Why Haven’t I Written Anything In 4 Months?

If you’d thought I’d perished, fear not, for phoenixes rise from the ashes, and I from my bedroom once in a blue moon. What can I say? This sedentary state of mind and body takes its toll. But before I start quoting Confucius and reading palms I’ll adopt a more grounded tone of voice. 

So why have I really refrained from writing regularly these days? 

The short answer is, well…. I’m not quite sure. Yet, if you take time to look beneath the surface there’s a plethora of complexities working their magic on my blood cortisol levels. From a lack of motivation to feelings of inadequacy, in these last few months I’ve had both the knockbacks and privileges of feeling them all. 

If you are taking a break from something you once enjoyed then don’t beat yourself up about it and demand yourself to get back on the horse. Let the horse rest for a while (or just buy a new one). 

Digging a little deeper I can say that for a while I didn’t feel the urge to share my constant ramblings with anyone, be it friends, family or the next door neighbour. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts. Writing had lost its appeal for a while. Whether I was too preoccupied with the day job or simply just told myself this, one way or another my relationship with writing was strained. 

I think that’s part of the problem, at least in my experience, is that I’ve found that when I do something with the aim of trying to impress someone else that ‘thing’ loses its appeal and so I lose motivation to keep doing ‘it’. 

Whereas, when I find something to do which interests me and is for me wholeheartedly, I find that my motivation does not waver in the same way, if at all. 

And I think this is something I’ve only really come to realise this year. I don’t want to write to impress others, I want to write to enjoy the process of writing for myself. There’s a poignant difference in this realisation. 

Do you do something in particular for the approval of others or do you do it for the fulfillment in yourself? 

We spend our lives searching for ‘happiness’, thinking that our external reputations = success = happiness. But what if this is wrong? What if the recipe for happiness is intrinsic-growth = happiness? 

Who knows, all I know is that  I need a holiday……(where I can bask like a lizard and stress myself out on my sun lounger, pondering pensively within the murky depths of my mind. Just as I’m doing now, lying horizontally with my laptop on my windpipe. The comforts of  working from home, eh?) 

Overall, I don’t think I’ve given much detail as to why I’d stopped writing for so long, but one thing more important to note is that I didn’t stop permanently, because I would like to get back into it. Starting now.

And if you’re the only sad sod who’s bothered to read it this far then you must be in a far worse state than I am! Hahaha kidding!

Lookout for my next post which will most likely be about…..TBD hehe

You Are Unique, No?

Something which has fascinated me for quite some time is this shared feeling many of us have, a feeling of internal friction. A part of us is pulled towards wanting to feel unique and feel like an individual, while the other pushes us to want to fit in and conform. 

And so both forces, (as Yoda would say) act in opposite directions, leaving us in this stationary state where we stand shoulder to shoulder with one another in no man’s land. Not knowing whether to put a foot forward or backward, to hold the person’s hand beside us or to stand alone. Being human feels like much more than being flesh and bone, than having a soul. Societal baggage comes along for the ride, an additional freebie that no one is thankful for (well, at least not all of the time). 

To give a bit of context: I was listening to a podcast several days ago by a Spanish man who helps others learn the Spanish language through informal story telling (which is great, I think). And within the first 10 minutes of this particular episode he mentioned how your aim when learning a language shouldn’t be about wanting to ‘ sound like a native’ yet instead the focus should be on ensuring that you speak with clarity and that the message of which you are trying to convey is understood. So less about perfecting the accent and more about achieving clear communication.

This was a notable point in my mind, because it’s true, so many advertisements I see about languages always seem to be promoting the measure of success of language acquisition as being equated to sounding perfectly like a native. 

But is it really that important to sound like a native? No. Because then you are not sounding like yourself. Your accent + new language = a unique accent that nobody else on the planet could ever have. This is a special thing. We shouldn’t be trying to change our charms.  

His words resonated with me on many levels. If everybody aimed to sound the same and look the same we would lose any uniqueness, any quirks. Diluting ourselves is essentially losing ourselves I think. 

Anyhow, maybe I should lay off the herbal teas before bedtime……….

Yes, Positives Do Exist (Just Squint Harder And You’ll See)

With so much negativity festering daily, from scaremongering and sensationalising tabloids spitting doomsday ‘news’ into our turquoise surgical masked faces, to apocalyptic scenes in some of the local supermarkets. I wanted to flip this on its head, and dare I say, try and see some positives to this nightmare we all find ourselves desperate to awaken from. 

Is this my feeble attempt to sugarcoat reality or turn a blind eye to the obvious? No, of course not, but sometimes we need to take a minute and reflect on some good in order to continue soldiering through the challenges. 

And for that reason, I want to share with you some positives I have jotted down recently regarding the pandemic in an attempt that you too could relate. 

Will it plant a cheek-hurting smile on your mug allday? I think not, but perhaps for a millisecond or two, and that’s better than not at all, right?

So here goes:

Money Saving

I am not ignoring the financial hardships, again this point will be for a few not the majority. Many people have lost their livelihoods, or are struggling on furlough, I know this. Which is why I think it is important to remain hopeful that this nightmare will end this year. 

Some of us may have been able to save throughout this situation, perhaps you have returned to the parental home and are saving money by paying a decreased rent. Or maybe, for example, because the hospitality industry has been closed at different stages throughout the year you have managed to save money which otherwise would have been spent in restaurants and bars. Because, let’s face it, who would ever want to spend their money enjoying themselves *wink wink.

Perhaps this situation presented you with an opportunity to kickstart your own business. New ideas may have arisen as a direct result of these circumstances perhaps. Or maybe, simply, you’ve had the time to forge a solid business plan, thrown caution to the wind and just given it a go. 

Family Time

Although the novelty definitely wears off, I can say that the support and company of my parents, and vice versa this last year has had more positives than negatives. Of course the pleasantries fade into the abyss by the second week of living under their roof, with their ways of life mimicking that of a stoned three-toed swamp sloth. It’s no lie that I have wanted  to take them on in the boxing ring, but overall I think spending time with family is something that should not be underestimated. Having company is definitely something that’s overlooked by us all at times. There’s nothing wrong with living on your own, so long as you can still catch up with friends and family, right? But definitely, in these times I think closeness with people is needed more than ever. Love you Ma and Da (they never read this sh*t)!

Perhaps you are a parent yourself and have found that this situation has given you the opportunity to spend more time at home with your partner and/or children. Maybe you have created more memories as a result. Hopefully happy ones!

As social beings, I think having company and companionship is only ever a good thing. Which is what makes this situation sort of bitter/sweet , after several months you grow to hate your family and crave socialising with your cool friends haha! But deep down family is important in my opinion.

Location Change = Less Stressful City Lifestyle

Ofcourse, this one is location dependent and based on your preferences as an individual. In my situation, I moved out of the city of London and into my parents’ shoebox of a home. Which despite its modest size it still manages to swamp the non-existent space you get in the matchbox city apartments of the UK’s capital, might I just add! 

Like any city, there are both pros and cons to the types of lifestyles they offer in them. I do like the atmosphere and amenities on my doorstep but the flipside is, do I miss overcrowding, sprinting off trains like racing greyhounds, or overpriced below-quality accommodation and products? I guess not, atleast not at the moment. 

So by being away from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city I have been able to take my head out of the sand and say ‘ no, no I do not miss the stress of the commute’ as I travel from my bed to my desk in my pink thermal pyjamas.

My blood pressure has thanked me too. 

Learn To Value Health More – Physical & Mental

It’s not that things like getting a haircut and saving the world’s economies are not important (in that order). But I think obviously the core of this crisis is the concern it poses to health on a mass scale. 

This risk to our physical health has taken a toll on our mental health, I believe this is fair to say, would you? Both are as important as eachother, yet one is always overlooked. I will leave this to you to decide.

The bottom line is, perhaps this is the time to truly put ‘health’ in its many aspects in the spotlight, and not focus on making more money or building  a more impressive reputation. Perhaps the importance should be on looking after ourselves. 

And not just in moments when we are physically sick, but in the moments physically well too. 

Not just in the moments where we feel physical pain, but in moments of mental pain too. 

I think it’s easy to overlook our own well-being and place more priority on widening our wallets. But ultimately what is a million in the bank really about if you are stressed or depressed, or physically unwell as a result of your quest to be rich?

My point is self-care has become a much more apparent thing to me, our mental and physical health is overlooked until a health scare abruptly enters our lives. 

We work ourselves into the ground to save money which we won’t see until we are pensioners, or instead, we work ourselves into the ground so that we can retire before we are of pension age. 

I have no issue with strong work ethics but a question I asked myself is – what value of money is my health worth?

We should treat ourselves better more often, we can be too hard on ourselves at times.

 Why obsess with always chasing the future plans, doesn’t that mean you will never really be enjoying the present?

Take more care of yourself is my bottom line!

If you are  feeling down, perhaps do as I did and take a moment to reflect on how much strength you have had in getting through this situation thus far. Perhaps even jot down some positives as I have done above. 

Personally, I felt alot better when I did this, and I am sure that you will too. 

Take care

Natasha

‘Tis The Season To Be (Un)Motivated

Has everybody’s motivation to do something productive been pretty much thrown overboard, and chained to a concrete block the size of a small car destined to sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench never to see the light of day again?

Or is that just me?

As a human being I like to take the easy road, watching TV and eating cake seems like a  much more viable option than scratching my head over a 12-paged tax form, or job application, or be it pretty much anything these days. 

And has the shame set in? You can answer that yourself. 

Infact, even the simplest of tasks have become a strain, signing a birthday card feels like I’m signing away a piece of my own unmotivated flesh. Making dinner feels like I’ve opened the gates of Hell. Sweating profusely over a stove morning, noon and night because you’ve had to substitute for your mum, who is such a fantastic cook that she manages to burn water. I  might as well stick my head in the oven for the amount of times I’ve been scraping the overcooked rotisserie chicken off the back of it these days! 

You may grimace at my squabbling over life’s little pleasures, while I assure you my face remained motionless on the date on which I conjured this jargon up. Expressionless, as my heart pours these words onto this page like spilled milk on the breakfast table. 

At least I’ve been somewhat productive on a microscale, I suppose. Wrapping up overly-expensive gifts for someone you mildly like in your family must stand for something right? Wearing pyjamas on a 5-day streak must be medal-worthy, no? Oh, who asked you anyway!

I’ve found myself recently trying to find the positive in the tiny achievements. Small steps at a time. It’s the only way I’ve been keeping my head out of the sand, out of the clouds and out of the oven I mentioned to you earlier if you’d be so kind to remember. 

Let me lay out some examples for you before I become unmotivated to write anymor…….

Boredom-Busting Ideas

I’ve been trying to find new ways to keep myself occupied, especially since ‘winter is coming; and we all know what that entails. Stomach ulcers from too much hot tea drinking and cold sores from too much mistletoe snogging (well perhaps not this year mind you).

Anyway the fact is I’m finding that boredom is fast becoming that unwelcome guest in my mind a little too often and so I thought I’d share with you some ideas which have kept me entertained if all for the wrong reasons. 

Baking

Sounds good on paper, the final product never quite looks like the picture however. As it’s almost halloween I thought it would be nice to make halloween themed cupcakes, which would’ve worked out fine if I was going for the theme of roadkill.

Exercise

In my life, there never really is that right moment to drop and give you 50.. Exercise is painful, pain is something I’d quite like to avoid strangely enough. Yet in saying this, I have found myself in moments of disillusion hopelessly attempting to follow these popular Youtube pilates people while perspiring profusely. 

Nature Walks

It’s all fun and games until I tred in dogsh*t. Autumn, in particular, is a great time to go walking in sh*t, the leaves are burnt orange and crimson, the sun sits low in the frosty sky. So many picturesque moments are just destined to be ruined by dogwalkers! (joke) :p 

ASMR

I’m obsessed with this stuff, I don’t need drugs, sex or rock ‘n’ roll, I save these antics for weekends. Weekdays are spent in a euphoric state of catharsis, as Gentle Whispering ASMR pretends to give my spotty face a health-spa grade facial. ASMR is like marmite, some love it , some hate it. Forget marmite, it’s the elixir of life for saddos like me who never got hugged enough as kinder!

Book Reading

Fed up of scrolling on instagram, I’ve decided on the seldom occasion to brush off the cobwebs on some of my books. I boast a humble collection of a handful of books, not like those show-off shelves everybody seems to be sporting on their zoom calls these days. An old favourite I’ve picked up, and ultimately max out reading at the half hour mark is titled ‘Blackbox Thinking’ by Matthew Syed, in my opinion, it really is worth the read if you think failure is a negative, it changed my mindset for the better, it may change yours too.

So that was just some of the ideas I;ve been mulling over/ giving a go in the last couple of months. And on writing this I realise I already mentioned most of these in my previous post. 

Oh well, recycling things helps the planet doesn’t it?

I hope you’re trying to keep boredom at bay currently too, it’s not easy at times but atleast we can try, right?

It’s Been A While…….

There are people posting videos of themselves climbing their stairwells enough times they’re making Everest appear like little more than a speed ramp in comparison. And here I am struggling to get up in the morning and ‘head to work’ five footsteps from my bed. 

But really, I must admit, and like many others (which is reassuring) and maybe even you, I have failed miserably at meeting any of my ambitions I had set out on an A4 page minutes before the world went into lockdown.

Here are just a few feeble facades  which fondly faded away into the abyss of my foggy mind:

  1. ‘Learn a new language’ – before lockdown I could say ‘hola’, half a year into lockdown and I’m still just saying…….’hola’. 
  1. ‘Get fit’ – why do we torture ourselves? Can we just give this gig up. Most of us are simply not fitness freaks fanatics, so let’s stop kidding ourselves, put down the dumbbells and pick up the popcorn. 
  1. ‘Skill up’ – yes taking on a new course is exciting for about 1 minute. Until the pre-filmed lecturer with his monotone drole puts you to sleep faster than your local anaesthetist. 
  1. ‘Self care’ – well atleast I now give my hair 100 strokes of a fine-toothed comb everyday. That’s something, right? But try to force me to wear anything other than my miss-matching tracksuit bottoms and farmer’s fleece and we’re having a fight. 

You get my drift, some people may look back at lockdown and see the silver lining in the mushroom cloud, several online certifications under their belt, a new haircut, a new zest for life. Meanwhile I’m the runt stuck in yet an even bigger rut. If there was ever a time to learn how to f*cking crochet, it has come and gone! And guess what, I still haven’t taken out those knitting needles, (do you even use needles)! 

So what exactly do I spend my time doing these days when I’m not wallowing in self-pity or stuffing my face with fried foods, you ask?

I’m still trying to figure that one out to be quite frank.  

When Will The Summer Arrive?! :(

If you find yourself clutching onto a hot water bottle as if it were a life-saving hand at the top of a cliff which had your death sealed on it. Then you must only be in Northern Ireland in the height of its scorching summer at 14 degrees Celsius (on a good day).

 

Yes today is the day of the whinge, I haven’t seen the sun in 6 weeks, and I’m starting to have major withdrawal symptoms. So desperate am I to feel its rays caress my casper-like skin that I’ve started layering on the factor 50+ at midnight and adorning the sunglasses while peering at the moon from my french-bay windows begging it to metamorphose into its much hotter cousin. 

 

Where art thou sunlight? Summer in this country occurs for one day, and one day only. Normally in May, whilst you’re waiting in the healthcentre for them to check if the bed sores you are developing are caused  by a serious medical condition or just because you’re too lazy to walk your mutt in the piss-pouring rain.

 

 As you uncomfortably sweat from every orifice in your being as the sun plays peek-a-boo behind the cumulonimbus for all of about 4 seconds, you second-guess whether you should get the shorts on and the BBQ lit when you leave the cesspit of infestation a.k.a. the local healthcentre we all love to hate. 

 

The ‘Great British’ weather really isn’t all that great. It’s always essential to dress for all 4 seasons in the one day. So that means a crop top, flip-flops combo, coupled with a raincoat and set of hat, scarf and gloves all being sported before you’ve had your morning cereal. 

 

And with this, it’s time to throw on the Ski-jacket and cycle shorts for a trip to the soggy beach!

Poem – ‘Try’

Swallowing pride,

Suppressing suggestions of surrendering,

To the doubts damning me from within.

 

An attempt to achieve,

Guised more as an attack on my ego,

Failure must be coupled with Cheshire cat’s grin. 

 

To try,

An action well-known to the brave.

Yet not even an acquaintance of I nor him. 

 

Trying to try,

Should be an accolade in itself,

With the focus on winning being second to this.

I’m Motivated At Being Unmotivated

I’ve become really unmotivated lately. I find sticking to schedules more painful than the thought of chewing shards of bottlegreen glass as if they were cornershop penny chews. 

 

Working remotely at my 9 to 5 is doable, but it’s the goals I have outside of this (as we all have) which I feel completely uncompelled to partake in. It’s so frustrating, here I am at 1 minute past 5pm, I should be jumping for joy at the thought of going for a workout in the garden or getting better at my language learning. 

 

Yet instead, much to my disappointment, I find myself crawling into the pyjamas and making the greasiest pile of shite for dinner, followed by a helpful dose of ‘Botched’ for dessert. (If anyone has watched this show, let me tell you now, do not eat a damn thing mid-watch. For it’’ll be hitting your ceiling via projectile vomit well before you have even had  a chance to take a second bite. Let’s just say the graphic scenes in this reconstructive surgery show would make roadkill look like a pageant Queen. And with that, I’ll say no more). 

 

Anyway, as I allow the daylight hours to fall through my hands like sands at the seaside, the guilt begins to wash over me – normally around 1am when my head hits the pillow. I’ve just wasted yet another day’, unfortunately this is the all too familiar opening dialogue of my monologue rant that I play through most nights of my very lack-lustre days. ‘Why didn’t I try harder, do I not care enough about succeeding, do I not have enough passion for these so-called ‘goals’ of mine?’  

 

I fall asleep under the waves of annoyance and frustration. Forgiving myself monetarily as I work at the dayjob only to start the cycle all over again as the sun begins to set. Why do I bother having ‘goals’ if I can’t be bothered to put in the effort to achieve them?

 

Are they really not things that I truly want? Am I just trying to achieve them to impress other people? Do I have too many goals simultaneously and perhaps the pressure of this ask is too much that my subconscious simply rejects them all in a desperate attempt to keep my cortisol levels mildly below fFreaking the f*ck out’? Who knows. I wish I had the answers. 

 

I spend alot of time thinking, and not enough time doing, Maybe perhaps this is the real crux of it all. The cure to all of my problems, and much much more. Human beings – procrastinators sitting pretty in their suits of skin and bone. So perfectly imperfect, we have the minds to create goals, and the minds to prevent them happening. 

 

Where the f*ck is my self-help book off Amazon, I think it’s perfect timing for a read of the blurb as a bit of light bedtime reading before I pass out whilst skimming over the introduction about the author.

 

I hope you’re achieving your goals as I sit and blabber about the fact that I’m about as far away from mine as the 2 poles are from eachother on this Godforsaken planet. Or then again, maybe knowing that you’re struggling too will give me a sense of sweet sweet schadenfreude as I stare aimlessly through my bay windows sipping unsweetened tea when really I should be working on my tax returns. 

 

Either way, goals can be achieved, and they can be unachieved. Formed and removed. The choice is mine. Today I may choose to not put effort in, and tomorrow I may choose to do the opposite. Outcomes change, when I change my actions. Actions change when I change my attitude. My attitude changes when I change the words I tell my own mind. 

 

And with this it’s time to put away my tiny violin if only for a moment, and put these words into action (tomorrow ofcourse :p). 

Poem – ‘A’ Is For Attraction

Enveloped in an aura of eternal amor.

Any armour I adorned,

Has been undone, it has been torn. 

 

Most magnetic is the mystery.

My mind is mute from misery,

As my heart mends from the lover before.

 

‘A’ is for attraction,

The feeling of acceptance,

Of an emotion more alien and more raw.

 

The feeling I have for you,

With the most painful kind of hope,

That you had it for me too, and not her.

Can Even Mushroom Clouds Have Silver Linings?

Can even mushroom clouds have silver linings? Can we find positives among the negatives that have arisen due to the global spread of the life-threatening virus – ‘coronavirus’?

 

This is not an attempt to turn my head away from  the serious consequences that the contagious virus has had on our lives, the mortality, the employment uncertainties, the upheaval of ‘normality’. 

It is with these in mind, I question, can a light really be seen at the end of the tunnel – this time. 

 

All of us have experienced first-handedly the strains of a life succumbed to staring somberly as the sun rises and sets on a cyclical whim. Knowing full-well that we will spend another day living an existence of exhausting every episode of ‘Friends’ known to man. Irony oozes through our veins as we scoff at the mere memory of ‘socialising’. The sobering reality of the closest thing we have to a friend these days being  that of an internet connection and a little-known phenomenon known as ‘Skype’.

 

But before I make my way to the pity party too hastily, I want to pause for a moment and reflect. Surely amongst the sadness and severity of this situation, one must question, are we truly damned? Instead, can we ask – what can we learn from this? And furthermore, are there any positives in particular to learn from?

 

I think so.

 

Perhaps you agree with some of the below:

 

Lockdown –  Gave Me A Chance To Reconnect With Old Friends

 

Regretfully, I had fallen out of touch with some of my friends in the last year or so. It’s an excuse to say this, but general day-to-day life can be full of distractions. Until ofcourse a situation like this arises, where all of those little tasks and problems now seem eclipsed by another much more forceful phenomenon

 

. With more time on my hands to reflect, I thought about the people I had lost contact with and took the courage to reach out to them. It was a little awkward at first, but I can honestly say, it was a decision well-made. 

 

Videochat – Gave Me A Chance To Form Stronger Connections

 

Before our current situation, there were friends of mine who I only communicated with via text. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees at how advantaged I was in having a laptop I could have used to videocall them long before now.

 

So, in quite a strange way lockdown has actually brought me closer to some friends. Personally, I find communication via videochat, where we can see eachother’s faces, creates a much better connection than solely messaging on social media.  

 

Online – Created The Opportunity To Make New Friends

 

I swear, the way this post is going, it makes it seems like I’ve been more sociable bound to the 4 walls of my own home than when I had a whole city to socialise in! The irony!

 

Facing pure moments of paranoia, as I woke up soaked in sweat at night, fearful of loneliness. I took it upon myself at the very beginning of lockdown, before I had the epiphany to reach out to people I actually knew. To trawl the internet for what looked like a somewhat normal friend-making exchange site. 

 

And actually, to my amazement, I have made a few friends who I’m actually quite fond of. Thankfully, up to this point, I have not been catfished, extorted for money, or stalked. So a round of applause to the world wide web for forming friendships amongst many many other things, which I won’t go down the rabbit hole of divulging…..

 

Lockdown – Gave Me Time To Reflect

 

If you are frequently left in a silent room, you have two options: chew your arm off out of insanity or answer those burning questions you’ve pushed to the back of your mind all these years. 

 

We all do it, because confronting our deepest of questions in the hinterland of  our minds, normally means we will have to confront the cumbersome cousin of ‘intrinsic questioning’  better known as – ‘uncomfortability’.  

 

We can all admit to it, we use procrastination as a way to avoid the uncomfortable. Which is why we find ourselves ordering Amazon’s Top 20 self-help book picks before sunrise on a Sunday. Our sad attempt to pacify the self-doubter within us. Trying to prevent another episode of ill-emotion, instead of focusing on finding a cure.

 

The cure may just be in the form that we all fear –  confronting our internal concerns with courage. Sitting in a room with a pen and paper (not the internet) may be a good start. Atleast this is what I have experienced in the last few months.

 

From career goals, to relationships, personal well-being to living more in the present. I have questioned many elements that make up this crazy ‘thing’ we call ‘life’. 

 

And will continue to make a habit of doing so (Scout’s honour), perhaps you could try it too? 

 

Probably the most neglected friend you have is you. And yet every man, before he can be a true friend to the world, must first become a friend to himself.”    

  1. Ron Hubbard

Perhaps by ill-humoured fate, gifted to us from nature, this tragic experience can show us the true fragility of life and with this in mind, allow elements to reveal themselves which  hold the realest value within it: not money, but meaningful relationships and self-care. 

 

These are just a few positives I have miraculously unearthed from the rubbles of devastation this pandemic has caused. But as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so can all of us, with the help of a positive attitude. 

 

The Catcall Chronicles

**Disclaimer  – no man, woman or dog was hurt in the making of these chronicles, this is aimed to be lighthearted and is not intending to stick the knife in further to the topics of rejection or gender roles in relationships in any way. If you are of a sensitive nature then I suggest you turn away now. And never read my blog again.

 

If you’re still reading this then I appreciate that you have identified yourself on the side of (in)sanity. And with this, let’s begin:

 

 

We are all served our fair share of unannounced and unwelcomed wacko encounters, right? Whether you are in the shops getting bread, or bending down to tie your shoelace, sooner or later you’ll find the local clown leeching onto your waist all whilst  whispering sweet nothings into your ear canal.

 

If this is a rare occurrence for you, then let me tell you I am jealous, for my daily interactions with particular members of the general public would make  even the most paranoid and parodied narratives of life look lack-lustre, let me tell you. 

 

This time, let me introduce you to just one of my many types of unsavory encounters – ‘The Cat Calls’

 

Can I just start by saying –  don’t tell me to be flattered by the offensive and obtrusive interjection of a sweaty handshake or gummy grin from a bozo pursuitor. There’s utterly nothing about banal meet and greets that get me all ‘hot and bothered’ I can assure you of that. 

 

 

So with that being said, let’s say hello to the men of my monotonous walks home from work:

 

Mr. Comedy Club – This guy made my dad look like a schoolboy, let’s just say that I never 

knew geriatrics had such taste for juveniles. 

 

Mr. Russia –  ‘We will meet this weekend. You will shag me  for dessert. Simple.’

 

Mr. Burrito – A burrito in exchange for a list of STD’s a prostitute would be proud of sounds like a fair deal, right?

 

The Copiously Copulating Co-workers – Let me serve this food real quick, and then I’ll be right back to grope you, cool?

 

Mr. Stalker – ‘It doesn’t matter if you have a boyfriend, just send me some nudes’ the stranger expels in exasperation after unnanouncingly  chasing me down the street like the predator he was. 

 

You will have plenty of time to get acquainted with each of my Mr. Wrongs, but first it’s time for Mr. Comedy Club to step up to the mic:

 

Mr Comedy Club

 

This guy made my dad look like a schoolboy, let’s just say that I never 

knew geriatrics had such good taste in juveniles and such bad taste in jokes.

 

 I don’t know what was more jarring, the outreach of sweaty hand that looked like it had spent a lifetime on his genitals doing allsorts. Or the lick of his sweaty lip as if he was about to take a chomp out of mine. Both actions, as equally unsettling as he approached me on that busy evening on the Strand, London. 

 

At first I thought he was asking for directions, and naively, 23 year old me failed to abide by the ‘stranger danger code’. Instead I  proceeded to indulge in shaking his nut-scratching hand that little too long, as he interjected my evening jaunt back to my cesspit for a night of netflix and not much else. 

 

“Hi, I’m Paul…nice to meet you, and you are….?

 

To which I obliged and answered startlingly, giving him every detail under the sun.  My full legal title, the 4-digit pin to my debit card, even the code to the safe. But before I could tell him where I was hiding the dead body he rudely interrupted to chuckle goofily and ask me if I ‘lived around here’? 

 

Fuck sake, if I lived around here, doing the maths, I would need to be doing the ‘spread eagle’ for atleast 40 sugardaddies on a daily basis. This was ‘the Strand’, not ‘Old Kent Road’. He really was as dumb as he looked, I thought internally, as I prised a wry grin from my pursed lips. 

“No, no, not far though”, I seethed through gritted teeth, in desperation that this babbling baboon who was bamboozling me would get the memo and leave me the f*ck alone. 

 

I may have given him the code to the safe, but he wasn’t getting the address to the house. Serial killers lurk amongst us, afterall. 

An awkward pause followed my icy blunt response.  Time had legitimately stopped, his beady perverted eyes twinkled as he keenly waited for me to finish my cold reply with an address of where he ultimately thought he could make love to me from dusk till dawn before hiding my wispy body in a ‘hand-luggage sized suitcase’. 

 

A ground-trembling ‘beep’ of a road-raged taxi driver’s horn from the nearby road hastily brought me and Mr Comedy club’s little love affair tumbling back to reality. No sooner had I tried to step away inconspicuously from this car-crash of a conversation  than was this geriatric proceeding  to ask me if I had any ‘hobbies in the vicinity’. The choice of wording made it feel more like an interrogation than a flirtatious fondling of phrases. 

 

I almost threw up in my mouth, but managed to keep it down as the words ‘I like comedy clubs’ spewed out in substitution. A mistake which still haunts me to this day, 2 whole years, 10 months, 28 weeks, 10 days, 23 hours, 3 seconds and 1 millisecond later (now 2 milliseconds). 

 

With the uttering of these four words from my mouth, came a stark change in this man’s behaviour, like a shark smelling blood he latched on with no mercy. In a flustered frenzy he forced up every sound somewhat synonymous to that of ‘comedy club’, and how he ‘coincidentally’ loves every single one that  I go to here in London. Go figure!

 

As he went off on his spiel about all things unfunny, I had somewhat of an outer body experience. I pictured myself flying to the moon and back on the tusk of a baby narwhal, I pondered over whether to have fajitas or fishcakes for tea. I calculated exactly how many minutes of my life I had so far lost to his gibberish gabbling before ultimately, momentarily ofcourse, expelling my soul from my body via passing-wind (everyone’s favourite method). And indulging in a quick soul-flying whizz around The National Portrait Gallery. Before checking back in with my poor self who was now standing motionless as Mr Comedy Club was passing his phone towards me for my number, a surefire way to sign my soul away to a life of pure misery and doom as his 3rd wife-to-be. Thank God I zoomed round the gallery at lightning speed, for as I came back to life I swatted his phone away like the dirty bottle-green fly it truly was. But let’s be clear, this is no fly around shite, this is a perverted paedophile droning on and on in my face about wanting to take me out to a comedy club and then have some real fun afterwards. 

 

One was not amused at this proposal. And finally, as a true woman, who can multi-task, I coupled the batting of his phone with a ‘no’ head shake any nodding Bulldog on a dashboard of a Mini-Cooper sport passing over speed ramps would be proud of. 

 

My pupils now dilated in rage, nostrils flared from smelling his bullshit for one minute too long. He got the memo. His nut-scratching hand proceeded to place his mucky mobile phone back into his very shallow back pocket as his tail tucked coincidingly inbetween his legs.

 

 I had just rejected him. 

 

And in the process gained a new lesson for myself.

 

Don’t talk to strangers. 

 

Numbness now awkwardly introduced itself, filling the void of silence that now enveloped both him and I. My irritation dissipated from my body like waves drifting out to shore, only to be replaced with an overwhelming feeling of guilt.  

 

As he beckoned away from me guising a facial expression signalling simply regret with an edge of sadness, I too had felt sorry for my actions. 

 

Nobody had the last laugh here.

 

**Next time I get sent some love from Russia. 

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