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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29/10/2010

I live with a bunch of loonies – well some of them. Let me first eliminate the non-loonies:

A meat loving Brazilian couple who judged by their frequent mirth filled weekend evenings with visiting fellow countrymen seem to be a very fun-loving couple on restrain mode . Restrained because in this  shared flat, they can’t always do what they want, and they too definitely – I can tell – consider some of the housemates loopy. The girl’s english is not well, as she told me. She’s probably 1.99% fluent.

Now to loony number one. She’s a witch. Honestly, even this petty girl does not compare to her. Why am I even comparing? This witch is, in the literal sense, an old witch! I can’t tell but I’m guessing  she’ll  soon  be welcoming her 60s. A fact that continues to puzzle me day on end. What is she doing here? Doesn’t she have a family? There was talk of a daughter and a son a while ago  but I didn’t get the details because at that point I had decided to switch off whenever we found each other in the kitchen or any other communal area. I never even say hello sometimes. It may sound harsh but her behaviour towards me has been very weird. I moved in and she  seemed so friendly, showing me around and telling me I was free to use her stuff in the kitchen as long as I cleaned everything afterwards.  I do this for about a week, next thing I know, she’s marching in the kitchen at every opportune moment muttering about ‘there’s somebody ‘ere stealing my things’ or ‘using my things without my permission’ at which moment I point that I don’t know who said culprit is and I’m only using the things she let me use. My statement is then followed by a blank silence before either one of use walks back to their room. That bothered me but I reckoned at her age, her head was just doing things so I didn’t think any think of it. You can imagine how pissed I was when she started accusing me of pilfering her food, and her other kitchen paraphernalia. I fumed and told  her where to put her stuff.

I mean, for the love of Jesus, just toddle off! I literally starve these days, just about surviving on baked beans and frozen rice and then she comes at me with this stupidity. Fucking ridiculous. At this point I’ve got nothing to lose and I really can not tolerate bollocks because I’m just thinking about survival.

Once I stopped acknowledging her, she grasped a hint but alas, this hasn’t curbed her crazy. She still hovers around the house complaining about anything and everything to anyone who’ll tolerate her waffle. And she’s always going on about the cleaning, which, since I moved here , I’ve never seen her lift a finger to do!

Then there is the two Italian sisters with their penchant for taking up the whole  kitchen space preparing their meals. Oh, and their track suit wearing mother who’s been ‘visiting’ them since last month. Don’t get me wrong, but you don’t visit your daughters for a whole month knowing fully well they live in a cramped, and shared space. I mentioned this in an email to The Italian on the first week I moved in and he was quick to assure me that “we don’t behave like that in Italy bella. We are very considerate people”.  They are also very loud. On a given day, if they feel like it, they would start at around 7 am in the morning…up and down the stairs, shouting, talking, shouting, talking, munching, blocking up the kitchen space, more talking and munching. One of the sisters is of the passive aggressive stock; just like this annoying female, she leaves notes all over the house for people to read. I mean, what happened to talking to people about things in the house? She doesn’t seem to have a problem making noise for everyone the rest of the time!

Needless to say, I feel harassed when I’m somewhere in the house, in the company of this lot.

21/10/2010

For two weeks I’ve heard only £5 with me. I bought milk on Monday and spent £2 on a Starbucks coffee while out with BB because he said to share, and I don’t want to look like a leech. But he knows I don’t have any money! So why would he ask that?

Yesterday evening I made fried rice, had it with baked beans and fish cakes. Random combination I know, but I’m eating everything that is in the house just to fill my body so that I don’t starve. Speaking of starving, I’ve had only one meal a day, for two weeks now. I don’t count breakfast because it’s useless. Sometimes it’s just two pieces of toast or a small slice of cheap cake. Oh, I spiced the rice with chillies and rosemary, just to make it taste…nicer?

I now have £0.50 until next week when I get £150 which I’ll have to pay £120 towards my weekly rent, after that I’m supposed to economise the £30 for about three weeks.

Reasons for all that?  I don’t have a job..again! And my mother’s left for work abroad, which was supposed to bring a glimmer of hope in our lives but has turned into yet another source of trouble. There is a lot of paperwork to sort out before she starts getting paid – I was relying on this to keep me going for the time being. I feel like our family is going nowhere, every decision we make no matter how hopeful turns out to be a deadend or a massive struggle before we see any  payback. And I blame my dad! Yes my dad. I might sound like I’m putting too much on him, but there is a huge story I haven’t told on this blog about how he is the cause all of this to us. I’ll tell when all’s well. When this is just a nightmare of the past. But, when will that be? Next year? The year after? Probably never because things never seem to be OK with me.

I’m very scared now especially with my mum away. I have no one and morbid as this may sound but I worry about dying. Alone. Here in this pitiful state. Since she left I’ve heard numerous dizzy spells and felt so weak, I had to grab onto something when walking up and down the stairs of the new shared flat that I moved in. The flat where everyone seems to be cooking and consuming sumptuous dishes! Where I feel harassed. I get into the kitchen and it’s always a case of ‘don’t put that there, you must leave this here’…argh. I don’t care where the bloody vacuum cleaner should be. Honestly.

With BB now I feel used, exploited, whatever other synonyms you know, use them here. I feel like I’m getting nothing out of it. He goes and comes when he pleases. But I’m needy. I literally have no one to talk to, and the little company and physical contact he gives me makes me feel human. Of course he doesn’t know how needy I am because I don’t show it. But, I’m falling apart.

I know I’ve heard very bad times in the past, but these so far are my darkest. I want so bad to get out of here, I’d give anything.

08/07/2010

So, I meet Barclays Boy at around noon, I get in his convertible (different car from the other day) and he’s driving his way through town, heading for the park he told me about and I’m thinking ‘God help me, I hope my mum does not see me, or worse my dad.’ Luckily, nothing of the sort happens and I let out a sigh of relief and take in the cool and crispy country air as we are finally out of town. Speeding away on a quiet country lane, I keep thinking of how  random our meeting was while he keeps glancing at me now and again.

We get to the park, he takes out the picnic stuff he brought and we walk along trying to find a secluded place to sit down. We finally find a little jetty which states clearly that it’s only for the fishermen and other members of the public are prohibited. We jump across the fence, cut through a little bush and go for it. We sit by the jetty and start talking about how beautiful it is while dangling our feet in the water, then he kisses me and grabs my waist to pull me closer. I close my eyes and we make out for a few minutes before having the drinks and chocolate he brought. We then continued talking about work, his and my yet-to-be-found job, sailing, surfing and my poor swimming skills. We stay there for about an  hour before heading to Starbucks for coffee.  He then informs me that he has to find something for his car breaks. I say something because I don’t know what, as soon as he mentioned car breaks I thought ‘meh, men and their cars’ and promptly stopped paying attention. We go to Halfords, Argos, Wilkinsons and they don’t  have this thing. Just as I’m about to tire of this man-shopping we eventually find it at B & Q.  We head to town where he drops me off after a long kissing session and we promise to meet on  Wednesday.

Now here’s how it is: I don’t fancy him and neither is he very attractive but I can work with that because I don’t want a relationship with him and he doesn’t seem to want one either. He didn’t give me his phone number and I’m not going to ask for it. He knows where I live and  I told him I live with my parents. I don’t know where he lives exactly. I don’t want to find out unless he takes me there himself. I’m going to keep this very simple. I’ll meet him next Wednesday as promised and if it leads to anything it’s going to be purely physical.

Now back to job hunting.

27/03/2010

Today I went for a walk. I must admit I do love the english countryside. It’s beautiful and when the country air just hits you  feel refreshed. My initial plan was to go to a very famous flower garden that I’ve been to once before…about two years ago but I got lost on the way there, so I decided to take a random wander. As much as I enjoyed this little walk, I was left very nostalgic. Two years ago I was living in a house of three men. One of them grew very close to me. I had just started uni, my depression was spiralling out of control, I was having difficulties keeping up with my course e.t.c and there he was. We use to sit and talk about everything: politics, relationships, cooking, world cultures. Just about everything. Every night we sat in the living room talking and laughing, sometimes watching the occasional movie on his laptop. Our house did not have any TV and the living room window directly faced a viaduct. He said he liked it that way. He said it made us more social. We could sit and talk to each other. I agreed despite my incurable addiction to the box. I loved everything about him. His hair (which he was growing out), his accent (He was from Poland), his hands, his beard (when he shaved I used to grab him from behind by the neck and pretend to be playing around, when all I wanted to do was feel the roughness of his beard on my hand). I can honestly say that this was (still is) the only man I had ever been close to in my life. The only man who I got along with. Ever. He was single and it was his last year of uni in UK. I was in  a long distance relationship. I was also naïve.  He started flirting with me. I flirted back  but I was always scared of things getting out of hand. I did not want to be unfaithful even though doubts about the relationship I was in had begun kicking in long before things got intense with this guy (I’ll call him P). P would come  home from uni everyday and either call out my name to see if I’m home and find out how I was doing, this would then be followed by him making me a cup of  tea and us sitting down for a chat, or upon seeing me in the living room  he would call out jokingly “Honey, I’m home.” We would laugh together. I used to sit across him sometimes in the house and he would look at me and I would feel as if  I was naked before him. Sometimes we would talk and then he would stop and look at me with those eyes. It got to a point where it was so intense and the only thing I could do was rush home to him. He was all I kept thinking about. I wanted him to make love to me. I looked at his hands and imagined how they’d feel on my body. I started deliberately doing things  so that I could touch him. I commented about his hair and  touched it. He did this too.

I remember one day we were at home with the other guys talking and laughing. It was really late. I said I was sleepy but didn’t want to go to bed. He joked and said that I must go to bed, because I was a child (he was six years older than me). I laughed and messed about and before I knew it he grabbed me by my waist and carried me upside down on his shoulders taking me to bed. I started screaming and laughing all the way. I’m not sure whether it was the intense feeling of pleasure I was getting from his hands on my waist and partly on my back or  the feeling of the house spinning as we got upstairs. At the door to my room I wanted and hoped he would come in. He put me down and as he did this, our bodies came together like we were hugging. I was going crazy inside. He patted me telling me to go and sleep and kissed me on my leg (random I know, he was very playful) I went to bed very happy. We went for walks together. We were together all the time. He told me about his work (he was  a design student) he told me about how since coming to UK he had confidence issues but he was getting better. We really spent a lot of time together. The day that he knew I had a boyfriend, he went a bit silent on me. I understood. Things again picked up but after many months the sexual tension took a toll on us. He started going cold on me. I did too, I guess as a form of payback. We had a last train journey together during the end of the winter term. I didn’t see him for a month, when we got back he kissed me on my cheek routine-like, a day later he told me he met someone. He told me as a matter of fact, like you would tell a friend in passing. He was on his phone texting when told me. He was so calm when he did it.

“We were supposed to have started something,” he said and smiled smugly.

“I’m just sending her a text. Maybe I’ll go to see her tonight,”

My heart sank. I sat there looking at him and all I could think of was how handsome he was. It should have been me. I should have been that girl he was texting. I should have been the one he was about to start something with. I just nodded, wished him luck and left him there. Days later he brought her home, they had dinner and went out. He brought her home some more. At this point he was ignoring me point-blank. Sometime he didn’t even say hi to me. I felt as if he was doing this just to spite me. He seemed to be overdoing things when she was around. The way they laughed. They way he talked (loudly) as if to  let me know what exactly was going on. I was so hurt. Really hurt. I can’t even begin to explain. Add this to the fact that at that time I badly wanted out of the relationship I was in.

The first time he brought her home and took her to his room (which was adjacent to mine) to have sex I cried. I cried so much I was taken by surprise. They were laughing and kissing loudly. I wanted to be that girl. Over time I came to learn that he had another girl in Poland. I didn’t know how this was working but he talked about it to the other guys in the house and somehow it felt as if he was in some sort of understanding with this girl he brought around. I don’t know whether the girl in Poland also had an understanding with him. It was all so confusing. I did sometimes have a slight feeling of relief whenever I thought about this. As if this girl had nothing on me, afterall she wasn’t the only one having him. My feelings for him never changed but we had stopped talking now. One day while everyone was in the house, he randomly came to the house and asked everyone to go for a walk with him and this girl, and another friend of his from Poland. I reluctantly said yes. We walked for a long time, got lost a long the way until we  finally got to this garden.

I retraced this path today. I walked along the quiet roads. Looked at all the places, flowers. Nothing has changed. They are just as they were when we were there.  I regret not taking the chance with P. I never stop thinking of what might have been. On the other hand I keep telling myself, maybe I would have ben hurt. On the walk we had I remember even though we hadn’t talked for sometime, he took a picture of me and showed it to everyone around. He said I looked nice. The girl looked at it and said yeah. I guess she just wanted to be polite. On the way back as I walked slowly behind, he urged me playfully to move faster. I don’t know maybe he missed me. Maybe he was punishing me for not giving him a chance. We went to a pub and I sat there with the others as he cuddled with the girl and they talked about how they didn’t sleep the previous night because they were busy with each other. I wanted to scream. We got back home and it was back to not talking to each other. I remember the last time I saw him. It was end of term. I was leaving to go see my parents, he was leaving for his graduation. A friend of his from Poland had come for the graduation and there was a lot of activity going on. He was smart in his black trousers and cream shirt adjusting his tie. He just came downstairs, wished me well in my life and went back upstairs to continue getting ready. Just like that, he was out of my life.