Monday Musings. 17/8/15

As I was at a wedding on Saturday, I woke up feeling fairly groggy and jaded today. A hangover now lasts anywhere between eight hours and three days sadly. Gone are the days of having a coffee and a paracetamol and being fine by midday. I tried to combat this with a swim before work, which was a first, supposed to boost morale and make me feel pleased with myself. First, I went into the steam room in a bid to sweat out the remnants of the weekend’s indulgences before diving into the pool but within seconds a Speedo-wearing man entered and sat a bit too near to me given that it was otherwise empty.
 
 “Morning.” He said, cheerily.
 
 “Hi.” I said in a tone supposed to suggest that I am neither antisocial nor sociable, something which is difficult to indicate with one syllable. I don’t usually mind small talk but before eight o’clock on a Monday, when you are feeling a tad emotionally unstable? No. 
 
 “Not as much steam in here as usual?” The man said. Was his tone accusatory?
 
 “Nope.” I replied.
 
 “Hopefully they will put some more steam in.”
 
 I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t contribute to a conversation about steam now. I got up.
 
 “Right…see you later,” I forced with a flat smile then left the steam room, walked straight past the pool and back into the changing room. I’d been in for a matter of minutes. I didn’t feel pleased with myself at all.
 
 I went to the wedding with my fiancée Louise. I’m not sure how I should refer to Louise. I always feel like a bit of a twat saying “fiancée” as if I am boasting about it. Girlfriend seems unsuitable after nearly nine years and while partner is okay, my sexuality remains ambiguous. Barring an incident on Saturday morning where I flooded the shower and was stood in a soaking hallway wearing a really small towel while Louise and her mum cleaned up, the weekend went well. The wedding was excellent. If you don’t like weddings, you are an idiot. My limited sales skills did become apparent at dinner though. A lady seemed genuinely keen on my book and asked for the best way to buy it. I recommended that she buy it on Kindle because the paperback is a complete rip off. She said she hadn’t got a Kindle.
 
 As I’m feeling decidedly low on energy, it fleetingly occurred to me that I couldn’t be bothered writing my blog today. I was thinking that lunchtime would be much better spent idly scrolling through BBC Sport or photos of my friend’s German stag do on Facebook. Fortunately this was just for a second because as soon as I feel like that, I should stop writing it. (Hopefully not next week.) If you start seeing writing as a chore and not something that you enjoy, I don’t think you should bother. It is a hobby after all. There is nobody telling you to do it. Well, unless you have been signed by Penguin and written a bestseller. 
 
 I’ve come across a few writers who like to talk about all the grafting, the hours and the blood, sweat and tears that they’ve been through to finish their book. I’m not saying that writing a book is easy and fair enough, editing and chopping and changing can take forever but it should be something that you want to do in your free time. You don’t hear people talking about how hard they have worked to get through a Game of Thrones box set. Similarly I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a writer and don’t introduce myself as a writer. I am a man who works in an office job, who wrote a book. Perhaps if I was in a trendy bar in East London talking to a bearded painter, I would introduce myself as a writer. But only then. My colleague plays for a Sunday league team but eyebrows would be raised if he said he was a footballer.
 
 Work today is proving particularly difficult as I had Thursday and Friday off last week so I was starting to get used to a life of not working. I like not working and would gladly retire now, aged 28, if it were feasible. A couple of my old pals were back in Leeds, from Canada and London respectively, so we met up for a day out on Thursday. It had been mooted that we would meet up at 7am and hike the Yorkshire three peaks but after tweaking plans, we met at 9.30am. In the bookies. My Canadian pal (he’s not Canadian), had bags under his eyes and a slight but telling whiff of alcohol in his proximity following a family do the previous evening. I remember from my own experience in Hong Kong that when you visit home, it is fully expected to see people and do things all day, every day which generally involves a disproportionate amount of lager.
 
 Instead of the Three Peaks, we did a much more modest walk over some moors. I’d done this walk a few weeks ago with Louise and her sister and although we’d veered slightly off track (resulting in two angry women not really wanting to talk to me for a while), I was confident that this time I could navigate accurately. Of course this didn’t happen and we were wading knee-deep in heather for over an hour, which is stretching the time-frame that such discomfort can remain funny for. At one point I was convinced I’d found our way back to the path, only to be dismayed by it actually being a stream. After the added mileage, we abandoned the walk at a pub and got a taxi home. The taxi driver gave me some dubious advice regarding my upcoming driving test (yes, I’m nearly 29 and can’t drive. Piss off.) He said that in the week leading up to the test, I should simply drive really fast. He demonstrated this by driving really fast. 
 
Map reading aside, it was excellent to catch up. It’s always reassuring that even when your friends live miles away and you don’t see each other for months or years, things don’t change much at all. Within five minutes of seeing each other, usual service was resumed and it was like they’d never been away. Right, I’m in danger of sounding sentimental, which is not something I want. Because I’m a man.

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