[This was going to be a comment in reply to someone else's blog, but it wandered a little....]
I found an ink cartridge yesterday. I don't use ink cartridges, because it's not the 1930s. It was in an unused pocket of the belt pouch I use when travelling. At some point, years ago, we must have swapped pouches.
An ink cartridge. Very nearly gave me a relapse.
I thought about it for fifteen seconds, did a little mindful breathing, and tossed it.
I was fortunate, maybe, that shortly after my breakup and meltdown I was compelled to move cities on short notice. It forced me to rationalize: to determine the minimum necessary amount of Stuff with which I can live in reasonable comfort. It forced me to discard Stuff that I might otherwise have insisted on retaining as a keepsake. I had to pack all my Stuff into a single 1950s Admiralty-pattern kitbag and, as a result, it forced me to learn self-reliance at a point in my life when that's exactly what I needed.
Give me a sandwich toaster, a device with mobile internet, a change of underwear, and Kilkerran sherry wood, and I shall move the Earth.
I'm also fortunate that I could leave the rest of the crap in the flat and trust my staff to throw it out for me. The company billed me for it afterwards and they way they went about it was kind of dickish, but it helped a lot to have someone else deal with that for me. I could focus on the moving on.
And then there are things like this ink cartridge. The ink cartridge is a metaphor. We must have swapped pouches years ago: we bought two identical ones in the outdoor supplies shop in Aviemore, 2012 or so. I've been carrying her ink cartridge around for ages without realizing it. Yesterday I was able to dispose of it. A little bit more moving on was achieved.
Things like this are going to keep happening, piece by piece, with no end in sight, but each one is a step in the right direction, although it often doesn't feel like it at the time.
At some point, when I'm back in Edinburgh, I'm going to have to deal with the storage container, 80% of which is still filled with her Stuff (and which I'm still paying for). Does anyone have a need for several boxes of ladies' size 12 underwear?
(Isn't there a womens' shelter in Edinburgh? Is this the sort of thing they might want?)
I added pajh's Rule for Life #40 to the list last week, while I was down in That London, drinking in the pub with some friends. It is this: Never let someone else define who you are.
An obvious corollary is not to let yourself be defined by their Stuff, either. In fact, never let Stuff define you.
Today is my birthday. I am now older than my father was when I was born.
I'm still not interested in breeding—it's cruel enough to bring a new human into this dystopian nightmare world, worse yet to saddle one with my defective genetic legacy.
Welcome to the world. The climate's fucked, the government is entirely composed of plutocratic psychopaths, and somehow we're all still racists. Oh, by the way, you have short hamstrings, chronic migraines, and a selection of interesting brain weasels. And stay away from red wine if you know what's good for you. Not going to inflict that on someone.
I do, however, regret the missed opportunity to have a convenient target for dad jokes. I would make the best dad jokes. Or perhaps I mean the worst.
Bloody hell, it's just occurred to me—if I had spawned, I would be a single parent now.
Quite happy staying as uncle pajh. Although I'm considering getting a dog. Or maybe a snake.
I don't think I need to go into too much detail. This year has sucked giant cheesy gorilla dongs. I'd hope for better things from 2016, but frankly, that's setting a fairly low bar.( I gots plans for the new year )
Half way out of the dark.
Spare a thought please, this Yuletide season, for Jehane's family. I know them and I know that they're putting a brave face on it. But a table has four sides: and there's no way to set a table for christmas dinner without a big, glaring, empty gap where your daughter should be.
I wonder if I should phone them, polite friendly call to wish them well, or whether I'm too close to the problem and I'd make it worse.
Roastin a ham just now, and once that's out of the oven the pheasant is goin in. The brine this year is ginger, orange juice (oranges left over from sazeracs), and rum. And too much bicarbonate of soda. Usually I use bicarb to wash my hair, so I have a giant jar of it with a huge spoon, and hence my quantities were off. Or perhaps not. I'll know in a couple of hours.
I also have sausagemeat stuffing, sossinges with bacon wrapped round, potatoes, and parsnips and sweet potatoes that I'mma roast with a maple glaze. I am fully aware that I live on my own, but circumstances should never stifle genius. Fortunately, I'm fond of sandwiches.
Also, it's cold enough in this flat that I don't need to keep any of the leftovers in the fridge. The counter will be just fine.
Merry christmas all. Now get back to work or I'll belt your nut in.
Last night's post was a touch on the melodramatic side, I'll grant you, but it matched how I was feeling. Gettin it all out onto paper, or pixel-stained post-millennial equivalent, helped a lot.
Wanna know how I know I'm over it? Good, because I'm about to tell you.
Cee Lo Green's seminal ‘Fuck You’ came on the radio while I was settin up the breakfast room for tomorrow. (Minster FM are actually pretty good. They were playin TMBG earlier on.) It was the bowdlerized radio version, natch, but I fixed that while dancin around the tables, arrangin cruet sets, and generally thinking that my life is pretty okay.
Such a deep and meaningful song, too.
And this time I didn't even need the Shatner to help.
Had to go and pick up a package today from the industrial estate out at Seafield. I've not been to the sea since the day I broke it off with her. (Rivers don't count. Tidal estuaries do.) I was supposed to walk out to the Pentland Firth that day. Got there, looked at some waves. Quickly decided that all of Poseidon's fury couldn't compete with the turmoil in my brain just then. Had a cup of tea and walked back again. Sent some tweets.
Today, since I'd expensed a taxi out to Seafield, I took a few minutes for myself. I like watching the sea. Makes me feel small. None of my problems matter when you apply the appropriate perspective.
Considered taking a leaf out of Reggie Perrin's book, but only for a second.
Walked around the perimeter of the sewage treatment plant, waves crashing in my ears. Really filthy day for it, too: lowering charcoal sky, no distinction between the water and the air at the horizon, spots of rain, gusts threatening to knock me off the seawall.
Just the kind of day I like best.
Just the kind of day you don't get in Saudi Arabia.
It turns out that I went a bit mad, there, for a while. In fact I think I went quite a lot mad. I'm still working out the details. There was other stuff going on that you didn't know about, and it might even have justified my massive overreaction, but it turns out that it was all in my head.
A couple of good friends have given me a good stern talking-to over the last 24 hours, and now I'm feeling a wee bit better. A wee bit. You know who you are. I love my friends.
I was absolutely convinced that Jehane had suffered a psychotic break and had been preyed upon in her vulnerable state. I was worried sick about her, and usually that's just a turn of phrase.
Turns out that I was the one having the psychotic break. It's like ray-hee-ain on your wedding day.
In my defence, she was showing all of the classic symptoms of psychosis. The tunnel vision. The obsession. The unwillingness to discuss it. The paranoia. The shiftiness.
The single problem with my otherwise flawless line of deduction was this: those are exactly the same symptoms as are exhibited by someone who's fallen for some other bloke and is planning to elope with him. This only occurred to me this morning, after those friends (you know who you are, and I love you) had, very patiently, talked me down.
(I'm going to credit myself with just a wee bit of self-awareness, though. It's not much, but it's not bad for a madman.)
So, we're back to the dead-girl narrative. The woman I love has changed, she's gone, and isn't coming back. The relationship had been toxic for a while and I will feel better about this one day. And I hope gerbil-chops makes her happy.
I wasn't the one who came up with that name for him, so it's okay.
Sincere apologies to anyone I've offended. (Except gerbil-chops obviously.) I'm not usually nearly this unpleasant. I've learned a few lessons.
Things I've had to get used to very fast:
- Buying single pints of milk.
- A relatively tidy flat. Holy crap she had a lot of shit lying around.
- No longer being able to say:
here are your photos, please just let me know if you'd like any of them touched up. My photoshop expert has disappeared.
- No more cooking. There's no point putting on an epic spread for just one person. My shrink said:
why not just do it for the fun of it?and I said:
there's no point if you're not showing off to someone. I mostly live on ready meals these days.
- That said, I am now allowed to own proper vinegar instead of that balsamic shit.
- And I can have the radio on now.
- Bookshelf space!
- Fridge full of beer!
I was in the shop today, buying individual-person supplies as I am now wont to do. Single pint of milk. One of those mini-cartons of four eggs. 400g loaf of bread. Cigarettes and a couple of bottles of beer to numb the pain. Scanning it all, the checkout girl said:
you live alone, don't you?
Why yes, said I,
how could you tell?
Because you're an ugly bastard.
For those of you who don't know, Jehane and I are no longer a couple. We met on 24th April 2003, and I ended it on Thursday, 9th July, 2015. I love her to bits and I always will, but she's got stuff that she has to do that doesn't include me.
Also, twelve years of performance bickering finally took its toll, and now she thinks I'm a bit of a dick :)
I'm a bit of a mess right now, and no doubt there will be further whining under access lock. Probably quite a lot.
I miss her. It sucks.