Monday, 22 February 2010

It's ups and downs, it's ups and downs, it's ups and downs.

Bit of a week of swings and roundabouts, as per usual. Monday night my team won a pub quiz, which is pretty awesome, and Saturday I won a bottle of champagne in a raffle! Fundraiser for my friend's new theatre company ( Bare Knuckle Theatre Company < / promotion>) and a fantastic night. However, the usual good/bad balance of my life soon redressed those wins - some bloody Spanish tourist bumped into me on St Mary Street as I was walking (read: limping) home, knocked the champagne out of my hands and it smashed on the floor. The guy obviously knew it was his fault, he stopped and said "oops" as the bottle smashed - but then he tries to claim it wasn't his fault.


I think I wouldn't have gotten so angry if he'd at least apologised. I doubt it would have completly eased the pain of my loss or prevented me from getting angry at all (I'm pretty much fueled by rage) but it would have at least appeased my wrath somewhat. As is, I'm still not over the loss of that champagne. And that experience is just one example of why right-thinking people avoid St Mary Street on Saturday night (see previous rant).

Still, the rest of the night was lots of fun - especially during the performance. My friend H. and her boyfriend were sat at our table for the start of the show, they get into a screaming argument, he strops off out of the room, my housemate and I don't know where to look ... then H. starts singing, spotlight hits her and it's only then I work out that was part of the performance. It was brilliantly done, a few actors and those involved in the production had sat at different VIP tables that were set up on the centre floor (yep, I was sat at a VIP table, I am super-awesome) and for different parts of the performance they would do their scene around the tables and then sit back down after. Very entertaining!

I've also had a pretty random day today: a guy came into the library I work at, noticed my limp and crutch (still mending from ankle breakage), we had a brief, polite exchange about how I broke said ankle. So far, so normal day. Then later, he hands me a note that says, "For the injured library lady. Call me on this number if you fancy going for a coffee or something!" Why he can't just ask me on a date is kinda beyond me; I was also deeply flustered by being asked out in the middle of the day. Isn't it an unwritten law of British society that we can only make moves on people in the pub or at a club..? It was all very unsettling. I think I blushed. I also went with the classic "I've got a boyfriend" line as the politest way to turn him down - I was in work, I have to be polite to people and keep my natural vitriol and sarcasm in check. Still, was flattering to be asked out on purely aesthetic terms - not like my charming personality and bubbly nature had time to work their wonder, after all.

Be interesting to see where the week goes from here! Gods willing, with some kind of recompense for the loss the that champagne. Still that was probably my bad karma for not sharing it with everyone at our table during the show...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Big City Life

Ahhh, the city. I am a die-hard fan of city living: I enjoy the pubs, the clubs, the fact I can walk to the nearest cinema in under five minutes, that I'm within range for hundreds of different take-aways, the close shops....It's all good. There are downsides to living in the city, though. Obviously. A few of the highlights:

1. On my walk to/from work, I have had to step either over or frighteningly close to the following:-

  • Knickers. A pair of fecking women's knickers.
  • Several condoms, used. ...I presume, I didn't check or anything, jesus. Walking past the local park is where I tend to pass these. I don't know why a park is a preferred choice to, say, one of the many alleys in the area, but al fresco in a busy urban area isn't my thing so I wouldn't like to comment.
  • One (1) pair of Bench jockey shorts, obviously soiled with faeces and hung on a railing for the world to see. Why they required display is rather beyond me.
  • A needle. That was an especial treat to behold.
  • The ubiquitous broken bottles/glasses.
  • Dropped take-aways. Nothing worse than having to walk past last night's kebab on your walk to work at 8.15 in the bloody morning. Especially sick-making if you're nursing a hangover.
  • The smell/sight of St Mary Street first thing on a Saturday/Sunday morning. The hen and stag parties are not kind to that street...

2. The people. Ahh, the people. I don't know whether cities attract the, shall we say, more colourful, eccentric members of society; or whether the sheer volume of people concentrated into a small area makes them easier to spot. Either way, you certainly get to see some entertaining/frightening sights...

  • Drummer. He's a bit of a Cardiff feature - very tall, skinny black guy with dreads that are often coloured in eclectic ways, he usually has some eye-catching attire on (personal favourite; silver leather trousers, shirtless, with sunglasses and feathers in his hair) and is frequently to be seen beating out loud, fast rhytmns on the many bins around the city. Back when I worked in one of the city's department stores, he'd often come in to talk to us and the whole time you'd be really conscious that you were walking a fine line, that at any moment his friendliness toward you could erode into the mouth-foaming hatred he was expressing for his target of the moment (the government, police, someone who told him off for drumming on bins, the usual...)
  • Toy Mic Trevor. He used to really brighten up Queen Street with his vague singing (I never once successfully identified a song out of the arrythmic cacophonic style he favoured) but I've not seen him in a couple of years and I have the sinking, maudlin suspicion that he may have died.
  • My random neighbours. On the one side, we have a couple in late middle-age who obviously loathe us. During our Halloween party, we saw them filming guests who were smoking outside the house - the lady of the house had a camera pressed up against her bedroom window, trying to hide behind the curtains. They also stare out every time we take the bins out, and despite my best attempts to smile and be nice and say hello any time we see each other, the best I ever get is dirty looks from them. Conversely, on the other side we have neighbours so friendly they don't let a little thing like not speaking English stop them chatting to us. Using a series of charades-style gestures and the use of sparodic English words mingled in with the Urdu, I've managed to have conversations about our weekend camping trip, my breaking my ankle, and the weather. Their house also smells of the most delicious cooking and I am trying to work our chats up to the point where they offer me food. I love them. Across the road, meanwhile, there's a house that I am beginning to suspect is a brothel. Its house number is lit up in red at night, and there appear to be metal flaps that can be raised to conceal the numbers. The only reason I can think for having this would be to hide the numbers for when the residents aren't in for business. We've had police vans pull up in the street and cart a man off recently, which adds to this suspicion. Next door to that is Crazy Sweary Family. CSF are disturbingly violent: I've seen the woman screaming at her husband/boyfriend to "fuck off, just fuck off" loud enough for me to hear while inside watching tv...and this was in front of her young child, estimated age 3. Nice. Said woman was also locked out once: I was awoken by her banging on her door, screaming for her partner to wake up and let her in. This screaming continued for close to an hour before I cracked and called 101 - I had to get up for work in four hours and she sounded like she was ready to keep trying until she smashed in her own door. Happy days.
  • Students. I was once one of them, and I think my bitterness about no longer being a student colours my judgement somewhat ... but is it just me or are they way younger than we were as students?! I'm sure the ones in the student accommodation nearby have an average age of twelve. But in dress sense, they're aged whores. During Fresher's Week we saw one girl in a skirt so short you could see the cheeks of her ass. I mean, fair play she had great legs, but still. Leave a little to the imagination love, yeah? The students are also the ones responsible for all the dropped take-aways and smashed bottles covering the pavements on the route into town from mine. You kids, you don't know you're born! GET OFF MY LAWN!!
  • Library users. I think the anonymity of city life is a bad influence on some people, but we certainly get some characters. One lovely example: a society had rented the meeting room at a library I was working at. The woman due to lead the meeting called us and said she was running significanly late due to a traffic accident causing jams; the meeting was due to start in half an hour, and she was close to two hours away. When the group starting arriving for their meeting we explained this to them. One gentleman's response? To yell that the group leader should have called the day before to say she was going to get caught in traffic and be late that morning. He then starting yelling at us - we weren't even part of the fucking group, they were just temporarily hiring space in the building. Of course, obviously I was in the wrong for not using my magic crystal ball to predict the future and go to this woman's house in order to warn her the traffic would be bad and she should leave a lot earlier in order to make the meeting on time.
  • The aforementioned hen and stag parties. I can't pinpoint exactly when the 'Diff became such a hotspot for these groups, but in the last couple of years St Mary Street has become the place the locals avoid like the plague, for obvious reasons.
  • The whores. Working girls, if you prefer. There's a few that work the street just a couple blocks from my house, which is always disconcerting. I am also beginning to wonder if they're taking clients back to the house across from mine with the red lights...There are a few hooker hot-spots around the city, that I won't detail here because I don't want anyone to think I'm becoming some kind of guide to prostitution in south east Wales. But it's always a treat to see their outfits. As my gran would've said, their clothes fit where they touch...

But apart from all that, it's great! I'll probably rant more on this subject the more I think about it.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

And It's Not Just Because I'm Single.

I just turned on the television and what came on was an episode of 'Deal or No Deal', which is a show in which Noel Edmonds tests quantum theory. This episode was themed for Valentine's Day - and Noel was dressed up as God.

I'm pretty sure I've just witnessed the collapse of reality. Civilisation as we know it is no more and the world is crumbling around us. I estimate we have days left, at best. Use them wisely.

On the subject of Valentine's Day, I bloody hate this time of year. I have personal reasons I won't go into for not liking this month, but Valentine's is really salt in the wound. A Hallmark Holiday that seems specifically designed to undermine the self-confidence of singletons, it takes financial advantage of those who're coupled up and is a big slap in the face to the rest of us. It doesn't help that I find it an insulting waste of time - it may as well be called "Love Day" and have us buying crappy Kisses Make Me Boogie O'Lanterns. It's a truly patronising day; and how the hell is St Valentine supposed to relate to love in the first place?!

I've actually been seeing someone when Valentine's has rolled around in the past. Being a grindingly cynical realist and dating someone with similarly unromantic tendancies, I'd just presumed we wouldn't be doing anything or getting anything for each other on the day. However, as the ominous 14th draws closer the guy feels it encumbent upon him to inform me that he doesn't do Valentine's Day and so won't be getting me anything. I reply that I am of a similar mindset and hadn't expected anything - but this then makes it look as though I'm just saying that because he's said it first and I don't want to get humiliated. Regardless of your single/taken status, this day is a fucking emotional minefield.

It drives me crazy: everywhere you go, whatever channel you're watching, all over the Internet, it's red hearts and roses and cupids and cookies shaped like hearts and rose petals spelling out "I love you" and cards made out of pure sugar and I want to be sick and/or burn shit down. Preferably the latter. Of course while at any other time of year this just makes me look unromantic and disillusioned, around Valentine's it makes me look like a bitter singleton. People completely re-evalute their interpretation of one's actions based on the date, and how stupid is that?

Flowers cost a fortune and die within a couple of days; themed teddy bears (apart from this one, which is frankly the best gift ever) are twee and saccharine; and chocolates or candy ... well, they're always welcome, really, but that's non-holiday-specific.

Is it too much to ask that I not have everyone else's loved-up happiness crammed down my throat? We've only just gotten past Christmas, people, and that's lovey-dovery enough for me for one year.

....Of course, I'd much prefer to be hating Valentine's Day alongside my boyfriend.
Who is Batman and also a firefighter and a jet pilot and he has a Harrier jump jet that he totally lets me fly sometimes and we live in a mansion and he fights crime and fires and international terrorism and it is AWESOME.