Simpleton that I am, my dreams often relate unambiguously to whatever it is that’s occupying me during waking hours. Being 30 and without a career, or even a job just at the minute, the feeling that I’m in grave danger sometimes arises in me. Am I past the point of no return? I am taking steps to move forward but it’s still a worry. One night I dreamed I parked my car along a wide commercial road. The shops were shut and the area was devoid of life. I went to the passenger door to lock it and noticed that I’d left the handbrake off. I opened the door and sat half-in facing the headrest to reach across and pull the handbrake. Before I could reach the handbrake however a malfunctioning mechanism made the seat-back start whirring forward. I needed to adjust my position to be able to reach the handbrake now. The whirring mechanism outdid me though and I was becoming trapped by the seat-back. I could no longer reach the handbrake and the car had started to roll. I saw a single person walking quickly up the other side of the road away from me, quite a distance away. I tried to shout out the open door twice but it surfaced as a whisper both times. The runaway car was gaining momentum with me pinned to the passenger seat facing backwards, and I realised with horror that catching that person’s attention had been my last chance, at which point I woke up completely tense.
From today I’m going to try to write something every day because it makes me feel good to do so. ‘Lets see how long this lasts’ says the bastard voice in my head, parroting the real life bastard who came out with that when I tried to step up a gear in a, true enough, failed attempt to be a TV runner several years ago. But enough doom and gloom. Mind over matter time! Please God let me not do just today and then stop. At least that Lord.
A ‘competency-based’ interview this morning for another better-than-nothing type job. ‘When have you faced a challenge and how did you deal with it’ type bullshit. I was relieved to hear Stephen Fry say that when someone talks about ‘motivating a team’ he want to stick a knife in their gut and swish it back and forth. It’s trite to even complain about it now though. I’ve gotten quite used to them. Before today the last question to catch me off-guard was ‘When have you demonstrated integrity?’ That’s quite heavy, like something two teenage friends would discuss or what someone highly-strung might ask you in the street. I would like to have approached it in that spirit: ‘Shit man, I dunno…’. Is that what they wanted? If not that then what? Something less sincere? Could be I’m underestimating HR people and the other candidates. Maybe they’re leading very switched-on moral lives where they’re thinking like that quite a bit and it’s me who’s the dick. It’s possible.
What got my goat today however was ‘When have you exceeded customer expectations’? Actually they said ‘When have you done more than what the customer required?’ but it was the same offensive idea. Being asked to talk as if the concept of The Customer is of great importance to me when that isn’t and really couldn’t be the case. That’s coercion and is decidedly shady and possibly something I should have nothing to do with.
I have a bit of a problem with using language that could be considered pretentious. I was sitting at a table in a pub and said to my friend that he was very ‘animated’ earlier. My friend’s friend, who was a few places away, muttered the word back in rebuke. I’m fairly certain this guy dislikes me a little bit to begin with- despite being a practicing Christian, the dick. But why would using that word rouse his ire?
Pretension: A claim made, especially indirectly or by implication, to some quality, merit, or the like.
There’d be no issue with literary type language if it added something to the proceedings. But ‘animated’ really didn’t. I think that must have been fairly clear to me even in the split second between thinking it and saying it. But I went for it anyway. Why? Possibly I hoped someone would be fooled. Or, to be kinder to myself, I was merely having a whirl on the very slim odds that it was a good thing to say. Either way what I wanted was admiration.
I had a problem there where I couldn’t access wordpress properly and couldn’t even look at the forum pages for help. After many calls to my ISP, turns out I had to change the ‘wan’ code from ‘1492’, to ‘1432’, at which point it immediately started working again. So if y’all ever have problems, the wan code might be worth looking at!
I bought a bottle of wine the other night. I had been thinking about wine connoisseur-dom. One result of this was that I learnt how to spell connoisseur. It’s a difficult one, in a league with ‘odyssey’.
I also gained a bit of interesting wine knowledge. I found myself on a website explaining what wine language really means. Some of it annoyed me- ‘austere’, ‘elegant’, ‘flamboyant’- that’s giving the taste of wine too much credit surely. But ‘complex’ seemed legitimate- ‘the flavor changes from the moment you taste it to the moment you swallow’. Really?? That sounds amazing. Shiraz is a complex one apparently. I’ve seen Shiraz before so I knew me getting one was achievable. There was a two part Woody Allen documentary on BBC this week. I was without wine for the first half but I decided to get a bottle in time for the second. I got to the off-license by walking through the meadows near my (my parent’s) house.
I’ve been in the meadows quite a bit lately. I squeeze through a hole in a fence opposite the house then walk through a rugby ground, past their club house and down a bank behind the hockey pitch into the meadows. Then a 15 minute walk along the river to come out at this little area of terrace housing where there’s an off-license and where my friend lives. There’s some shame attached to my meadows wandering certainly. I had to walk past 5 older teenagers from across the street playing football on the rugby ground. I hurried past with one hand in the pocket of my tracksuit bottoms, checking the time on my phone in the other hand in what I hoped was a suave enough movement. Yep, grown-ass, jobless man here crawling through holes in fences and taking shortcuts through the meadows. Like all weirdos though, I know I’m not a weirdo.
I got the Shiraz and returned through the meadows, off-license bag in tow. It was hard to drink. There was a hit of sourness when you took a sip so you had to pause and steel yourself before gulping it down. I didn’t notice the flavour changing from the moment I tasted it to the moment I swallowed, despite looking closely for it. I was tired to begin with and after two large glasses with the (enjoyable) documentary I was completely stoned, slumped on the sofa. Match Point started immediately after, at midnight, and I watched that in a twilight zone state which at one point turned into disorientation and worry, but was generally blissful.
Recently I experienced a bit of interest in plants. It was a couple of months ago when I was in the middle of revising for exams. Flowers stopped being just shit and became strange and wonderful. When the exams were done I drove to a forest park on the coast to try out the new perspective.
After parking the car, I initially strayed onto the fairly crowded coastal walk and beach part of the area. I climbed down from the path onto a rocky shore intending to examine the pebbles. I think I did turn one over in my hand and look at it. But I could feel people on the path looking at me. ‘Aye, nice one mate’ they’d be thinking. I stopped with the pebbles and sat down on a mound, bent forward with my forearms on my thighs and my hands clasped together. I’ve noticed this is Tom Cruise’s default posture on chat shows:
A siege mentality, that’s what that is. I started to feel harassed again after a minute. ‘What’s he sitting there like a mopey cunt for?’ was the question now. I quite quickly resigned myself to the fact that this wasn’t happening. Me staring at pebbles wasn’t going to be rich enough an experience to justify a big struggle. I got up and began picking up pebbles and skimming them into the sea. For whatever mad reason, skimming stones feels legitimate. I can imagine Obama skimming a few stones. Obama staring at pebbles in a kind of ignorant way isn’t such a great image.
I skimmed as many as were necessary to make it look like I’d wanted to and that it wasn’t a purely evasive move then I scampered awkwardly back up the bank to the path, looking like a weird man-child. After some further ignominy, I finally found myself alone in the forest part of the area. Blissfully alone and to remain that way for the next hour and a half or so, bar a couple of joggers and one guy walking his dog. I think my first port of call was a leaf on a tree. It was a thing of beauty. Velvety on one side and on the other side glossy with two columns of slightly concave segments separated by ridges. And the whole thing a vivid green.
Another highlight was a plant that had round, coffee-coloured pods on the end of thin black stalks. The pods were like paper that had been pasted and dried out, the tiny balloon underneath popped. I was keen to have a closer look. Plucking the petals off a flower seemed a bit revolting at this moment in time, though I had done it a minute before when my curiosity had gotten the better of me. I had squirmed when I pulled aside and plucked a couple of petals from a little wall of purple, revealing an obscene naked stigma. But the pods were dry and cracked and looked finished. I pinched one between my fingers and it split open. Inside were probably about a hundred minute seeds, just loose, filling the it up halfway like they’d been dispensed into it. I had expected the pods to be empty so was a bit taken aback. There was a lot going on here.
The afternoon in nature wasn’t turning out to be the Terence Malick movie experience I was after. By 3/4 of an hour in I had become jittery. I caved in and started shooting large stones like basketballs from a pathway, trying to hit a big tree stump next to the river way down below. Then a dangerously steep climb up the side of the valley away from the path tempted me. I got a cheap thrill when I nearly started sliding backwards halfway up. Back on the path I took a running jump and swing on an overhanging branch and landed just before the point where I would have landed on my back rather than my feet.
I was headed back in the direction of the car by that point and was soon on my way home.
This blog will be about my efforts to find a girlfriend. It’s also supposed to show how petty and small minded I am, though in a matter of fact way, not exaggerated for effect like in American Psycho for instance. I do hope that it finds an audience because I think that will take the edge off being like this. We can laugh together about it all or something.