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I wish I could write something creative, original and interesting this month. I am not feeling very artistic or wordy at the moment. I can’t wait to be back at university where I can fill my days with incredibly interesting and academic facts on a course that is quite impractical and entirely non-vocational. I am not a practical person. I excel in a world where everything is theorized and can be debated, but when it comes down to earning a living in an environment where selling rubbish is more important than abstract thoughts, I’m a hopeless case. I hate telesales.
I have entered a poetry competition. Possibly for the wrong reasons; (the £5000 prize might have had some influence on the decision for example). This made me go through all my old poems, which was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. My best poems were all written at times in my life when I was really, really screwed up, depressed, heart-broken and so on. Maybe it’s teenage angst, but maybe you need something heart-wrenching to inspire it all. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been in the past three years, and consequently I haven’t written anything decent in that time.
On yesterday’s theme, I’m sure there’s more ways of describing negative emotions than positive ones. Here’s a test: Happy, joyful, ecstatic, euphoric, cheerful, gay? carefree, light-hearted, high, excited, hopeful, hyped, content, blissful, pleased, glad, optimistic, relieved, exhilarated, elated, jolly, jovial, merry, smiley, delighted, romantic, thrilled, satisfied, relaxed, confident, loving, thankful, fulfilled, expectant, lively, vivacious, adoring, active, bouncy, fresh, peaceful, funny, bright, amused, entertained, safe, free……….. that’s only 47, and that took a lot of thinking. And ok, so I used the thesaurus too, but the mere fact that I had to proves my point. I cannot name fifty positive emotions.
Unhappy, depressed, sad, despairing, pessimistic, hopeless, miserable, self-destructive, under-the-weather, down, blue, subdued, moaning, withdrawn, worried, anxious, terrified, petrified, mortified, upset, heart-broken, guilty, regretful, suicidal, unstable, cheerless, bored, discontented, unfulfilled, empty, hating, hurt, pain-filled, disappointed, flat, scared, (self)-loathing, lost, bitter, despondent, dejected, gloomy, forlorn, sorrowful, useless, low, disheartened, uncomfortable, rejected, unloved, outcast, distressed, inconsolable, desolate, wretched, fed-up, downcast, troubled, disturbed, ashamed, humiliated, dismal, disillusioned, frustrated, abused. I think I’ll stop at 65 because I am depressing myself just thinking about them all! Maybe the English language was designed for unhappy negative people, or maybe my vocabulary is that of a pessimist.
My day doing Telesales: Bel: "I'm calling from Olan Mills, we'd just like to let you know.... OldBag 1: "I'm 95 years old you know" Bel. Erm.. congratulations. Do you have any children or grandchildren who would be interested? OldBag 1: No dear I'm 95. Bel: The offer we're doing is designed for families. Do you have any grandchildren? OldBag 2. I'm not sure I'll just go and check....... Bel "We're offering three photographs plus the beauty treatment for £23.99" OldFart 1: I'm 86 years old pet, I'm decrepid and ugly and I don;t want anyone else to see me.
Bel "Hi, my name’s Bel, I'm calling from - OldFart2 puts the phone down Bel: Hi, I'm from Olan Mills, we'd just informing people about the special offer we're having at the moment OldBag3: My daughter says I'm not allowed to talk to people like you (cheeky laugh) Bel "We can give you a complimentary sitting and print if you can just let us know of a few friends or neighbours who you’d recommend for this offer..." OldGit 1: My friends are all dead and none of my neighbours speak English. they're all pakis round here. They all speak japanese....
These telesales thing is really starting to numb my mind. For instance, I’m referring to myself in the third person again. All these responses are perfectly genuine though. “As home time neared, Bel loses concentration whilst doing courtesy calls to previous customers: Bel: I'm just calling to see how the photo sittings went, did you enjoy your time in the studios? Chatham-Girls's Mum 1: Not really, we weren't impressed, the photos came out horrible. Bel: (not listening) Well, we're offering a free make-over at the moment. Would you be interested in that? Chatham -girl's Mum 1 slams the phone down.”
Everyone has abandoned me. I smell a conspiracy. I promised myself I wouldn’t mention telesales again incase I bore you tears, dear reader, but everyone seems to have vanished – no-one’s even in when I ring to sell them things. SANDRA!!!! In the extremely unlikely event that you find this, PLEASE get in touch!!! I now have absolutely NO idea where you are – Oman? Yugoslavia? Back in London? Manchester? Bournemouth? Been thinking about you and would love to catch up, haven’t heard anything from you for ages….We’re living on the same small island and I’ve not seen you for a year…
For the past few weeks I’ve been convincing Robin that life is good, and its not hard to stay happy. However, I am beginning to lose faith. There’s nothing wrong. I’m just bored. I’m really not good at being bored, or being on my own. Robin should be coming up soon, which’ll be good, cos it means COMPANY. I’m halfway through my summer break, I’ve hardly gone anywhere, hardly seen anyone. Haven’t got round to going to see my parents. Haven’t got round to going back down south to see people like I promised. I am bored. I hate it
Just thinking about career options. I’ve still got no idea what I should do with myself, or even what I WANT to do. Is that a serious problem at the tender age of 19? Probably not… I love university. Maybe I should just become a permanent student, like Carl. I love being a techie in the theatre. Unlikely to earn a living from that. I like writing. No-one is gonna pay me for this type of tripe though. Someone in the bar asked me what I was gonna do with an anthropology degree. I’ll probably still be working in there!
So, Tony Bleurgh is not sure whether to side with Mr George “Nigeria-is-an-important-continent” Bush over his plans to blow up Iraq. Good. Not wishing to incriminate myself by making anti-American sentiments, and risk being imprisoned without trial on grounds of suspected terrorism of course, I wish to congratulate the pair of Righteous Leaders of the Free World on their fantastically well thought out plan concerning invading Iraq. They’re worried incase Saddam has biological weapons, but they don’t know for sure. So of course, provoking him to “defend” his country from the US attack is a great way of finding out!
Who am I without my face? When I feel so trapped And out of place Who am I when life’s not fun? Or when I’ve got nothing left From which to run? And he’s so great and I’m so lucky and I’m so sick of these four walls…. Who am I without my phone? When my friends aren’t in And I’m on my own? Now’s not a good time To feel so confused I can’t follow my instincts, I’ve got too much to lose. And he’s so great and I’m so lucky and I’m so sick of these four walls…..
Robin is here!! He made me jump out of my skin at the station – he’s grown his hair longer and bleached it and I honestly didn’t recognize him when he suddenly grabbed me! I’m sure he’s even taller than I remember. Anyway, it’s good to see him. When I’m replying to all his letters, he doesn’t seem the same person as the guy now asleep upstairs. In the flesh he is far more cheerful and funny and interesting, - harsh as it sounds, that’s not the guy that comes across when he pours his heart out to me via email.
Had totally shitty day. Robin and I were supposed to be working together behind a bar in a cricket club, but everything went so badly wrong it was almost farcical. We ended up in the wrong place, (no-one thought to tell us there were two cricket grounds…!) We were forced to wear god-awful bowties. Although we were told ‘Barwork’ it turned out to be cellarwork – ie: rolling 22-gallon barrels around. Not very safe! The bitch from the agency was sooo patronizing, saying I looked fat in the uniform and so on. I don’t need that. So we just walked out.
I am still pissed off about yesterday: There was once a bitch named Danielle Who really annoyed Rob and Bel She gave us bow ties Said I had fat thighs Now we both hope she rots in hell. Rob has now gone home. He’s been great, and volunteered to “speak his mind” if Danielle rang again. Ok, we walked out and that’s not very professional. But I’m a temp, so that’s not my profession. Customer service and PR is Danielle’s profession though, and telling someone they look awful or really fat, doesn’t seem to demonstrate good people skills to me.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! Damn damn damn. I’ve forgotten Luisa’s birthday. So far this year, I’ve forgotten Caroline’s, Shoo’s, both Woobert’s, Paola’s and Mami Tachi’s birthdays. This is not good. I only remembered Allison’s because she is now 18, which is the important one. I am so gutted about Luisa’s though. 18 maybe The Big One over here, but in Peru, when a girl reaches 15, they have a huge, huge celebration, dress the poor kids up in huge white dresses like they were getting married or something. 15 is when girls officially become Women. All very exciting. And I forgot, totally. DOH!
Today I spent the afternoon wearing an oversized neon orange t-shirt, and an equally luminous orange baseball hat, standing in the middle of Sunderland, accompanied by a heavily pregnant Australian with a craving for KFC. Or in other words, Antoinette and I were handing out leaflets for the Autofair next weekend. The costumes were a vague attempt at publicity – you certainly couldn’t miss us. I can now add “leafleting” to my CV, along with the 7 other totally unrelated jobs I’ve had this summer. Well, I guess I can say I am truly “experienced” at marketing! I have no shame.
I have yet another new job. This time I am typing Highly Confidential reports written by examiners marking Unmentionable Level exam papers. I am working for a Private company whose name and location is Classified. Basically, I am not allowed to publish anything about any of it. I was not originally put forward for the job because I was thought to have had some connection with the company before, and I would be Impartial. I have to have photo ID, and a card to electronically swipe myself in and out the building. All this for a few weeks temp work
CELIA: The very peculiar person I’m sitting next to at work. She’s barmy. About my parents age, married, but never got round to children. Her husband seems to have quite a lot of money, so that she doesn’t have to work full time, which is how she ended up temping with all us students and general hopeless masses. She has this peculiar habit; she’ll start a conversation, but when the subject changes, she swtiches back to the original conversation, regardless of the fact that we’ve forgotten entirely, leaving us severely confused. She also hums incessantly and reminisces about trolley buses.
KEVIN: Kevin is my hero. He is working with me in the Unmentionable Office because is he is desperately saving up. He works 35 hours weeks here, then 25 hours during the evenings at a callcentre as well. To save more money, he cycles from one side of Newcastle to the other, doing 25 miles a day. Last year, he spent 7 months in Brazil. He is saving up to go back, see Marleni the Brazilian chica, and return to his dreamworld. He even has a spreadsheet on the office computers, calculating how many hours he has left in Britain.
SARAH: Sarah is one of the beautiful people. Well, in my opinion, anyway. She’s 6’1”, slim, blonde and Australian. (Two blonde Aussies in one summer… my, how cosmopolitan Newcastle has become!). Sarah plays basketball in some high-ranking team that I should have heard of if I knew anything about basketball. She got me to scan in some photos of her recent bus trip around Europe with the team, so she could send the images back round the world. She gets excited about traveling on British trains (huh ?!?!?!). counts calories in a little book and then tucks into my triple-chocolate-and-mars-bar-cake.
It’s exactly a year since I left Peru. Not a good day. Vic is off to Ireland soon with her uni friends. Mum and Dad are somewhere between Lithuania and Latvia. Mark is in Romania. Hilary is in the States. Sophie was in Morocco, but is now in Portugal and isn’t coming back til uni restarts. Even Rob has got some vague sort of travel plans. At work, Celia has just got back from a cruise round Scandinavia, and Kevin is saving up to go back to Brazil. I’m the only person who hasn’t done something interesting with their summer.
Wish I’d written this: …Losing coins calling next-of-kin Dropping words about the city we're in Thoughts compressed by heavy air Us without care just sprawling there We're Gods in our world. Airports and undergrounds Waiting to find the unfound Rising to pure insanity Here when you want me True love has no simplicity We're gods in our world You and I we're going so high The air is getting thin But our land does not breathe in We don't need oxygen It's dreams that bind us and lock us in The rest are impaled by sense. (From “Oxygen” by JJ72)
I HATE Trains!!!! How dare the insignificant putrid objects even consider fucking up my highly important day?!? Why are there only strikes on AFTER I’ve bought a weekly ticket, rendering it unusable and consequently wasting yet more of meager resources?! Who bloody cares if the conductors aren’t getting paid enough?! I don’t! I get paid by the hour, Scum, so if you make me wait at a freezing platform in the rain for 45 minutes, I am losing out too! And you dare to complain that we never buy tickets?! Maybe we would if the service was worth paying for!!
Apparently, last month a new skull was found in a desert in Chad. Most of the skull, the jaw bone and a few of the teeth. Weirdest thing is, its 7myo (as dated by the sediments and other fossils around it). It looks more human than apelike, huge browridges, humanish teeth, but with a very small brain. This has upset a lot of anthropologists. Traditionally it was thought the common ancestor of humans and chimps lived around 8-10mya. But if this hominid is 7myo, the split must have been much earlier, otherwise this skull would look far more apelike. Hmmm..
I know this is cheating, but I can’t help myself: WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND WE ARE GOING TO FINLAND!!!!!!
Explanation of yesterday’s cheating repetition. We are going to Finland. I am sick of Britain (as always!) and since there is no way I am going to pay off my overdraft even if I work up to the last second before university restarts, I thought I might as well blow the lot. At least that way I can say, hey, I’m in debt, but at least I had fun. We’re gonna stay with Carl’s best friend Minna, and her 18-month old daughter Mimosa (who is NOT named after the sanitary towel brand!), on the outskirts of Helsinki. I can’t wait!
I called Peru!!! Finally!! My Spanish is getting so bad that I was getting too nervous to call them. Speaking on the phone is so immediate; unlike writing letters you can’t stop and think or use a dictionary. I learnt 80% of my Spanish through talking and listening to ‘mi familia peruana’, but without being forced to speak the language, day in day out, as your only means of communication, you forget it pretty damn quick! However, I summoned the courage and phoned across the miles, and spoke to Allison y Luisa for twenty minutes. I’m very proud of myself.
My period is late. I‘m trying very hard not to worry. I know that stressing out about this sort of thing only slows in down further. I must remain calm. Think of something else. Can’t. No mood swings, no sensation of my innards turning inside out. I am not a werewolf when I should be. Phone Carl. Panic down the phone in the middle of the office. Carl panics too. All those times wishing I was a bloke so I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit every month, and now I’m panicking and hoping that it shows up soon.
Where is it?! Help!! It’s never been this late, ever. I’m usually a clockwork werewolf; I grow huge teeth and develop a taste for blood at exactly 6pm every fourth Thursday. Now it is Friday afternoon and I look peaceful, demure and not in the least bit carnivorous, as I sit Paper Shuffling in the quiet office. What the hell do I do? Abortion seems so sensible when it’s not me that has to face it, but now, I’m scared. The alternative is more terrifying though: I can hardly look after myself, let alone a screaming dribbling pink insomniac too!!
Possible the worst, most masculine euphemism in the English language: ‘the painters and decorators are in.’. But my God am I relieved. I’ve no idea why or how it was so late, but at least it has finally arrived. I am not pregnant. Carl is not gonna be a Daddy, and he is extremely happy about that too! This called for a great deal of celebratory alcohol. (mmmmm… vodka based melon cocktails….mmmmm) And celebratory alcohol led to daft conversations and Planning of Futures.But none of the proposed ideas contained any references to the ‘B’ word, I hasten to add.
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