Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mood Swings #1

I’m at work, there’s nothing I can do about it and I'm feeling generally ok-ish as I walk through the departments in my building, passing the affable Creative-Types on my way.

I approach the desk of the allegedly-attractive feature writer I need to speak to. Personally, I'm not that worried about her.

Me: Uh hi. So look, I’m going to need, like, a thousand words or so, general festive nonsense. You know the drill, just some filler, Christmas party tips, that sort of thing…

Allegedly-Attractive Feature Writer: ‘Inappropriately snogging work colleagues and how to deal with it’, that sort of thing?

Me: Hm. Yeah. Although no chance of that here - [gesture at the ceiling above her desk] total lack of mistletoe and that.

Bit of observational humour there, in case you missed it. I’m funny, me.

AAFW: [Deadpan, not even glancing at me] It wasn’t an offer.

Me: No, I didn’t… I mean, it wasn’t…[sigh] Right. Thanks then. Deadline’s Thursday.


I make my way back to my office, past the dreadful Creative-Types with their jeans, stubble and general air of being above it all - as though being able to operate an Apple Mac and owning a Vampire Weekend CD really means they’ve got the world by the balls the hopeless cretins – and return to my desk.

Blonde Colleague: Alright. Oh. Did you speak to editorial about that thing?

Me: Oh fuck off.

Monday, October 24, 2011

“How are you with needles?”

It’s an odd question, and I’m a little disorientated.

“I’m not in love with them, but I won’t pass-out or anything” I reply to the woman I assume to be a doctor. She’s quite pretty, actually.

“I’m more concerned about you jerking your arm when I stick you and smacking me in the face.” She replies drily, making me like her even more.

“No, I’ll be fine.”

By the smell, I deduce that I’m in a hospital and not a doctor’s surgery. It’s a pretty recognisable smell. And by the noise I’m in A&E and not an in-patient ward. Yet.

“You’ll feel a scratch.” They always say that. What they mean is ‘you’ll feel a fucking nasty sharp thing going into your arm’.

After several attempts she finds a vein and takes some blood.

“So. You’ve had these seizures before?”

My boss sticks her head round the door – surprising me - and gives me my wallet and mobile phone. I thank her, still very unsure of what is happening, tell her I’m fine and that she should go back to work.

Quite Fit Doctor asks who she was.

Me: Oh. That was my boss.

QFD: She came in with you. With the paramedics. She’s lovely.

Me: Ok. How long have I been here?

QFD: A while. You seem to be coming out of it pretty quickly so we’ll do your bloods and if that’s all fine you can go.

My head is fuzzy and I try and remember any recent events, none of which involve paramedics or hospitals. I do, however, recall a pleasant conversation with a female colleague, to whom I was bemoaning some upcoming social plans which involved visiting the gay quarter of the city I work in, on the insistence of Uncannily Similar who enjoys ‘the vibe’.

Me: It’s just, you know, I … Get a lot of male attention. Which is all good, but…. I’d just rather NOT. It’s sort of awkward. You know?

To which she replied:

“Well of course you do! It's because you’re handsome and you’re really slim.”

Which was possibly the nicest thing anyone has said to me ever, and was of course completely insincere and really meant:


But I took it anyway.

Some time passes. A locum in scrubs sticks his head round the door.

Locum: Oh. Hi. Who’s your doctor?

Me: Ermm. Not sure of the name. Dark hair. Quite attractive.

Locum: Ok. [Starts to leave. Stops. Turns back with a puzzled/incredulous look] What? FEMALE?

Me: What? YES! FUCK!

Locum: Alriiiiiight. [Spreads his palms in supplication] I just thought you were... you know…

Me: Well I’m NOT. When am I getting my blood results? And where can I go for a cigarette?

I’m discharged an hour later.

What Have I Been Doing?

I’ve been a bit quiet, and have been pestered about it by about two whole people which leads me to believe that, by extension, a total of six people in the whole world may also be interested.

And so, in short – although to be elaborated on – I have been doing these things:

• Attended stag-do of First Brother.
• My Excellent Children stay with me for very nearly a week
• Attend wedding of First Brother, with Excellent Children.
• Realise that my father, with whom I have had zero contact for 25 years is also attending said wedding. Something I should have worked out.
• As Excellent Children are present for the event, introduce not only myself but his Grandchildren to my father. Discover that he was unaware of their existence. Awkward.
• Later, much confrontation is involved. Not only with my father, but the aunts I had forgotten had existed who poke my face and infer that I am not a pleasant person.
• Return Excellent Children to their mother. This necessitates a fifteen-hour, 800-mile round-trip courtesy of our nation’s woeful rail network. Feel a bit tired. And sad.
• Worked ten consecutive 15-hour days. Felt a bit more tired.
• Attended stag-do of Second Brother. He’s getting married the same month, purely to piss me off.
• Suffer fit and brief spell of unconsciousness in the middle of a working day. Taken to hospital.
• Excellent Children come to stay for a few more days.
• Attend wedding of Second Brother, feel a bit aggrieved by the ‘usher’ duties he has thrown my way to make me feel better about the fact that I have failed in my own life at anything that has been important to me, and also the ‘reading’ I have to give at the church for the same reason.
• Excellent Children leave. Feel sad.
• Receive an email from my new MD informing me that if I want to apply for voluntary redundancy then he is ‘all ears’.
• Receive letter instructing me to attend an ‘epilepsy clinic’. The inference seeming to be that I now have epilepsy.
• Realise I have no annual leave left, and will probably not see my Excellent Children until 2012.

Basically, everything has been superb.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Stag Nights.

I've attended two this year alone.

Oh God, the bloody Stag Night. A test of human endurance that would make even the most hardened al-qaeda suspect whimper “can you please just make it stop now” if used as an interrogation technique. It’s rarely even a NIGHT, but the dreaded stag WEEKEND – 48 hours in the company of burping, vomiting, farting buffoons so horrendous that the stag practically RUNS down the aisle to get the hell away from the horrorific Clockwork Orange–style aversion experience.

Two days in a strange city in the company of men-children who think igniting their own flatulence is 24 CARAT and you would give anything to share the bulk of your life with an actual woman. Because men are idiots and stag nights are horrible.

It starts with the cut-price chain hotel so anonymous and homogenised that your very soul shrinks a little and progresses to some horrendous identikit Yates’s filled with badly-dressed dole-hounds and ageing alcoholics all of whom would think nothing of giving you the full benefit of the thick end of a pool cue after you discover that the door staff of the more salubrious establishments are reluctant to admit large groups of yowling, drooling, stinking men wearing specially-printed t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan ‘Pussy Patrol’

There’s no point sneering at the dolts in the party who spend the evening informing you of their intention to ‘destroy’ any of the ‘blart’ they espy, as you will several days later shamefully recall your own unsuccessful attempt to win the affections of a trainee beauty-therapist from Sunderland named Kylie with the generous offer of a ‘clattering’ behind the bottle-bins.

Staggering around the streets at an early hour asking innocent passers-by where “tha strippas are, like” is not an uplifting experience, nor is finally gaining entrance to Madame Choo-Choo’s and watching the youngest member of your party lose a small fortune to a young lady in underwear and high-heels in the belief that she “actually fancies me, like” Of course she does, mate.

Trying to get back to the hotel despite having forgotten it’s name and location, possessing no phone numbers of any local taxi firms and lacking the ability to single-handedly lift a twenty-stone inebriated imbecile is also a barrel of fucking laughs.

If you’re lucky you wake up in the dreadful room you share with at least three other men in a scene that would make Hieronymus Bosch balk, to the wilting prospect of using a bathroom still echoing with the noise and stench of several horrendous bowel movements.

Then you do it all again the next day, secure in the knowledge that everyone you encounter hates you.

The very worst thing? If you’re the stag, you’re statistically very likely to get divorced and to wish that your mental and emotional anguish would JUST END whilst you tragi-wank your way through the rest of your hollow life and wish that you could just see your children.

And if you’re not the stag, are unmarried and have attended a few of these things, it means you are inherently unlovable and have a stark future of solitary drinking and crushing loneliness ahead of you.

Enjoy your night.
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