Life’s a game of three thirds…


Mon

Lisa smokes like a cooling tower. She’s convinced this wont be a problem in our utopian future. Do as much damage as you want and just replace the parts.

“I want a lung transplant, but I don’t want them to be too big,” she frets, “I’m already bloated enough.”

Tues

Lisa is coming to stay for the night while Dom is away.

“Shall we have a pamper session and get loads of chocolate?” I say with sheer abandon, clasping my sticky palms together in supplication to the God of feminine delights.

Esther looks me up & down, stony faced.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Nothing.”
“Don’t I look normal?”

I was sure I was incognito as a normal bloke today. I was sure I’d got away with it this time.

“Normal. For an 80 year old man playing golf,” she qualifies, surveying my loafers, argyle socks, beige chinos, baby blue Harrington jacket and skipper’s cap.

Oh.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZXI9RJSgok]

Wed

Staggering back on the wrong side of town from a night out, Esther spots a tube of lippy and grabs it.
“That probably belongs to a prozzy,” I caution.
“Nah, it’s too expensive to be a whore’s,” she reasons, smearing it round her mouth.

Thurs

A moth bullied Linda tonight. She was flat out on the bed in front of our giant prehistoric TV and it came hurtling at her, mistaking her glowing white belly for an obese light.

She twitched with annoyance when it impacted, half-heartedly shooing it away with a turgid paw. After a while of relentless buffeting, she took herself downstairs.

“No way am I watching The Mothman Prophesies.”

Fri

I’d quite like to get a tattoo. They seem like a good way of hiding puny white arms under a mask of rebellious alpha masculinity. Better than relying on speech, which I would probably get wrong:

‘I’m a naughty boy, sorry I mean a bad boy’.

Instead, a tattoo would proclaim;

I eat pain for elevenses.

Speaking of elevenses, Esther has formulated a diet for us. It’s called The Thirds Diet and it means that between us we only eat one portion of any given meal; I have two thirds and she has one.

A sample day in our diet:

Breakfast: One mini chocolate brioche for me, a half for her.
Elevenses: Most of a yogurt for me, scrapings for her.
Lunch: Two thirds of a bacon sarnie for me, crust & rind for her.
Afternoon Tea: Three pieces of cherry & chilli choc for me, one for her
Tea: One ready meal unequally divided into two.
Pudding: An almond Magnum: she gets the frozen top first; I get the half melted bottom.

Sat

My exp-pat cockney pal Alfie is accompanying me round the university degree show. We go to see one of my student’s work. Liz is very blonde and has combined wedding photographs with Photoshop unicorns and rainbows.

Alfie is good in these situs, swapping his barrow-boy patois for bourgeois dinnertable talk in a heartbeat.

“I like these. They’re very, dare I say, kitsch,” he says to Liz with a smile.
She’s not going to understand that. I want to nudge him and whisper ‘She doesn’t know anything.’
“Th-Thanks,” she says, trying to gauge if it’s a compliment or not.
“Yes, reminds me of Jeff Koons,” he adds thoughtfully.
Her face goes blank.
“They’re good” he translates.
I steer him away before she overheats.

My parents got me this. They assure me that fans thought Liberace was straight. ikr!

Alfie has got me a ticket to see the fashion degree catwalk show. He says he got it especially for me, but I know he offered it first to a girl and she said no.

As soon as we arrive, he transforms into a full-on diva. The seats are nearly full.
“We’re going to sit at the fucking front,” he decides, “we’re fucking VIPs!”
The front seats all have names on which aren’t ours.
“I’m having a fucking drink!” he strops.
“The drinks are only being served after the show,” an usher explains.
Alfie goes straight up to the bar and yanks two free from under the protective covering.
“We’re fucking VIPs” he explains.

The show is the best student one I’ve seen. A monster comes on at first with ten-foot arms and legs, glaring at the crowd. Then ten-foot tall amazons stride up and down parading their freakishly proportioned bodies. My god, what’s wrong with them? They’re not hunched over or sagging in the middle. Freaks.

At the afterparty, I have one of those moments. I’m introduced to one of the models and I look up at her.
Surely by now I will know how to speak to women? There will be no unattainables any more- adulthood is place of accepting our common humanity etc?

“Wow,” I murmur in an awed child’s voice. I’m not going to say what I think I am am I-
“You’re really tall,” I murmur as I gaze up, stupefied at her (and at me).
She looks over my head and walks away.

A little while later, our friend High Bri comes over. He passes the model and is a good 2 inches shorter.

“Ha, that girl is even taller than you,“ Dom says with Record Breakers glee.

“No she fucking isn’t,” says Bri, going back over and straining to show that he is, in fact, marginally higher.

“I win,” he shouts in a voice unintentionally like golem.

Life would seem to be about small victories played out on the epic battlefield of human activity. There is no ultimate victory, only desperate deeds done in semi darkness, with the vague hope that you’ll have time to eat your pot noodle or have an orgasm before the next blow falls.
Or something.

Sun

“I want hot dogs for lunch today. What’s a portion?” I ask Esther.

She raises her eyebrow. Of course, how could I have been so insubordinate?

“I’ll decide,” she says in a no-messing tone before adding, “Jah will provide. And decide.”

I’ve never realised how must Esther sounds like a rasta…

“I googled ‘sad rasta’ and found NOTHING. I give you this instead: a rasta dictator, aka Esther.”

Zombies v Real Anger


Tues 17th April

 Lisa: “I couldn’t sleep coz I had a migraine, hurty boobs and real anger”

“Real anger?”

“Yes.”

No further explanation was offered. But a can of worms was offered round.

“I told Dom I had to be bathed in warm milk, fed chocolate and put to bed. He fetched me a fat free yogurt and left me to go upstairs to bed.”

The real anger became evident as the day wore on. Lisa’s world had drained of all fun, and she was in danger of being sent home to bed with no tea, if only we could find a lion tamer. Even the inanimate internet was to blame, as she shouted at the laptop screen;

“I’ll kill you unless you show me some dancing dogs.”

This has the same impotent power as my granddad shouting “I’ll set the dogs on you” down the microscopic phoneline to nuisance callers.

 Wed 18th

I may have scared the newsagent. There are many times when a dry sense of humour can get you in trouble.

“I thnk I have won a bit on this lottery ticket”

He takes it off me, scans it in. His eyebrows raise

“A little?! You’ve won nine hundred and sixty…”

The seconds stretch on interminably. My legs start to wobble.

“…pence” he finishes off, looking up and flashing me a cheeky smile.

“You bastard!” I say.

Next day, I see him on the street on my way to work. I had not planned for this, so my words are unprepared;

“I’ll get you back for that, by the way!” I stutter as he passes.

“For what?” he says with apprehension

“The lottery ticket”

“Oh” he replies, walking past hastily and trying to laugh.

Oh no, what have I started? My dry delivery and social awk. have made it sound like a cold blooded threat. I better avoid him for a while.

Ah well, as long as I act naturally next time, it’ll all be forgotten.

The next time I see him, he is safe behind his counter. As I make my exit, he calls me back.

“I’m pretty hard to get back, you know” he warns. Finally, the ball is in his court. I can stop now and he won’t be scared of me.

“That sounds like a challenge..” I reply.

Me and my big mouth!

Wed 18th

Went to a nutrition fair in the university union today, ostensibly to support one of my students who was involved, but really to get a free lunch.

There really is no such thing though, because as I approached each morsel-laden stall, I realized that I would have to feign interest as I talk to the student stall-holders for a minimum of 5 minutes before asking to sample their goods.

Damn social etiquette, I want my lunch!

One stall was manned (literally) by two Greek gods, whose treacle skin burst steroidally out of their skinnyfit tshirts. Of course, when they talked it became clear that they were plebs, but for a while, these twin pillars of genetic perfection stood, arms crossed, surveyjng a world that was theirs for the taking.

My first impulse was to run to the  flawed prettiness of next stall’s two girls. Herein lies the essential difference between viewing beautiful boys and beautiful girls: pain.  In the case of boys, my narcissism is reflected back painfully into my face, but with girls the experience of objectifying is a warm and fuzzy (like wielding a mauve lightsabre, or a soft focus semi-erection). The key here is power: better looking boys confiscate it; pretty girls seem to offer it on a plate.

Anyway, my retreat to the next stall meant that for 5 minutes I listened attentively about the miracle that is pomegranate smoothies, during which I waited for an inch of purple sludge to make its way along the complementary cup to my mouth.

The next stall along had made high fibre cakes into the shape of poo and heaped them in a potty. While this would have put most people off, my love of cake had me shovelling the dense turd in and complimenting the chefs as dark matter cascaded from my mouth.

This appetiser was followed by a taster of kangaroo meat and a catch up with the student, whose autism means that life is essentially a re-enactment of slapstick films.

As we shook hands, he went

“BZZZZZ”

and cackled to himself.

His other favourite is

“MNMNMNMNMNMNMN”

in the vicinity of computers like Buck Rogers’ robot:

Oh to have such simple, retro pleasures.

Sat 21st

Esther’s grumpiness has reached an all time high. My silent prayers are no longer enough: It’s time to defer to a power higher than god- the maxillofacial doctor at the Royal Hallamshire.

We take the lift to floor I, where the doctor promised we would be at the front of the queue, only to find a bench full of casualties each twisted in their own form of agony. One guy is doubled over, cradling his head on a bloody tracksuit top; another is wheelchair-bound with lips so fat they droop under their own weight, and an accusatory leg he can’t bend at the knee. Next to us is a girl with pink hair whose unreadable expression leads me to the conclusion that she’s had a stroke. She should take up poker.

Esther’s painkillers are about to run out.

“Better not take anymore” I reason, “He needs to know how much pain your in. Plus I’m sure he’ll give you some kickass new ones that you can have straight away.”

Her lip wobbles as she agrees. At the dim distant end of the corridor, a figure with long dark hair and blue dressing gown is zigzagging aimlessly this way. Esther peeks past me at her, then flattens herself against the wall in terror. The Ring has a lot to answer for.

From the other side ambles an old man with deep gouges across one side of his face.

“He must have stroked his cat the wrong way” I say.

This is not entirely far-fetched: Linda’s dopey countenance will transform into a wildcat’s snarl if you stroke her in the wrong place. “Back and not the sides” is Esther’s smug motto whenever  I stroke her and Linda’s tail starts ominously to lash from side to side.

In the ward opposite our bench there’s a twenty-something guy whose scalp has been stitched back on with huge Frankenstein zigzags. His friends keep rushing out to tell the nurse that “his head is leaking.”

As the pain takes hold, Esther’s legs shudder and her sharp intakes of breath get more frequent. I bury my head in World War Z.

Finally, after 4 hours, the 12 year old doctor calls Esther and I in. Esther’s social phobia tends to make her get a bit tongue tied and understate how bad she’s feeling, so I keep adding the things she’s been moaning in my ear about.

“Stop it!” she says when he leaves the room.

“What?”

“You’re embarrassing me! Stop talking for me!”

“Fine!”

You can bet that we’ll get home and once we’re alone she will let rip about how much it hurts. I haven’t seen Grizzly Man but I can guess how that guy felt. After all this time, he just gives her some antibiotics and puts a dressing on her tooth-hole.

“This is going to hurt a bit, and it looks like horse-hair” the doctor says cheerily.

“That’s good, you like horses” I say, equally cheerily.

Esther just glares.

As we wait for her prescription, I dare to ask for a pain update.

“Imagine if this room was full of mints and they were left to rot for a hundred years into a nugget the size of a pea. That’s what this dressing tastes like” she says.

Yummy.

Me, Myself and Many Others


I don’t know how it is with you, but often when we are getting ready for bed, I strike up a conversation with one of the weirdos in my head.

“That’s just so typical for a namby-pamby white boy!”

“I’m like this usually am I?”

“That’s what typical means you dickwad”

At this point Esther interjects

“What the hell are you doing? Stop being horrible to yourself!”

“I wasn’t being horrible to my self, I was being horrible to him”

“Who’s he?”

“He’s…someone in my head. I was just telling him he’s talking tautologies”

“Well, I can’t see any other namby-pamby white boys in here” she reasons, ” so you must be talking to yourself.

I open and close my mouth, but I can’t explain the complex social world of my imagination. So she continues;

“You make the world seem darker when you express your mental illness like this. It’s already dark enough”

Oops.

In other news, Lisa has just given her tiny cottage a Spring clean and found some unopened Christmas presents from her sister.

And Tobias and I went to a life-drawing class in Manchester that promised sleazy rock n roll with a model who looked and sounded like Joan Jett.

What actually happened was there was a chubby girl in an ill-fitting bodycon dress and too-small bikini top who stood around holding a guitar (badly) and trying to look moody (even worsely). And then some bloke came on and played punk songs on a Ukelele, which could have been good but he looked like Kevin McCloud and sounded like Billy “shoutyman” Bragg, who I despise (Where’s the pop? Where’s the camp?).

So, we skipped out early and met up with George, who refused to subject himself to the embarrassment of drawing in public, and instead who’d been sat happily eating a burger in a bar round the corner. Until that is, he’d made the fatal mistake of nipping to the loo, and some people had stolen his seat even though his half eaten burger and pint were still there. We are obvs not used to big city life, having come from soft-lad provincial Sheffield.

“They’d already started eating so I didn’t want to cause a fuss” he explained.

Bless

“It’s the big city, boys” Tobias chimed in, with a maniacal glean in his eye.

Indeed it is. I once saw a woman chased down the street by a driver enraged when she had tapped the boot with her hand because he had stopped in the middle of a pelican crossing. He ran from the car, yelling “drive round the corner” to his girlfriend, who was obvs practised at this and leaped into the driver’s seat. Meanwhile, the offending woman was cornered and cowered under a staccato dance of almost-blows as the man spent his anger.

I resolved there and then to desist my car-tapping ways.

Lastly, Esther has had her wisdom tooth out. The anaesthetic didn’t take so they had to jab the needle in two, three, four times before giving up and just yanking the thing out. This was a day ago and she has swollen up so much now that if you catch her from the wrong side, she looks like a gorilla. She will only eat liquid food, apart from soup.

“Eating soup is like drowning in food. Food shouldn’t be liquid, it’s disgusting. Apart from chocolate mousses.”

So far, she has eaten chocolate mousses, jelly and fish pie. She’s just bought some marshmallows but she can’t open her mouth wide enough to fit them in, so her moans have become more frequent. Eventually she fell asleep, but her snores are amplified by the swelling into deep cave rumbles.

At least I can’t hear the cat snorting coke anymore.

I’m not asking for much…


Week 1, 2012

Hello 2012, I’m viewing you from my phlegm-festooned bed where I have been holed up all week in a state of not-quite-well-enough-to-move. I’m also 872 pages into The Passage by Justin Cronin, a post-apocalyptic vampire story and I’m starting to forget who I am. Have I got ‘the virus’? It’s so long since I’ve been out of the house, or even opened the blinds, that everyone could be dead.

I’ve got end-stage cabin fever.

The edited lowlights of my week include:

Building some kind of wattle-and-daub structure on my bedside table using tissue and mucus. How colonial.

Spending quality time pinioned under my fat bastard cat

Talking like the transexual cab-driver from Royston Vasey.

Being so bored that I plan to write a sweet children’s story featuring guinea pigs to alert 3-6 year olds of the horrors of sexual infidelity. It’s going to be called “Weet-Weet and I will Come”.

God has seen it fit to Spotify my scalp. Each pulsating boil, when squeezed, makes me sing a range of genres from torch song to scat.

Listen to the little strumpets!

I seem to have become a figure of ridicule in this house. The other day Smee showed us a video of a poor boy whose video was ruined by his bully of a brother:

At first of all I laughed and then I realised that Esther and Smee were looking at me as if to say “That’s you that is”. Now every time I get justifiably annoyed they say;

“I can’t believe you’ve done this”

in a mocking voice. Some things just aren’t funny.

And now ever since I expressed my jealousy of a boy who was knocked off his bike by an antelope, they are bullying me about that.

They came home from the pub last night talking about rampant attacks by guinea-pigs and how I missed out.

I just want animals to touch me, any which way they do it is fine by me: a nibble, scratch, or lick will do.

It’s like a few autumns ago when Esther and Lisa kept getting hit by falling acorns, I did everything I could to make them fall on me but nothing happened. I shook the trees and threw sticks at them, but as with life in general, the more you want something the less chance you have of getting it.

Then finally my wish was granted and a corker lamped me on the top of my bonce. The feeling of elation lasted until a week later when Esther admitted that she’d done it when I wasn’t looking. I felt cheated.

As I write this, Smee is passed out downstairs and Esther has her hungover head shoved under the pillow. I’m the one who needs looking after- I can’t believe they’ve done this!

 

 

Boring and Ugly Crimbo Special: 1st Anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


22nd December

I’m not sure I’m getting the point of The News. I’m sure it’s meant to be sad and gritty, but all I can think about is clothes and how good people look when they die young.

The Stephen Lawrence enquiry has revealed some great 90s clothes collected as evidence. With a 90s revival nearing the end, I am still in love with the clothes I would have been wearing back then had I been cool.

What an outfit! Jazzy jacket, sparkly cardi, pink polo shirt and high waisted acid-wash jeans. When I look round today and see all these draw-string grey tracky bottoms, v neck t shirts and silly bobble hats, I despair. Think about it people- do you really want to die dressed head-to-toe in Primark?

 

24th December

A relationship is a relay team, and each couple passes on their own make of baton. Ours is misery and irritation. All last night and this morning, Esther has had the full blown grumps.

“What’s the point? Christmas day is just like any other- we’ll get up, eat till we’re sick, walk the dogs, watch TV and go to sleep”

The thing is, when I think about it, that’s true. Coz Esther doesn’t work, this isn’t a holiday or a treat for her. It’s just another day.I cling onto hope when Weasel and Kung Fu, Esther’s parents, ring up and invite us for coffee.

Surely she won’t dare ruin their day too?

Of course she will- that’s her sacred role in the sisterhood.

We go for Eggnog Lattes in Starbucks with them and Lisa. Weasel has promised to buy a winter hat for Esther. She gets out the brochure for her to choose from.

Weasel- “Choose your top 4 from here”

“I don’t want one” she petulates (this should be a word- I’ve written it, so now it is)

A look of weary resignation flits across Weasels face. Lisa rolls her eyes.

“Give it here then” Esther chides, snatching the leaflet from Kung Fu’s hand, and without seeming to look, scrawls numbers next to  pictures.

“You didn’t even look at that!” says Lisa in horror

“Yes I did; white’s the best colour, so I chose the whitest then numbered down from there”.

We are clearly dealing with a genius here, for whom simple tasks like this are odious and best treated with contempt. She is Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon in foreshortened female form.

"Whosoever invented this should be flayed alive!"

Well you know what, now it’s time for my go with the bastard baton. It always changes from red to green in my hand though- from misanthropy to jealousy when passed from a middle to an only child. a week ago we paid £15 for the runtiest tree we could find. It leans over drunkenly like my erection.

Now, on Christmas Eve, the trees that were for sale at the bottom of our road have been abandoned. Lisa and Dom can take their pick, and choose one 3 times the size of ours, for free! In what universe are the poor allowed to triumph over the rich with such smugness? What’s the point of having ostentatious spending, if other people are going to get the same stuff for free??

I know I should be thinking “It warms the cockles of my heart to see the Tiny Tim’s of the world smiling”

But instead it’s “I want a tree that big! Maybe I should have two trees, then I’ll win!” Winning in my mind is a vague concept, something to do with the unhindered accumulation of stuff. I guess it comes from the entitlement of being the golden child backed into a corner by a real world full of grasping hands.

Suffice to say, when we both got home we had snapped the baton in half and carved each others faces with it.

Esther- “I’m not going to wrap your presents…”

Me- “Why not?”

Esther- “Coz I hate wrapping presents. I can’t be bothered”

Me- “Well, we can put them in plastic bags at least…?”

Esther- “I can do what I like. You can do what you like”

She stomps upstairs for a snooze.

“Don’t go to sleep” I call after her plaintively

“Why not?”

“Erm, because we can go and watch Christmas TV…?”

“I’m bored of TV”

“We can…tidy up?”

This isn’t going to work. She grunts and disappears. Why can’t I think of anything to do anymore? My excitement is draining away. What’s the point of anything?

I trudge upstairs to bed.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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.

 

Not tonight, Esther


There’s been a sudden role reversal in our relationship. Last week, Esther came back drunker and later than me (I had to be up in the morning).

She plonked herself on the bed and said “I feel like killing myself”.

I mumbled something soothing sounding and prepared to go back to sleep.

“Will you have sex with me?” she demanded as I was nodding off.

I thought for a moment. “No”. There was a startled silence.

“You always get to say no, why can’t I?” I added, turning over and lying down again.

“I suppose so.’ A few seconds later, “Will you go down on me?”

“No!” I say, irritated that I’m not being allowed to fall asleep. “You’ve just said you want to kill yourself, I’m not exactly in the mood.”

“It would make me feel better” she says.

I grunt and try harder to fall sleep. After a while, she slumps onto her pillow too.

Then again, the next time we got drunk. I felt on edge and knackered. “Have sex with me” came the demand when we finally got home.

“I’m not in the mood” I admitted. I really felt nothing apart from fatigue with the world.

“Suit yourself” she replied. “I’ll have a wank instead”. I couldn’t even be bothered to try and watch. After a few seconds of wriggling, she gave up.

“I can’t be bothered” she complained. “Of course, you realise it;s going to be a LONG time until the offer comes around again?” she adds, so the consequences sink in.

“I know” I say, inwardly thinking ‘Dammit”.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I used to think my libido would never die, that future archeologists would find grooves in the lid of my coffin from an eternity of erections and have to work out what caused them. Because they would have nothing better to do.

But it seems that the numbness I sometimes feel has spread below the waist. Depression is sometimes animorphised: Churchill had his black dog; Donnie had his Darko; Elwood P. Dowd had his Harvey (a Pooka in the shape of a 7 foot rabbit); Natalie Portman’s raunchy Black Swan.

"He was pure gold: a real a 20 carrot kinda guy"

But with me, it;s more of a fungal infection or plant infestation. Instead of the companionship (in the sense of the camaraderie of a suicide pact) or wildness of an animal, I feel like I’ve just gone a bit mouldy. Like I’ve got a bad case of Thrush. I feel like the Man From U.N.C.L.E. only instead of an exciting/shit-scary clandestine spy group called T.H(e)R.U.S.H(ians) I have a silly little weed called candida that’s taken root in my nether regions. (The girl from Pulp was called Candida- I wonder if her nickname was Thrush?). It feels damp and a bit soggy to me, like some moss has grown over my skin and muffled everything a bit. That slimy twig used to be my willy (“Nothing’s changed there, then” Esther would say). I don;t want to take anti-depressants again- they are just slug pellets to keep the beasties away. I need the Council to come and spray me down with a toxic dose of weedkiller, pesticide and fungicide. I need smoking out; fumigating; bleaching, lancing and re-potting.

Erm, I’m a bit lost in the analogy now, not sure what any of that means. I need to go and water my knees, they’re drying out.

"Oh shit, how long was I asleep for?"

Summertime Grumps


Balls to summer.

Thanks to it, I no longer have a valid reason for not being out and about. I can’t complain about the weather and stay in, I am expected to expose my middle age spread to the neverending stream of pert, hairless and oiled bodies that flock like manicured shitflies down every inch of tarmac.

"100% genuine teenagers"

In the park today I saw 3 girls (as in ‘not legally women’) who were impossibly beautiful and the bastards made my heart and lungs momentarily fuck up. I am allergic to perfection, see.

Once I could breathe again,  I wanted to stamp my feet and shout “it’s not fair!”. I refuse to subscribe to that idea of beauty anymore. I watched the Model Agency and I thought: When I was the same age as those models I was a fucking moron- why should they be my ideal? Grow up, make some stupid mistakes, get some frown wrinkles and then I might respect you enough to want to be you. Down with youth- up with experience! I need to retrain my brain…

Otherwise my remaining 40 years on this earth are going to be crap.

What is the point of not being young? (note to self: I need to work this out before I go mad).

"Here's to the olds"

Having said that there was a sixth-former punk girl on the bus with orange hair, and she spent the whole journey rolling a fag in the most drawn-out, self conscious way possible. I find it heartwarming that young people still smoke- I thought they had died out and been replaced by sensible, gym membership, nice new clothes stepford youths who never put a foot wrong.

For the past 2 clammy days, a flab of students (their collective noun) has taken residence on the decking outside their house. They look like a Gaz, Baz, Daz and Tony to me. It is quite comforting to hear them whittering away inanely, doing what normal people do, while I lie here in bed in the middle of the day analysing them. But another part of me wants to run down and shout at them:

“Don’t you ever wonder who you are?! Don’t you ever doubt the you-ness of you?!”

Tony, Gaz and the boys would look at me with pity and cackle like hyenas as soon as I turned my backl. And so they should. I’m a fucking freak and I should be on a leash.

Yesterday I woke up and grimaced at the blue sky, and dragged my body to the walk-in wardrobe to work out what the hell could cover my elongated frame today. As I tried clothes on, I thought;

“No, that’s too scruffy”

and then a second later

“wait a minute- isn’t looking like a tramp good?”

Not having Esther there to reassure me, I had to eventually resort to exactly the same soiled outfit I had worn the day before. I need someone to spike my coffee with valium, dress me, and march me down to the busstop every morning. Any takers?

Speaking of which, here is my favourite song about busstops:

And I recommend this to anyone considering waiting for a northern bus:

“Avoid alighting on Ecclesall Road if you wear second-hand clothes”

 

Those Pesky Time Flies


"A late 20th Century torture device"

Esther found out that the Japanese earthquake has made our days a few micro seconds shorter FOREVER because it made us spin faster on our axis. Now she can’t stop thinking about this lost time.

“What if the next earthquake knocks us completely off our axis and we go spinning out into space?” she quivers.

“Well then, I guess we’re all fucked” I reply. No, I don’t actually because she’s the boss and such a quip would be considered insolent. Instead I comfort her with logic.

“That will never happen, I’m sure they would tell us etc”. At this point you conspiracy theorists will be sniggering at my naivety. As I have already told you, I think the man is misunderstood, and I enjoy the feeling of his/her big overprotective/oppressive arm round me. Oh how I wish I’d had a big brother to wrestle some sense into me. And to compare penis size with/ experiment with mutual masturbation. You know, the usual time-honoured family escapades.

“How many micro seconds are there in a second?” she asks

Google tells me there are 1 million.

“Oh, that’s rubbish” she mutters. “I don’t give a shit anymore”.

Real life always disappoints. Nobody discovers their junk is worth millions on Antique Roadshow. You don’t get model scouted on your way to Tesco. Getting high only leads to plummeting lower. Weird stuff that does happen is never the amazing things, always the mundane or sinister or depressing.

Thus, Lisa has become too scared to walk Devo in the cemetary in case the Polish man proposes. She has been forced to take affirmative action to point out to the overfriendly Pole that she is a taken woman.

He found her on facebook, and last week she agonised over a message that would put him straight. “I have a boyfriend” was all she could think of saying.

Unfortunately it only made him defensive. “I have a girlfriend too, of course” he wrote back. “Why should that stop us from meeting and talking?”

Lisa and Esther decided instead to avoid the park around the time he usually bumps into them.

"Goddammit, why isn't he looking at your beaver?"

I got really jealous the other week that he fancied Lisa and not Esther. “Why doesn’t he want you too?” I asked. “Maybe you’re not attractive enough” I thought. Fucked up as it sounds, I keep needing to know my girl is pretty to other people in order to have proof of my own attractiveness.

“You’re weird” says Lisa when she overhears me.

“Fuck off and get counselling” is Esther’s understandable reply.

A few days passed, and the girls managed to miss the Polack, thinking that maybe he had got the message and has backed off. Nipped his European openness in the bud so to speak, slapped a restraining order on his free spirit.

Today though, he finally caught up with them. He went aggro, singing raucous Polish songs to himself and throwing sticks at their heads, yelling “You should have safety helmets, hahaha”. He had replaced the behaviour of a lech with that of a sociopath.

“At least he had to stand further away to ‘accidentally’ throw sticks at us” Esther reasoned.

Is it better to be murdered than raped? Better to offend strangers than to have to pretend to be their friend? Better to throw sticks than to invite ridicule?

Adam Ant once went to his local for a quick pint, only to be bullied by chants of “ridicule is nothing to be scared of.”

When he could take no more, he slunk off home and returned with a gun in his hand and a righteous glint in his eyes.

Poor Adam. He’s just like me, but famous. He likes to rant and get naked, and he can’t take any flak.

He’s welcome round mine any time. I really want to ask him how to apply eye shadow convincingly.

Today I dared myself to walk round Topman with a pair of purple glasses with flip-up shades, flipped up proudly. I managed a quick circuit of the men’s bit, then fled down the stairs, pretending to multitask on my fone so I didn’t meet anyone in the eye.

This is phase one of operation ‘pompous, public and proud’. More to follow. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of. No pain no gain. Or, as Rihanna sang, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me”.

"I meant it metaphorically"

 

What’s Polish for Devo?


Devo has become obsessed with an Alsatian called Pogo that he meets in the park. Their friendship dynamic involves Devo annoying the hell out of Pogo, and then Pogo knocking him to the ground and making him cower.

Pogo’s owner is a para-military-looking Polish man.
Yesterday, Devo headbutted the man in the balls so hard that he fell to his knees.
“It’s ok, he is too small to make me hard” he reassured Lisa and Esther in broken English.
They presumed this was a bad translation.
The girls were on their own, and the Polish man asked to meet them at 12 the next day. Presuming it was for the dog’s sake, they agreed.
The next day, Lisa has forgotten and at 1pm she sets off to the park with Dom. As they near the entrance, she seems the fed up Polish man looking up and down the road. As he spots her, and them Dom, he quickly turns and disappears up the road.

How can you tell between being friendly and consenting to marriage, Lisa thinks.

Yesterday, we met up again with the Pole. He seems to have accepted that he cannot take any of us. He called Goldie “the queen mother” because she is old and slow and dignified. If you could see her you would know this is a stroke of genius.

"Biscuit please"

He suddenly goes marching off into the woods “You smell that? That is wild garlic”. He marches to a bunch of leaves, pulls one up, and sniffs. “Not this” he says and marches off again. Finally he has found the garlic. He offers me some to smell.

Why do we not learn this stuff at school? We are like urban foxes who only know how to hang out by the Subway bins. We are rubbish at being wild.

It is both scary and exciting the way that Europeans do everything you wish you could but are trained not to as a good, upstanding Englishperson. Balls to that. I want to act like a big kid, sniffing plants and forcing poetry into mundanity. I am on the bus and a boy next to me has his right leg resting on his left knee (I’m sure there’s a word for this).

His foot is pointed towards me, inches from my knee. His shoe looks fucking massive. Dammit, my size 11s are feeling inadequate for once. I want to mirror his position and press my sole to his and compare sizes. I almost do it, but chicken out.

Is it normal to want to strike up a conversation with bigfoot? Is it normal to feel drawn to giants and want to ask exactly how high?

At some stage Esther and Lisa are going to have to find a new park, because they can no longer scurry past anonymously if there is someone who expects them to chat like normal functional adults. The stuttering snippets of convo so far are the outer limit of their capabilities, not the precursor to casual friendship that mr Polish man expects.

Such is the life of a social phobe.

Esther and me walk Devo and Goldie today. We always keep Devo on a lead until we are safely on the big field where he can harass other dogs and chase sticks rather than eating small children and biting bottoms.

As we unleash him, he gallops across the field and stops in his tracks. He’s smelled something nice. He throws himself on the grass and begins to furiously rub himself again and again.

Oh God, he’s found some duck shit, we think.

Dogs seem to love having greasy, stinky duck faeces on their necks. Eau de toilette indeed.

I start to walk over to stop him, and he ignores my shouts and claps and writhes in ecstasy on this patch of ground.

As I come up to him, I see a lump of flesh. It is round and pink with bits of fur stuck in it. It is the top half of a rat. And it stinks of rancid cheese, quite like my bottom does.

“Get away from it” I shout “you filthy fucker”

I chase him off it and the stench worsens. Esther and me gag, and throw sticks in all directions to make him forget about it.

On the way back, Esther runs ahead and makes Dom run a bath for the little filth hound. His coat is put straight in the bin. Meat and cheese are off the menu for today.

Why can’t animals ever finish off their dinners? It’s rude to leave stuff on your plate. It’s like if you sacrifice your child to God, and when you climb up the temple steps you realise that only the arms and head have been bitten off. “My baby was not a gingerbread man” you shout. It’s just not right.

"Go ahead, make my day!"