Thursday, 29 September 2011
In some cases, damn right it should.
In closing, I do want to say that by contrast, I most definitely appreciate those relationships that have had endurance and are more valuable than ever. Friendships, where we discover as time goes on, something new about the other, new, yes, but somehow with that irreplaceable familiarity attached to it that we can still tap into and see flashes of who we used to be; shining moments without doubt that don’t need words from someone who loves you for all your idiosyncrasy, someone who gives as much effort as they demand of you yourself, and therefore none at all - that, my friends, is priceless.
I don’t like to have a lot of friends; I can only commit so much of my precious time that I’ve always liked to spend on my own to other people - despite the fact that I have an abundance of it.
No, I genuinely love being immersed within my own thought process - much to people’s amazement, for most can’t comprehend a solitary existence; secretly thinking I only say that because I have no friends. But I don’t, because you see, I lie least of all to myself. And anyway, I do have friends - in the real sense of the word. But that’s indicative of why I love to say I hate people – although I hasten to add what I mean by that is, more the predictability of the human race.
This is why I love to write; my imagination under-appreciated in the real world, it’s a huge escape for me and provides all the company I need. What would be the alternative? Talking to myself perhaps? Sometimes I can’t help but think if I did that, I might just fit in better.
No, knowing too many people would be as cumbersome and exhausting for me as much as it reenergises others. But then, I am a quintessential introvert, peace and quiet rejuvenating me so that I can briefly be the life and soul on some another occasion.
I’m extremely loyal to the hilt to those friends that I do have though, and I enjoy them greatly. Sadly, only one or two of those would be able to say the same about their relationship with me and so therefore, and the point of this blog, most people I’ve ever known have now been kicked into touch. And I don’t regret it one bit.
I think a lot of people who’ve been BFFs; old friends if you will, are actually nothing more than old habits actually; neither really enjoying the other’s company if they were to be honest, some misguided sense of duty keeping them together but all a bit of a chore really.
People do come and go from your life, yes; we all hear that, and yes, I believe that everybody deposits something with everybody else, a lesson learned somehow or other. But that’s all it was meant to be. So why not just let go when the suggestion box is obviously full?
Most people change, go through different life phases, becoming more sophisticated versions of them, while others never change at all, or if they do; seem to regress even. But what fit snugly last year may no longer fit, and as far as I’m concerned, neither do they have to. We throw away underwear as we get a bit of a midriff going, so why not people in your life? But then this is why people find me strange; consider I’m too philosophical, too honest, even for being able to say that if relationship no longer works, its as useless as broken knicker elastic.
Now that might seem a bit harsh so I should justify by way of saying that I do try to stitch up the gaping hole between me and some of the people who’ve been in my life for a long time before I mop the floor with them. I do of course explain how I feel; e.g. that we’re no longer kids; I don’t want to hang out in the pub all the time; enjoying a sophisticated evening talking about such things as the latest wine that someone recommended, far preferable. Unfortunately, it didn’t work like that for me; sick to my yellowing back teeth of listening to the same old negativity and dealing with consistent propensity for problem finding in absolutely everything, becoming increasingly weary of giving the same advice over and over again and them doing nothing to rectify their issues, which, I’m positive, they wouldn’t actually be happy without. It gets completely tedious. No, these relationships can be likened to that over-familiarity that we tend to display with our adult siblings, oftentimes otherwise mature adults who, by the very act of coming together regardless of how long they haven’t seen each other for, reverting back to being the kids that they once where; petty arguments ensuing all over the place, when in actual fact, for the most part they’ve become relative strangers; blood, incidentally, not having to bind you together forever either, I’ve found – but then perhaps I have a good excuse for that; being estranged as kids, as we were.
What I hate most is that the essential ingredient of loyalty is too often taken for granted - and perhaps so it should be, but never should it be unappreciated. I will try to help in any way I can when a friend needs it, to me, that’s an integral part of friendship; it goes without saying. I never make a person feel beholden, my generosity always big, selfless, unconditional. But then, I question if that’s the very thing responsible for my downfall; people become expectant, entitled, when you deliver friendship seamlessly; it’s my fault that I’ve become simply a resource; they know they can contact good old reliable me any time they like to borrow money, my car or my level-headed approach to life. And that’s fine, but only getting in touch when they do need these things, choosing not to invite you out for a night, round to dinner or a BBQ or include you in the festivities when people are in town or at Christmas or other occasions, and when they do, have obviously already bad-mouthed you, but the visitor, doing their best to snub you, unworthy of you anyway if they can’t judge a person by their actual merit. And they never accept your invitations either, your suggestions of what to do, where to go, always, always only on their terms.
Despite the fact that I’ve forewarned many people of our friendship’s impending doom, gave seismic warnings about actually; mentioning how things need to change, they don’t seem to want to make any effort to help stitch up that old pair of knickers at all. So, I guess they don’t really know who I am, and always have been, for they all know that if I say anything, I mean it; I will see it through even if it’s to my detriment; well known for being a person of my word and one who retains a great sense of pride and honesty. They know too, that I’d rather have no friends than half of one, but somehow, when it comes to old friendships, they think all will be forgiven, forgotten, and we’ll carry on as we’ve done for over twenty years; even thinking, perhaps, that because it has been so long and we’ve been through so much, that I can’t live without them. Wrong, but sadly, for them it’s not true of the reverse - as they’ve come to find out. In all honesty, the knicker elastic snapped long, long ago, beyond repair, and I was simply relieved not to have to try and get those tatty old things past my knees anymore (and for the literalists, I don’t wear extra-large knickers, I wear a nice designer boxer in large, which is really only medium in Vancouver; clothes sizes related to the large Asian population and their miniscule sizing.)
I’m a smart person, smarter than most when it comes to seeing life and people for who they are, and I feel things deeply if I, or someone close to me has been betrayed. I’m a friendly person, amicable, sure, in normal situations, but my so called friends have seen me look blankly right through some people we know as if they don’t exist (and usually for their benefit, because I don’t allow myself to get into ridiculous situations such as theirs) yet they go on to betray me themselves, shockingly thinking that they can pull the wool over my eyes. Do they really not realise that after all this time I can read them like a comic book? Do they really think that I can be used as a doormat (granted a very well worn one)? Sadly, the answer is no, they don’t know me one iota. They didn’t take a blind bit of notice that my tolerance levels were thinning rapidly, the message on my welcome mat so faded I had to get a new one with quite a different message - in fact, the same as the one that one such ex-friend actually had on his for real that read; “Fuck Off’ - you might have seen those. We thought it was very funny at the time, but he certainly doesn’t find it funny now that that’s what greets him, and others, at my address; he can’t, for he still insists on trying to be the friend I wanted him to be for years, trying to engage me now, but too little too late. No, him and others like him, no longer have the me that I once was to them, realising only now that they don’t have it, what it was I brought into their lives. They have to; I’ve had a begging letter saying my absence is like a death in their family; I've had to ignore numerous phone messages and contend with other not so devious ploys by them trying to get back into my life – or my wallet, my hospitality, my mind. But it’s over, well and truly - for their efforts never last. A chameleon like me, can feign spots, but a leopard can never change its.
Apart from the material things, I feel that I brought vision, ideas, encouragement and excitement to some of these people, unable or just too lazy to think for themselves. I’m a person who loves to learn, always have been, chic geek, I like to call myself, for I don’t look nerdy, quite the opposite, and for that I’ve been accused of being boring – which I simply laugh at, for I know the people who say this are actually the uninteresting ones themselves; believing that anything intellectual or that stimulates the brain is in fact dreary because its too much like hard work. No, it’s only when they no longer have my particular brand of friendship do these people realise just what it was they abused; nobody else quite willing to deliver it as quietly and as generously as I had always done. And yet they still blame me, my fault, cos I got ‘all weird’ about it. But par for the course, and simply another reason they’ve been binned; their drama always has been due to external factors.
I’m actually a person who reinvents himself regularly while most people remain static, I do change with every year, have an abundance of interests, have a thirst for knowledge, but at the same time I realise that I don’t need to come across as a know-it-all. Yet when they tap into that mind of information instead of them making the effort to go look it up, crossed between being impressed and resentment because I did know something, I’m called a snob, snooty, piss elegant, standoffish and any number of other things behind my back. Crap, that’s what friendship is, unconditional. I also often get accused of judging them when I never actually have - which is something that is simply due to their own inferiority complex kicking in, but my fault, somehow, that they feel stupid for not knowing anything themselves, the boring stuff, and coming to resent the very thing that they’ve always tapped into and in the end biting the hand that’s fed them for years by getting downright nasty and two-faced. But truth will always out; I can read people you see, even if their other (disloyal) relationships didn’t tell me about it first.
I fully resent hearing that people think I am judgmental; this is simply the perception of an ignorant mind, of someone's who can’t possibly understand a complex one like mine. I have people from all walks of life in my own, from those who are as thick as two, maybe ten, short planks, to intellectual types. I simply don’t care what education you’ve had, what your bank balance is, what you look like, how you dress, where you came from or what you do for a living, age sex or any of the rest of it. Individuality is what floats my boat. God knows I came from the gutter myself, but if I find you interesting, then that’s good enough for me – as I expect in return. But you know what, if I’m gonna be tarred with a brush, then I am the kind of person that will want to live up to it, and how. So... I did come to judge in the end; and I judged that these old friends weren't good enough for me, not anymore. The truth of it is, that those who talk behind other people’s backs, who are just plain nasty and bitter, yes, those are the people with the problem, not me, what they’re doing is judging me by their own standards, society's even, but by their own petty, mediocre, ignorant state of minds.
I’ve long since said that I have to get better friends – something not quite as easy as it once was, something about the people from your youth that is irreplaceable - despite all. So therefore, it might not be possible to forget old acquaintance, no, but in my opinion, these days, as I become curmudgeonly, it can certainly be dismissed as easily as a fly to a swatter.
You’re such a mediocre ‘friend’
You fake two-faced ignorant dumpling
I really can’t quite comprehend
How I thought we might've had something
You simply got worse as the years went by
Your pie face increasingly uninteresting
Redeeming traits... uh... hel-lo... long gone aw-ry
Gawd… what the fuck was I thinking?
I reckon what with all the no call lists being completely useless, that if you can’t beat ’em, then you might as well entertain yourself with telemarketing callers. Yeah... why not dish a side of entertainment with your dinner, but share, keep the phone on speaker in the middle of the table so the whole family can enjoy. That’s a great way to break the monotony of pretending to be interested in their day, or, if you’re just the lonely loser type like me and eat frozen lasagne and suchlike by yourself every night in front of the telly, you can actually look forward to the only dinner guest you’ll ever have. Yes, telemarketers offer something for everybody – and they’re free!
A long time ago in the UK, I once rather stupidly listened to a consumer programme on television that said the best way to deal with such calls is to politely say something like this:
‘Thank you for your call, but I’m not interested at this time.’
Absolute balls to that! Why the fuck should I be thanking these annoying bastards for letting my pizza go cold? But then that was back in the day when the world hadn’t become quite so rude yet and before the last bastion of the Brits became outmoded. Because today, as we all know, telemarketers have an answer for everything; skilled, or so they fucking think, in counteracting your adamant refusal; repudiating that overly polite and civilised rejection; refusing to shove it where the sun don’t shine - as was always clearly the true meaning of even the Brits – and trust me, it don’t shine anywhere like it does in Mumbai - the main headquarters of the telemarketing race. But yet they’re persistent, a bit like the gas you get for 48hrs after you’ve eaten a particularly spicy curry.
And you do know who’s responsible for them getting their murky little hands on your number in the first place, don’t you? Yes, your telephone provider, for the most part, and you’ll find it’s in the small print:
Periodically we provide lists to companies who may have a boatload of crap to sell that you’ve never heard of, who’ll call to tell you that you’ve won a competition that you never entered in the first place or that they can have your credit card bill reduced by 99% - but only if you provide the number, the expiry date and the three digit security code on the back as well as your mother’s maiden name... oh, and your bank account information.
No, you have to actually read the small print to be able to know to tell them not to give your number out even if you do opt to pay their rip off charge for a private listing. And of course these companies sell them to every other company ‘cos they’re all in cahoots you know. And every time you’re asked for your number on some website it goes on yet another list, and before you know it, your phone’s lit up like a radio station’s switchboard when the prize offered is lunch for two at your local IHOP if you’re the 32nd caller. Yes, usually around 6pm when you’re just about to sit down with your egg and chips to watch the news and see who’s killing who around the world now. Or worse, making you miss the serious stuff, you know... like the headline news such as the unfeeling tyrant who stole one of our beloved and protected homeless people’s shopping carts, not to mention the feigned look of concern on the News Anchors’ faces when they go on to report that that member of the protected and revered sub-cultured species only has a wheely bin to collect all his bottles in now. Um... excuse me, but didn’t he steal the cart and the garbage can in the first place? But that’s all right, he’s a bum; it’s not a crime when you can’t pay a fine.
But seriously, I immediately block all strange numbers coming through on my phone these days though, fucking amount of them, shocking indeed, obviously numbers able to propagate like catholics, the area codes obvious even if they’re not 800 or 899 numbers cos they don’t belong to Canada, and nobody calls me from the States, I’m far too private for that. Well, that is unless its the other phone companies; they rather cleverly try to trick you by assigning a local area code, making you think you do have a friend in the world after all and going on to further trick you by using your first name as if they’re an old friend: ‘Hey Johnny... how ya doin’?’ Of course that’s only if they haven’t been outsourced, for even if the fluidity of their second language skill is impressive, the telltale East Indian accent betrays their location right off the bat, and other aspects too that they’re so unaware of, like if you ask if they have HD service on Broadway yet, of the most famous streets that runs the length of the entire city of Vancouver, and they ask you how to spell it.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, I s’pose, I mean who else wants that job over here anyway? But now you know why you had to settle for the secondary area code, the less prestigious one, the good ones all allocated to South Asia, all calling pretending to be just up the road, all wanting to ‘bloody helping’ me save money.
“KinnaspiktomeesterMoont?” the voice says.
“Sorry, wrong number, I didn’t order any takeaway,” I say.
Or, if I’m in a completely bad mood (and I do feel slightly guilty about this one because I know that there might be somebody over there with three generations relying on them to buy a sack of rice for the entire year with their pitiful earnings, and because I do admire their ability to speak English, over-exuberant in its effort to sound as if its actually local, as it can be)”
“Can you repeat that please?”
“I can’t understand a word you’re saying,” I say.
“Iam-killin-from-suchandsuchacompany-a-kin-never-makeout-thenameof,” they say a bit slower, a bit louder.
“Nope, I still can’t make out a bloody word, can you speak English please?”
“Is this a prank call? Frank is that you pretending to be a Pakky again?”
provincesrefusetoregulateitlikeanyothercivilisedbloodycountry,” they say, obviously getting a bit tetchy now; that karma sutra thing we all hear about not doing much at all to release their tension, obviously.
provincesrefusetoregulateitlikeanyothercivilisedbloodycountry,” they say, obviously getting a bit tetchy now; that karma sutra thing we all hear about not doing much at all to release their tension, obviously.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I have no need for a carpet cleaning, we have hardwood... we changed after you told us it was extra to actually remove the dirty stains that we hired you for the first time.”
“Look, I have absolutely no idea what language you’re speaking, but you will have to excuse me; I’m expecting Tyramail at any time. Salam.”
Now, I feel guilty, because the reason I do this is so that said telemarketer will get into trouble for not sounding like a westerner if their supervisor is monitoring the calls. Yes, at the time, I find that just punishment for them making my chips go as cold and soggy as a bunch of witches tits. But then I have visions of his sari ass being kicked out into the streets of Mumbai with nothing but a begging bowl to earn a living. Or I wonder if they just get hauled back into the classroom to learn the language properly, or perhaps demoted or something, but whatever, doomed forever to remain a slum dog sleeping on the undercarriages of trains, I imagine, and local ones too, you know the rickety old kind. That is unless they go back onto the tea plantation or something - or is that only women? Its only ever women you see on the tea boxes, in their beautiful coloured traditional dress and that red spot on the forehead from where the gun pressed too hard to force her to smile for the photograph like you see on the kind of tea caddy your granny might still have on her windowsill or from a retro box of PG tips - well, that is until they replaced her with talking monkeys or some indescribable sock puppet that I believe they might use these days - if there’s a difference - maybe they shot her though; women’s rights the way they are, she probably demanded two rupees a month instead of one.
And then there are those who do speak English, the overly polite and professional female voices that are slightly flirtatious, giving the impression they’re sitting in some pristine, efficient corporate environment; but their only interest the details of your credit card and not really its interest rate. Do people actually fall for that? Like, do they give out their numbers and security codes? Are there actually people so lonely that they get taken in by a scammer with a friendly voice professing to help reduce their debt? There has to be or they wouldn’t be doing it. In actual fact that friendly voice is probably sitting in a trailer park with a baby attached to her tit – or at least, the guy she picked up in ‘The Sheep Shack’ the night before, no, she’s probably talking on a sex line in a Chinese accent on call waiting.
No, I listen to these people in their entirety, I can understand them after all and they can be quite amusing, with their American drones and idiosyncrasy that betrays who they really are. But anyway, you have no choice; they just delve right into it without taking a breather, not allowing you to say that you’re not interested, ignoring you if you do, skilled in trying to hook the polite and unsuspecting with the monologue that they no longer need to read from a piece of paper, having recited it so many times that they’re not only feeding the baby, holding a sexual conference call, but also wondering just how Troy and Garth’s evil triplet brother Fabio could have come back from the dead, especially when his mother, who is also his first wife and little sister, had him hacked to little pieces in a hamburger factory to be served up at the cook-out at the county fair. Yes, all this, as well as sending out spam emails informing people how they can achieve the hardest hard-on ever if they don’t mind imminent heart failure and impaired vision by opting for a cheaper alternative to Viagra because nobody can fuck without some help these days, according to them. But on that matter, they might be right; the drug not at all for impotence, everybody knows, it’s merely a sex enhancing stimulant, in effect, no different from ‘poppers’, the amyl nitrate ‘leather cleaner’ that was so famed back in the eighties. But no, we can’t admit that; it’s only for people with erectile dysfunction. Yeah right. When will the human race say it as it is?
“Ohhh... you want to give me a credit card?” I say, when they finally expect me to jump right on whatever it is they’re offering.
“No... sir...,” they say (a word that actually means ‘you stupid fuck’) after a momentary and stunned silence that might’ve been more appropriately employed to show surprise when they found out that Fabio had actually had a sex change and was now in love with his long lost quadruplet brother Hunter whom they thought had died in the incubator having been pushed out of the womb by the other three because he had a bigger dick than them. “I’m calling about your credit card interest.”
“Oh yes I certainly do have an interest, I’ve been trying for years to get a credit card, but I’m always declined... they won’t even give me a secured one you know.”
“Sir, I’m calling about our credit card interest rate services, we offer the opportunity to have your high rates reduced... we can really limit that for you... so if you’ll just provide me with your number... why pay more?”
“Oh that’s great, a high limit? Aw... thanks for giving me this chance, Oooh I can’t wait, I never thought I’d be able to have nice things again... fuck you credit bureau... I’m ba-ack! But don’t worry; I have learned my lesson, I’ll only book four-star hotels in future... fly coach from hereonin. No sireebob, I won’t fuck you over.” I say, until the penny drops.
“Hel-lo... hel-lo.” I continue to say even though my act of dumbness has obviously worked and no one to hear me... God I guess I am lonely. But again, the point is to entertain yourself.
There are other ways too to fuck with them too; you simply tell them that you’re very interested, but could they possibly wait a minute while you go look out all your credit cards and your partner’s too. They’ll always say, ‘sure no, problem....’ but thinking privately what a sucker you are and not quite believing their luck, 4,223 calls that night and finally a schmuck that’s gonna pay for a new HD TV for them and any other amount of online electronics. I often wonder just how long they waited on the other end of the phone though, but they’re never there when I check back fifteen minutes later. Mind you, I only do this on the landline where there are no cell phone charges.
But leaving them hanging is the easy way out, the coward’s way if you like, and no real fun at all, but whatever floats your boat; it still sticks it to them. I also know someone who simply says, ‘uh-huh’ to absolutely everything that the telemarketer says or asks, no matter what... that can be fun as you listen to them get all agitated; thinking you haven’t understood them properly.
Then there is the gay guy or the cow from hell that just won’t let you go and they start to lose it; their professional voices soon reverting to reflect the gutter pig bitches that they really are – I mean come on, they must be. No offence if you are one, perhaps its a stopgap, a way to earn a bit of extra money, but really you gotta be pretty desperate. These particular calls usually start out by me interrupting their lengthy breathless spiel by demanding to know upfront if this is a telemarketing call, but they’re very skilled at avoiding that question though; simply reiterating how it is more of a service that they offer, or at least that is until I interrupt again:
“Is this... or is it not... a telemarketing call?” I say.
“Sir... we are a company that provides peace of mind by offering...”
“So it is a marketing call?”
“Well ye-es, but....”
Okay... well I’m not interested....”
“Well how do you know you’re not interested; you don’t even know what it is we’re selling?”
“I know if I haven’t gone looking for it, I don’t need it, that’s why?”
“But sometimes you don’t always think about the things that you need...”
“Oh fuck off.... hanging up now sweetie.” I say.
Now once a particularly inflamed queen (I could tell by his voice and the expressions he used) called me right back to continue the argument, and I found that rather funny actually, the gall of it:
“Tell me honey ham, did it hurt when the devil spit you up and you landed here?” he said.
“Not interested, buh bye.” I said.
At least these days though, I do listen initially, I just used to hang up. And here’s why: I got a call from someone speaking a bit too fast after the inevitable: ‘may I speak to Mr Mount?‘ which put my guard up immediately.
“Speaking.” I say all annoyed like.
“My name’s Jerome, and I’m calling from the Bank of (whatever it was).
“I’m not interested.” I interrupt, completely impatiently.
“Oh really... can you say that again?” he said rather bitchily, “you’re not interested?”
“That’s right,” I say all sanctimoniously, refusing to back down even though he’d peaked my interest.
“Well... o-kay then... you’re loss... buh bye.” he sang as if auditioning for Glee.
Yes, these days I at least listen, because to this day I bet you any money that call was from the bank that Visa used during the time when they had a promotional thing going on, the kind where they select people every month and void their entire fucking Visa bill. I’m absolutely convinced it was something like that, but I’ll never know now due to my short temper - although I like to think that was just a ploy on the telemarketer’s part, I mean, they must have things like that that they do from their end too, sticking it to the nasty customers like me, psychologically abusing them. And that’s what if feels like, it tortures me; if not that, then why else would he not have been as persistent as they normally are, been so haughty? All I know is that I’m left feeling like I really missed out on something good there, something free for a change.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve blocked all of these numbers now, a feature that comes free with my landline, but I haven’t received any marketing calls in ages... perhaps they’ve blacklisted me, perhaps they’ve put me on their no call list. Whatever... I feel rejected... keep picking up the phone to make sure it’s working, actually. They still come through on the cell phone though, I know, because no-one, but no-one, in my personal life knows that number, not even I... and as much fun as fucking with telemarketers minds can be, until my cell phone provider doesn’t charge me for receiving incoming calls, which is another fucking blog altogether, I’d rather sit and ‘tikka masala’ thinking just what I might say when they do next call on the landline... and you know they will... just as sure as all the T (for telemarketers) in India... or perhaps I can consider that on my free cruise to the Bahamas that I just won. Score! I just have to make my way to a seminar in Florida to take it up.
Now, I’m not trying to say I am Thee Creator or anything, but, it does seem a little more than coincidental that when my best friend was trying desperately hard to have a baby, for years in fact, she only got pregnant after reading the poem below.
With nothing working (and trust me she tried everything, in vitro fertilisation, bonking every chance she got... well okay, that was nothing new, but still...) she was eventually told that at 42-yrs-old her eggs were fried and she’d never have a baby.
After we both called that doctor a name beginning with C, a word that rhymes with hunt, in case you didn’t get that (who says I hold my reader’s hands?) I wrote said poem to buck her up, but nonetheless with the sincere belief she would actually eventually get pregnant. And sure enough she did – the old fashioned way – shortly thereafter. Although it has to be said that I also inadvertently bought an African statuette around the same time as she did find herself up the duff (I say inadvertently because until I got it home I had no idea that it depicted a woman with child) I was just drawn to it as a whole, something purdy for my new study... but spooky or what? I have since then joked that anyone reading that poem will have a baby – ‘the fertility poem’ I call it. Why not; if it works by stroking the brass hand of Juliet outside her house in Verona, why can’t my snappy little ditty have those powers too?
Anyhoo, some months ago, I was telling that story to one of my clients who had been on a domestic adoption list for only a year or so, and recited the poem to her. Lo and behold, the very next day a baby was born and she got a call the day after that to say that the mother had chosen her and her husband to be the adoptive parents. Now, you have to understand here, that it takes many, many years, usually, for the entire adoption process. The proud new mum came to see me today with her four-month-old baby, James Francis (he’s the one with the dummy tit in his mouth here, the other is my Godson Noah Patrick, who’s ten-months-old now). She couldn’t wait to tell me that story in person; convinced, because of that poem, that she was chosen – and not at all due to the fact that she is white and her husband is Chinese and so are the natural parents – which, somehow, is a perfect match for them all, I s’pose, in a baby puzzle game kind of way.
Coincidence? Maybe, but then these two stories are further connected in quite another unusual way too, and if I had sound effects here, I would record myself humming that Twilight Zone tune at this point. Get this, my friend Vanessa, whose baby I am Godfather to, lives in Italy, but she is from Hull, Northern England, my client, Andrea, with no connection to Vanessa whatsoever, lives here in Vancouver, Canada, but she is also from... yes you guessed it... Hull. Freaky or what? But then for someone who consistently has the ability to put lampposts out when I walk by them, and with light bulbs popping around me all over the place wherever I go (and once... even the power to a full block when someone was telling someone the story of how lights flicker above me as I pass through rooms) well... small potatoes really, to hatch an egg or two. Perhaps not Thee Creator, no, but maybe, just maybe, I’m a Godfather in the literal sense? I like to think so.
Anyway, ubiquitous ability aside for the moment, here is the poem. I initially wrote it, not only for Vanessa’s fried eggs, but also with a rather clever correlation to the birth of all things in general - hence the picture of the Milky Way that looks like a Denny’s breakfast (even if Andrea’s was, well... kind of poached, it has to be said). Careful when reading though, especially up at the Hull there, you might just find yourself in the same boat. (See what I did there? Again, holding my reader’s hands... but I do... crack... myself up!)
A simple thing, somehow non-existent, but aplenty in youth
A minuscule thing, swimming, circling, wanting to be more
An impatient thing, insisting, sometimes nearly succeeding
A tired thing, climbing only half heartedly, no will to push
An aged thing, dwindling in numbers, no more time to waste
A helped thing, clinging to optimism, still hanging on in hope
A meant to be thing, a thing that will be, see and do great things
An 1870s photo depicting a Tennessee man with a strong resemblance to the Oscar-winning actor is on sale. The seller claims Nicholas Cage is a Vampire.
I hated my entire life that people thought I was too slim. I never was, not really, I just knew how to wear clothes, but they liked to say that, loved to buy me shirts for my birthday that would fit Barbie’s ex husband (you know the one she had before she went of on some women’s equality tangent that gave Action Man a run for his money?). I still know how to wear clothes, unfortunately though, just not the kind I like, and in danger of becoming less inclined all the time; opting for comfort more and more and trying to convince myself that I don’t care. I have a plethora of them, closets filled with great clothes, some of which I look at now that are not that old at all, and wonder who could ever fit into such things. Ken, apparently. For instance, I have brand new jeans that I bought earlier this year, and deliberately I chose a larger size than I actually took because it seemed that like my famous mood swings – something else, like my weight, always misinterpreted from the multi-faceted personality that they actually represented - my waist, or actually, that part between the hip and the belly for the waist is only where old men wear jeans - couldn’t settle on a fucking size from day to day. I never have worn them; they cut into me like a wire cutting cheese – but then perhaps that’s the problem, cheese, and fat bastards like it.
And exactly why does it take only a few minutes for my hair to air dry these days? Huh? That’s what I want to know. At least I still have some though, I tell myself; hasn’t gone grey yet, but it’s a constant reminder that one day, perhaps in the near future, I might have to reconsider that like I do my clothes choice now - which, unless I make a concerted effort in absolutely everything; diet, exercise, and coming to terms with buying extra large, will float across that gaping hole that I mentioned earlier, to become an enviable thing that belongs only in the past, mocking me from their non photo shopped photo albums, images of myself all screaming like banshees, asking just where is that promise I made to them that, when it was our turn, we’d age gracefully, do it with dignity. And what was it they’d said then... the disclaimer, why would you care at that age anyway? Sadly, that might just be the truth of it, I find, as I’m starting to battle the bulge that I’ve long since been sanctimonious about when others said they can’t have a chocolate bar; my metabolism special, not affected at all. Karma’s a bitch right enough.
It’s increasingly easy, I find myself thinking, to adopt that attitude, about not caring, but caught between the last remnants of youth and the inevitable, the fighter in me still trying to hold on without looking like mutton dressed as lamb. Yes, I do still care, for perhaps its not over yet. People still tell me I look good, I don’t look my age. But I wonder if subliminally I’ve fished for those compliments, skilled in the art of manipulation as I am? Will I look back ten years from now and wonder just why the hell I wrote this blog entry? Do I continue to be self unappreciative, because I do see, on occasion, some people younger than me who look old enough to be my father - well almost. But then perhaps I won’t find the answer, for someone whom everyone used to say was very photogenic, even if I didn’t think so myself, despite the fact I used to jump in front of everyone’s cameras, invited or not, I hate getting my photo taken these days. Will there actually be a true record of this era, or will I simply see photographs that I’ll have forgotten I took away the frown between my eyebrows from, the two lines that make my nose look like Pinocchio’s and that I have so rightly earned; being the deep thinker I’ve always been?
Or am I simply (still) being too self critical, yearning for days gone by because, in all my relative wisdom, would know how to utilise the gift of youthful beauty to its full extent these days? I guess that is why they say, amongst other reasons, that youth is wasted on the young. And it is; unfortunately, despite us all hearing that even when we are young, the most of us naively think ageing will never happen to us; that we will indeed live forever. How foolish were we? And that is the nature of conversations these days; my lifelong friends and I asking such questions when we jealously, or perhaps if they’re more accepting than I, fondly, pore over the good times we had in the past; saying such things as look at my skin, my hair, my teeth, that smile, wow!
But perhaps the real testament as to who I am today, is that I see beauty in ugliness, especially that in youth - even if I do have a quiet snigger at the faux pas of their fashion sense, which secretly, at least sometimes, I’m actually jealous of for the reason that I do like them, but they are fashions I have at least the good sense to know I cannot wear at this age because I’ve worn them at some other point in my life; once, being the rule, apparently, too old to go there again by the time its recycled. No, I can look at what I might once have considered an ugly youngster and see beauty there instead. Every time. And so, despite an increasing intolerance with some things, maturity brings another kind of beauty, not aesthetic, but of wisdom, empathy, a parenting instinct, whether you have a child or not, but a sagacity, that if only youth could realise and embrace, would serve it well indeed – but then, that’s not the way of things, is it?
It made me feel better yesterday though, when someone said to me, it’s because you sit too close to your iMac when you take a photo; the glare showing every line, making your face look like a road map of Germany – okay that was my analogy, but whatever. And even for all my apparent, wisdom, I knew they were right. Why do I do that, sit right there in front of it? Even TV stars in all their apparent beauty have to hire Massey Ferguson to deliver copious amounts of make-up they need to cake on for their close-ups on Hi-def TV these days. What else is a remote keyboard and mouse for, if not to sit back and take a photo of your self from a safe distance? Huh... perhaps ageing has another effect, perhaps, we become a bit absent-minded about these things, perhaps, we don’t really have the grasp on all this technology at all. Or perhaps at heart, as young as it has remained, if nothing else, we don’t really care at all.
In closing, for don’t even get me started on the skin, the jowls, the lack of gravity, what I want to know is, why those bastards who’ve mapped the fucking human genome haven’t come up with a pill that’ll rejuvenate our cells yet, don’t they know that time is getting on? Who cares about FDA standards? I’m willing to risk congestive heart failure and renal disease if there’s a chance of the elixir of youth finally coming of age instead – I’m headed down that fucking road anyway! Or is that simply being reserved for the beauty of youth today, a generation that grew up with the term The Philosophers Stone - the alchemist claim of rejuvenation and immortality, lest you think it was something invented by J K Rowling. Yes a generation who might just discover it, that might just be able to appreciate the beauty of their youth after all, with all the wisdom of an old fuck? Yes, although it might not take a magic wand, if I really think about it, I can still look ten years younger, if I have a mind to, it’s all in the clothes you know, the haircut... but that’s just it, it’s not quite as easy to match youthful aesthetics with a mature state of mind. Youth might be wasted on the young, but it doesn’t quite fit on the young at heart either.
Enjoy the groupon style (whatever that is; I’m too old to know) poem below.
Str8 Xchange 4 those Estranged - Swap ur Youth 4 Long in Tooth
Everythin’ an' Everybody absolutely SUCK?
u, who waste ur life away, sense of meaning @ astray, have long since wished that u were dead, cut urself 'til ur wrists R red? Wished that u were never born and spend ur life... like... all 4lorn? Everythin' blows, it’s just not fair, express ur mood with blue-black hair?
U don't NEED 2 put up withTHAT dude!
Wear weird clothes into school, but 1 way or another u ain’t kewl? Don’t u blieve it’s just a faze, that up ahead R sunnier days, we're here 2 tell u it just gets worse, that youth is really just a curse, but we’ll do u a favor and take ur angst, replace our dentures 4 trendoid fangs, and in exchange we’ll give 2 youse, the wealth and wisdom that age accrues, that spring of life u so resent, can b swapped right here 4 discontent.
Take the fast track; DON’T Git left Behind .......
Senility pardons all the rools, every1 thinks ur just an old fool, & it won't b long until u'll die, & u won't have 2 live or learn 2 fly. It really will b so-oo much better, when u release urself from that youthful fetter. So yes, we’ll swap sagacious wrinkles, 4 OMG teenage pimples, & no need 2 wish ur life away, or feel so desperately lonely; just reply by return 2 this ad 2day, and remember dude... like... serious enquiries only.
* Bonus*Bonus *Bonus **
4 those who dare 2 venture, and call thru May - December, we’ll throw in severe dementia,
so that ur youth u won't remember.
Y W-A-A-A D-E thru a l-i-f-e-s-p--a---n......
when u can simply curl up with a bedpan?
(Above is not an actual Link)
Go here, however, for my website and sample chapters of my writing:
Go here, however, for my website and sample chapters of my writing: