Mission Accomplished!


Mon 7th

Every venture into the staff kitchen is fraught with tension. Mine is a job that makes you exempt from the camaraderie of office workers; us Mentors are lonely souls passing like hollow eyed junkies in the corridor.
Oh no, there’s someone in there. I set my face to “breezy and approachable.” All I want to do is put my reduced price Innocent Indian Daal hot pot in the fridge and walk away.
I get to the fridge and try to wedge it in amongst all the other waiting lunches.
I might seem more normal if I say something?

“Cor! It’s full this fridge!”
Pause. Who says ‘Cor’ these days?
“It’s full is it?” the proper employee replies.

Yes that’s what I said, you’re just repeating my words back to me dumbass, I want to say. Is that all that socialising is, saying the same thing back in a slightly different way?

“Yeah” I add, to comfort him in his imbecility.

Another pause as I try to think of what to add in the same ‘int it funny, life’ vein, but came up blank. Well, no actually I came up with;

  1.  “Lots of eating going to be going on”. Bit of a tongue-twister, best avoided. Or alternatively;
  2. “Keep everyone busy for days, this,” gesturing vaguely at the fridge. Too much time has passed; I’ll probably have to explain what I a referring to.

But none of these seemed not worth uttering let alone thinking so I left the room without so much as a goodbye.

Tues 8th

Esther feels “like a skipping cd” because she forgot to take her anti-depressant.
Meanwhile Lisa has finally roused from her depression.

“Life and life’s pony” she says with a sigh.

This is a corruption of her dad’s ubiquitous expression of stoic resignation;

“Life and life only.”

I look round after she’s said this and something funny has happened to Esther’s face. Then I realise it’s because the P word has been mentioned. Horses and Ponies and sometimes even Donkeys and Mules give Esther a funny turn. This girlie obsession is one of the few innocent pleasures that have escaped the acid reflux of her spleen.

In this case, Lisa had made Esther think that not only was there comfort in the hardest bits of life (being merely ‘life only’), there was also life’s pony to look forward to, cantering into view.

“All aboard life’s pony!”

Wed 9th

We seemed to have abandoned our living room altogether these days. We eat, surf the interweb and watch TV from the comfort of our kingsize bed. It’s like an island, with Linda and Goldie draped at the bottom while we lord it up at the top, our weak backbones buttressed by a double layer of pillows.

Tonight I catch Esther indulging in the naughtiest and girliest snack ever: pink marshmallows dipped into a pot of strawberry mousse.
She catches me looking on in awe at the pinkness…

“Take them away”, she cries, pushing the marshmallows towards me with her elbow as if it’s a drug she doesn’t have the will to stop taking unless it is out of her sight.

Thurs 10th

“Do you want to go and get Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, darling?”
I blink. “Really?”
She nods. “Don’t take too long though or I’ll change my mind.”

I hurry off to Blockbuster on my own Mission Impossible. I’ve been waiting to watch it for so long that should just go straight for the DVD but I can’t help seeing if there are any more films I want as well. I browse along the whole display, and when I get to the end I realise I never saw Mission Impossible.

WTF?

I try not to panic and casually walk back along up past the Ps and Os and finally to the Ms. Man on a Ledge. Moneyball. One Day.
After all this, it’s not here.

Just as despair sets in and I trudge away, I notice a separate stand at the end composed entirely of Mission Impossibles.

Result!

Fri 11th

I decide to brave the newsagent again; after all it has been some time since I threatened the boy behind the till. Every Friday, he writes up the prize money for this evening’s lottery on the door, and it makes me want to play. I haven’t got enough change now though.

“I’ll be back later for a lottery ticket” I tell him.
“Oh yes, “The Winning One”” he jokes.
“It’d better be!” I say perhaps too forcibly, looking down with dismay to see my finger jabbing accusatorily in the direction of his cheeky chappie face.

I have to get my ticket from Tesco instead.

Saturday 12th

“Ooh don’t you make a lovely couple”

Time for a nice romcom with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock called The Proposal.

I realise I now have the same hairstyle as Ryan. But he has a lovely wholesome jock’s face and tanned buff body underneath it. What a lovely chap he is, well deserving of his top sexiest of men awards and teengirl poster sales.

And Sandra Bullock has joined the ranks of actresses who look like Michael Jackson (Dog rest his soul). Well, not really ranks; the only other member is Michelle Monaghan. And maybe Michelle Pfeiffer.

Yummy, time for ice cream and a movie.

Esther: “(Retching suddenly) What the fuck is this? Eurgh! (Spits melted stuff into her hand).
Me: “It’s chocolate, darling (reading from the tub:) “A delicious core of chocolate truffle”.”
Esther: “What the fuck? It tastes like ash and burnt rubber”
Me: “No it’s truffle…”

She continues, eating round the middle bit.
Suddenly she is retching into her hand again.

“Oh my god, what the fuck is that? It’s hard…”
She peers in disgust at the mess on her palm.
Me: “Don’t be silly, it’s white chocolate chunks. They’re yummy”
Esther: “They’re disgusting! Is it fucking American?…Ben and Jerry’s, oh god it’s Americans chocolate, I hate it, tastes like cheese and burnt rubber…”

She hands me back the tub and I tuck into her spoils. But now it all tastes weird to me, even though I was enjoying it before. The white chocolate chips taste like cheese slices, and wherever the truffle core has leaked into the surrounding ice cream, it tastes like a toxic waste spillage.

Sunday 13th

My dreams are crap (crap ideas; humiliating scenarios):

I was in Macclesfield, hellmouth of my youth, trying to ride a sports motorbike and look after 3 exchange students, one of whom was really beautiful and rebellious (a lethal combination). She wore denim hot pants and a plunging neckline and her long mocha coloured hair lashed as she ran around crazily getting herself into and out of situations with her looks.

There was some kind of market going on and Macclesfield had never seemed busier.

As I wobbled my motorbike past a stall, a boy called me over, and I realised I was supposed to recognise him from school.

“Never been busier,” I said with an expansive gesture.
“No” he said. “Join my mailing list.”

But every time I tried to write my email address it went wrong. After seven goes I managed it, and he said;

“I don’t know whether you’re incredibly versatile or stupid”.

Esther’s dreams are a different kind of crap (good ideas; nightmarish realisation):

“I found a virtual world in my dream, but it cost £3.50 for half an hour. It looked exactly like the real world but because no one was real in there I could hit them if I wanted or ignore them.
But then Lisa and Dom and you started coming in too, and my parents and all our friends and then because everyone I knew was there it wasn’t virtual anymore, and I couldn’t do anything I couldn’t do in the real world which was the only good thing about it. So I had to leave.”

Call Me Maybe (if the phone works)


Mon 23rd

Lisa “In my dream, my teeth had been replaced with bottles of sauce with 10 pences sandwiched in between. The necks of the bottles were implanted in the gum.”
Esther “Were they glass bottles?”
Lisa “No, they were squeezy ketchup bottles”

Tues 24th

It’s that time of the month again. No, not that time. It’s time to ring my Grandad. After 3 rings, he picks up. For a while, all I can hear is lush orchestral music. Am I on hold?

“Hell-o?” comes his sing-songy voice. “Wait a minute lad, I’ve just got to get up”
Silence.
A few muffled grunts.
“We’re up!”
“Hello Grandad, what was that music just then?”
“I feel asleep watching Countdown and when you woke me up it was something else. I don’t understand all these new TVs, what do all those letters mean? What’s a USB? What’s a HD?”
“HD is High Definition. It means your screen has more dots”
“But I’ve got enough dots, lad. Guess what, I’ve got a family of goldfinches living in my garden now”
“Oh really?”
“The long tailed tits like corn, the great tits have their own hanging basket, and the pigeons have a bit of everyone else’s food. The Goldfinches only eat those seeds, what are they called…yes that’s it, Ninja seeds…”

"Swallow my ninja seed"

Wed 25th

Lisa is an accidental technophobe. The arrangement of plug sockets and kaput devices in her house means that she has to make stark choices between creature comforts.

  1. She can either have the laptop on or the TV.
  2. If she plumps for the internet, her dongle (she doesn’t have a phoneline) only works in the bathroom and bedroom.
  3. If she has the TV on, she can’t have the lamp on, and her freeview set will only play a random selection of 4 channels at a time.

As a result, she isn’t into TV series and doesn’t know what’s happening online, but rather nibbles nervously from the edges of culture.

“You live in the Dark Ages. You may as well put straw everywhere and sleep on the floor,” says Esther, before adding “But you have got a washer-dryer.”

Luckily Lisa doesn’t have my urge to hoard. Every few days she has brutal purges that consign useful and important objects to the same fate as meaningless detritus. Her reasons for binning something are set in stone (and chained to the wall):

1. too dirty
2. can’t find anywhere to put it
3. more than one of them

Thurs 26th

Esther has an appointment to get on the waiting list for therapy. It’s taken nearly a year of waiting to go on the waiting list. She’s been waiting to wait. We grab a cab, and the camp cabbie helpfully offers a running commentary;

“So many caffs round here, all offering the same deals.”
We concur.
[Puts on old Yorkshire woman’s voice] “50p extra for tomato…
Ooh look at that new house, it’s a proper two-up, two-down. I bet some right diva’s going to live there, having soirees and that. Champagne, anyone!”

In between talking, he sings along to low music, but there are no words. And no melody. It sounds like really slow techno, and there’s nothing to sing along to so he just goes

“Boom, tish tish tish, boom”

I bumped into Dr Talpus, my old English Professor today. I tend to avoid him, because about two years ago I caused lots of fuss by begging to be let on an English Masters at the last minute, before spending three weeks nodding off while trying to read Virginia Woolf and finally quitting before I had to pay any money. Now whenever I see any English tutors, I duck my head and try to act humbled.
Dr Talpus, rotund and bespectacled, lifted the outer-estuaries of his mouth in a smile both friendly and obsequious.

“How are you getting on? Still doing the old..” the expansive pause allowing a suggestion that he remembered what he had forgotten
“Yes, yes. And you?”
“Still working, for as long as I have a job.”

After each sentence, he would utter an inadvertant whistle as he sucked the air back in, as if he wanted to recall his words lest they be ill-considered. Despite his palpable discomfort, Dr Talpus has the gift of leaving the listener at ease.

After this brief exchange I think I can now frequent the 6th floor cafe where the humanities tutors lurk, with my head held, if not high, then politely perpendicular.

Fri 27th

I’m meant to be back at work in ten minutes but I find myself in Primark changing room with 11 things to try on. I’ve come to the conclusion that mirrors warp time. This is my theory:

When you look into mirrors, the world is doubled and so the time is halved.

If there were no reflective surfaces in the world, time would lull and meander rather than evaporate like sweat. This is what I will say to my student if I ever get back to work.

"Suicide by Mirror"

I read that we are programmed to utter a finite amount of heartbeats and so I guess if we spend our lives out of breath or high we’ll use them up too quickly. It’s the metronome that ticks away our future.

Oh dammit, I’m really late now, I’m going to have to spend some of my future by running back.

Sat 28th

This diet isn’t working. I find myself gutting a cherry scone and smearing its entrails with butter. My body is becoming a trunk, with no discernable waist. Diets come and go like fair-weather friends, never lingering when things go awry.

Meanwhile, Lisa has become a Dukan disciplinarian. It’s created by pop’s Simian Mobile Disco, and follows the stages of ATTACK, DECAY, SUSTAIN and RELEASE.

Attack– just eat meat
Decay– as your minor organs fail, the weight just falls off
Sustain– this is the hardest bit. You better not be eating any of that hospital food!
Release– finally, you are freed from this mortal coil and its calories and photoshop perfection.

"Yummy"

I have made a secret vow never to follow this diet because (a) Lisa eats bowls of cold oatbran gruel for breakfast and (b) her weekly highlight is “vegetable day”: her five-a-day has become a one-a-week (even fruit is verboten).

“Bananas are the worst” she says as I tuck into one.
“Bananas are fucking fruit!” I squeal, exasperated.

For God’s sake, ‘they’ tell you to eat crappy fruit instead of delicious processed cakes, and then ‘they’ tell you that all the fruit that tastes half decent is out of bounds because it’s too sugary. Well fuck you ‘them’ and fuck you body, I never asked for you, I’m a prisoner inside your lumbering frame.

So instead, my new diet is the exact opposite of Lisa’s and involves eating muffins, bagels and cookies with post-apocalyptic desperation.

Ah the delights of Saturday TV. It’s time for Koko Pop with Jameela Jamil trying to glamour the camera like a rubbish vampire instead of presenting. My ex-wife Marina is on in a babydoll dress with an Antoinette heart, singing about the reason she dumped me (she wouldn’t let me eat cake). No-one realises but I’m the Primadonna not her.

“’Koko Pop’? Must be for kids”

“No it’s not” I say in an offended tone, “it’s a proper programme…”

but as I talk I remember that all the audience members were barely teenagers and it’s named after the most childish of cereals. She’s got me. I’m a manchild, a mannish boy, an age imposter.

Anyone watching my face during the programme would have seen awe, wonder and glee play across it; this very concoction is the essence of childhood.

Marina walked out into the crowd and I swooned, and she turned and walked back to pick up a toy dog and I grinned like a fool; anything she does which isn’t in the script (though of course it is in the script to not be in the script) makes me ticklish with pleasure. And then Carly Rae Jepson actually touched people’s hands as she bounced around in her anodyne innocence. Imagine being them! A fix of nouveau Fame through the fingertips like 0:12 on this:

Right, I simply must go now; it’s time for Elevenses.

Esther’s Face-ache; My Ball-ache


Wednesday 11th April:

Day 2 of Esther’s Face-ache.
Persistent moaning every 3 hours when her painkillers wear off.

Dream

Part 1: I suddenly realize that Esther and Lisa are Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. Esther is the twisted intellectual and Lisa is the frustrated punk. What does that make me? Neil?

Part 2: Kate Middleton decided to take me (me!) as her lover. It was all a bit touch and go, but finally we got our opportunity to consummate. Wills was playing polo on the big field at the bottom of the hill, and I slipped in through the tradesman’s entrance (ooer missus etc) of her mansion at the top of the hill. It was all building up to me getting to see her porcelain hockey-stick body, silhouetted in the dusty afternoon sunshine as it scorched between her royal blue curtains, but then Harry rocked up in his convertible with three ‘fast ladies” (as my nana would have called them), and I had to scarper.

Thursday 12th April

Day 3 of Esther’s Face-ache.
The doctor gives her codeine, with the instruction to only take at nighttime. We go to bed early.

On our way back from Lisa’s house, we came across a bearded loon in his pyjamas, outside the chippy. He was on the phone and was staring with guru intensity into the middle distance, saying something very loudly and sternly. As we passed into hearing distance (10 metres either side of him), we hear a snippet (intoned in with the gravity of an LSE team member on a 70s episode of University Challenge);

“Character assassination is a form of psychological torture. [Pause]. If you consider the thought experiments of the 1930s as a basis, you will find that what you did fits in perfectly…”

Fear of being subjected to his piercing gaze made us scurry past, and that was all that we caught. Lord knows who was on the other end of the line. The talking clock perhaps?

Saturday 14th April

Day 5 of Esther’s Face-ache.
No-one is safe.

Esther’s insatiable channel flicking has paused on T4. There’s a music show on. And she’s letting it play. Is there something wrong with her? There is a blanket no music policy in our house because it ‘makes her too excited’, ergo excitement is bad. The problem with this is that I am 70% puppy, and tend to get frisky when it comes to pop culture. I am a bad doggy.

“The amazing, talented Labrinth” Jameela announces
His song opens with excessive vocoder. 3 seconds in, and Esther casts her judgement.
“Can’t sing then”
“I’m not leaving Paris without a French kiss,” he sings
“I’m not leaving Rotherham without a black eye” I deadpan
“That’s funny,” says Esther
“Hmmf” I say, used to her caustic put-downs.
“No I was being serious” she says grumpily, “I hate the way no-one can tell if I’m being sarcastic or not. It’s a curse”.
The channel has been exited and it’s back to News 24, Esther’s default background noise.
“What do you want to do today?” I ask cheerily. My mistake.
“Stay in bed. Not walk the dog. End up drowning in depression” she bites back
“Oh no” I say with perfectly timed tenderness.
“Well if I stay in all day that’s how I’ll feel. And if I go out I’ll feel like that too”

End of convo, clearly.

During this exchange, Linda has clambered on me, her daddy/slave, and is kneading my belly and purring.

“Oh purr purr purr. What are you so bloody happy about?” she turns on the cat. “Ooh, I get my food, I get my strokes, I get to sleep all day. You’re just a bloody pleb.”
(Relenting a little) “Good job you’re soft or else you’d be out.”

As I write this down, she pipes up again.

“What the bloody hell are you writing now? More blog I spose…!”

I think it best not to respond, but the game is up and she clams up. Note to self: I will not profit from her misery.

Later, we watch Drive. Apparently, Lisa refused to watch it because she convinced herself that Ryan Gosling has H from Steps. It makes me want to shave my beard off and learn to drive. But then I remember that I look like a lesbian (Justin Bieber has the same problem) with no facial hair, and I can’t even ride a bike.

Sunday 15th April

Day 2 of Esther’s Face-ache.
I’m temporarily safe because Lisa is staying over. I’ll get my just desserts later, no doubt.

I get Esther to pass me the Rowntrees Randoms.
Last time I looked, the packet was half full. Now there are 3 lonely sweets glued to the bottom of the plastic.

“Where have they all gone?”
“Dunno” says Esther, all butter wouldn’t melt.
“When you say that with your face all swollen it looks like your cheek is stuffed with sweets,” says Lisa
“They’re not random anymore are they?” I add accusingly (and rhetorically) “They’re all green!” Green is after all statistically everyone’s least favourite flavour, the tangy tart of the pack.

In other news, Esther catches me using the microwave as a TV. I am ‘cooking’ (microwaving readymeals that don’t require chewing) and I am so bored. It has been 5 minutes since I put my laptop down to come downstairs and already I am getting pop culture withdrawal symptoms.
So I put the microwave on with nothing in it and begin to chatter away

“Ooh let’s see what’s on TV shall we?”
I am bending over, staring into the amber box when Esther comes in.
“What the hell are you doing?” comes a voice from behind me, her autoresponse when I am caught acting oddly (when am I not, dear reader?).
“Just watching TV” I reply innocently.

Lisa’s Fuzzy Logic


Lisa came to tea tonight. Not out of choice, but because she was scared of being in the house, sober, when Dom’s BFF Geoff (or should we call him BFG? He is very tall) comes round later to feed them because their cupboards are bare. Before we set off back to ours to cook (shove everything in the oven), Lisa asks;

“Would it be weird if I brought my own plate”

“Of course it would. Why?” replied Esther suspiciously

“Because it’s the right size for my belly” she ‘explained’

It turns out that as part of her new diet, she is only eating things that will fit on a tiny plate she was given for Christmas. Her other new year resolutions have the same fuzzy logic. Esther and Lisa have decided to become artists. Last week Lisa proclaimed;

“Yesterday I started my journey through art…”

“Your what?”

“My journey through art. Well, I have started the book on Modern Art that Dom left in the toilet to read when he poos…”

“Of course that’s what you meant…”

Today I ask her how the journey is going;

“Oh that’s stopped now”.

It turns out that she was sat on the toilet reading when Dom shouted out in panic

“Your not reading that book again are you?!”

“Yes”

“Oh no…Don’t look at it- put it down NOW!!”

She thought maybe there was a dismembered whippet somewhere that he didn’t want her to see, then she realised that the page was covered with something sticky and brown. Nausea coursed through her,

 “Wh-what the hell is this stuff?”

“Erm…I sneezed on it. Don’t look at it!”

Thus began and ended her artistic education, at the whim of Dom’s emissions.

 

Are you an N or an F?


I finish my day at work and automatically ring Esther to find out what she’s doing so I can do it too. This reminds of the joke about when spouses Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson were inseperable in the mid 90s:

Emm: “Where are you darling?”

Ken: “I’m in the shed”

Emm: “Oh, can I be in it too?”

Anyway, unusually for them, Lisa and Esther are sat outside Starbucks having a coffee. I jump on an 82 (not an 88 since I was prevented from boarding one for holding a coffee: “Is that a hot drink?” “No, it’s gone cold” “Well you can’t get on” etc) and hop off the stop before Starbucks, sauntering in my most relaxed-looking way up to the cafe.

“Half F, half N” confides Lisa to Esther as I sit down.

“More F than N, I’d say” says Esther, “He has got a clean shirt on”

I tuck my shirt into my trousers, flustered by the attention.

“Oh no, that’s definitely N, tucking it in like that” says Esther with satisfaction.

Finally, they explain that they have been playing a game where they judge whether people are Functional (have a job and relationship, good self esteem) or Non-functional (on benefits, mentally unstable, or intellectuals) from the way they look as they walk past. I notice a funny man sat in Starbucks window behind us- he has a shock of grey hair sticking vertically up, a huge round belly and a spotted handkerchief peering from a pocket in his white tucked-in tshirt.

“So what’s he then” I say with as much subtlety as I can muster (not much).

“Oh, him. He’s a double N” says judge, jury and executioner Esther.

Next, Lisa scurries off up the street mumbling “Do me”, before turning round after about 3 metres and coming back. She is trying her hardest to look normal, which means she is surging forward with a furious look on her face.

Without having to confer, Esther and I proclaim “definitely an N”, to Lisa’s bitter disappointment. Now Esther goes for a wee, and after about 5 minutes reappears behind us, having sneaked out of the side door. She is unsurprised to learn her N status too.

Ecclesall Road is wall to wall with Fs, usually rich students with box fresh clothes, or kept men or women perched like vultures in the window of Nonnas, draining spousal money in the futile pursuit of real happiness. I think rampant materialism is a sign of something missing.

But if this is what it takes to get status in this world, I guess I am a player too, but only on week days. I am a wekend hippie and a fairweather flakey. I’m proud of my N/F mongrel ways.

 

My social IQ is 50; what’s your excuse?


"All my multiple personalities are idiots"

As luck would have it, my greatest skill in life is in making life less skillful.

Yesterday I had a phonecall, which reverted to NATO’s phonetic alphabet (beloved of bobbies and geeks) with foolish consequences. Why she couldn’t make sense of my usual phone slurring I’ll never know, but we started to speak in letters and then words-for-letters. I don’t know the phonetic alphabet, so I made up my own. “Bezelbub, Electric” I said with trepidation. “Bravo, Echo?” she corrected hesitantly. “Figaro?” I added. “No, not Figaro” she said with confusion, “send me an email”.

I also had to call Amazon that day, because I have ordered 15 books to go to my old house. By mistake of course, I’m not that perverse.

It seems I will have to wait for them to be sent back before being refunded and re-ordering them to be re-delivered the correct address. All except one book, which is out of print. She won’t tell me which one.

“Which one is out of print?” I ask

“Err, the Chris Kraus book” she says after some hesitation.

I scan down the list of orders, and see “I LOVE DICK” by Miss Kraus. Why did it have to be that one? I think about possibly coming up with a story about why I am not like that. Truth be told, I can’t remember why I ordered it. I think it looked ‘interesting’.

Thinking back, I wish I’d probed a little more;

“What’s the book called? I can’t quite recall it…”

“Erm, I Love…Richard”

“Oh, I don’t remember that title…” followed by a Sid James guffaw…

"Wycliffe can't speak Spanish"- Hips

In other news, I’m just like Shakira. My hips don’t lie; I just can’t pretend to be skinny anymore.

But, neither do my hips say sorry. I just went to the shop to get some stodge. On the way out, I was bottlenecked with 2 young women coming into the shop.

“Sorry” I said automatically, and backed up. Really, I was being chivalrous and should have barged through in the name of equality.

As the front one walked past me I found myself pushing past, and somehow managed to flip her into the magazine shelf with my hip.

“Oh!” she yelped in shock. I had crossed the boundary into her personal space and not only that but touched her. I mean, ugh!

I seem to have that reaction. On the first day of high school I sat down for the first time in my form class, to be met by “Ewww!” as the girl nearest me pushed herself away in revulsion. Ah, school days. Truly the best time of my life-if best has reversed its meaning and now means abject shitiness.

“Sorry” I said again, only this time it was my moral duty. I daren’t look behind me because no doubt both the girl and the viewing shopkeeper were giving me the evils.

As I left the shop, I think I even added another “sorry” under my breathe; this final one was for generally being alive. I affected the rolling gait of a generic cripple just in case, to make it seem that it was my body that was impolite, not my mind. Regular readers will know this is not true.

I have just returned again from a shop- this time however, things went relatively smoothly. I am catching my breathe and looking down on the 2 comatose, puffy faced girls in MY bed- the sisters and their snoozing takes priority. There must be something in this genetics lark, because they are both facing the same way with the same arm draped across their fronts. I imagine the same daft puppies are lolloping around in their dreams too. So bitter and jaded on the outside; so pathetically girly within.

Earlier, we were talking about holidays this summer. Correction: I am remaining mute and listening, having used all my chitchat ability up for the day keeping up with the nattering of the two sisters in the first half hour of their getting together.

“I want to go to Berlin” says Lisa, with a voice and expression that would make Guardian readers reach for their credit cards with one hand while continuing to whip themselves over Third World poverty with the other.
“It’s rubbish” says Esther. “It’s just like Sheffield except everywhere smells of cowpats and everyone speaks German”.
“Oh” says Lisa. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“No”
“Isn’t it full of amazing cool people?” asks Lisa
“No, they’re all old and ugly”
“Oh”

I have left Esther in  charge of sorting out our holiday this year. So far, she has found a weekend on a barge on Sheffield canal for £1000.

Kill me now.

"WISH YOU WERE HERE...AND I WASN'T"

Boring, ugly and annoyingly cute


"When do I get to be the remote?" "Never"

Esther is flicking through the TV channels. Just as I get to see what is on, it gets whisked away. It’s twisting my melon something rotten.
“I can’t stand to watch lottery winners” she snarls. “Or golfers.”

She goes right up to channel 100 on the digibox, and works back down to number one. Before starting again.

“Actually, I hate everyone” she grunts and the TV is whipped onto standby.

I suddenly feel world weary too, and try to come up with a list of people who would be put to death if I was king:

  1. Happy people
  2. People who hog remote controls
  3. Rich people
  4. Conservatives
  5. Religious people
  6. People who believe in capital punishment

You see it’s hard for someone like me whose primary emotion is schadenfreude. Life feels like one big School Reunion.

I decided to wear my hair slicked back last week for the first time. It’s kind of counter-intuitive since I have a receding hairline, but what the hell. I don’t know what I’m emulating- maybe Christian Bale in American Psycho. Maybe a spiv. I got on the bus today and without realising it sat right next to an OAP with the same hairstyle. I did a double-take. He had a similar summer preppy outfit on too. And he got off the same stop as me. Interesting.

"Wanna buy a second hand toilet roll?"

Lisa is really depressed today. She is sitting around our kitchen table chain smoking and groaning involuntarily. her misery only ended when Dom came round with a giant lighter as a present. It’s a foot long and actually works, until I broke it. Luckily Dom managed to fix it before Lisa started crying. Lisa has an obsession with massive and miniature scale things.

After each meal, she creates a miniature version of it to feed Devo: a tiny piece of roast potato with a cube of steak and a green bean balanced on top.

She had a dream last week which seemed really normal until some giants walked past the bus she was on.

“Who are they?” she trembled.

“Oh, they’re the Other People” said a fellow passenger nonchalantly.

‘How could I not have known about the Other People?’ Lisa thought with horror. What else don’t I know about?

“I’m really scared that me and Dom will be shrunk, and on our way up to your house some drunk people will capture us and put us in their pockets and take us to the pub to show people” Lisa admitted.

Today we were talking about how cute things make us happy.

“I can’t believe how small mice are” thrills Esther.

“I wish I could put them in bumblebee suits” chuckles Lisa in a day dream.

"Leave me bee"