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I walked up to the bus stop on Corn street with Mags Treanor and sat on the dusty footpath while she sat on her suitcase and we waited for the bus.
She told me stories about a friend from her childhood who she was on her way to see.
Then I told her a story about Cathy's mother and sister.
Then she told one about the parties she had attended during her life as a doctors wife and I told her one about something that I cant remember.
I felt dizzy on the walk home because my ears were blocked.
Today I get up and go the see the doctor about my gut.
‘When did your mother go through menopause,’ he says. I’m not sure so I tell him, ‘I’m not sure.’ He asks me to lie on the table and he’ll examine my stomach.
‘I’m slightly bowel obsessed.’ I tell him. He doesn’t need to know this but I can’t stop myself from telling him.
He’s the kind of doctor who doesn’t say much so I fill the spaces, a trait I find irritating in others.
‘You need some blood tests.’ when I get down from the examination table.
I can't hear out of one ear.
The wax is compacted, pressing on my eardrum. It causes pain and makes me say 'huh?' all the time. Sometimes I fantasise that there's an insect living behind the wax and it will destroy my eardrum and then I will have to quit work at the call center.
Such fantasies are more tragedy than pleasant thoughts.
In reality all I have to do is stop working in woefully inappropriate jobs like at the call center and go for something better than occupies my mind in a way my mind finds appealing and fulfilling.
Go to work.
Call people up. 'You wanna buy this thing we're trying to sell? No? Okay then, bye bye and Fuck you very much.'
Go to the doctor.
'Could you syringe my ears, please?'
Not for another week.
Get on bicycle.
Sit on the sun lounge and cry.
Think the better of it.
Help tile the fountain.
Grout all up my arms.
Hands as dry as a nuns vagina.
Wash my hands.
Go to computer.
Can barely wait for bed and all this again tomorrow.
Clare says she has been drinking everyday. Citrus twist is the name of the drink.
A type of beer, it turns out made with citrus hops. It gets her 'trolleyed' apparently.
She sits in her garden and drinks it while she bosses her husband around.
He's doing something in their loft with Clare's father.
Being alcoholic, I choose not to drink.
Drinking results in me vomiting, pissing my pants or insulting someone.
Sometimes all three.
Though on days like today, with a tease of summer in the air and Clare bringing a beer into work, I still get an urge.
Friday night we took the train to Birmingham. I had the night off from work because it was Easter. I don't really go along with all the Jesus/God type of thing but a holiday on them isn't a bad thing. It's the least they can do to make up for all the harm that has been done in their name. Anyway, the reason for the trip was to see the Midlands heat of Miss Gay UK. One of the judges pulled out so I ended up judging the event with three other people. The winner was a pretty girl.
All the contestants had to walk along the top of the bar of the pub where the event was held. Then they had to answer some questions. It was a process of , whittling them down from about 11 to 3. It didn't take long. The whole thing was just over an hour. Then everyone went back to drinking and dancing. Later on in the toilets the winner came in to take a call on her mobile. She was hunched in the corner yelling into the phone and I heard her say, 'I know, it's unbelievable, it hasn't suck in yet.'
She had her bouquet of winners flowers in her left arm and phone in the right. The noise from the pool room opposite the toilets was loud and balls were clacking and people were screaming outside the toilet. She got further into the corner next to the sink and sort of bent her head down beside it to get some peace. I was standing in the doorway and tried to hear what she was saying but couldn't quite hear it all. And anyway, then the toilet became free and I lost interest because it was my turn for a wee.
Today the sun came out.
Some of the day I spent in it and some of the day I spent out of it.
In the morning sun we watched the cat play.
The cat was in slight disgrace because this morning I'd caught her at the bottom of the stairs flinging a baby bird around, dead, playing with it like it was a ball of paper, flipping it about, delighted with itself .
I called it 'bitch' and sent it out through the cat flap with a toe in the arse.
Caroline is telling me the real story about how the internet got cut off. 'It wasn't your fault,' she says, 'It was Andy checking the computers.' 'No,' I tell her, 'Didn't you hear about Maria asking me if I got all the work sites and me saying I get not only those but ALL sites.' Caroline hadn't heard about this. 'I hadn't heard about that.' says Caroline. Then Emma, who until then hadn't said anything, says, 'Apparently Alex was looking at porn sites. 'See why I write about working here. It's fascinating.' Caroline raises one eyebrow and I just laugh.
THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS TO DO TOO MUCH ONE COULD SAY AND I'M NOT SURE IF I'VE ENOUGH TIME TO DO IT ALL IN THOUGH THE THINGS I DONT WANT TO DO TAKE UP THE MOST TIME LIKE GOING TO THE JOBS I DONT LOATHE BUT DONT LIKE THAT MUCH THOUGH I LIKE THE PEOPLE I DONT LIKE MAKING THE CALLS OR TAKING THE CALLS THAT MUCH BUT I DO IT THINKING ONLY ABOUT THE MONEY AND THE MONEY I CANT MAKE DOING THE THINGS I AM SO MUCH BETTER AT THAT I WISH I COULD MAKE MONEY FROM
On Friday we drove to your to do this seminar on buying properties to let. York is only 175 miles but it took about 6 hours to get there in the car. I don't know what it is about the English government but they cant organise anything to do with transport. You don't want to take a train anywhere instead of the car. Last time we took the train we went to Birmingham. It was a hot spring day and the heater on our carriage was broken and the temperature was stuck at 39. No one really complained though.
On the same train journey, 6 months before I drank what might have been the worst coffee of my life. These are Virgin trains, mind you, run by Richard Branson. They have an on board magazine in which it says really fabulous people like Pele' the soccer star travels on Virgin trains when he is in the UK. I bet he doesn't drink the shitful coffee. It was like tepid milky water and didn't even smell like coffee. It smelled of the dust it was made of and had an after taste of the wax coating on the paper cup.
One thing about trains is that in any country you go, the staff who run the buffet car are often sullen and seemingly discontent with their working lives. There's usually a plump girl squeezed behind the counter stacking the chip rack and a conductor standing in front of the counter talking at her about how pissed he had gotten the night before or gossiping about someone who works on the train. The counter woman behind will finish all her other jobs before inquiring as to what you'd like. The girls might be sullen because they couldn't failed flight attendant school.
I spend hours on my research project....thinking about what I would rather be doing.
I'd rather kiss a dog full on the lips.
I'd rather eat a serpent alive, mouth first.
I'd rather vote for the Australian Liberal Party.
I'd rather be straight.
I'd rather watch 18728 hours of the BBC news first thing in the morning.
I'd rather drink the juice out of the bottom of a green wheely bin.
I'd rather have a conversation with Posh Spice.
I'd rather throw my support behind George Bush and his stance on Iraq.
I'd rather do another fucking research project.
When I got home from work tonight Cathy was watching that TV show 'House' so I went into the kitchen and made a salad of rocket, cherry tomatoes, peccorino cheese, pleus mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. When I went back into the living room, Cathy was watching a show about the the lives of Richard and Karen Carpenter. I don't watch TV, except for pre-recorded episodes of Judge Judy, but something about the Karen Carpenter's voice, her smile and the fact that she starved herself to death is irresistible to me and I couldn't resist watching it a second time.
After I spent nearly all the money getting Cathy a chicken tortilla from the services at Woodall on the way back from York, I decided to get fries from Burger King for me. 'Would you like a happy meal?' the young man behind the counter asked me. 'I don't have enough,' I said, looking at the change in my palm. But then his colleague said, 'Put it through as discount,' and started ordering my happy meal, for much less than the asking price. When he smiled at me and asked, 'What drink you would you like?' I nearly started crying.
This afternoon, after we had lunch with Louise and Jane, we took the tube to Bond street so that Cathy could go the consulate and get her new passport. I didn't go in. Not because I had any objection but because you can only go in if you have an appointment and I didn't. So I walked back across Grosvenor square and bought a newspaper in Oxford street, had a wee in a Starbucks toilet and then walked back to Grosvenor square and read about the Virginia university shootings sitting in the sun on a bench facing the American embassy.
I arrive at work slightly late and as I'm putting my bag down next to Gilly's desk, Sharon says, 'I need to speak to you lovey.' and I get worried thinking it's about being late. 'Oh, okay,' I say 'I've got chores for all of you to do tonight,' she says laughing. 'Okay' I say, laughing along with her. I can see by the phone on Gilly's desk that she's still logged on so I ask Louise who is sat at the desk next to Gilly's where Gilly is. 'Where's Gilly, Lou?' I say. 'She's in the kitchen,' says Caroline.
Today its raining again. The recycling bins are sitting out on the driveway. They look blacker under this shitty sky. Yesterday the leaves were so green it hurt your eyes. And then the sky at this time of the year at night is almost violet when I come out of work. The hill beyond the trees where the birds used to sing are a line of darkest green. The cars aren't outlines and I can use the cycle path and not be scared of someone jumping out and hitting me with an axe. I hate the winter for it's dark.
I was sitting in the toilet wondering about what to do next. Now that it's all over I could lie on the sofa and watch recordings of Judge Judy. Then again I could find a film I've been wanting to watch and haven't had the time for. I think I've got Oceans 11 there somewhere. Not that new version with those pretty boys, that wouldn't be correct. I mean the real one, with Frank and Sammy etc. I'm hungry too, though I can't be arsed making myself some food. See this is what a day with rain does to me.
Saturday we went to see the house we are thinking of buying. We were finalising the documents in to the office next to the show home with the saleswoman, Debbie when a woman and a girl in her low teens came in and asked if she could look through the show home. A bit later on when I went into the tiny kitchen that adjoins the show home to make me coffee I noticed that the woman and the girl had taken their shoes off and left them in the doorway so as not to dirty the show homes carpet.
After I handed in all my course work I heated up some leftover noodles and watched Oceans 11 on TV. I had recorded it ages ago and had been waiting for a time free of distractions so I could sit and watch the whole thing in one sitting. Toward the end of the film I found myself using the fast forward button. I couldn't cope with the suspense of knowing that something was going to go wrong, I had to know what the thing was. I knew the minute they put the money in the coffin what it would be.
I didn't go straight into the kitchen to boil the kettle as soon as I got to work tonight because I'd arrived late and thought I'd turn the computer on first and wait for a break in calls and then go and make my tea. I'd been sitting at the desk for a few moments before Sharon looked up and said, 'Oh hello lovey. I didn't see you come in. There's envelopes to be stuffed.' I was relieved because on the way to work in the car I'd been worried about reason I was going to give for having been late.
Tonight while I'm piling up the envelopes that I've been stuffing with catalogues I find an RSPCA pamphlet. On the front is a picture of a kitten lying down in a cage. On the back is a picture of the same kitten, but this time it's in a plastic bag. There's a detailed explanation about the state that the kitten was found in. Apparently it had been smashed against a wall and had its neck broken and then died of its injuries. Obviously not at the hands of another cat. I wonder where the fuck some human beings go wrong.
'I bought this mirror last week and Martin was putting the fixings on,' says Clare, 'and he dropped it.' 'No,' I say as I turn to look at her. 'Yep,' she says, '7 years bad luck I said to him. He said, whatever, I don't believe in it anyway.' 'Me either,' I say Then she tells me, 'Yesterday he was backing out the drive and clipped the gate.' 'No way,' I say. 'Today he lost his wallet,' she says. 'Fuck,' I say, 'really?' Then we're quiet until Clare says, 'Look, it's quarter past 8,' 'Really?' I say, '. Tonight's gone quickly.'
Tonight at work the phones run hot but it doesn't stop us from talking about what our favourite foods are. 'Soup' says Gilly when I ask what her favourite is. 'What's yours?' Gilly says to Alison when she gets off the phone. 'I like a lot of things but they don't like me.' Says Alison. Alison has IBS and should be careful of what she eats but isn't. 'Chips' she says, 'and McDonald's.' 'English food then,' says Gilly who's holding a packet of Lloyd Grossman chicken soup in her lap. 'And sausages and chips and pizza and chips.' continues Alison.
Last night, after we'd come back from the pub because I was ill, we turned on the tv and lay on the sofa under the sleeping bag and watched a tele-movie about Jackie Onassis. It was three parts long and went on for 6 hours. In fact we got into bed to watch the end it was so long. Today after we got back from Oxford where we'd gone to watch a film that we didn't see because I was ill again, we turned on the recording and watched the remainder. Remarkably none of the characters seemed to age.
Yesterday we took the car and drove to Gloucester. Cathy had heard the dock area was being rejuvenated. Her mother had suggested it was a lovely place to visit. She was right about the docks. Old warehouses on the dockside had been converted to flats. 'I could live here,' I said to Cathy, 'listen to the seagulls. Waking up top them would be lovely.' She agreed. Then we walked into the town of Gloucester. What a pitiable sight. 'They should put a wall around it and let no one in or out.' I said to Cathy on the way home.
Tonight, as I enter the office, Sharon shouts out, 'There's cake over here. Caroline says its ginger, I reckon its carrot. ' 'Let me be the judge of that,' I say, 'Bring it on.' Caroline brings me over a piece of carrot cake and puts it down in front of me on the desk just as Maria sits down with me to give me some training on a new campaign. It isn't until Maria finishes the training and I finish the cake that I notice that the piece of paper Caroline had brought me the cake over on was toilet.
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