Tired Mam has an unusual policy with mentals. She calls them interesting or eccentric, and takes them under her wing in the hope that they will blossom into fantastic individuals following her Pygmalion-for-Mentalcyclists tutoring.
Inevitably they turn around and bite her - because they are mental - and she gets very upset (most recent mental, after weeks of apparent friendship, accuses TM of kidnapping her daughter and FD of abusing her in, you know, a sex way. FD is three, as is Mental Woman's daughter. TM is chairperson of the committee of the nursery she had supposedly snatched MW's daughter from, and was in a meeting with the committee at time of 'snatching' to be abused by my Rose West-wannabee-three-year-old-daughter. MW has since cried, apologised profusely and admitted to going through a breakdown because her husband has left her. Because of her allegations that her uncle molested her when she was a child that also turn out to be less-than-accurate. And was really pissed when she made the original accusational phone-call at eleven o'clock at night. You get the picture. I feel for this woman, and something
at some point
has obviously happened to her. But I don't want her anywhere near me or mine).
The upshot of this is some very heated conversations between me and Tired Mam. Of the 'Why do you insist upon letting these people into our lives?' variety, which tend not to go down too well. Rows of spectacularly mental nature then take place - 'Well you
don't like anyone - maybe you're
the one who is spazzed in the head!'. That sort of thing, despite the fact that we've already had to speak to the Citizen's Advice, our Health Visitor and Her Majesty's Constabulary on the subject.
I begin to wonder. Is Mentalism a communicable disease? For a short time it infected our household through contact with MW. If you spend any time around a nutloaf, to you become a flidder yourself? This is brought to mind the other week.
I pop into the pub round the corner of my place of work. I can either hang around at the bus-stop for quarter of an hour waiting for the early one and tolerate the standing-for-the-duration-of-the-journey-whilst-suffering-the-high-school-students-playing -unspeakable-mp3s-on-their-mobile-FUCKING-SPEAKERPHONES - because-why-invest-in-a-pair-of-£1.99-earphones-when-the-SHITE-tinny-speakers-on-your-Motorola-will-do-the-trick-with-the-added-bonus-of-fucking-off-anyone-with-ears
or I can have a crafty drink in a deserted lounge, contemplate the day's events and ride the almost-empty later bus home.
I'm standing at the bar. I exchange the usual raised-eyebrows, half-nod and half-smile with The Old Guy Who Sits at the End of the Bar - the one you have to demonstrate you have access to before you are granted a liquor license.
The barman ambles over. My heart sinks. It's the fucking mental
He's significantly younger than me, probably early twenties. But going VERY bald. Not at the crown. But front and middle. If you have seen any pictures of the Tunguska blast site it looks a bit like that. But normal at the sides and back. What little hair he has on top is grown at normal length in a nothing-odd-here manner. Despite the fact that comparative acres
of pale whiteness shine through these pitiful shreds.
Not only is this man a FREAK OF NATURE
, but is obviously mentally troubled, as evidenced by the fact that he has not done what any sane man would and just shave the lot off.
But there is more.
Several weeks previously, I was enjoying my increasingly guilty pleasure at the pub across the road, not the one round the corner. For the lark. I purchase my drink, and sit in a quiet corner. There's another guy there but he doesn't look in the mood for conversation so that's O.K. He receives a mobile call. Of the 'yes, I'm here' variety.
A few minutes later in staggers Mental Barman. Who cannot talk. Who sloshes his pint all over the gaff (how he even got served is a mystery I have yet to solve).Mental Barman's companion listens to his tale of woe with the resigned but patient air of someone who has done this more than once.
The upshot is that Mental Barman had been on the lash the night previously, turned up to work still pissed, had recieved reprimand on the subject and had been invited to leave the premises. I think. The man could barely speak. According to Mental Barman he then proceeded to 'smash the place up' and 'deck the cunt'.
His companion made 'mmmm' noises. I suspect these tales were equally familiar to him. Feeling that the ability to consume such heroic amounts of alcohol by five in the afternoon was not evidence of a happy mind, I left my drink untouched and managed to catch the early bus.Anyway.
My heart sinks. It's the mental one. I order my drink, and feel the same involuntary shudder between me picking-up said drink and him pouring it. I sit down and think. I realise that this shudder - something I have long experienced - is my subconscious fear that - in some some way - even touching the same glass as this man will lead to the communication of spazz-brain.
I stare absently at a framed painting of a man in a red coat on a horse surrounded by dogs whilst I think about this. Somebody has gone to the trouble of of placing a gold-coloured light fixture of some sort to further illuminate this depiction of all that is good about provincial pubs. This is not important.
Perhaps, I think, the minute amounts of sweat and nutter DNA of the man's hands, mingled with the pleasing over-spill of froth could travel into the contents of the glass itself. Perhaps tiny nano-bots of loony-tunes could then populate my otherwise pleasant drink, only to invade my body when I begin drinking and attack my cerebral cortex. Attacking the strong core of rationality that I have always insisted exists even when people give me funny looks when I say such things.
(Note to any lady readers:
If you see the gentleman in your life sitting quietly, with a serious expression and a faraway-look in his eyes, you will - without exception - ask him what he's thinking about. He will - without exception - reply 'Nothing'. Accept this. He does not want to admit to thinking about something so mind-bogglingly foolish as the above - which he invariably will be. We're not emotionally retarded per se
, we're just idiots. Don't force the poor bastard into making something-up on the spot about 'thoughts' and 'feelings'. That just isn't fair.)
I take an exploritory sip. And monitor my thoughts.Insomnia
I think. Life-long affliction. Always tolerable, but a bit worse now that I get to the point of exhaustion and two small people seem to sense this and then think it's play-time despite the fact that I'm ready to sleep on a washing-line at that point. Result: General ill-temperedness.What else. Oh, have recently started not-very-good-blog. Have long been rude to internet-people, and have guiltily admitted it through not-very-good-blog.
I think about this. The insomnia; that's genuinely a life-long thing. I can't put that on the door of Mad Barman. But this inter-net stuff.
It does seem to coincide. Maybe he's been slowly infecting me with his mento-bots over a long period of time.I think some more. No. I have long been rude to the slightly less-than-deserving throughout my natural life. For example.
Years ago. I am in my place of work. A visiting IT tech that I am more than familiar with sticks his head round the door of me and my staff.Me:
Oh here we fucking go. Fucking Harold Shipman.IT Tech Guy:
You, you cunt. Every time you come here to 'cure' something, the fucker dies the minute you get back in your car.IT Tech Guy:
(noticing his shoes) Shitty shoes, you shitty-shoe bastard.IT Tech Guy:
I then went back to work.
This is not boasting. I say these things before I even realise my mouth is moving. Neither big nor clever, I know.
Sitting in the pub, I look back at this and numerous other exchanges. He was
shite at his job. And they were genuinely appalling shoes
. The fact that I always say these things to people in a jovial manner and a big smile on my face also means that the whole thing has a veneer of social acceptability. No-one believes that a person can be honest, forthright and not have the patience to mince their words. They just assume you are joking. Which is lucky for me because I'm built like a toothpick.
No, this is O.K. and also proof that I am not Tyler Durden. I start to relax, and light a cigarette with the flourish of a man unaccustomed to being allowed to smoke indoors.
And then.A man walks in.
More tomorrow. Or whenever.