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.