Saturday, May 07, 2005

Victor Meldrew time

For those who have been following this, the good news is after 5 weeks my grandma's finally out of hospital. The second stay of 4 weeks was after falling over on her first night home after the first visit, and hurting her hip making her pretty immobile. At 95 she's still more or less her old self, and has recovered from the kidney incident (still not treated yet) that put her there originally.

I have weeks of catching up to do, I missed seeing a number of friends over that time, and the grass is now a foot high in my garden, so tomorrow I've got to do all that. And the hedge and anything else that has passed the stage I usually let it get to for the first cut of the spring. I've just heard my friend who went to America in 2002 is coming back as planned for a visit in June, a week earlier than planned but only for 10 days rather than the month he wanted. And the whole family is staying here for 2 days, that'll be interesting. Unfortunately there's now no chance they'll be back any sooner than the original plan of 6 years, in fact a lot closer to 8, which has now ended any hopes I may have had for an early return.
My female interest has returned to zero, and technically I can't really see where it's going to come from next. We do have our singles barbecue coming up within a few months, though being in Kingston means if I do meet anyone it's going to be a shlep if I see them regularly, but there's nowhere else I can think of any better. I spent 4 years internet dating already, one girlfriend, a few phone calls which were painful, and one other meeting which was equally painful. Meanwhile I'm just getting on with other things, I can only work on those areas I have access to, and apart from speed dating, which I won't try until it comes to North London as I don't want to travel to some godforsaken crowded bar in the West End and then find the best of the bunch lives in Poplar or Wimbledon, I'm too old for all that having spent some years chasing women from agencies all over the place, and all I got from it in that whole time was a quick one by the river at Richmond.

15 or so years later I see no point accepting or looking for women who live over 10 miles, and often many more, away. Unless it's so good they move in with me after a short time, I haven't got the energy to sit in the car for hours (especially as I can't drive in Central London before 6.30 any more, the only way to cross the river from here). In fact looking back on trips to Loughton, Newbury Park, Crystal Palace, Wimbledon, Charlton, West Drayton, Eltham and other places most taxi drivers haven't even been to, I can't be arsed to start with a handicap before I even get anywhere. Lazy? Yes, but practical. And I wouldn't expect a woman to keep travelling here either from miles away, especially as nearly all the women I meet of all ages still haven't got a car! Not that the ones who did actually used it much when they went out with me, but it is a start.

I wonder whether there's a monster inside me that is brought out by blogging? In fact, from a very early age I found when I complained people frequently cracked up with laughter, so I made a bit of a speciality of it. I also exploited everything banal in my life (living in North London makes this the perfect environment to do so), and incorporated it into my routine. The Private Eye obsession with Neasden, where I first went to school, had my first girlfriend at 4, and did much of our shopping before leaving the area a year later, is very much the basis of British ironic humour, and having the chance to milk it here unfortunately is turning me into a young version of Victor Meldrew (who I greatly admire, however fictional he may be). The recent series 'Angry old men' had Will Self who's a year younger than me for god's sake! But far from being miserable, most of the time these guys talked common sense. We don't like kids whose idea of marking their territory and showing their manhood is leaving trails of saliva in the street, and making a challenge about how closely they can spit to you without actually hitting anyone. And only people who don't drive like road humps. I know a lifelong Labour voter who voted Tory in the local elections just to get rid of them. Cars aren't made to go over humps at any speed, it shakes them to pieces, and anyone over a certain age can easily be hurt going over them as well. And people in call centres who are forced to stick to a script because they don't actually know any answers as they've had no training are a waste of space. I had 40 minutes to suffer of these recently when I tried to cancel my free AOL trial, and I can confirm that Indian call centres, however good their spoken English may be, they can't understand colloquial English very well, just as I don't understand colloquial Gujurati. They are being given jobs to do they aren't able to do, because it's cheap. And finally (for now) we just had a competition on the radio for retailers to give their highest price markups. The winner (while I was listening) was 1000% of cost. The average was around 300%. One called proudly to say how the old 10% markup was now part of history as they marked up their designer watches at 3 times cost automatically, and batteries and printer ink which cost a few pence sold at a few pounds or more. In the 3 days I spent in an opticians, the frames which cost beteen 60p and £20 to buy sold between £20 and about £110, and this was a discount store. Most start at £50 and easily touch £300, and they are unlikely to pay much more than we did.

There you go, if I'd been a celebrity I could have filled half that programme myself, I was born to moan and it's such a talent they made a series out of it, or 2 if you include the fictional Victor Meldrew. OK, life isn't always shit, I never said that directly, I just notice it a bit more than some... But the girlfriend situation itself, that's double shit, with hair in. Nice picture? Well that's what it's like at this end, trust me.


Philosopher Newport said...

classic, and i do mean CLASSIC case of a dude chasing butterflies like some desperate, ignorant fool.
i can see it like the specs on your face in your photo.
i can see it because i was the same way.
when you train yourself to truly give up and not give a damn about it, then it lands on your shoulder as you are busy just being yourself and doing other things that you like.
after that, all your bullshit about not wanting to drive more than 10 miles to see her becomes irrelevant.

i'm telling you, brother, just be happy you can whack off. be glad you don't have prosthetic hands.
leave the women alone.
resign yourself to the idea that you will never meet the girl of your dreams.
doesn't mean it will end up being true.

it's your desperate need that drives em away, or sucks in the psychotic ones.

it's not really a need.
the only needs are food, clothing, shelter, and some communicative interaction---even just by mail or blog or phone.

that, and some pot, and good tunes.

you're a cheapskate, aren't you, Dave?

hard to part with the old cashola.

if you write back, please do it on my blog.

Stef said...

I'd agree with that - it's like waiting for buses ...