As predicted, Friday was hard work. But I am very, very blessed to have colleagues to whom I can say, Listen, I am in hella bad nick today so if my work is gash, here is why. Eek! they said. And, So if the police won’t do anything… where do we stand?
Alone! We stand alone! I announced with my fist in the air, before adding, And bugger only knows what we do about it, and settling down to an incredibly gash day’s work. Well, actually that ain’t so – this news hit right before I have a week off, so I had Everything to finish up before leaving. And I pretty much managed it, and on a 24-hour turnaround and very little sleep, that is not bad. I had to stay on a bit to get it done, but my Cellmate gave me a run home and I did some housework and went to bed.
So, the short version of Friday:- drudge, snarl, brood, sleep. Le sigh.
Saturday, however, found me up and at the Sums early, cos I was due to set off to Edinburgh to meet up with the (sort-of) fightclub Wags; namely Cava, who Does Hairdressing and, ooh, Licorice? Have I named someone Licorice already? Probably, but I cannot remember who. Besides, the name fits, she has fabulous dark hair and eye make-up, Wot She Does Tips On, and makes me acutely aware of my age.
Which it is important to remember, is only going up by one digit per year, just like everyone else’s, though it often doesn’t feel like it. Especially when one is walking five miles with a big rucksack of Frocks and Make-up and jammies and pink fizz and frozen dessert and praying this doesn’t end up in the sort of messy disaster that gets one banned from using Megabus ever again.
Also, I was supposed to be geting the bus with Licorice, with whom I have never had a conversation that I could hear more than a third of, oh corks, now don’t come across as all Old and Ignorant of Beauty Tips! Or all self-conscious, cos that’ll make you seem all standoffish… oh well that’s that buggered now, isn’t it. Everyone sing along: learning curves are here again! Worse luck.
See, this is where today’s title finally comes in (more or less) relevant. There’s this film called Withnail and I, which was made about a zillion years ago and of which probably everyone else in the whole world is already aware. It’s about a couple of unemployed actors who go for a ‘delightful weekend in the country’. The only problem is that they go for a delightful weekend in a shack in the middle of nowhere with no food or booze, and that the shack’s owner, Uncle Monty, who is of a different generation and very bad at applying makeup, is not left safely behind in London after all. Hijinks, but not even one little explosion, ensue. Despite it not being my standard gung-ho action fodder, I love it almost as much as I love Dog Soldiers, which is also about a delightful weekend in the country which goes tits up; only this is because of werewolves, not old and staggeringly-inappropriate people. Well, and Withnail. In fact, mainly because of Withnail.
As might or might not be guessed, my deepest fear regarding this weekend’s jaunt is that the role of Uncle Monty is about to be played by me.
So it was probably a good thing that me and Licorice managed to arrange Waiting For Each Other At The Bus in such a way that she was on the bus, while I was right outside it. If I had been rude and got on it just before the doors closed, abandoning her to her fate, everything woulda worked out, go figure. Except for the ‘concealing being old and ignorant’ bit. As it was, I got the next bus, a precious extra hour of kip and the staving-off of the total collapse of my street-cred till Edinburgh bus station. Everyone on my bus went to sleep as soon as it set off! cried Licorice. What is it with old people?
Aye, for shame! I said brightly, crossing my fingers and avoiding her gaze. Mercifully, we immediately adjourned to the pub, which Cava had chosen for its defensibility against zombie attack (awesome), where we got in a round of cherry beers and I discovered that Gok Wan has nothing to do with cookery. See those out-of-date vampires who can’t pull? That’s me, that is.
No wait, they were fashionable once.
Back to Cava’s for, well, cava and home-made lasagne, hurrah, and cake which had not defrosted over everything in my bag (well, maybe a little) and even more mercifully we did not go out because Travelling To Edinburgh Tax* was in effect and my wallet was already throwing a screaming fit.
*(The tax works as follows: If you go to a pub for a quiet evening, a tenner will be unaccounted for in the morning, even if you walked there and back and stayed for no more than four drinks. If these four drinks persuade you to go on to a club, it will be a twenty; even after you’ve factored in taxis and entry fees. If you go to a pub in a different city, thirty quid will vanish. Bonus tenner deduction if it’s a capital city. Even if you stay in. Do not even think about going clubbing in London, unless you live there.)
Instead, we stopped in and after a few glasses of pink, the fear of Being Uncle Monte got the better of me, thus ensuring I turned into an unstoppable force of Spiel about old times nobody is interested in. Le sigh. On the bright side, this does ensure that the next time either of these people is seen hurriedly crossing the street to avoid me, it will not be because I had no idea who Gok Wan was. They might even have forgotten that part.
Still, despite my blethering all Saturday night, in the morning we were up bright and early and Cava gave me my first haircut… since before I went to France, thinking about it. Dear god, how is that even possible? Four years of not even finding a mate to have a go with a pair of scissors? (Every haircut I have had… since leaving school… has been of the mate-with-scissors variety).
It’s times like this, especially with alkeemahol still chugging round your system from a few hours ago, that you suddenly realise that maybe your view of yourself is nothing like everyone else’s view of you. So while you’re all, Ho hum, nae bloke, but at least that means Nae Arguing and you know what, I am quite busy enough with the Allittlement and the Sums and the job and having nae money and supposedly going to learn to be Badass every so often! Life goes on! … everyone else might (quite rightly) be thinking, You will never pull. Never ever. Ever. Unless he is BLIND.
So, well, you know, I’m desaturating the market, right?
Probably shouldn’t have yelled, Oh my god, I look like Jon Bon Jovi! halfway through, either.
However. Post-haircut, I might look like Jon Bon Jovi, but I like what I see. And Licorice also got her hair cut and these fabulous purple and blue, um, Bits, put in (I understand they may well have a Proper name, I just don’t know what it is) and both Cava and Licorice gave me make-up tips and despite my jaundiced gaze and very close attention, okay, paranoia, I could not detect even the smallest smattering of Pity from either of them. Damn, they’re good.
For my part I… did the dishes. Well it’s sort of girlie.
And then, as is usually the way on travelling from city to city, all the time as well as all the money evaporated and I was home… at eight at night. On a Sunday. Gah!
Well that was awesome fun, if you don’t count the parts where I reckon I made a tit of myself (and it is important to remember that if I’d spent the weekend with a bunch of tank afficionados, camping out and covered in engine oil, I woulda felt completely out of my depth then too, especially if they were clearly awesome people). But, thank god I have a whole week off work to get busy Getting Stuff Done!