Monday Musings. 7/9/15

As I’ve got older, feeling genuinely excited about things has become increasingly less frequent. This isn’t me being miserable — I am often cheery and there are lots of things I enjoy doing, it’s just being properly excited doesn’t happen anywhere near as much as when I was younger. This is largely down to now being a fully grown man but also, lots of things I used to get excited about were down to the anticipation; waiting a week for the next episode of a good TV show or saving up to buy a new album just doesn’t happen now. Most things are accessible within a few seconds on a laptop which takes away the magic a bit. 
 My friend and I were discussing excitement last week. What are people excited about these days? Some people are prone to exaggerating — when I hear girls saying that they are ‘’so excited’’ about meeting a friend for a coffee, I wonder how true this is. Our conversation took place on the way back from playing 5-a-side football, which we decided is something that men definitely still get excited about whatever their age. We won which always helps and morale was high afterwards. Complimenting one another on a football performance is one of the few forms of praise that men feel comfortable dishing out. It is still a bit awkward to receive acclaim although this wasn’t really an issue for me as I didn’t play particularly well. Badly timed eating arrangements left me with a stich after one sprint which is never ideal. I also haven’t played football in months so my legs felt like granite, which is probably cause for serious concern with a marathon coming up in four weeks.
 As well as the enjoyable resumption of our 5-a-side team, I was excited a further two times last week. The peak came when I received a flashy new bike as an early birthday present from a number of generous contributors (thank you.) Cycling is so much better when you are riding a bike that isn’t falling to pieces. I’d been dropping subtle hints to Louise over the past few weeks (‘I hate my bike, I want a new one’) but it still came as a very pleasant surprise.
 I am a big fan of most aspects of cycling. One thing I particularly enjoy is the mutual respect among cyclists; the cyclists union. You look at each other and offer a smile and a nod which has underlying tones of an ‘us and them’ attitude towards drivers. There are three regulars who I pass almost every time I ride to work. Two of them — a curly haired woman and a muscular middle aged man — always greet me with the aforementioned nod and smile and I have even stretched to saying ‘hello’ to the woman if it’s sunny and / or after Tuesday. 
 The third regular is a man of similar age to me who is clearly a very serious cyclist. He has his head ducked down, wears Lycra and goes really fast. This guy is a bit of a bastard. I tried to nod at him a couple of times and he was having none of it, slightly raised eyebrows as far as he was willing to go. I wasn’t in his league. 
 This was until last Tuesday, when I was on my new bike and wearing a trendy new helmet. (Can helmets be trendy? Probably not.) He didn’t ignore me this time but looked over and said. “Alright mate.” For weeks and weeks I have cycled past him slowly, sweating on my rusty old bike and he wasn’t interested. As soon as I’m on shiny new wheels, he respects me. He wants to be mates. Unbelievable. Of course, I felt quite pleased and replied with a cheery ‘Morning.’ Cyclists are a fickle bunch.
 One of the reasons why I don’t get excited so much is that at twenty eight, most things I do, I have already done before. This was not, however, the case with the third time I was excited this week; playing footgolf. This was an early birthday celebration with some friends confirming that my birthday is over already even though it hasn’t actually happened yet. To be fair, it is on September 11th, which isn’t really a day associated with celebration and cheer.
 Footgolf is an excellent invention that combines something that I really like with something that I can’t do. I’d hoped to be good at it but sadly came seventh out of eight as an outsider took the crown with a strong performance. It was great fun and despite being pretty rubbish, I managed to keep my head, which is something I sometimes struggle with in individual games where you only have yourself to blame. The last time I played mini golf, the red mist descended and after a succession of infuriatingly bad shots, I had a meltdown and booted the ball off the green in a rage as parents with toddlers looked on in disgust. I was playing with Louise’s mother and sister, who have fortunately met me enough times before this to appreciate that this was an anomaly and I am not actually a psychopath. 
 Speaking of anger, I had quite a bizarre exchange with an irate man this week. The ATM near us and the only one in the area wasn’t working, which is obviously annoying. Perhaps buoyed by my recent social progress with the serious cyclist, I thought this was comment-worthy.
 “They really need to fix it. It’s really annoying isn’t it?” I said.
 “That’s not the fucking point. For fuck’s sake.” Irate man replied.
 Fearing that he thought it was my fault, I made the reasonable suggestion that he could get cash-back in the Co-op. He didn’t say anything, shook his head and stormed into the shop. I really hoped that the bus would just arrive so that I didn’t have to wait inside the shelter with him. Of course it didn’t.
 “They don’t do cash-back.’’ He said, red-faced now. ‘’What a fucking joke.’’ 
 This left him in quite a predicament as he and I clearly hadn’t hit it off but I was now his only option. There was a pause as he weighed this up.
 “I don’t suppose you’ve got a quid?”
 I gave him a quid.
 Juxtaposed with all of my recent excitement, last week at work was pretty relaxed. This is mainly due to the fact that I am leaving soon. I recently got offered another job so handed my notice in a couple of weeks ago which is an absolutely horrible thing to do, especially when you like your job and the people you work with and have only worked there for a few weeks. It’s not so much the letter and the official bit but the walking over to your manager’s desk and saying “Can I have a word please?” Everyone knows what’s going on. I had to mentally prepare myself for a good fifteen minutes before thinking ‘just do it’, all the while feeling scared and lightheaded. It was not dissimilar to preparing to do a bungee jump (something that I have done and am definitely boasting about) although gladly there were no tears this time.
 When it’s known that you are leaving, you can definitely take your foot off the gas a little bit can’t you? Also, there were a lot of computer problems this week. Let’s be honest, no matter what your job is, you are quietly happy when you hear that systems are down. Systems down = guiltless feet up.
 My colleagues and I saw it as an opportunity to watch stupid videos on phones including this wonderful piece of rugby commentary:
 I was first introduced to this gem by a good pal in Hong Kong and am proud to say that I now know all of it off by heart, which doesn’t impress Louise anywhere near as much as it should. (For the record, I won’t include links to videos in Monday Musings very often. It’s cheating a bit isn’t it?)
 I start my new job next Monday. It’s always daunting starting a new job and anyone who says it’s not is a liar. I am looking forward to it though and I think it will be a good step forward in terms of becoming a responsible adult. Hopefully I will still have time to write something next week but if not, my apologies. Anyway, after all of last week’s excitement, things may balance out and calm down a bit this week leaving me with little content. At a push I might buy a new shirt but I’m not sure if that justifies a blog of over a thousand words.