pitches/proposals :: 2 (one on Upwork, one through a friend)
positive responses :: 2 (both still pending)
jobs completed :: 3
English lessons taught :: 2 trials
hours of Dutch learning :: probably only 90 minutes this week in total. Donder slampamper!
books being read :: 2 (same two as two weeks ago)
outings :: 1
physical exercise :: bit of cycling, 1 back-fixing session (I miss being fit. I need to sort my shit out.)
metaphysical exercise :: 1 measly minimed, but some very good conversation
routine adhesion :: 23%
happenings that I have decided to regard as tests of my moral fibre and overall positive mental attitude :: 4
tests passed :: 2
tests failed :: 1
tests as yet unresolved :: 1
week 15/52 overall rating :: 9/10. I’ve said a couple of things and thought a couple of things I’d rather not have, but I haven’t tortured any kittens – not even metaphorically – so, mustn’t grumble. Also the Future continues to shimmy and sparkle, much like a lime, exploding in slow motion, in fierce summer sunlight, and one of the jobs I’m waiting to hear about is very exciting. But if it doesn’t transpire, it’s not the end of the world. I still won’t torture any kittens. (It would be great though.) (The job, I mean.)
Tuesday was beautiful. Proper warm and sunny, so I set out to buy a kettle before going to the theatre. I felt like Alan Bennett. (I imagine Alan Bennett must have taken a kettle to the theatre at least once.)
Post-purchase, I strolled – delightedly – from Victoria to Charing Cross Road, sun in my eyes, music in my ears and still clogging up my head the memory of my friend Charles celebrating his birthday that very morning by eating 24 Weetabix and then – mid-glory – sicking them all back up again. Charles is 45. (The kettle was for him. I got it in Argos. Because he’s worth it.)
I had arranged to meet an old friend in the dungeon of a theatre bar but it was such a glorious day, and I was a little bit early, so I started scouting around for some nice pubs in the sun instead. I crossed a road and began to scour my surroundings when I became aware of a strange presence a few metres away. It was a bearded man astride a stationery bicycle, wearing a shocking yellow luminous cycling jacket and futuristic eyewear. He was staring at me.
For a second I assumed it was merely a random London moment with a slightly gawpy ageing hipster, then I realised that it was actually Shaun, one of my oldest friends in all the world.
Once identified, I made my way towards him and we hugged hello. Unfortunately, it was a rather clumsy hug, what with Shaun having to remain erect to hold his bicycle up and me a mess of mobile phone, headphones and kettle.
The strap of my bag caught around Shaun’s handlebar and in the ensuing hilarity and a second or two of deliberately exaggerated clumsiness – comedy clumsiness – for laughs, I dropped my phone in the road and it smashed.
I turned it round in my hand and saw the cobweb crackage creeping over one corner of the screen. When Shaun saw the damage, he did what any normal healthy non-sociopathic human would do and let rip with an involuntary, quite dramatic combination of arm movements and noises of regret, sorrow and condolence. To which I replied: ‘No, it’s alright! It was old,’ I said. ‘And it would’ve died anyway,’ I added.
And a short while later, I realised that I had felt no sting of anything negative – no anger, no rage, no regret even – on the breaking of the phone. I was positively blithe.
Which is how it should be, I know. I’m not after a cookie for not going to jail.
But I didn’t used to be like that. I used to be a proper little rager. Tutting and sighing and huffing and puffing and effing and blinding and blaming and moaning and scowling like a furrow-headed sack of bile, resentment and some fucked-up sense of entitlement.
You know, a lot of the time.
So I’m pleased to note a change in my responses to the world.
And it reminded me of how my last phone went out.
It was about two years ago and it was already an old phone that I only used for listening to podcasts. And I was doing just that, listening to podcasts, walking down a street in Mansfield, when it stopped playing podcasts and started displaying a message saying that for some ludicrous reason that made no sense, it could no longer play podcasts.
And I was enraged.
I fiddled with it a bit and got it working again.
Then it stopped again and the message was back.
This went on for five minutes or so, on and off and cat and mouse until eventually, almost casually, I slapped the phone against a concrete lamppost I was passing, the way in the old days (when tellies had tops) you might thump the top of a telly.
The phone was written off.
Good for nothing.
And later on the internet I found a way to fix the problem.
That’s no way to live a life.
When I was in my early 20s and two drunken friends wouldn’t give me any of their vodka, I got my own back smashing my own guitar.
I used to punch myself in the face a little bit too, if you want to know the truth.
I have struggled a lot with anger and rage and self-hatred over the years and now, after six years or so of fairly consistent introspection and genuine efforts to change, I’m finally beginning to notice significant changes.
And they are a treat.
Plus I went to the doctor and the dentist and the theatre and the cinema – but the queue was too long in the cinema so I came home.
What a week.
And now, as all things must, it has come to pass, barring the weekend of course, for which, alas, I have no plans.
What about you? Come now. Tell me everything.