfair thank you for helping a friend out. Karma my motherfucking pale pink arse.

So one or two days sleeping on my couch, yes - of course I'll help you out - but that's it, and for anyone else needing a van, or a pair of arms, or some cash, forget it. From now on, the only person who's getting my 100% undivided love, care and attention, is me.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Same-Old-Shit (Or Why Karma's Nonsense)

Sorry for the somewhat downcast title, but despite a largely pleasant 2010 that saw me...

* Move into my own flat (don't think I ever mentioned it)
* Lose nearly a stone and a half in weight (18lbs, to be precise)
* Even GET LAID for the first time in, christ, 5 or 6 years (except - oh never mind, unless you've stumbled here after Googling 'GET LAID', you'll know exactly what that except is.)

... I've managed to have a pretty miserable couple of weeks to end it all on.

Gripe 1: I've undone that 18lb loss by regaining it all. I honestly don't know how, but I think slamming the door shut on unseasonably cold weather (I quite like that excuse) and stuffing my upper anus with absolute junk has probably contributed to said weight gain. I would've cycled more, as I did in the summer, but...

Gripe 2: some worthless, evil, slit-eyed little slag decided, apropos of absolutely nothing at all, to declare war on me personally by breaking into our development's bike shed and stealing my beloved bike.
My last bike was stolen a few years ago and, in true 'Shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted' fashion, I bought myself an expensive lock.

Here's a picture of what remained of my bike. You will notice the expensive lock, still intact, and still attached to my rear wheel. What you won't notice is the rest of my bike, stolen by twiddling the quick release bolt on said wheel. The whole process would've taken about 20 seconds, and wouldn't even require tools:

Gripe 3: When I went to claim under my recently purchased home insurance policy, the insurers claimed I never mentioned any bike, and (I'm paraphrasing), "Go Fuck Yourself". However,

Brag 1: ... the nice lady I visited in branch made a couple of calls and gave me £200 on the spot. ON THE SPOT!
So I went out and bought her chocolates. It's not often I'm Up in life. In fact, it's phenomenally rare, and that was totally deserving of confectionery.

Gripe 4: There's been 3 deaths in the last week or two, no direct relatives thankfully but people close enough that I've been ordered to attend wakes and wear suits (that no longer fit, even after two months), indulging what I find to be hideously uncomfortable social situations. For some reason my parents get very insistent about my attendance surrounding all things Death, and any whimpering that 'I don't want to!' doesn't seem to work anymore - not that it ever did.
So that's that hanging over me like a sword of deceased Damocles.

Brag 2?: There's talk that my Ex-Girlfriend (American) may come over to see my new flat. This is great, as a) I'd love her to come over but, b) I don't think she cares. Basically my flat has become so fucking cosy that it seems empty without her. Of course, it's empty without any female presence, but I'd have to go through all that dating bullshit and I can't quite get my head around that yet. Ugh, relationship job interview - No thanks.

Gripe 5: Ah, this one's a particular favourite of mine, one I like to file under TYPICAL. ABSOLUTELY BLOODY TYPICAL.
So a friend asks me if I can help her cousin move apartments through the medium of my work van. Why yes I could as it happens, as my boss is away and in his absence, he'd asked me to look after the van over Xmas. Thus her request was a no-brainer. I had the van just sitting around, plus I was desperately bored anyway.

So I drove to Ilford, picked up some stuff, drove on to Crouch End, got even more stuff, then took everything to Pinner where I helped empty the van of boxes.

I said goodbye to my friend and her cousin and wished them well, and went to drive home, my good deed all done. I got about 20 yards down their very road when I was forced to stop. There were parked cars on either side and room enough for just one vehicle - me - and I paused as a stationary car faced me dopily.

I muttered to myself as it edged gingerly out of my way and pulled to one side, stopping once he'd decided I had plenty of room when, in fact, I had to squeeze my huge van through the tiny gap he'd left me.

Inching forward having passed his vehicle, I picked up speed - not much on the ice though - and continued on my journey to the end of the road but not getting there. The driver of the other vehicle had ran out to bang the back of my van in anger.

Apparently, allegedly, I'd hit him - a mere brush if you will - with my rear bumper. That brush I had neither felt nor heard, such was its nothingness, and all I saw when I was pulled over was a minimal scratch on the side of his brand new sports car.

I've since been called back with a quote: approximately £200. This is the same price, you may recall, as I received in bike theft replacement. I'll tell my boss when he returns next week to see if he can claim through our insurance.
I fully expect a 'Fuck yourself' however, as I was using the van outside of work on a personal errand, to help a friend in need, on my bastard day off.

So that is why I don't believe in karma, and why I expect very fucking little from 2011 unless I act on it.

If that has taught me anything, it's that any success in life, any riches or rewards or approval won't just come to you because you're vegetarian, or you're kind to mice, or you once went to an anti-War rally in LA. Success comes only through hard graft and effort.
Unles you're a royal or your Dad was in the Beatles.

And if you wait around for something to happen, you'll just get your bike stolen instead.