Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Friends old and new.

I'm still working my way round new scenes, a park nearby I saw online on Monday for the first time was the venue for yesterday and a bus in Southgate today. I've had two bunches of calls for work enquiries and one actually booked and he hasn't called since. I had a set of accounts to do over the weekend so slightly busier on the work front but that pays peanuts. But better than nothing. I've continued sending messages to people with a complete lack of results, fancy that. I can't find the list of women I was going to try on the dating site (usual occurence here) but keep looking for new ones. You never know. Just for the curious the main focus of my own social life for years now has literally been the YMCA. It took (like most places here) ages before I even spoke to anyone in the gym where I spend most of the time, the cafe everyone keeps to themselves and at least they've had the odd party there where I chatted to one woman and danced with another older than my mother (apparently). I also had a blind date from hell set up with a member which I described at the time. The social side is extra as it's mainly gym related but I've no idea if others have managed more than I have. But I don't hide away like some people think.

Besides there I did work my way through my mum's Polish cleaners (many far higher qualified than me), but got no more than vague discussions of arrangements and no further. She's also introduced me to a few women who were (apart from her friend) disaster areas, but her friend is nearly as old as her and not up for any funny business. Of course there's always the old standby, funerals. I've asked one woman out from one (no), and had one ask me out (no way!). There's little else to do once the service is over and everyone's back at the house eating. It's at least a way to keep in touch with the relatives who forget we're alive till someone else dies, and then forget again till the next one. My favourite local cousin died young about 20 years ago and the other is American. I've been to see him there once but he comes here every few years since I was born. And he shares my dirty mind which is an added benefit. But with only one (late) uncle all my cousins are my parents' ones as my uncle had no children. I have at least 100 second cousins worldwide from up the road (almost) to Australia but never really had a lot in common with them. As soon as they were old enough to go out on their own we only saw them at weddings and funerals and besides being related may as well have met them on the bus. Tragic really.

I could never think of any reason to drift away from any of my long term friends, besides when they move away, but a few chose to drift away from me for whatever reasons. Fair enough, I did better than most with nearly all my friends being met before I was 17 besides one who also drifted off since. I don't think most people average 20-30 years for most of theirs but I always have. That's another reason I look from the past as even if just one old friend wanted to get involved again it would take the chance element out of the equation. The character from Crouch End clearly got fed up so can't see him bothering although I only have a rough idea where his brother is since they left the area and none about him. One who went back to Holland in the 70s for reasons unknown didn't keep in touch as of course he knew where I was but not vice versa. He was another character and very entertaining. Jacob as described before was run over and killed long before anything could be revived here. Another one ended up a career criminal and vanished once he'd done his last stretch and got married (and then divorced). We went back to 1965 and had looked after me till he buggered off to his new life of crime some 20 years later. He followed me through three schools and regularly bought my lunch (he just did that sort of thing) although it turned out later he'd probably nicked a lot of the money he spread around on other people. Easy come easy go. But he didn't do it to his friends, only made up stories to get me in trouble sometimes but nobody's perfect.

Then there were the people who weren't friends but the class comedians. Maybe if I name a few here someone will find them. I've had it happen before actually although one had a very unusual name, and sadly another death but at least I know everything about her life now. Malcolm Cohen was a Scottish eccentric who'd moved to London and loved to show off 'my father's a lawyer you know' was the main routine (although both my parents are, his were millionaires). He was the class comedian when I was off duty, and could sing and do improvised comedy like a professional or nutcase, depending on your point of view. But bloody hilarious. But there are thousands of people with the same name including a couple where he used to live so that's a dead end. Then a name few could confuse with another, Neil Ralph Dourmashkin. He loved the name so much he'd go around shouting it out at break and was another albeit more anarchic entertainer. He's probably in insurance now with a few kids. Most go that way. Then there was the 'Jewish brigade' at primary school. Not because they were as most of us were, but because they'd kept the names my family and so many others had rejected, and sounded like a roll call in The Bronx. Berger, Berglas, Portnoy, Rappaport, Goodman, Rifkin, Levene, Cohn, which are like music to my ears when reminded whenever I hear them now. I hope more people hang on to their European names as it's an identity lost when each is lost to an English version or worse still something randomly chosen. Cohen for Horsebox as a comedian pointed out.

Well now I know if anyone googles Neil Dourmashkin my blog will turn up as probably the sole hit. The number of times I've googled something to find the only reference was my own when looking for them initially. I think the whole of life seems to be doing that to me for some reason, like the oozlum bird, eventually disappearing up my own fundament (arsehole to you). God forbid.


diver said...

"Just for the curious ..."
I'm curious. YMCA, parties, dancing, blind dates ... I panic in all those circumstances, always have, 30 years or so. I just religiously avoid them now. How do you manage the claustrophobia? I mean, do you feel it at parties and so-forth? Maybe Aquarian agoraphobics are better at this stuff - they have a reputation for "detachment and friendliness", I'm told ... ?

David said...

Well there you go, I thought exactly the same about your trips away and abroad. I'd probably be hospitalised if I tried that...

It just shows we all have our lists of hard and impossibles, and like most my comfort zone breathes in and out over the years getting larger and smaller. Some years I can go in a football crowd with no worries, but others not even in a friend's house. And the YMCA is an exception as I stay almost over the road from it at weekends so is like my second home. Anywhere else and I'd be the same as you believe me!