Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Return to Tedium

So can I officially be the last person to wish you a Happy New Year, and can I also be probably the only person to welcome you back to your tedious life. Yes I’m afraid Christmas is over, the New Year is gone, there are no more Bank Holidays left and it’s back to the hum drum tedium that is your life. The only difference being you’re fatter, a lot poorer and you have a selection of jumpers you didn’t want. Sorry. Unless of course you’ve taken a couple of extra days off, in which case you’ve simply prolonged the inevitable and essentially made the fall all the worse.

All you have now is months of poor weather, and no bank holidays to look forward – the next one is not until April 6th, really that long away? Oh well, on the plus side at least New Year’s is gone and done, is it me but isn’t the worst celebration ever? Perhaps that’s why they have it at the beginning of the year to get it out of the way? I mean talk about anti-climax, everyone waits excitingly for the clock to change to midnight, and then what? What changes? Nothing. Other than the physical number of the year, your calendar and the fact that you’ll spend the next six months mucking up filling in forms, sometimes inexplicably writing the year as 2013 (why does that happen?), nothing has changed.

I’ve had a series of New Year’s horrors, dealing with drunken/hysterical friends, being rammed into pub/clubs/parties with loads of happy couples kissing over the New Year (my favourite thing as I’m sure regular readers will have guessed), attending a party where the DJ missed midnight and announced 10 minutes late that it was now the New Year, and being in bed with food poisoning over the Millennium New Year’s celebrations after eating a dodgy prawn sandwich.

Worse than all those disasters was the year I did the traditional banks of the Thames, standing in conditions so arctic that my reproductive organs had retracted so far into my body that I’d become an Action Man figure, however to make up for it my nipples had become so erect that if I turned round quickly I’d have run the risk of knocking five people into the Thames. Typically you spend hours standing at the banks of the Thames just to get a good position to see a clock strike 12am – at no other time of the year is this considered entertainment for very good reason, it’s dull. Some people have actually turned up at lunchtime to get the best positions – I mean I ask you?! Then you seem some admittedly nice fireworks, but you’d have a better view on telly. And then you have to get home, yes the Tube runs all night and is free – but all the useful stations have been closed to avoid overcrowding, so you have to walk to Zone 2 before you can even board a train.

This year I had none of that, I stayed at home like a miserable git with my parents, for the second New Year running where we watched Jake Humphrey – the Formula 1 presenter, who’d lost the BBC’s annual sweepstake and was forced to endure the banks of the Thames so we didn’t have to. We all had one drink, then played Scrabble on the Wii until 2am. Perfect, and much like the rest of the year, miserable. Still I’m happy I got a 203 point word, which really annoyed the rest of family “EQUALING” across two treble word scores (yes it is an Americanism but it was worth it). In some ways it was probably the best New Year I’ve had.

And of course since I last ranted at you, it’s been Christmas, how was your Christmas? I don’t really care, but it’s polite to ask. The Christmas period, I find, brings with it its own ills – and I’m not talking about Christmas dinner washing up and pretending that you liked those Christmas presents that you really didn’t. This Christmas I ended up feeling very old, there’s many reasons for this. Firstly spending time with your parents, which I’ve come to realise, is like looking into a mirror of the future, you see yourself in thirty years time an inescapable fate, your destiny is to turn into this people no matter what you do, you cannot avoid it. It’s like a science fiction movie where the characters see their own future and no matter how they try to avoid the future unravels as is written. Those of you under the age of 25 will be reading this puzzled, I spent all my late teenage years and early twenties convinced that I would be nothing like my parents, determined in fact I wouldn’t copy their annoying habits, I’d be “cool” at the age of 60. Then somewhere around the mid-twenties the awful truth hits you, you are turning into them, well a hideous hybrid – almost like you’re 50% your mother and 50% your father. You’ve started seeing their traits in you. I know I’ve started shouting at inanimate objects like my mother, sighing loudly for no reason like my father, generally being baffled by new technology and moaning that the buttons on new gadgets are too small, turning down the TV and wandering round the shops rejecting the arrays of clothing presented to me because “it wouldn’t be practical”. It’s only a matter of time before I start going upstairs and by the time I get there forgetting what I came up for – though I’ve come up with a cunning plan to avoid this by only every living in single story buildings, clever eh? Then I’ll be off to buy a beige cardigan and start a 1,000 piece jigsaw just for fun. Why on earth they need to do DNA testing on Jeremy Kyle, just wait until the child is 30 you’ll be able to tell the parents just from the annoying traits.

However that’s not the only reason I’m feeling particularly old, whilst seeing family this Christmas my sister said “Is that a grey hair on your head”, following up with “only joking!”. How we laughed… until I throttled the bitch with a string of tinsel and shoved her face in a Sainsbury’s Yule Log – the cow! Not that I’m overly sensitive, you understand. But worse than that, I got the news that everyone dreads, the awful news that you lay awake at night hoping will never come. The first of my university friends has had a baby. Yeah some of my school “friends” have been pregnant before, several times, but they were slags they don’t count, these people are like you, they are your peers. I mean it was bad enough when they all got into long term relationships, and increasingly you realised that you were in a minority and that single didn’t just describe your relationship status, but how many of your friends have time for you any more. Then a year or two after you last spoke to them a card drops through your door inviting you to their wedding, laughably asking if you’d like to bring a +1 with you, if they’d actually spoken to you in the last year they’d know I was still terminally single, still sitting on the shelf as wanted as a Jedward Album, where even a 99p sticker hasn’t done anything to shift you.

I’ve just been through that phase, there are two of us left unattached, bitterly meeting for coffee to bitch about all the friends that we haven’t seen in years. Now the next phase has begun, the one that makes you feel even more alone, the baby phase – there all going to start popping them out soon. I’ll be invited to baby showers, your last chance to see these people before they become eternally tired, where undoubtedly well meaning but essentially moronically patronising friends will declare “don’t worry I’m sure it’ll be your turn soon”, I have news for you the evidence suggests that it won’t be. Who knows maybe even asked to be a Godparent – though if any of them have read this blog they’ll surely be questioning my suitability in that role? It’s all so deeply depressing and cementing two things, one I’m no longer young – if people my age are grown ups, and two I’m living my life through moaning about their lives. Oh dear. Still I’m looking forward to the next phase, the awkward and bitter divorce phase, at least I’ll feel less single this time round. Perhaps we can have divorce parties, where I can cheerfully announce to the remaining couples don’t worry I’m sure it’ll be your turn soon”. And some people say I have issues.