REPORT A PROBLEM
Symptoms of Philophobia (fear of falling in love or being in love):
sweating; anxiety, a feeling that you are going mad or losing control, a sense of detachment; a morbid obsession with being consumed, but of being consumed from within by your own desires; an imminent sense that something enormous is about to be wrenched from you before you are ready to give it back.
All of these symptoms are absolutely normal and are no cause for alarm. You must experience them and conquer the anxiety. There is almost no chance that you will die or be left permanently disabled.
Just when I think I can’t get any sadder about the death of Princess Diana – bang! Something else comes along to remind me. Today I was parking my car at Sainsburys when I saw an old lady returning her trolley to the trolley park. Naturally, the wheels on the trolley reminded me of the wheels of Diana’s limousine spinning wildly out of control before it crashed into the wall of that underpass, killing her, her then-boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, and driver Henri Paul, and badly injuring bodyguard Trevor Rhys-Something. What we need is more media coverage of this ten-years-ago tragedy.
Frequently I will pass another person on the street and be gripped with an absolute certainty that I’ve met that person before. This is my prompt to turn around and follow them.
I am not allowed to stop following until I have worked out where I know them from.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes after following them for several miles, all the while scouring my memory banks, I realise that I am mistaken and that we have never met before. Other times I suddenly recall how I know the person and I leave it at that.
Other people I assault.
Every time I see that goal that Michael Owen scored against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup I am amazed at the pace, the skill, the naďve confidence that propelled him from just inside his own half, past three ineffectual challenges, and into the opposition penalty area.
To actually see him shoot with such unerring accuracy and power…well it’s almost too poignant to watch.
The moment of celebration, the explosion of joy that follows is – this may sound dramatic – effectively the end of Michael Owen’s life. In his mind and ours, he will only truly exist within those few seconds.
I am a bisexual woman of 25, who has never experienced orgasm. Or at least I don't think I have. I am told that there is such a thing as a 'vaginal orgasm' and also a 'clitoral orgasm'. I suspect that I may have experienced the former. It was - if that is what it was - like a big sneeze, but nice also. I think I may have had an ice-cream headache once, but again how can I be sure? No one tells you these things. Isn’t there some kind of machine? Or an instructional video? Or a DVD?
What am I doing? I am standing here in a state of contemptuous awe. The fact that you strode so confidently over to the chiller cabinet and instinctively reached for the can of Coca Cola, in my opinion, speaks volumes. What the hell are you thinking? Are you insane? You are. You are fucking insane. I do not take life to seriously. As you stand there, greedily slurping your capitalist, war-on-terror, freedom-fries, ‘Dubya’-loving, evil, capitalist, capitalist, capitalist cola drink, Afghanistan burns. Starbucks is draining the blood from our children. McDonalds is worse than Hitler. Well, not that bad. But bad.
I would like you to compliment me.
Pick some aspect of my physical appearance (or, if you are really struggling, of my character), observe it, think of some words inside your head that are pleasant and affirmative, and then use your voice to say the words. My ears will hear them, I will interpret their meaning, and my synapses will buzz with pleasure. Momentarily, I will - regardless of the truth of the words - hum with the full, glorious beauty of my potential. Then my psyche will twist your words into a grotesque hubris that will destroy us all.
This month I will not be judging others. I will be giving myself a break and them a break. Negative-nancy style thinking is what is making my hair fall out, and probably also what is causing the goitre that is slowly strangling me. This is the type of thinking that is causing me to wake up in the night, my face flecked with some mysterious effluvium, the source of which remains unknown at this time. Positive thinking doesn’t come naturally, but I will be giving it my best, and maybe doing a bit of self-harm to take the edge off.
I am writing this for you. If you are reading this and have even the slightest sense that the ‘you’ I refer to is in fact you, then rest assured, it is. I am writing this to you because I have got no voice to say these words. I’m slowly disappearing and, as anyone who has ever slowly disappeared will know, it is the voice that goes first. These words are, in effect, my will. I bequeath them to you.
I fucking hate words, they only confuse things. I will be pleased to be rid of them.
I love you.
If it’s OK with you, I will answer your questions in turn:
Minestrone or tomato.
In a branch of Halfords in Stroud
It was good but it was over much too soon.
Much too soon
More than words can say
A giant foam hand smothering me
I will never forgive you for this
Careless Whisper by George Michael (not Wham)
A pain that never ends
Anyone who has ever used the following terms: ‘have it!’ or ‘oy oy!’ or ‘blingin’!
A single shaft of light shining a light of sudden clarity onto the heartbreaking mess that is my life
Don't hang up.
Listen to what I have to say. If you just give me one moment, I will explain everything. You probably have a lot of questions right now, things you need to have explained. If you give me just five minutes of your time - two minutes then - I will explain all the things that you need explained. I will explain and you will be satisfied by my explanation.
My explanation will follow. Parts of the explanation may seem implausible to you, but rest assured that each part of the explanation is entirely true.
Don’t hang up.
I should pay attention more. Too much of my time is spent daydreaming, lost in my own imagination as the world shifts around me.
It can annoy and frustrate people. I know my colleagues find it difficult. I’ll be there, staring, lost in beauty, imagining faces and forms fluttering and unravelling in the flames while they rush in with their hoses and axes and whatnot. Boy, they get angry.
Just this morning my wife was complaining about it. She was standing at the door, a small brown dog at her feet. Or maybe a suitcase. She was crying I think.
I’ll be honest with you. I know this is your first time, and I take no pleasure in this. Perhaps you will improve in time, but right now there is no room for passengers my friend. Frankly, your baby-sitting this evening was a fucking joke.
Granted, when you arrived I was already over-tired and fractious, and you could be Mary Fucking Poppins, I wasn’t going to drink my milk for no fucker. But did you even make the most rudimentary efforts to mollify or even distract me? Did you fuck.
My advice? Go home and have a word with yourself.
Nothing annoys me more that when life seems to shrink until it resembles nothing more that the lyric from a Snow Patrol album track. Burble burble….I miss you…..burble burble….why can’t you be mine….burble burble something about skin and bones, or some other cheap and transparent anatomical metaphor to make the physical pang of emotional longing forehead-slappingly obvious.
It pisses me off because I want to believe that I am more complex than this. I also want to believe that Snow Patrol are dreary arbiters of clumsy emotional truisms. Probably I am the clumsy one. Big clodhopping emotions trampling over me.
The breeze is calming me now. The tap of the rain on the window outside sounds like applause. My eyes are still trying to adjust to the darkness of the room, though we have been here for hours. I suppose my brain didn’t bother to make the effort, it didn’t seem important at the time. The only thing my senses had to focus on was you, and that was more than enough. My head swims with the moment, the woozy disconnect between this and any reality I have known before. The future drifts on the horizon, dragging me willingly behind.
I always get a pang of nostalgia when I see the green and white St. Stephen’s uniform. Blazer, shorts, peaked cap, with a little red, puffed-out face bobbing underneath as I slowly pull away in my bus.
I used to be a St. Stephen’s boy. Now I just drive them to and fro. There are a certain amount of hijinks and tomfoolery that I’ll tolerate. I make my boundaries clear – ‘here’s the line, don’t cross it’. I’m not afraid to throw a nine year-old from a moving vehicle. It feels like only yesterday it was me skidding across the tarmac.
I would describe myself as adventurous, outdoors-y, energetic and always up for a laugh. I’m the kind of person who will come into your office and perch themselves on the edge of your desk rather than sit down in a chair. I will probably be the guy who has the sleeves on his shirt rolled up, while everyone else’s sleeves are rolled down. Probably my tie will be loose also.
It goes without saying that I’m silently screaming from within a glib, superficial personality that now feels like a prison. I want nothing more than to die silently, without trace.
A boy and a girl are sitting behind me on the bus. The boy is telling a series of transparent lies in order to impress the girl, who tosses back two- or three-word responses with a haughty contempt that makes my skin bristle. She is amazing.
Despite her obvious disinterest he continues, a seemingly endless stream of self-aggrandizing bullshit cascading from his mouth. What does he expect to achieve?
“So, my dad is Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac”
Suddenly the girl is interested.
And then she is all over him. This is the story of my life.
I like the television programme Judge John Deed. It is about a man who is a judge. But there is more. Each episode focuses equally on one of the trials that he is sitting in judgement on, and on his own private life. A private life that is frequently more complicated than those of the defendants whose lives he holds in the palm of his hand!
My favourite bit is when, after a hard day’s judging, he goes home and slumps on the sofa with a glass of red wine in his hand. His life is complex. He’s all judged-out.
What will it be like in, say ten years’ time, when I’m remembering this exact moment? I mean, there is nothing particularly special about this moment, other than that I am deliberately ferreting it away, in a conscious effort to construct a memory that I will be able to look back on in ten years. This is my safety net. At least I will have one memory.
Will I say to myself
man that was a really sweet moment
? Will I regret making so much effort to preserve a memory that is basically just me looking forward to looking back?
I love the attention.
I will be upfront about this.
If at times you find me blowing hot and cold, understand that it is my problem not yours. It’s just that you seem to have expressed some degree of romantic interest in me and, while finding you physically attractive, no part of me imagines us as a couple.
Again, this is not a ‘you’ thing, it’s an ‘us’ thing. Having said that, I couldn’t help but notice that you use the word ‘exasperate’ when you mean ‘exacerbate’.
I will carry on paying for your dinner though.
I love the attention.
Someone once told me that the Japanese have a diet that contains almost no dairy products whatsoever and that, as a result, they find contact with Westerners distasteful. To them ‘we’ smell of sour milk and cheese. As a result, I find myself entirely unable to relax in Japanese company. People have begun to notice, and it’s becoming problematic. I’m afraid it might look racist. I try to imagine myself as a great man-sized air-freshener – like those ones you find hanging from the rear-view mirror of a car. Also I think sweet-smelling thoughts and hold my breath as I talk.
Before we start, I should let you know that I am not great in interview situations.
I really believe that I have a lot to offer and - while I know that I have not met any of the other candidates in the flesh - I feel – I know – that I am the best man for the job.
My only concern is that this may not come across over the course of the next 45 minutes. I may stutter. I may sweat. I may start unconsciously undressing. These are just nerves.
Please bear this in mind if I kiss you.
Where did you get that motorcycle?
You don’t just
a motorcycle. Where did you get it?
I won it in a card game.
Who did you beat in this so-called card game?
You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
It was Janeane.
What, Janeane my ex-girlfriend Janeane?
I can’t believe it. How is she? Did she ask after me?
Man, she’s cool. And no she didn’t ask about you.
Well what happened?
Dude, tell me what happened?
Dude, she popped a wheelie. I said hey. Then we got our bone on.
10 print ‘Jon is Gay’
20 goto 10
10 print ‘But being gay is OK. The term ‘gay’ is not pejorative.’
20 goto 10
10 print ‘The very fact that this one statement has led to an argument speaks volumes about (a) society’s attitude toward any kind of alternative lifestyle and (b) your precarious relationship with your own sexuality’
20 goto 10
10 print ‘If we are going to have this conversation, I propose we do it at a time when you have managed to regain control of your emotions. Take your hand out of my trousers.’
20 goto 10
Hello. It’s good to see you again. Really, has it been that long? I had forgotten.
Be cool, just be cool, she is here now, you can stop trying to hook her.
So, I thought I would open a bottle of wine in honour of…well…I thought you might fancy a splash of wine.
Holy fucking fuck. No one says ‘a splash of wine’. Why am I going all Hugh Grant? I’m blowing it!
So, what do you think of this? Tuck in! It’s not going to suck itself!
Too soon, idiot! Remember, she is classy, she wants to be wooed!
I’m gonna drop this shit, so you betta hold ya nose
My game is too tight for you stank-ass hos
I’m rollin’ through the village in my Seat Ibiza
My window rolled down, so you can smell the reefer.
All the bitches be wet when they peep my style-age
This motherfucker gives me fuckin’ excellent mileage
With prices at the pump heading through the fuckin’ roof
There’s much to commend this bitch and that’s the truth.
Every fly bitch wants some of my Seat style
You ain’t the first, so get in line ho, you’ll have to wait a while…
What annoys me about humanity is how we refuse to learn the lessons of even our most recent past. Why, even in 2008, do people remain ignorant about the potential en-Hulk-ening effect of gamma rays? The first Hulk documentary came out in 2006. I for one was moved at the plight of that one gentle man who got gamma rays on him and then turned into the Hulk. As the credits rolled, I thought that we had finally seen an end to his suffering. Yet, only two years later, here is another man who has been Hulked by gamma rays.
Genevieve had never known such pleasure as coursed through her slender frame at that moment. She breathed a tremulous sigh that seemed to whisper ‘good lord, universe release me from this complex and bewildering straightjacket of womanly emotion’. He grunted above her like an impatient pig, demanding its swill. Would she be his swill? She hoped so.
Morgan flicked the hair from his face. It was getting in his eye and distracting him. It spelled out a perfect arc in the humid air. A guinea pig squealed it’s last as it was crucified on a fence-post on the camomile lawn.
Reverse all of your biter memories by literally re-writing the script of your life! Mentally rehearse the memory that is giving you bitterness (or bitterness-spectrum feelings) and then write it out as if it were the script to a film or play. Attempt to reverse the tenor of the episode my changing no more than one letter in each word of dialogue. Thus:
“I think you should leave, I don’t love you anymore. Don’t make this hard”
“I thing you should weave, I don’t move you anymore. Don’t make this card”
A crushing rejection becomes friendly advice on handicrafts!
The Tip Jar