Potholes on the road to happiness

The Simpsons is made by Fox, but these framegrabs were made  by babysimpson.co.uk

“The Simpsons” is made by Fox, but these framegrabs were made by babysimpson.co.uk

Although it’s possible that depression will remain a shadow on my soul for the rest of my days, the fact that I haven’t been posting here much, combined with the fact that my life now is simply better than it was this time last year, gives me hope that I’m on the mend (I hope Kenneth Williams writing that in his diary a week before the end isn’t a foreshadowing!).  There are, after all, numerous occasions I can name in my teenage and university years that I was seriously down, but so far nothing recently has been as bad as when I lived at Caledonian Road.

However… this week there have been two things that have soured my otherwise annoyingly blithe good cheer.  One of them relates to my previous post regarding a “friend” at work, while the other relates to a friend (who hasn’t quite earned the scare quotes yet, but it’s getting there) who, while she has encouraged me to go to wonderful cultural events like art exhibitions and stage plays, is nonetheless apparently unaware of how bad she makes me feel about myself.

In reverse order, then: on Wednesday I was expecting to meet up with my female friend, who hadn’t been able to take me to “The Other Art Show” at the weekend due to illness (no big deal, I visited Hyper Japan and got a Gundam 00 self-assembly Kyrios… hai, watashi wa otaku, sore wa doushita!?).  She’d suggested we go and see a film, but asked that we do so near to her home, since she’s been exhausted lately, and so I booked tickets at a cinema way, way down in Sahf Lahndahn, about an hour’s journey by Tube from my workplace (and even longer to get home from), where I wouldn’t go if not for her sake (we’re not dating or anything, but I value my friends and regard them as my best choice for anti-depressants).  I even told her I was booking the tickets, and she seemed to accept this.

So imagine how I felt on Wednesday afternoon (literally four hours before we were supposed to meet for dinner) when she texted me, unapologetically, to say “change of plan”, and told me we were going to see Chariots of Fire instead.  She assumed I could get a refund on the tickets, or go with someone else (as if I’d go literally across London just to see a film!), and actually berated me for having booked tickets, when she’d effectively suggested it herself, adding that she didn’t really like the cinema and had only suggested it for my benefit!  Great, so change our plan at the eleventh hour and then make me feel guilty for having prepared for it, and then add to it by saying it’s basically my fault for going along with her suggestion in the first place!

To compound matters, she didn’t even specify that she meant the stage production (pluggity plug), and I thought, however foolishly, that she meant she wanted to see the film at the same cinema, so even when I grudgingly called up the cinema to see if I could rearrange the tickets, since they’d stated they didn’t do refunds (in fact they do refunds but don’t do rearrangements — huh?!), I thought I was still going dahn sahf.  Why?  Because any time she invites me to something and I have the audacity to ask when and where, she tends to tell me “Google it”.  Yes, I really, truly despise Internet idiots (they’re not doing it deliberately, so they’re not trolls) whose response to any reasonable question, which it would be polite to answer, is to use the “Let me Google that for you… was that so hard?” website, and I think it’s very rude to assume everyone can just look stuff up on the Internet at any time, even if they’re at work.

Fortunately I checked just before the end of work, and she told me it was the play; thus I decided to go home and get some warmer clothes (it being very, very cold at the moment in this country, which is becoming less Airstrip One and more Arctic Two every year), knowing that she (and her friend who gets unsold play tickets free through some wonderful deal) would be eating out.  Unfortunately, with the time it took me to come home, try to work out my route, curse Google Earth for crashing in Street View mode (should I Google a solution for the problems with their own software?) and set off again, I was thus too late to the Leicester Square area to meet them, and she told me by text message, in rather terse language with disappointment between every letter, that I should get something to eat somewhere else.

Oh, I was brooding during Wednesday evening, having to eat cold food at Wasabi (apparently they wouldn’t heat up my vegetarian food), and wondering if I should just go home and not be friends with her any more… but I stuck with it so I could see the play, even though (inevitably) the first words out of her mouth were another criticism when we met at the Gielgud Theatre (she’d told me they would be “five or ten minutes”, and thus was confused that I wasn’t there before her).  We saw the play, and it was good, and I probably enjoyed it more than the latest Bond film, and she even gave me a bookmark souvenir she’d gotten recently (albeit leather, so I can’t really use it — it’s weird, because she’s also a vegetarian!), and we parted from her nice friend on good terms…

Against my better judgement on a cold night, with work the next day, I agreed to walk with her to her train station, but along the way she criticised me again… this time for the way I walked down some steps (when I do this quickly I tend to have my big feet turned sideways so they don’t slip off), telling me it was too strange and that it would put women off me.  This is like when she told me I “shouldn’t” like Doctor Who because it’s a kids’ show, and that I “should” be married with kids by my age (as if I didn’t know)…

What is your major malfunction, numbnuts?!

R. Lee Ermey in Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”

I was able to part on good terms, swallowing my upset as I am wont to do, but I worry about this relationship.  I don’t want a lifestyle coach, or a drill sergeant who picks up on my every failing: I want a friend, someone who will be there for me and do fun things with me, and I’m worried that the constant barrage of criticism and “what you need to do is…” advice (and I’ve blogged about that kind of thing here as well) is going to outweigh the benefits of her friendship.  Maybe she doesn’t mean to be hypercritical, as she’s from the Far East and it could just be a cultural thing (like how the Japanese absolutely won’t accept tips, while in the West it’s considered polite or even, in the USA, essential), but still, would she even understand my resentment, or would she still turn it into a criticism (“you should have told me, why did you let it happen?”)…

And so on to the other crisis this week… today I got another e-mail from my supervisor (while I was away at a training morning, and then at lunch), which among other things told me off for “giving status updates” and talking about personal matters at work.  To be fair, she didn’t mean I was a terrible person, but it got me very worried: firstly, that I keep getting told off for this kind of thing yet also called up if I’m too quiet (because they assume there’s something wrong with me); and secondly, that she was referring to the incident last week (linkage, again), and that, as I’d feared, she was going to take his side…

However, I grew a pair and decided, instead of wallowing in self-pity, wondering if I’d come back in on Monday etc., I’d talk to her in private about it.  Apart from making me feel better about her other criticisms (and she’s allowed — she’s my boss first and my friend second, after all), she said it hadn’t been that particular incident she was referring to, and that she was on my side regarding how rudely and aggressively the guy spoke to me last week.  She even acknowledged that it’s not just my talking that distracts people, and that there’s one person (“you know who”) who really annoys me with her constant, unnecessarily-enthusiastic booming across the office, but that since she works separately from us, there’s nothing she can do about her…

And thus my second crisis this week was averted, but I’d felt the old, familiar darkness flowing back for a moment there… it really is easy for me to slip back into depression, and it’s interacting with my friends (including co-workers) that really helps me overcome it.  I’m trying to go out more these days, and on that notion have a new friend to go climbing with (though unfortunately he prefers to go at “The Session” times — I really want to go straight from work so I finish before 9pm!), and who likes cool stuff like Beavis and Butt-head.  Will they feature in a post in the future?  Uh huh huh huh, I said “post”.  Yeah, heh heh, doioioioioing!  And (sorry to bring you back to real life) in addition, a housemate and I are getting Domino’s pizza delivered tonight… in fact, it should be on the way now!

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2 thoughts on “Potholes on the road to happiness

  1. Pingback: Our mutual fiend (with apologies to Valve Software) | Dave-ros Lives!

  2. Pingback: The best laid plans… | Dave-ros Lives!

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