Thursday, 28 August 2008

Random thoughts

My evening meal tonight consisted of a tin of sardines eaten straight out of the tin whilst standing over the cooker waiting for a pan of water to boil. The pan of water was for steaming some broccoli that I needed to eat before it started to turn yellow. A balanced and nutritious meal if ever I saw one. I have friends who are dropping sprogs all over the place, and bringing new human life into the world, and I'm still eating fish out of a can and mouldy vegetables.

On another note, I met up with Sis#3 yesterday and we went round to her flat for coffee after dinner. She lives in Sloane Square, just off King's Road and for those folks who don't live in London, this area in general is full of very wealthy and very pompous people. I decided to get the bus home as it would be easier than changing several times due to the Victoria Line not working. At the bus stop, who should I come across, but a group of yoofs. They may all have been wearing expensive blazers and designer jeans and talking in very posh voices but they were still doing exactly the same as the yoofs on the council estates dressed in Adidas. They were just hanging out, drinking beer from cans, swearing, spitting, and generally being very loud and annoying. It's funny how urban tribes may live in completely different worlds, but at the same time, strip away the superficial stuff like clothes and accents and they're participating in exactly the same rituals and practices.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

It's only a game

So the new football season has started. I wouldn’t normally care, but last season I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I joined in the Fantasy Football shenanigans and entered my own team. To my horror, I found that I actually really enjoyed it. There’s something about trying to second guess what’s going to happen in games and gloating over mates when you manage to move ahead of them in the league. By sheer luck (although I told everyone it was sheer skill) my team actually managed to do quite well and after leading for quite some time, I came first in my work league and fairly well in my friends league. This pissed off a lot of people, which is my specialty I’m told, so it was to be expected really.

I used to be a big football fan when I was younger. The onset of puberty and my fascination with 22 hunky men in shorts running around a field was no co-incidence. I seriously believed that I was destined to marry Ryan Giggs. At the age of 11, the first ever Valentine’s card I ever sent was to him. The heartbreak and disappointment when J17 published pictures of him holding up sacks and sacks of similar cards from like-minded 11 year old girls was unbearable. It still hurts a little now just thinking of it. So began my support of the mighty Man U, and a crazy obsession that went as far as spending all my pocket money on football magazines like Match and FourFourTwo, and religiously recording Match of the Day. Not because I was out partying and I would miss it. I was 12 and had the most over-protective parents in the world. Going out into the garden after Neighbours wasn’t allowed. No, I would watch it on Saturday night, whilst recording it so that I could watch it over and over again throughout the week. I was a very dull child with obsessive tendencies.

Nowadays, I think one of the most interesting things about football is finding out which teams people support and why. It’s amazing how someone can be so obsessive about such a simple sport. I don’t like football, but I love the passion and the dedication it invokes in people. Relationships can come and go, people change and move on, but which team you support rarely leaves you. Sure, sometimes, when you’re in your fickle teens and trying to figure out who you are, some restless people may switch sides, but generally, once you’ve moved into secondary school, your team is your team for life. I have a great respect for people who have a devotion to their local team, no matter how rubbish and useless they are. I have a friend who’s a season ticket holder for Wycombe Wanderers. They’re never going to do amazing things in football, but his house is still full of Wycombe fridge magnets and the team calendar with the season’s fixtures. A friend at work used to play me the commentary from old York FC matches from the 50s when they actually used to win some games. The delight in his face when they scored made me laugh so much. More interestingly, a friend from overseas came to the UK many moons ago on a family holiday when he was just a tiny boy in shorts. His father wanted to buy them all a souvenir and so bought him and each of his 3 brothers a football scarf – a different one from a different team each. From that day on, he’s been a devout Nottingham Forest supporter. Another friend recently arrived in the UK from the shores of Kangaroo Land wondering what team to support. He wanted to support a London team so that he could go to as many games as possible. Did he choose Chelsea? Arsenal? Even Fulham or Crystal Palace? Nope, he went for Dagenham and Redbridge. He wanted a more interesting team where he could be sure that the supporters in the stands were there for the love of the team and out of passion for the game, rather than a corporate fat cat who was having a day out on company expenses. I admire his inspired choice. However, I’m not sure whether I will still be as impressed when I’m in the Dagenham grounds. Yes, I’ve decided to pop my football cherry at a Daggers game and am venturing out to the middle of nowhere to watch overgrown men get emotional about a muddy ball being kicked about in the middle of a freezing cold field. I can’t wait.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Aidan P, Rest In Peace

I found out yesterday that a friend had a fatal accident last week. It's thrown me into a state of shock and I can't stop myself thinking about it.

People die, I know this. It's a fact of life and the ultimate, unavoidable ending. But this happens to old people. Grandmothers and grandfathers. Elderly friends of my parents. People who have lived their lives and have the crows feet and stuffed photo albums to prove it. This doesn't happen to people my age. Aren't we all invincible until we reach retirement age? Isn't that the deal?

Aidan was only 28. He was 9 months younger than me. He once joked that I was being born when he was being conceived. He's left behind a wife and two beautiful young children. The youngest was only 8 months old. She'll never get the chance to learn first hand what a wonderful and loving person her father was. She doesn't get to grow up hearing his stupid jokes and listening to his infectious laugh. She won't get to experience his crazy driving or have to endure his System of a Down cds at full volume. She doesn't have the chance to discover that her father was the world's greatest optimist. Constantly full of life and enthusiasm, he always had the ability to find the humour in everything. Part of me is still expecting him to jump out at any minute, laughing, telling us it was just all a prank. Maybe that's just his optimism that's rubbed off on me. Maybe that's because I can't quite believe that he really has gone. Maybe I should just be happy that I had the privilege of knowing him during his very short life. Maybe this is just fate and was meant to happen. Maybe I don't believe in fate anymore...

I'll miss you Aidan.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Murder on the dim sum floor

I’m marking this day in the diary for future reference. This could go down in history as a day to remember. After years and years of waiting, the ‘rents are finally getting to meet one of their daughter’s man friends. Sis#3 has bitten the bullet and decided to let the ‘rents and man-friend battle it out over a few bowls of sticky rice and miniscule cups of jasmine tea, whilst we all watch with bated breath. The paramedics will be on standby…

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Things that have made me smile recently

  • Making it to the gym two days in a row
  • Hearing someone singing along to Shakira in the showers at the gym
  • My flatmate who has totally blitzed our flat after we’ve been living in squalor for the past few months
  • Receiving an x at the end of a text from Boy
  • Receiving an unexpected phone call from a friend who I haven’t heard from in a long time
  • Discovering the world of charaben
  • Receiving a package at work which turned out to be some fruit juice which I had won after Sis#1 nominated me in an online competition

Friday, 1 August 2008

Letter to boy

Dear X

I had a very strange and intense conversation with someone last night that's been playing on my mind a lot and I wanted to talk to you about it.

I hope you don't mind. Feel free to delete it if it's too weird.

I was told that I had upset and offended someone with my constant sarcasm and mean (but probably very witty!) comments. To the point where he was actually considering cutting off all contact with me. I'm glad he was able to communicate this to me before just ignoring me forever more, but it's still upsetting to me that I could have annoyed him so much when I just thought I was being funny. I know I use humour a lot - probably as a form of attack and to deflect from anything on a more serious level. However my intention is never to actually cause any hurt, and I'm horrified that it could have been viewed as that.

I think the person I was talking to has issues of his own and our relationship is a little strained at the moment as we used to date and we're struggling to find the right level to re-engage at. It's always hard trying to find a comfortable level of friendship after a relationship, and this one is no different. I'm still always thankful that you and I somehow managed to remain good friends for all these years.

Last night I realised that I do tend to be quite mean with my comments. I only do it with people that I like and feel comfortable with, and it's all done with good intentions. I know I've annoyed you in the past by being overly mean, and I wanted to let you know that I never do it to cause any hurt or upset in any way. I am going to make more of an effort to stop being so flippant and rude and to try to be nicer. I guess it's just easier for me to make fun of people. It's like the cliched pulling someone's hair and tripping them up in the playground when you like them.

I probably also do it to distract myself from getting into deeper issues with people. If you don't know someone too well then it's always easier to converse in an infantile fashion such as sarcastic digs rather than exploring more complex discussions. Perhaps this is what upset the boy more than anything - the fact that I was preventing him from actually having any meaningful conversation and preferring to resort to pathetic jokes. It's probably some kind of defence mechanism that I've been running since the beginning of time. It scares me when people begin to get too close and sarcasm has always been my way of dealing with this fear.

Anyway, the whole point of this is to say to you: I'm sorry if I have caused any offence in the past with my relentess mocking of you. I hope that you haven't been offended too much, although I have received reprimands from you telling me to be nicer and less mean. I hadn't realised how tiring and awful this can be to people.

Sorry for the long self-indulgent monologue.