Monthly Archives: February 2017

Revenge of the oblivious bully

Okay, bad example: this bullying malchick knew exactly what he was doing, up to and including ultra-violence

Sorry folks, but it’s time for some darkness, though hopefully with a light at the end of the tunnel.  It does seem like something always has to be wrong in my life, and while my job is going great (for now!), my home life has just taken a turn for the worse, with no real prospect of it improving until the culprit does the decent thing and moves out.

Yes, it’s my former-drummer housemate again, the guy we pay all our bills to, and the guy who was a jerk to me just before Christmas 2013 (as you may remember), by coincidence around the time of another major storm here in England.  Our latest run-in happened in the kitchen as well, but he’d already been a douche to me this year, simply because I was trying to go into the bathroom when he was coming out (y’know, because I wanted to take a shower), and muttering something I didn’t quite catch when he finally let me in.  Like I said three years ago, I’m not obliged to “join in” with pranks like that: if he saw I was upset and carried on anyway, he’s practically a bully, and if he was genuinely trying to upset me rather than just have a (bad) joke, he’s definitely a bully!

And so to today, when I came home from a tough evening being tortured by my personal trainer, but couldn’t sit down and rest my legs on the Northern Line because it was crowded due to storm disruption (but don’t pity me, the lady next to me fainted and had to be taken off!).  Needing protein, I settled for oven burgers because my local Tesco had mysteriously emptied out the entire section where they stock the veggie burgers intended for a frying pan; as I came home, I began thinking back on how many times I came home to find the guy who used to live in the room beneath mine (where “best mate” lives now) making a huge meal for several of his college friends, when I was hoping to cook my own dinner, and how much it frustrated me when I couldn’t use the oven or hobs…

Which is where it all went wrong: someone had a pie in the oven, and I moved it down so I could fit my burgers in.  I knew deep down it would be him, and that there was no point asking him how long his food would take so I could wait for him to be finished, because he always behaves like a total see-you-next-Tuesday when I ask him a perfectly reasonable question (one time he just took his food out of the oven and flounced off, even though I was happy to wait on that occasion, as I was going to use the grill!).

When he finally came downstairs to check on his food, he told me off for making it take longer for him by putting it low down, and then took my burgers out of the oven to put his pie at the top; he then stood in front of the oven and wouldn’t let me put my food back in, even though I said I would put them on the lower shelf, until he’d had his fun and finally relented.  And just to make matters worse, he said he’d wait 20 minutes for his pie to be done, and tried to get me to leave the kitchen, even though my burgers were a few minutes from being ready — and so he just stood there like a weirdo, trying to psyche me out…

I’m so glad “best mate” was home early (from yet another construction job in Scotland), as he distracted the guy with conversation while I finished up and got the hell out of there.  He never sees the way the guy treats me, and while it’s not his place to play psychologist or mediator, it still sucks that he likes the guy and gets on with him… and while it could be argued that I should have moved the pie up instead of down (to be fair, it was in the middle to start with), why not be sensible about it?  Why behave like he was getting karmic revenge for some kind of deliberate slight?

This former-drummer housemate is the only person who was here in this house when I first moved in, five years ago; fortunately, now that he’s left music behind and will be working as a trucker, he’s planning to move into his own flat — and this is what keeps me going: the thought that he won’t always be here, and that once he gets a job, he’ll be gone.  I’m quite clear that I never want to see him again, because even when he’s being seemingly amiable towards me, it feels like he’s laughing behind a mask, and truly has no respect for me at all — that’s why perhaps I didn’t handle my side of this evening’s dispute as diplomatically as I could have, because it felt like he was just sneering rather than having a valid complaint.

So, no love lost between us — but I hope to be the better man, by simply ignoring him, and avoiding all contact (except where unavoidable, such as paying bills) until he moves out.  I’m sure that’ll be a sweet day: I still remember the final departure of “bad housemate” at Caledonian Road, and how it felt like a physical separation of life paths, and how little I think of that guy any more (or, for that matter, the annoying woman at Camden, someone incredibly oblivious to how vexing she was).  I don’t want him to get run over or arrested, I just want him out of my life completely.

However, paranoid though I am, it feels like he’ll try to get “revenge” on me in the meantime (you know, for fun), maybe by taking my food out of the oven when I’m cooking (hey, maybe he’ll spit on it too?) — or even by tricking me into eating meat (since he once said he’d “cure” me of my vegetarianism), though admittedly that’s something I’ve been worried about him doing for years.  He already rattles the toilet door handle any time I happen to be in there when he wants to go in, as though I’ve personally annoyed him and deliberately chose to get in his way.

I’ll try to keep calm, but I can’t shake the feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better… maybe I’m not paranoid enough?

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The Brightening

bb_sunsetEven though it’s only mid-to-late February, the weather’s already improving, to the point that at times it feels almost like summer — and this has led to a rise in my spirits, which can only be a good thing (unless you believe things going right for me directly cause things to go wrong in the world, e.g. Trump getting elected).

For someone recovering from depression, sunshine is vital; I knew this intellectually (hence buying that SAD light at Christmas in 2014), but I realised it viscerally three weeks ago, when I visited the Westway climbing centre.  I really felt positive that evening, not just because I’d conquered the feelings I had back in November 2014, but mainly because the light inside felt natural; it was obviously artificial (because sunset happened even before I got on the Tube there), but I allowed myself to enjoy the illusion that it was a summer evening, and still light outside at 7pm!

In a similar vein, being in a nice warm office (i.e. during the periods that the war over aircon has reached a stalemate) but being able to look out the window at nice strong sunshine made me feel like the winter’s finally over.  Of course, actually going outside for Pokémon lunch quickly shattered that illusion last week, but this weekend it was actually (ahem) uncold enough that when I visited my folks in Worthing, the local barber who I always get to cut my hair had his door wide open, reminding me of December in Mediterranean Spain, when I’d cook dinner at night with the door open, in defiance of the cold.

Best of all, there’s no need to have the heating on at home pretty much at all now.  The outside temperature’s mostly staying above 10°C (for Americans, that’s about “fifty degrees”), and this means it’s tolerably uncold in here all the time, instead of making me sick and unhappy.  On cold nights I’d sleep in longjohns — or on the coldest nights, longjohns and dressing gown — but now I can relax in shorts and a T-shirt, and not even need night socks.

(Oh, have I just caused you to picture me in my nightclothes?  Well, good… if you’re a beautiful woman, of course — if not, imagine something else, I’m not here for your amusement!)

Of course, every silver lining has a cloud: every time I feel better, something tries to bring me down again.  Today, it was (guess who?) my boss lady, who felt the need to remind me to answer tickets in the order in which they arrive, as I’d left a grand fromage hanging for an entire hour (leaving aside our minimum response time being four hours), while focusing instead on homeworking staff needing assistance due to a problem we were having with our remote desktop system.

I know, she was just miffed that I’d neglected someone “important” while focussing on my “flock” (a bit like missing an audience with the Pope to heal the sick?), but every time something like this happens, I feel like it’s undoing all the good work I’ve done so far — that a hundred good deeds can be reversed by one screw-up.  I have to remind myself that if she really thought I was a liability, she’d have arranged some kind of sinister meeting with me already (possibly involving an electric cattle prod) — that I’m not hanging by a thread (like a year ago), I just need to buck up and make sure it doesn’t happen again… right?

Oh, and “best mate” is away in some far-flung region of the Four Kingdoms for work all week — so good job the weather’s improved: if it was still cold, I’d miss him being in his room downstairs every evening, running his electric heater and thus indirectly warming my room to a tolerable level.  Not that I’m saying I only need him around to improve my lot, of course…

But never mind, I can actually go out in the evenings this week to enjoy myself, and not be afraid I’ll come home to find it’s 15°C in here at 11pm, with little prospect of it getting any warmer!  Or, I could just stay in, avoiding tiring social contact, and play games (and write in this blog), which I’ve been neglecting lately due to evening activities.

What do you reckon I should do?  Oh, really?  Well, who do you think you are, a proctologist?!

Never gonna give her up

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Yes, it’s a “girl troubles” post — would you rather I went on about Gwar? Well, tough!

In case you hadn’t noticed, it was Valentine’s Day yesterday.  As a child, I just thought it was nauseating romantic drivel that only stupid people cared about (couldn’t they see that girls were yucky?), but as a teenager, I came to think of it as a gigantic middle finger directed at lonely people like me, as I had no girlfriend, and was therefore a loser, of no value.

As an adult, I find it a combination of both: yet another Hallmark holiday designed to sell garbage to stupid people (surely you should do it every day of the year, not just once?), while at the same time making lonely people like me feel like there’s something wrong with us and we “deserve” to be alone.

Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t just sit at home grumbling after work: I went to a Japanese meetup event (for the first time in months), with “best mate” and one of his work colleagues as wingmen, and managed to talk to a Japanese girl for a while — but two things scuppered my efforts to get a date: she’s only in this country for a short time longer, and the incessant noise and overcrowding in the venue meant I couldn’t stay for more than an hour and try with anyone else.

(Sorry, but no amount of “man up!” or “but normal people do it!” could ever convince me to somehow enjoy being in loud, cramped pubs or nightclubs — I simply don’t like it, same as I don’t like broccoli!)

However, that wasn’t what cheesed me off yesterday, and left me overthinking this morning at work to the point that I had the idea for this blog post; nor was it another one-off date that went nowhere on Saturday (at least that gave me the excuse to go Pokémon-hunting in Camden Town).  No, it was a female work colleague (on whom I have a secret crush), in a lift with two other people, making a comment yesterday that I imagine she thought was humorous, but which actually upset me more than I wanted to admit to myself at the time.

I guess it shows I can still fret about trivial things, but it really got to me when, out of nowhere, she said I should enjoy Valentine’s Day alone, in a “relationship” with myself (no pun intended, I hope!).  I hadn’t even had a conversation with her about my dating experiences, and if she knows anything whatsoever about my love life, it’s from overhearing me talking to my boss in the past — so what prompted her to say this to me?

In a way, it almost felt like womankind had finally found the courage to nominate someone to tell me personally to “stop trying” and get out of the dating scene — not because I’ll meet “the one” when I least expect it, and thus need to take it easy and get on with living my life, but rather because my search is somehow annoying and offensive to all females everywhere, and women would be a lot happier if I were celibate and not bothering them.  In other words, I should put their collective comfort above my own desires.

You’re right, I’m ludicrously paranoid — but it’s a feeling I’ve had before (as long-term readers may remember), and continue striving to overcome: that “only every other bloke in the entire world” should be allowed to find a girlfriend, and I’m somehow supposed to be different, and not even try.  Well, that still ain’t gonna happen — if I’m somehow annoying womankind as a whole simply by searching for someone special, I say GOOD!

ts_lw

Of course, when 2010 rolled around for real, she was still just a kid — dammit, why must TV lie?!

Yeah, you heard me, women of the planet Earth: you will never, ever convince me to stop trying, to lay down all my hopes and dreams, and resign myself to a pathetic life of male spinsterhood.  Maybe I’m naive to assume that my ideal woman exists, somewhere in this world of billions, but I’m nonetheless determined to find someone who makes me happy, and there are only two ways my search will ever end: in success or with my death.  Giving up is not an option, because why should I accept my lot in life is to be alone when no-one else does, and neither is “settling” for someone with no real spark between us (which wouldn’t be fair to either person).

I still need to change, but solely in terms of confidence and self-esteem.  The women I met who liked me at first but instantly went off me after I admitted to being a Doctor Who fan, or that I went climbing with my mother — or simply upon seeing me in jeans and a T-shirt on a first date (which I prefer to keep casual) — are the real losers, undeserving of any regret on my part.  I see no reason to give up the things I enjoy (any more than I did back in 2013) or act like a cash machine in a suit, and what I really need to do remains finding that one, special woman who would love me because of who I am, not in spite of it.

So, womankind, you have two choices: you can either help me find the right person (as was done for Howard in The Big Bang Theory), or you can assassinate me — and if you choose option no.2, do your own dirty work instead of trying to drive me to suicide by making me feel hopeless and worthless, as it feels like society as a whole has tried (for the crime of being a guy with emotions about anything except football).  I gazed into the abyss back in 2011, and the abyss blinked first — and so, barring terminal illness, there is absolutely no way I will ever  contemplate that course of action again (readers already have my word on that).

All right, that’s far enough — I know I’m making a fuss about nothing, stop complaining.  In the real world, there’s no female equivalent of the Borg Collective; all women aren’t automatically conspiring against me or making a concerted effort to convince me to stop bothering them entirely (though I hope I’m not personally on any of those “avoid dating these awful men” websites).  It’s all nonsense, but you know by now that I need to write posts like this in order to get these stupid feelings out of my system and vow to keep striving — as hinted by this blog’s subtitle, it’s catharsis that keeps me alive…

— — —

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the girl of my dreams would be a fellow unrepentant geek, rather than a boring “normal” person.  She’d like video games and sci-fi (or at least not begrudge me liking them), and she’d be intelligent and worldly-wise… in short, she’d laugh if I gave her this meme-inspired Valentine, instead of sneering at me or going “whaaat, I don’t get it?” (though I admit it’s over 10 years old now!):

779992valentine4ez

(No, I didn’t create it myself, but props to whoever did — for great justice!)

Going up in the world

climbing

Okay, this is the Castle, but it’s the only climbing picture I’ve got, so quit your whinin’!

Even as the world goes to Hell in a handbasket, my life seems to be returning to the relative calm and enjoyment of 2013.  No, I’ve not got another camping holiday in the western USA planned (though my old roommate’s brother wants me to visit Michigan again), but once again I’m getting paid a decent wage and no longer having to worry about making ends meet — and for this reason I’ve been able to go back somewhere I hadn’t been in years…

I’m referring to the Westway leisure centre, a place I hadn’t visited for climbing (aside from one rare evening in 2015) since that horrible night in November 2014.  For those who need reminding, I was recovering from four night shifts in that 24/7 job I was already regretting taking on, and I was so delayed getting to the Westway by the dreadful Circle Line that not only did I have to queue for 15 minutes just to get in (behind two lines of obnoxious beefcakes), but they had no lockers free for me to put my stuff in, and there was no way in the aforementioned Hell that I was gonna leave my bag ON TOP of the lockers, and risk having my stuff nicked!  I knew I couldn’t climb if I was having an anxiety attack, and so went home (fortunately getting a refund on my entry fee) to berate myself for not going to a more familiar place for my evening socialisation.

Fortunately, even though it’s a similarly dark time of year, I had no flashbacks this Tuesday as I travelled there after work (maybe because we weren’t sitting at Edgware Road for ages), and was able to climb without issue… so why hadn’t I been back there more often since that fateful day?  Forget anxiety, it was cost: I was already paying monthly membership at the Castle, and so didn’t feel I could justify an entry fee somewhere else as well while I was living hand-to-mouth in two successive jobs, even when I went permanent in my current role.  It’s only now I’ve had a pay rise that I can bring myself to pay £10 (give or take) to cheat on my usual climbing centre — and since I can now afford to eat out some evenings as well, I can stay in London for events instead of rushing home for dinner and then rushing back out again!

Another positive outcome of my pay rise has been the confidence to buy myself that new monitor I was on about before — or rather, a better one: I have joined the 4k generation, with a whole extra inch on the screen size, and the only problem I’ve faced (aside from finding 3840×2160 wallpaper that isn’t just badly upscaled from 1920×1080) has been convincing Windows 7 to display things at a viewable size, as it was designed back when 4k was a multi-monitor pipe dream.  Windows 10 may perform better at higher resolutions, but I value my privacy too much…

(And yes, I still have every intention of taking the old monitor down to Worthing for my mother to use, instead of selling it… because hey, I’d get twenty quid at most!)

One more sign of improvement is that my boss now trusts me to work from home in an emergency, even if she jokes about forcing me (and the other newest member of the team) to come in at all costs while the rest of them go to a burger joint.  We’ve figured out why I couldn’t remote onto my workplace PC through Citrix (DNS, don’t go there), and so I can do almost everything from right here on my home computer that I would normally need to be in the office to do.  Much of my job involves remoting onto other people’s PCs, or their Citrix sessions, or indeed onto servers for various functions — so, think on this: one day, while working from home, I might remote onto one of the Proxy PRO servers in order to access someone’s home-working laptop, and thus go three deep!

Obviously while working from home, I wouldn’t be able to do physical tasks like replacing printer toner or moving equipment around — but if the Tube strikes were still going ahead next week, no-one else would be in the office to need those services anyway, would they?  No, I’m fully prepared and able to keep the important systems of my workplace running, even if events conspire to stop me physically coming in… oh, wait, my password expired over the weekend, and now I can’t log into Citrix.  Argh!

I just wish spring would hurry up, as only the gradually brightening mornings (and the fact that it’s only twilight when I leave work) signify that we’re coming out of winter.  I haven’t had the usual 1st February five-minute sunlight-on-windows sign this year, presumably due to the cloud, and the weather’s due to get cold again this coming week, as bad as January and far worse than December… how I wish I had a home of my own, where I could sort out the insulation and have the heating on whenever I want — that’s the way in which I want my prospects to improve next!