And Happy New Year. I spent it with my Large Northern (former) flatmate as we wandered aimlessly from pub to pub until we found a great one round the back of Holborn that was perfect; dark, busy but not crowded, and full of women and dance. This however meant Pete hated it and we didn't last longer than a drink, even though it was now 11:32pm and a good place to see out 2013.
We ended up walking down a deserted High Holborn in panic until we found a soulless, vast Wetherspoons that was practically empty, and saw in the New Year with a handful of middle-aged tourists, an attractive teenage girl with large breasts (the kind I now have to start acknowledging could be old enough to be my daughter), and Gary fucking Barlow on a large-screen TV. Then I realised I could force my way through the crowd of zombie revellers filling up Kingsway and get the 1:20am train home.
So yeah, happy 2014. If it wasn't for Pete, this could've been my first year staying in to celebrate it alone, as it no longer bothers me. I'm going to be forty, bloody 40 this year, and I'm struggling to make sense of how. After all, I remain single unless you include my cat, and I'm beginning to think that nothing happens in life unless we make it so. I've wasted nearly all my years waiting for something good to come along without realising that, law of averages aside, that's not how this thing works.
The only ray of sunshine has been my book, though not been without cost. I can now say with some confidence that this back-breaking bastard is almost at an end, though I've regained all the weight I lost during my 2011-2012 Greatest Diet Ever, due to spending the last year sat typing at my desk and crying.
I'm nearly three quarters into draft 3 and had hoped to complete it in two weeks, except my day job restarted again and brought my writing to a complete halt. Then my Dad was taken seriously ill and was admitted to hospital. I saw him on Monday night. He looked terrible with his thinning grey hair standing erect on the top of his head as if shocked into fear, while he slurred back at me with no teeth in. I keep forgetting Dad doesn't have any real ones anymore. As I wiped the tears from my eyes I started to consider this may be his final year.
I visited him in hospital again just now, finding out the hard way that he'd been sent home.
I've been back at work for two days this year, and am ready to quit. I'll have been there nine years this summer. I can no longer deal with the general public which is problematic, as I'm basically interrupted into being in Customer Service at a moment's notice. I'm just waiting to finish my book, then it's Operation New Job alongside Mission: Diet, and that has to start soon. So I asked for a day off for today. I still had holiday left over from last year (didn't go on vacation, 'cos Book), and got home last night shattered. I was hoping for an early night, and even wrote a timetable for the next day which was a first:
- 8am, wake up, feed cat, do sit-ups, feed me.
- 8:30-9:30am walk for an hour to get some fresh air and exercise.
- Then til 12pm I intended to write for a couple of hours before seeing Dad in hospital and getting back to write all day.
Except when I got to bed at 10:40pm last night, I had about 10 minutes peace when my neighbours returned home and had a party.
On a Tuesday.
I can't tell you what torture that is unless you've lived it, trying to sleep when repetitive muffled beats are riding up the wall to your ears to the accompaniment of braying, selfish laughter. It was approaching 1am when, having not slept a wink, I phoned the council (closed), followed by the police. The police see this as a civil matter and don't get involved, even though I last called them about the neighbours when they had a party two weeks earlier. Granted, it was the Christmas weekend and they told me to suck it up, but last night was absurd. After two hours of no sleep, I left my flat and went for a walk. I found the offending apartment - the din coming from behind the door was so loud I wondered why their neighbours put up with it - and sat on an upper floor to look out of the window waiting for the police.
No-one turned up so I went to bed and fell asleep at 1:30am - until 3am when they once again whacked the music up. I called the police a second time, and left once more to wait for them by the window. I gave up after half an hour as no-one appeared, and managed to sleep until 11am though it totally fucked up my day off. And by the time I fed the cat, fed me, did my sit-ups and wrote a strongly-worded letter to post to my neighbours barring the subhuman scum making all the noise, I drove to the hospital where a nurse told me Dad been sent home that morning. He's fortunately on antibiotics, and the mend.
And now I'm losing sunlight, and haven't written an iota of the book yet which is a shame, as it's okay. As I've mentioned a lot, I'm just writing up this blog in chronological order, and fleshed out with greater narrative and a character arc n' shit because I can't do fiction. This, therefore, is the best I've got but in the year that's passed I've realised with each draft that it isn't that bad, and if I'm going to publish this with my (pen) name all over it, I should at least make it worthwhile. There are some genuinely interesting moments too - all true, - plus two vast travelogues from when I lost my mind and fled the country. I like to think it could be interesting enough to be a page-turner.
But as I say, I'm still working on it. I'm hoping to finish draft three by the end of this month. Then I'll give myself a couple of weeks, or perhaps 'February' for a last read-through/ final draft, so expect to see Autobiography of an Idiot (working title, likely to change) in March and World Book Day.
So Happy New Year. May all our dreams come true, such as our neighbours dying violently and slowly in a stereo-malfunctioning fireball as we quit our jobs to become columnists who force our vapid opinions onto everyone when they're not wanted.
Here's to 2014