True friends don’t clean for your arrival

A standard by which I have no true friends.


No, I do, but this way it looks more dramatic in the excerpt.

Do you know those pub crawls they have you do in your first week of uni? They should have those for when you’re not in uni, and not even new in town; you’ve just been an unsociable pile of insecurity who has skipped most activities in school or uni (when everyone else was learning to navigate acquaintanceship) and now, years later, is ready to cautiously dip his toes into the water when most of the crowd has long swum beyond the horizon.

And they actually do have those pub crawls for all the late bloomers (and the newly arrived, and tourists, which basically is what you are when you finally decide to head into town after years of digging your burrow) – you can Google it. But much like you wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have you as a member, you wouldn’t want to hang with the sorry souls who sign up for such a thing, you sorry soul, wouldn’t you? We need to have a talk about elitism and arrogance and this blog’s title, and I can feel it coming up in the mid-term future, but today is for something different.

This year is coming to an end, and when I scrolled through the few posts I managed to [note to future me: the amount of time it took me to arrive at the next word is ridiculous, and I really hope you’ve managed to stop trying to tell it in a fancy way and began just telling it instead] create [God, and then after all that thinking, create is what you go with, you cringelord] so far, I realised that I made the very first entrance on January 1st. Well done, me, because that makes for a fantastic landmark to take stock.

First of all, I’ve written 35 thousand words this year (where it matters). Put through the Stephen King converter (the internationally accepted standard for calculating writing currency), that makes for precisely 17.5 workdays. I’m happy with that. It’s a good start, and considering that it’s been a shaky year and I do have a full-time job (adding another, say, 180 workdays) to juggle, nothing to scoff at.

Second, and more importantly, it’s becoming a habit; not a break from normality, a return to it. I think that’s what I’m proud of in this wonky mess of a year, and it doesn’t even really have much to do with writing. It’s just nice to see that I’m not set in my ways, and I’m not petrifying just yet. I can make changes, and with all of my insecurities and fuck-ups and mishandles and inadequacies and self-deprecation and self-complacency and needs for improvement, which I’m all constantly aware of and which will continue to haunt me in a minute, it’s a nice breath of fresh air that I will allow myself to enjoy for just a touch longer since it’s Christmas and Christmas (modernised) is for gifts. Repeat after me, me:


After me

I can make changes.

Third, and more importantly yet, The 1975 have finally released a Christmas song, so they are now a real band.

Okay, enough with the admin and the self-adulation, it’s not my birthday, it’s Jesuses. Here comes the juicy bit:

I went to the capital for a work thing where, in two days, I managed to reenact the entire ark of how it felt to live there for the few years that I had. It just happened; had I tried, nothing would have come about. Ten minutes into arrival, on the underground ride from the train station to my hotel, a homeless person spit on me, which is part of the charm and a concise metaphor for what it will feel like when you first move there. The next 48 hours, I spent getting lost in trying to find connections to everyone and their grandmother; a bottomless pit of substances, loud music and dark grit somewhere in between (it was an incredible high, brain-piercing, all-feeling; one of those where you mix two things and out comes not a combination but an entirely new third thing). In the end, having overdone it on all counts, I tried to chase expensive girls or cheap sex, equivalently, and ended up (rightfully) winded up and alone. I left leached, defeated and if I’m honest, serene, for the whole affair was bloody beautiful, all things considered. Life isn’t the happiest over there, I was reminded, but it’s life alright.

There is a lot to unpack from my trip, but it’s all just the same old bleak, dogmatic, existential me which, fundamentally, bores the crap out of me by now. I’ve rather enough of soul-searching and scraping the bottom of the psychoanalysis barrel, which is just my way of getting validation, I suppose. I’ve even got a New Year’s resolution about that whole thing and everything, which I’ll share another time (just to check whether I still remember it the next time I post). The one remarkable thing that I want to mention is that it wasn’t me or any of the other young crowd who convinced everyone to go to the club that consequential first night. It was my twenty-plus years older boss, and if he hadn’t, I would have idly gone back to the hotel for sweet dreams.

I’ve been going over my posts from this year and cringing at some of the things that I have written. Truthfully, I was cringing much less than I used to at things that I’d written longer ago, which at first I reckoned was the main takeaway. But then I thought about my boss spearheading us into nightlife and realised the takeaway might be something else. Perhaps the moment I stop cringing (and this probably goes for anything) is the moment I stop moving. I have an inkling (and future me will check in and confirm or negate) that the state of standstill is precisely where the processes of being young and getting old align.

Let’s not. Let’s continue moving. Let’s continue cringing!

There’s a lot of work to be done still, so off we go. To a new year, and Jesus, if you’re reading this, happy belated birthday.

Leave a Reply