10/11/2010

I went to the bank  last Friday. I was in a queue behind a middle-aged blonde woman. She was dressed in all black, spotted a deep red lipstick and was carrying a  big black gold-embroidered handbag  I don’t know why but her image made me think of   madams  – not that I’ve met any but after too much tv, books and being a general Billy no-mates, you tend to build a picture. She also made me think of perpetual jet-setters or the ‘it’s-my-sole-purpose-in-life-to-keep-up-with-the-joneses’ types. I waited for my turn, after a few minutes I heard:

“Alright, that’s sorted,”  then the girl behind the counter handed her a slip. I thought she was done, so I made a few steps forwards, leaning and readying myself to be served. But she wasn’t done,  for the girl behind the counter went back to punching something into the computer. The woman noticed my move, I noticed that she noticed me too, so I swiftly looked away, to a poster on the wall.  She then moved to block my view of the counter and put a big arm around the side of the counter that I was standing near to. Then I got the picture. She thought I was looking at her details! Wow. She continued throwing cautious glances at me whilst guarding this space even more. I decided to move a further steps back. Give her the piece of mind that she so desperately wanted. When it was my turn, the girl behind the counter said hello then immediately added:

“Just to say, you were standing very close to my last customer there.”

“Was I? I…”

“Just telling you because people can be funny with these things.”

Of course they can. I saw it. But I wasn’t standing too close, I only moved closer because I thought she was done and when I realised she wasn’t, I retreated, but hey. Now think about that, and then think trust, mistrust, security.

Why those word? Because coincidentally I was reading this highly insightful and thought-provoking book: The Spirit Level, Why Equality is Better for Everyone by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. There is a chapter on community life and social relations. Here they discuss how in unequal societies (focusing on income inequality, which essentially affects things such as social status) people tend not to trust each other more compared to egalitarian societies. They live in fear and are constantly trying to either a.) protect what they have or b.) keep away from those people they considered out of their social circles, which ultimately is not good of all of us. For those higher in the ladder, they live with constant fear, for those lower in the ladder they live with the worry of lacking in something and not belong, so everyone is affected.

This  incident could not be more apt. Here are some illuminating quotes:

Inequality , not surprisingly, is a powerful social divider, perhaps because we all tend to use differences in living standards as markers of status differences. We tend to choose our friends from among our near equals and have little to do with those much richer or much poorer. And when  we have less to do with other kinds of people, it’s harder for us to trust them. Our position in the social hierarchy affects who we see as part of the in-group and who as out-group – us and them – so affecting our ability to identify with and empathize with other people.

(…)

With greater inequality, people are less caring of one another, there is less mutuality in relationships, people have to fend for themselves and get what they can – so, inevitably, there is less trust. Mistrust and inequality reinforce each other.

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06/11/2010

Text from this unknown on 12/10/2010 at 09:15:

? Are you free today

I don’t remember replying to your text mate? Desperado much?

03/11/2010

It’s 3:40 pm, I turn over in my duvet-heavy bed and sluggishly glance towards the door of my room. BB is standing there. Am I dreaming? I ask myself and try to sit up. No I’m not. Oh dear God. Panic. That is BB standing at the door.

Then it hits me. What???? No, no, no, no!  This man did not just ambush me in my place? I did not remember any talk of  meeting him today. He’s appeared unannounced, to find me at my most undignified. A stinking room, dirty bowl and spoon with dried weetabix bits on them,  on the bed beside my head, a packet of sainsbury’s basics sultanas next to it,  bits of used tissue and dirty clothes all over the floor and my menses stained knickers hanging at the corner of my bed. I’m ashamed. I want to die. Oh the humiliation! It’s unbearable. I want to get up but I’m incapacitated with self loathing.

“Hello, I wasn’t expecting you, how did you get in?”

“The woman opened the  door for me”

“Oh, eerrm…I was reading then I fell asleep”

“I can see that, is it warm in there? I’ll join you”

No, please no. You wouldn’t like the smell in here. At this point I’m thinking…hide the dirty stuff on display…hide that bit of the second duvet that’s worn out…do something…save yourself from this shame. But I can’t. He’s already removed his clothes and has jumped next to me. Feelings of rage start to creep up within me. He has no right! He can’t just turn up. He has no right to turn up like this and make me feel less of a human being due to the conditions I live in. In times like these I want to be alone. I don’t want anyone to see the crazy state I’m in. When I’m alone, I don’t have to pretend. I can wallow in my depression and continue fighting a loosing battle with my insomnia whilst indulging and entertaining my glorious disturbed sleep patterns. Then he comes in like this. This is not a part of me I want him to see. Then I calm down – it’s not my fault after all, I didn’t ask him to turn up impromptu.

Up until now he had only been to my place once – after I had done a massive clear out and cleaned the place up and now. And of course after apologising profusely for the state of it – most of which wasn’t my poor self’s fault – the stained and discoloured roof for starters. Ugh. On that occasion it went well though. He didn’t seem to mind and even helped me take out some rubbish that The Witch thought convenient to tell me off about in front of him. But this was different.

One hour after he got naked, I put my hand over his torso  and a few minutes later I hear:

“We should stop doing this”

“What?”

“Having sex”

Oh dear me. This is it.

“I don’t spend quality time with you”

So why the hell did you fucking come over today? How about you should have told me this via earlier and not turned up. Or how about you should have turned up and NOT got naked, but just you know…tell me this and then go?

I remain silent. I play with his hair a little, he tells me to stop then gets up to dress. He notices the sultanas and makes a comment about how good sultanas are. All I can think of is that they are just sainsbury’s basics. Cheap. I’m a total and massive contrast to his comfortable middle class existence. No wonder he wants out? He also mentions something about how warm my bed is. Do I like to keep warm he asks? I pull a duvet over me as he says:

“We should stop because it’s not fair to you. I don’t make enough time for you”

He leans over to kiss me. Tears start forming. God please no, I can’t start crying now. Not for this man. Please.

“But you are funny, you don’t care”

I do. I fucking care. I fucking care so much. I fucking care so much that I’ve had to suppress my tears. He said I didn’t care because two weeks ago, while apologising for yet another flying visit I told him it doesn’t matter when he sees me. It was his life I said and I will not force him to see him. It’s not like I was married to him or was his girlfriend, I continued, matter of factly. I didn’t mean that. I was hurting and angry…and needy so I just said this to appear ‘cool with it’. He remembered it.

“It’s not that I don’t care”, I smiled faintly and swallowed a huge lump in my throat. He stood up to put on his jumper and said that it wasn’t fair that he couldn’t see me enough but would make sure to find sometime for us to do something ‘more’. So what is it? Is that it or do I have to wait and see if he has found the time to do ‘more’ things together?

He blew me a kiss and left. I lay in bed  thinking of that scene in Bille August’s The House of the Spirits, where Esteban visits a prostitute and asks her  to be tender with him and pretend to care for him, just for that day. Substitute  the prostitute with BB.

I wish I’d never met him.

**An hour letter I check my emails and see one from him, sent at 2:32 pm, without a body, titled ‘Hello are yyou home at 3.30pm?’ I wasn’t online so I couldn’t reply, but why would he just turn up? If you don’t get a reply you wait for one!

01/11/2010

Text from unknown number on 12/10/2010 at 08:40:

Morning 🙂 seen you gumtree add! Wondered if you would be interested in massage ? £60 per hour’ im cleam professional guy from [omitted town]

What??? I put an ad on gumtree looking for work and some perv thinks he can score some? For a girl who has only £10/week to spend, that offer is tantalizing but I don’t fancy my name appearing on Crimewatch. Neither does the thought of selling my body give me comfort.