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On the train, as a passenger. The man opposite has his feet up on the seat. He has taken his shoes off, which, presumably makes him think it is acceptable to put his feet on a seat. God, how I hate him. How I despise his filthy manners. He thinks that somehow it is okay to put his disgusting sweaty socks on a place where others will sit. He thinks this is more reasonable than putting his filthy, dust-dirt-and-dogshit soiled shoes on the seat. I loathe him beyond description. This dirty, inconsiderate, thoughtless, ignorant little scumbag tosser.
I really hate people. I really hate human beings. I am serious. We are such scum. We are the rampant germs in a petri dish. We despoil the planet with our arrogant, mindless success. I despise us beyond description. I want us to die, utterly and forever. Extinction rebellion? Fuck that noise. I WANT our extinction. I am not going to rebel against something so obviously deserved. Bring it on. I want to see you and your horrible, wholly unnecessary offspring suffer and die. Bring it. Bring it on. Now. Cull the fuck out of us, mother nature. Abort. Abort.
I want you. I want your skin. I want your soiled breath and sweet saliva in my mouth. I want to swallow you. I want to lick liquids off your everywhere. I still feel this urgent driving lust after so long; nearly fifty years, and still the sex, sweat and sweetness of it, the madness of it; itís still there. Jesus. Help me. Do it to me. Bury me in it, suffocate me with it, let me lose myself in the love of you. That body, that flesh, your wet mouth and the hunger, the need, the relief, the salvation.
I am on the final straight. I am okay with it. Fucked knees and flat feet, stumbling for the line. Theyíre still overtaking me; of course they are. The alphas, the betas, even the zetas. I could never measure up, but I have accepted that, so I run, now, in the way I did not at school, when I rebelled against the now obvious truth that I am an omega, and always will be. I run to the line, happy in the knowledge that I will be last no matter where I finish, no matter who dies first. Loser. Winning.
Man on the platform, Southampton station. Drunk as fuck; dazed, drugged, doubled over and staggering around like a fucked toy robot; obviously gone, solid gone; wild and wankered; out of his useless ugly head; gagging, sticking his soiled finger down his throat; barfing the fuck up everywhere like the worthless lost animal he is. The station attendant follows, pouring salt on the rank piles of puke, a moue of utter disgust on her nice, normal face. He keeps puking, staggering, absent, wasted, on the way out. We try to laugh about it. We think black thoughts of mercy and extermination.
I dreamed of hailing a taxi, because the neighbourhood was dark and menacing, young scum nearby, too close for comfort. I flagged the taxi, got in, sat down, take me away. The screech of careless acceleration, swerving, tyres screaming, and I see the driver and front seat passenger. Young scum, the cab stolen, the driver probably bleeding out somewhere. I reach forward, haul back a handbrake the size of a baseball bat. Car slows; young scum turn. One pulls a blade. I yank the door open; out, tumbling, waiting for the burn of tarmac, but itís cotton sheet. Spared again.
I just watched a video about how to deal with passive-aggressive people.
What a pitiful waste of time. My preferred approach has always been to say something like "Don't try to pull that passive-aggressive bullshit on me, you oleaginous little toadsnatch, or I will fist you like an unlubricated hand-puppet and make you say sorry to me, your parents and the entire world, and then upload the video to YouTube."
I have a lot of trouble with idiopathic neuropathy, incorrigible alcoholism and not getting laid. But I don't have a lot of trouble with passive-aggressive people.
I used to fantasise about meeting my school bullies and showing them that I had done okay, that I had a good job, that Iíd become fit and strong and not entirely disliked by women. But then I realised that to do so would just show them how strongly and terribly they had affected my life, right into adulthood, and forever. Why would I give them that satisfaction? So I let go of such futile and infantile fantasies. But they did, those bullies. They did that to me. They skewed and darkened my entire life, and I cannot change that.
Can we not just start to run, you and I? Letís run for it, darling. Let us put aside our multifarious ills and infirmities and shallow concerns, and simply run for whatever is left of our fading lives. Sclerosis, halitosis, myxomatosis; can we not just frisbee all that fuckery away like a tossed can, and run mad like spilled blood? Take my hand; my veiny, incipiently arthritic hand, and letís start running, right now, polluted wind in our streaming eyes, thickened blood pulsing through our various varicosities... your hand in mine; grey hair and white knuckles. Run for it, lover.
Another sick wet night of drifting; no, crashing; no, cracking in and out of sleep... or what passes for sleep these damned days. I have not slept properly in decades. Sleep is a sad memory, a memory as grey and amorphous as sleep. Every night is a tingling aching toss party; a body in a sheet sandwich, shit sandwich, splashing in and out of mad lysergic dreams, rehearsals for dementia, dreaming of her, him, me, them, all of us mashed up together in a mayhem miasma. Others think I am overcooking it. Fuck you: you should try my dreams, otherfucker.
Fuck your identity. To hell with your identity. I donít care what you are, but I do know that you are a precious, spoilt little bore, and fuck you. Whatís that, snowflake? This is my white male privilege talking, is it? Oh dear, how sad, never mind. I donít give a fuck about that. My identity, your identity, zer (is that right? ) identity. Fuck off with your self-regarding festival of splenetic genetic vanity; you are so not special, darling.
not special. I know your posturing is a way to embrace denial of that, but we are not fooled.
I am filled with seething red rage right now. Can you tell? I am not exactly hiding it, am I? 100 Words, February 2020: ragemonth. Rage against the crying of the shite, rage against the lying of the right, and the left, and the machine, and all points in between. Rage against Trump and Brexit and the stinking idiot hordes shambling behind them, braying their idiot slogans. Rage against the vast and nasty political wasteland, bad taste land. Television, smartphones, mindless breeders, overfeeders, world leaders. Shake my impotent fist against the infinite streaming shit of it all. Catharsis for arses.
All this fretting about yet another virus variant, and once again people cannot seem to understand the simple calculus of relative risk. You can be very sure that plenty of climate change denialists are amongst those panicking about this: yet another tiresome little virus that will kill a few thousand, maybe a few tens of thousands (out of the entire global population, therefore a spit in the human river) and then be contained, vaccinated against, and fade from consciousness. Like SARS, MERS, and bloody bird flu. All while the effects climate change continue to ensure the real culling to come.
I have spent far more Valentineís Days alone than not, and thatís okay. I have only ever received one Valentineís card from a woman I was not already involved with, and I didnít find out who until long after anything might have been done about it. And thatís okay, too. I was touched to receive that card, once I persuaded myself that it wasnít from a piss-taking work colleague, and it is probably just as well I had no idea who sent it, because I wouldnít have known what to do. Anyway, I love you. And not just today.
Baxter was at the bar, rapping incredibly fast but with crisp, precise enunciation. Later, when he took the stage, it became clear who was in charge. He and the band looked like something out of the swing age; white tuxedos, Cab Calloway vibe, but the music was hard and the lyrics were fierce. This was
: a cross between grime and dubstep. Not my scene, but I loved it; cheering and hollering right behind his crew, in an elegant crowd of long-dressed women and smart-suited men. Cocktails and sushi. It was mad and engrossing. All my dreams are.
The memories tumble into the mind like the variously-shaped Tetris blocks, and the longer the game goes on the harder it gets to make them fit, to make it all slot together into a coherent and satisfying lump of truth with no holes. And worse, the blocks seem to morph as they descend, changing shape just before you slot them into that gap. Or is it the gap that changed... shifted over? You play the same game differently, and sometimes you clear the lines first, sometimes I do. We canít even agree on the score. Doesnít matter: game over.
As a child I was an incredibly fussy eater, to the extent that my mother would sometimes consult doctors, make doomed attempts to force-feed, weep with worry. Reed-thin, almost anorexic, I found most foods repulsive and actually nauseating. Now I will eat almost anything. Almost, but there are still some edibles which engender a visceral revulsion that takes me back to the self-starved years. But for the most part I look, smell, taste, consume and enjoy. I think an understanding of science - particularly chemistry - has caused me to see food as, at root, just damned tasty molecules.
Every night. Every damned night. I wake; feverish and dream-tossed, neuropathy tickling and tingling, and the noises are there to prevent me sinking swiftly back into sleep. He is at it again, upstairs. Knocks, bangs, and what sounds like furniture being scraped across the floor. Occasional sighs and grunts. On and on it goes. Not loud enough to complain about but loud enough to trouble a fellow insomniac. I hear Tom Waits asking ďWhatís he building in there? ď, but with my upstairs neighbour itís more like ď
in there?Ē, and I know the answer is dementia, and death.
The UK will implement measures to ban lower-paid EU immigrants, and those who do not speak English prior to coming here. I believe all immigrants should learn the native tongue but see no reason why they shouldnít do it on arrival. The point is, this is another step on the road to insular nationalistic and xenophobic folly, and that is a step on the road to fascism. I have mentioned it before, but I despise my nation now, and I am delighted to see the floods hit the Brexit-supporting regions hardest. Wash that filth away. Drown the rats.
Remember that party game where everyone writes the name of a famous person on a sticky note, then sticks it on the forehead of the person next to them, and everyone can see who everyone else is, but not themselves? Imagine if we all had a display on our foreheads that only others could see; that didnít show up in mirrors or photos. And that display was a countdown timer of how long remained in our lives. And we could see everyone elseís, but were unable to tell them. I would like to see how that would affect our interactions.
Once again, miles high, doing my bit to piss Greta off. She seems a well-meaning if rather earnest young lady, and nowhere near as inexcusable as that prick who delayed a busy tube train. Greta, Iím doing it for love, and frankly I give about as much of a shit about your opinion of that as I do about the planet or, more accurately, the fate of the ruinous species that has so spectacularly soiled its own bed, and fully deserves the reckoning to come. There is something of the hellfire-and-damnation-spewing preacher in me, these days.
Itís the morning sun flare, blazing on the buildings of Manhattan, seen from a sixth floor Brooklyn apartment. Itís the insistent hiss of the old heating. Itís the satisfaction of an untried brunch place turning out to be a winner and a keeper. Itís the old familiar neighbourhood, with all its new unfamiliar things. Itís the walk and the shopping and the spontaneous meal decision. Itís the Uber home, watching something on Netflix together. Itís your daughter and her adorable cat, itís a great meal in a funky untried restaurant. Itís our old folksí early night. But mostly, itís us.
I am having ocular migraines again. Thin arcs of vibrating rainbow colour scarring my field of vision. Both eyes, the same. The lines fade after half an hour or so. There is no pain, no headache, just this strange effect, like a kaleidoscopic corona that both cuts and circles my view. It seems this is not usually a serious condition, and might be brought on by stress, dehydration and a range of other benign conditions. I confess it is giving me pause, however, because the last time this occurred was around a year ago, just before I had the T.I.A.
I usually come to New York for periods of six nights, which is lovely, but never seems quite enough. This time I will be here for ten, which will be much better. Eight is probably the minimum which would seem satisfactory: a week and a bit, you know. But really, itís never enough. Much as I like my quiet, solitary life in London, I really miss New York; and I am reminded of that every time I come back. I miss living here, with Ann. No matter how many days I have to spend here, I shall treasure every one.
This is what I missed, too. The sitting together and not speaking. You with your online distractions, your endless dragon game, precious vape in hand, the easy comfort of it all. The knowing that nothing needs to be said, or done. But then, and also, the conversation. The quirks and mannerisms we both know so well. Even the little irritating things enchant, along with the normal, familiar flow of thoughts and words. Eddies and waterfalls; the rocks in the river, making the liquid more lively, more interesting and attractive to look at, and to listen to. And to swim in.
Big cities seduce. Big cities are multicultural tolerance and broad-minded acceptance of difference. I grew up in Grimsby and Leeds. The former was a miserable, violent midden of casual racism and ingrained sexism. An insular dump; the streets and pubs stank of complacent ignorance and social stagnation. Leeds was better, but still heaving with racism and the sort of smug, phoney regional exceptionalism Yorkshire is renowned for, but enough of an improvement on Grimsby to make me understand what I needed. Big, dirty, throbbing, tolerant, exciting, progressive London. I am a city boy, and damned glad to be so.
I have been making a conscious effort to ignore politics while out here in New York. This is impossible, of course, but I have largely managed to keep its nagging distraction to a minimum. I have paid almost zero attention to the nonsense occurring back in the UK. Itís been more challenging to avoid whatís happening in the Democrat primaries and debates, of course. I want Sanders to win. I want him to beat the forces of the media, and the establishment status quo, in a way Corbyn could not. I dare not hope, so I am trying avoidance instead.
That damned leap year day fooled me, and I now discover that I had not, as I thought, completed the month. So now I have to knock out another hundred for the 28th, because the one I already wrote is about something that happened on the 29th. I might have left this until later but I am being seduced by offers of a delicious breakfast and... something else. I suppose I am quite honoured that Ann enjoys reading these little pieces of writing so much that she is willing to use heavy persuasion to get me to finish them promptly.
We finally organised ourselves and did the death meal. We called it ďLa Petite MortĒ because the idea was to celebrate food and drink that has what we call the rot, the evil, the sin, the notes of decay, the essence of the grave. We are talking oysters, mussels, sweetbreads, anchovies, olives, bone marrow, foie gras, liver, balsamic vinegar, pungent ripe and runny cheeses, certain root vegetables, dark and dirty red wine, a barn floor grappa. And of course, the name was intended to convey the ecstasy these flavours can generate in those of our inclination.
It was absolutely magnificent.
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