Storage heaters, Bridget Jones and a pugnacious silverback gorilla…
Before I go any further, I would like to reiterate, that this is not a diary. Anne Frank, Captain Kirk and Che Guevara had that side of things covered. That was of course until Bridget Jones came along and violently kicked the whole keepin’ a diary thing to within an inch of it’s life.
As it happens, myself and Bridget have a few things in common. We’re both in our mid-thirties, single, broke and unemployed, actually the ‘broke and unemployed’ bit I’m not that sure about as I didn’t pass the first chapter because I was contemplating running into a wall head first and quite fast, as I tried in vain to digest the stagnant vomit that was being funneled down my throat in her efforts to justify why she even bothered to get out of bed let alone write a bloody diary to share with the rest of the world.
However, in her opening two pages she covers her ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ with the headings ‘I WILL NOT’ and ‘I WILL.’ So I’ve decided to put together a small little list of my own for next year.
I WILL NOT
Discuss problems at length with my dog when I come home drunk.
Sing like no one’s listening, dance like no one’s watching when I’m drunk, and people are… listening and people are watching.
Drink to a point that I lose the ability to speak, walk and recognize members of my immediate family.
Wrestle with my dog when I’m drunk. (In fact I will have no dealings whatsoever with my dog when I’m drunk.)
Leave the feckin’ dog alone when I’m drunk.
Come the New Year I intend to elaborate on this list, however, if I achieve one of the above I will feel an overwhelming sense of achievement…
Right, enough about me talking about me, let’s talk about what you’re thinking of me…
Try to picture me propped up on my leather armchair a bit like Angela Lansbury in the opening credits of ‘Murder She Wrote’ all ten fingers frantically bouncing off the keys of my old typewriter in time with that intricate piano score. My eyes sternly focused on the letters I have just written, as the type slugs wallop the paper, thumping out lines inspired by memories left to rust in the damp corridors of my mind. Yet returning to life on the page before me, polished and pristine transcending me back to the moment they were born. I smile, glance at the keys and lost in passionate embrace I glide the carriage release to my left, effortlessly returning me once more to the birth of a new line.
I’m sorry for ruining this romantic moment conjured by my overactive and somewhat delusional imagination. Nonetheless, I’m a thirty-six year old man who has about as much in common with Angela Lansbury as the delicate air of an operatic tenor has with a three-stringed violin being played using the blunt side of a sickle.
As for my typing skills, they’re as finely tuned an art as a silverback gorilla’s attempt to open a coconut without spilling the milk, in the dark, with a cavity block that he’s holding in his mouth.
The truth is, I’m crouched over my keyboard like the elephant man trying to siphon a bowl of soggy cornflakes through a twisted straw. And the music I would choose to serenade this obscenity? Nothing other than the exasperating theme to Coronation Street, emitting the inspirational ambiance of explosive diarrhea, that would quite possibly suck the life out of a stable of wild mustangs. Yes, that’s right, the musical theme that one would be likely to find in an elevator whilst on a stop over in purgatory.
I’m also probably the last man on this planet that should attempt to start writing a blog, simply because I hate reading. I always have, unless it’s within arm’s-length whilst I’m sitting on the toilet, I simply couldn’t be bothered. I guess it’s a childhood thing from my early days at school, I was such a lousy reader that the Brides of Christ (teachers, as in nuns) even thought I was dyslexic, speaking of which; why did they make that bloody word so hard to spell!
Anyway, the weaker students like me would be asked to read, which required the reader to stand up and read in front of the class. As I stood there hesitantly petrified, I would proceed with the story that was as easy on the ear and had the majestic flow of an accordion being kicked down a spiral staircase and at the same time I had to contend with a sniggering class and the piercing glare of a nun who had about as much sympathy for my reading disability as a six month old rottweiler shows to a slipper.
I could sense the bigger words approaching, a bit like a learner driver approaching a roundabout, I’d get nervous, reduce my speed and try to predict the pronunciation of the word before it arrived. This of course would lead to my inevitable downfall, as I would lose track of the words that I was supposed to be reading, stall, the gears would grind, I’d heedlessly plough through the sentence, disregarding all road signs, pedestrians, articulated lorries, (And crazy old women that push trolleys full of junk and insensitively scream at telephone poles and throw empty coke bottles at stray cats), in order for me to make it out the other side. This made the story I was reading about as entertaining as trying to lipread a toothless eighty-four year old man while he’s tucking into a bowl of hot spaghetti. Whatever way you look at it I get very little reading done!
I have also been told that I am a good listener, which is untrue. To the untrained eye it may seem that I am a good listener, this is probably due to the fact that I am inclined to stare at the individual who is talking and occasionally nod in agreement giving the impression that he/she has my undivided attention. I’m not listening, I’m in another world, more than likely wondering why there is a huge ball of fire in the sky spinning around us as we travel at breakneck speed across the Milky Way, or I’m being distracted by the radio in the background whilst trying to determine did he just sing “a bite of my sandwich” or a “vegemite” sandwich? I guess I could compare my attention span to that of a marmalade sandwich, I say marmalade sandwich, because I’m eating one now.
Marmalade sandwiches on white sliced pan, could anything in this world be less enthusiastic? They bend lifelessly unlike any other sandwich, they lack a charismatic radiance that other sandwiches hold with minimal exertion, and have the nutritional value of a two-slice toaster that has been brought to the boil in a barrel of brake fluid, baked until crispy brown and then dragged backwards through a badger’s anus.
People who eat marmalade sandwiches discuss what cleaning products work best on Branston pickle, day-to-day allergies, air fresheners and envelopes. I know very little of the man, but I can safely say that David Attenborough does not eat marmalade sandwiches, Martin Luther King did not eat marmalade sandwiches and neither did Alexander The Great nor the winning goal scorer of a World Cup final. No, their preference would be organic grilled chicken on a bed of rocket salad with tarragon mayonnaise served on a lightly toasted chapatti. Why we eat marmalade sandwiches has become an overwhelming topic of intriguing fascination for me, on-par with why boy-bands must conduct interviews whilst sitting on top of each other on a couch that was designed to hold no more than two? Was my friend Willie Joyce really chased for three miles by a bag of tayto, or was his very limited knowledge of ‘mountain fungi’ to blame for his rather out of the ordinary behavior after his second bowl of ‘wild mushroom’ soup? Why did my father always turn down the radio when he was looking for an address? This very conveniently brings me to the question, who was the Turkish Minister for defense in late August 1983?
However, all is not lost in the great mysteries of life, I have finally worked out how ‘storage heaters’ save you money, it’s a conspiracy they’re not actually heaters. They’re a complex arrangement of intricate gadgets that have two dials ‘Input and Output’ but don’t be fooled. This pitiful attempt at reverse psychology has led me to believe that thousands of tenants including myself spend endless winters in the cold, with blankets wrapped around us, eating bloody marmalade sandwiches as we are too cold and lacking the inspiration to make the effort for a right sandwich. All because we are too embarrassed to say that we are unable to operate a device that has just two knobs. The crushing reality in this absurd situation is that no-one seems to know how to work a storage heater.
One theory is that they are being operated by alien life forms on the far side of the milky-way, who cleverly disguise themselves as everyday household products like baking trays, light bulbs, table spoons and blu tack and our storage heaters are the means of communicating to the mother-ship sending valuable information about our day-to-day existence as the inevitable invasion of our planet closes in. Another theory is that they are in fact heaters and I simply haven’t donated the time to figuring out how those two bloody knobs work.
Nevertheless, I have adapted quite well to my environment, and rather than look like a total idiot in the eyes of my peers over the past three years I simply moved into my kitchen where the fan, oven, grill and toaster have provided me with ample heat to see me through the cold winter nights.
To be continued…
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The Itchy Ring