Tuesday, 24 June 2008

My Door

check out that mother

My door is now officially closed*.

No longer will I roam the streets of Cardiff picking up items of filthy disgusting flotsam in a fatuous attempt to create a postmodernistic masterpiece in the privacy of my own home.

Apart from the postcards and the large pink star and the Ryvita and the picture of Robbie Fowler (my hero!) and the New Zealand flag and the funny spider photo and the word 'cracker' (which was cut by Flatmate from a packet of crispbread and added in my absence), every object was plucked from pavement obscurity and placed into the dazzling display you see before you. I can only apologise for the fact that my camera does not do close-ups very well (nor indeed normal photography) and urge you to take my word for it: it is magnificent. And not at all a testament to my insanity as BK insinuates.

It was magnificent. For tomorrow, it comes down.

(If you behave, I may well post a complete inventory at a later date.)

For now, I will say only that there are no less than four plectrums on display: Welsh guitarists are a careless bunch.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Flatmate came out with a couple of corkers at the weekend.

Friday night, in general conversation with your humble Weasel, he referred to a time "when I was single".

Sunday evening, he told me sadly "We're going to have to split up soon."

So it seems I have been 'going out with' Flatmate all along and I didn't even realise!

Go me.

* Apart from the red bead and the passport photo of a woman with beetling brows which were found on the way home from work today.

P.S. He's found a house

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Tempus Huggit

grab 'em while you can

Twelve more days.

Twelve more days in this house, with BK and Flatmate.

A year sure goes quick these days.

I'm staying on in Cardiff. Just for a month. I've found a room to rent until the end of July. It's costing me a fortune but it's worth it: I consider it my weaning period. Flatmate will be in a house nearby (if he manages to find one; he hasn't started looking yet) and BK will be in France at their mum's. I will still see Flatmate, but not every day. I will gradually remember how to function without his sunny nature making my days warm and companiable, I will learn again how to live on my own without looking forward to six o'clock when a certain someone gets home from work. I will recall how it is to have a splendid time solo, going for walks and reading books from the library and so forth.

I hope.

"I dreamt about you last night," he told me when our paths crossed in the kitchen this morning. "We were both getting ready to go out. You were in your room and I was in mine and I kept popping in to borrow your lotions. You were only going to the pub but I was going... I was going away somewhere, on a journey. A long journey, I don't know where to. Then your taxi came -"

He stopped. I searched his face for the underlying emotion, but couldn't pick it. Somewhere between bemusement, amusement, ruefulness and awe. He shook his head and smiled a sad little smile. "I woke up then. I'm glad I did."

It seemed a perfect opportunity for a hug. I slid across the kitchen and wrapped my arms around him. Hugs between us are no longer stilted and occasional, they are daily and warm. As hugs should be. I hugged him hard then I kissed his face then I hugged him again and kissed his elbow before letting him go. I feel, with our time so limited, that I should make the most of every chance I get to hug him.

"I needed that!" he murmured. "Sorry if I smell." And with a peck on my cheek he and his bowl of muesli were gone.

His dream, of course, is a perfect allegory for the current situation at Chateau Monkey and for the future. He is making the most of my gladly-given metaphorical lotions, and when I return to New Zealand I am going back to friends and familiarity, while he doesn't even know where he'll be living in thirteen days time, and the people he is closest to will be gone.

Please watch this. I am feeling very huggy today.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Chalk. Cheese.

BK and Flatmate: are they really related?

Scenario One: I get home from work tonight tired out and with an aching womb. I go upstairs to change into scruffy clothes and say hello to BK as I pass his room. He is on his computer, which I am Not Allowed To Touch.

“Did you have a good day?” he asks politely, eyes fixed on the screen.

“Yes!” I say. “Work is pleasant and my co-workers are nice. I just have a bit of trouble typing the phrase ‘certified copy’, but that’s another story. But I am very tired and my womb is aching and I need a sit down and a cup of tea.”

I go downstairs, put the kettle on, and collapse into an armchair.

BK comes downstairs a minute later. He goes into the kitchen. I can hear that the kettle is just about to boil. My mug is right next to it, with a camomile teabag already inside. I wonder if BK will pour the hot water into my mug and bring it in to me, four steps away in the next room. I try to remember if he’s ever made me a cup of tea in the six years I’ve known him.

Click – the kettle switches itself off at the same moment BK walks past it. Without breaking his stride he emerges from the kitchen and plonks himself down in the armchair opposite me.

I look at him. He’s smiling, telling me about something that happened to him today. I wonder why it didn’t occur to him to stop and pick up the kettle and pour hot water into my mug which is already waiting there with the teabag in it. I am not angry. I just wonder.

I get up and make myself my cup of tea.

* * * * * * * * *

Scenario Two: “France versus Holland tonight!” says Flatmate, excited. “I just bought a crate of beer from the supermarket. And malt loaf! I'm going to watch the footie in my room and have a few beers and you're more than welcome to join me.”

(We like malt loaf.)

“Cheers dude, but BK’s going out, so I’ll sit downstairs and do some internetting* while I’ve got the chance,” I reply.

“Well, the offer's there.”

“Thanks dude,” I say. “If you want more beer, just stamp on the floor and I’ll bring some up to you.”

He gets two bottles out of the fridge, opens them, hands me one, and disappears upstairs.

I write about coypu and digits with learning difficulties.

He tears downstairs a while later. “One nil!” he cries as he flashes past. “Another beer for my mate?”

He whizzes through to the kitchen and has deposited another bottle in my lap and gone back upstairs before I have time to answer. The bottle still has its cap on and I look around for something suitable to open it with. I discount the tealight candle on the table, Flatmate’s wooden chess pieces, and my teeth before my gaze takes in a pair of scissors on the floor. I pick them up. I am trying to get the cap off with the plastic handles when suddenly Flatmate is back downstairs. He too is holding a pair of scissors. He removes the bottle from my clumsy paws, deftly removes the cap, pats me on the head, and rushes back upstairs.

When I look in my food cupboard later, I see that he has bought me a chocolate bar from the supermarket.

* Due to 'technical issues', BK and I do not attempt to go on the internet at the same time because if we do it crashes every millisecond. Solo, it only crashes once every minute or so.

Coypu Typing

it's certified

Certified coyp. Certified coyup.

Certified copu.

Certified coyp. Certified coyp, certified copu, certified coyo.

Certified cop7y.

Certified cop. Certified coyou. Certified coup. Certified coypu. Certified coyp. Certified coyu. Certified coyp. Certified coup. Certified coyp. Certified copuy. Certified copy.

Certified copy?

Certified copy.

In the job I am doing, I have to type the words ‘certified copy’ onto each scanned document I print. I type this phrase approximately fifty times a day. No matter how many times I attempt it, I get it wrong first time.

Certified coy.

I am reminded of the temp job I had for the Auckland District Health Board in New Zealand, where I was employed to flesh out a brand new database containing three and a half thousand names and dates of birth to include addresses.

Acukalnd. Auc,land. Auckalna. Auckalnd.

It was a long and painful contract.

Certified ciopu.

I have dyslexic fingers.

Sunday, 8 June 2008


what's inside?

BK set off on Friday morning for his weekend in London in high spirits.

"Flatmate's been in such a foul mood all week. You're going to have a rubbish weekend! I'd be surprised if he talks to you at all. You two definitely won't be going drinking."

BK likes it when the world does what he wants it to.

I went to work suspecting that, without BK around, Flatmate and I would just have a talk about everything and clear the air. At five o'clock I tidied my desk and eagerly started the walk home.

I got as far as the bar next door. "Weasel!" Sian cried from the smoker's area outside. "Come and have a drink with me while I'm waiting for Brett!"

Sian is another one of the temps work kept on. Brett is one of the temps they didn't. Brett was due to meet her in the bar at five thirty. I bought a glass of wine. "Just the one for me," I said. "Not only am I skint, but I want to get home. My hot flatmate's there on his own!"

At quarter past nine, I reeled through my front door as pissed as a fart. Sian had insisted on buying me several more glasses of wine. I do not normally drink wine. I opted for wine because I thought I'd only be having one. I do not remember how many glasses I had but I remember staggering to a gay pub with Brett (who is gay) and Sian (who isn't). I have a vague memory after that of talking to two hilarious butch lesbians, and drinking most of a bottle of rosé. I also remember Brett asking me for my address then thanking me profusely for letting him sleep on my floor later. I didn't recall offering, but hey, I could barely formulate a coherent sentence by then so what the hell.

Flatmate was in the kitchen making his dinner when I got home.

"Ffnnckinell, sssmuch wine" I explained. "A gay guy! A big tall gay guy, neverrrspoken to him before today, like a big teddybear!! Grrrrreat hair, I think he'sss comingroundlaterbutnotttt sure. Sleep onfloor. I'm drnnk. Thnk he's ok. Not axe murderer. Cuddly teddy bear! 'Only gay in the village!' Sorry n all. Ssssmuch wine! Aaaaah."

I promptly passed out on the sofa.

At 1am I was roused from my sleep by hammering on the front door. It was Brett. Somehow I found him some bedding and a glass of water and set him up in the front room. Then I staggered to bed.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"You didn't answer my texts!" said Flatmate, a smile on his face but a hurt look in his eyes. "I was at the coffee shop playing chess and I needed you there so I could make my drinks bill more than £5 so I could pay for it on my card."

"Sorry honey," I said. "I haven't looked at my phone all day. I've been sitting on the computer waiting for Brett to wake up and go home."

"I was a bit surprised when you said you were bringing a guy home," said Flatmate. "I mean, I think it's really good that you went out without me or BK. Good on you. Striking out on your own an' all! It's to be applauded."

(Did he think my life began the day I met him?)

"But I have to admit I was a little bit hurt in the week when you said you couldn't wait to be shot of me and BK. I know it's difficult times, and the three of us are in a strange situation, and we're kind of each holding each other back, but still... I was quite hurt by that. I know it's a bit weird right now but I hope we're always going to be friends and we'll come together again at some point in the future."

"Little badger, I'm sorry if I hurt you," I said, dismayed. "It was just an expression of my frustration at the situation. You know I'm shit at explaining things. I just blurt stuff out and it comes out all wrong. You know I adore you. I was being defensive because of, you know, the A thing last weekend. It was horrible knowing you were out with her and it didn't help with BK stirring all week. I'm really sorry. We we've both been a bit PMT-ish this week, haven't we?"

"Yeah," said Flatmate. "I kind of got myself into a funk and couldn't get out of it even though I knew I was being revolting."

"Welcome to my world," I laughed. "It's ok, you're allowed to have bad moods. I'll forgive you if you'll forgive me."

We shook on it. Keeping hold of my hand, he gazed at me with solemn eyes for a moment then leaned over and kissed me softly on the cheek.

"When you were asleep on the sofa last night," he said, "You looked so peaceful. And cute. And pretty. And... gorgeous." He swallowed.

"Something else," he said. "This morning, when that gay guy was there. I kind of wanted to open the door. I really needed to see... to see if you were in there too. He might swing both ways or something."

He shook his head. "It was a horrible feeling. I knew how BK must have felt all those times. I opened the door pretending I didn't know he was in there. Opened the door and said 'Oh, sorry!'. And you know what I saw? I thought... I thought I saw you lying there next to him. But you said he was a big guy so I guess he was just all sprawled out."

He glanced at me. "I had to go upstairs to see if you were in your room. I -"

He paused.

"I opened the door. I had to see. My stomach was in knots. It was awful. I was... quite jealous."

"Mate," I said, squeezing his hand, "Every time I'm shitty with you it's because that's precisely how I'm feeling."

"It's not very nice is it?" he said.

I laughed. "It makes you mental. Do you honestly think I'd go around picking up random men and bringing them home? Random gay men?"

"Well... you did."

"He's someone from work, you idiot!"

"Fuck!" said Flatmate. "I didn't realise! I thought he was just someone you met in the pub!" He beamed at me. "I was so jealous! But you knew him from work!"

"Dude," I smiled, "You got it bad."

"Tell you what Ponyballs," he grinned, "Let's go have a beer."

Saturday, 7 June 2008

My Secret Shame

"this one's for Linda"

Last weekend I went away with My Lovely Sister and her wonderful hubby.

As a thank you for everything they've ever done for me, I treated them to tickets to the Liverpool Sound Paul McCartney concert, and to a Beatles tribute show in the bowels of the Cavern Club.

It is fair to say that my sis likes The Beatles. She has been madly in love with Paul McCartney since before I existed. Thanks to her steady indoctrination throughout my tender childhood years, I too am a Beatlephiliac.

However, my Beatle passion is not something I admit to in public. There is something deeply embarrassing about it. You cannot just say, 'Oh yeah I like The Beatles': it is impossible not to expand. So then you hear yourself saying something like 'I am able to sing along word-for-word to every song they ever made; in fact, with the early stuff, I can sing just Paul's part, or just John's part, or just George's. I have several scrapbooks and a large boxful of Beatle trinkets, went to see the play ‘John Paul George Ringo & Bert’ at the Young Vic eleven times, and have personally scrawled graffiti on the wall outside Abbey Road studios. The first album I ever bought was Help then I couldn't sleep at night until I possessed them all. I know someone who met them at a party in 1965. And I've sat on John Lennon's bed you know.'

It is easier just to keep quiet about the whole damned thing.

At work last week the Happy Soul asked everyone what period in history would they go back to if they had a time machine? While my colleagues plumped for the birth of Christ and the grassy knoll, I kept my mouth shut as to my preference: Hamburg in the early sixties to see my boys mak shau.

I cried for three days when Mr Lennon was shot. I made my first pilgrimage to Liverpool the following year to see the Beatle sights. Then another two years later, to see an exhibition of Beatle-related art, and to see the Beatle sights (again). The first time I went to New York, I ignored such irrelevancies as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and made straight for the Dakota.

1996 brought an unexpected reaping of good karma: the guy I was with landed a well-paid job in Liverpool and we moved there for a year. We lived on the waterfront, and on a clear day we could hear the music emanating from The Beatles Story in Albert Dock. We did our grocery shopping in the supermarket in Penny Lane; our favourite curry house was along the end of Menlove Avenue. I had to walk past Mathew Street on my way into town. Every footstep, every outing in the car, was Beatle heaven. Sometimes, I would drive past their old houses just for the pleasure of being able to do so. When the National Trust bought Paul's and John's and opened them to the public I drooled with jubilation. I had tears in my eyes the first time I walked through those doors. And the second. And the third.

It's like you can't just like The Beatles, you have to be an out-and-out stalker.

I’ve never seen Paul McCartney in the flesh before so I was in a high state of excitement prior to the concert.

He got the words wrong in A Day In The Life.

It’s funny, but afterwards I realised I’d preferred the tribute band.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

It Feels Like Forever

the mystery e

After almost a week of Flatmate and I barely talking to each other, I saw last night that 'someone' had rearranged the magnetic plastic shapes on our fridge to spell out the word 'Love!'.

Then I noticed that 'You're a Wednesday midweek special' as written on our chalkboard had been replaced with the letter 'e'.

"What's with the 'e'?" I asked Flatmate. "Why did you write just an 'e' on the chalkboard?"

"Duh, don't you know anything?" he fake-scolded me. "E is the symbol for 'infinity' on a calculator. E for eternity. What a sponghead you truly are."

Like I said, sometimes I just wish he'd communicate by talking.

I am very glad I am enjoying my 'new' job because it means at least seven hours of my day are not beset by nincompoops.

Size Matters

the guy in blue just doesn't cut it

I went to a meditation class tonight. I bloody needed to.

It was BK’s last day at work on Friday. He invited me and Flatmate to his leaving do in a pub in town.

Flatmate went.

I didn’t.

I preferred, as you know, to sit at home on my own sobbing and writing shit posts about how crap life is.

BK has a friend, let’s call her A (because it’s easy to type) whom he met through work. A is a beautiful girl in her late twenties who resembles Nigella Lawson. A is single and desperate for a husband.

BK recalls the first time he met her she explained her criteria for Mr Right: no less than six foot two, blond, blue eyes, and earning a salary of whatever it is modestly well off people earn. He must also want a huge white wedding, and lots of children, and be prepared to love, honour and obey his wife for all eternity. A lets potential boyfriends know all this well in advance.

“These ovaries aren’t getting any younger!” she explains.

She dumped her last boyfriend after five weeks because when questioned he admitted he ‘wasn’t sure where the relationship was going’.

A cannot work out why she can’t find a suitable man.

BK, falling short of A’s wish-list in every way, is safe from the force of her aging ovaries. While he freely admits he is mesmerised by her beauty, he also fondly regards her as a mentalist and has no qualms in telling her so. A can’t quite believe the extent of BK’s forthrightness and they have developed a firm friendship as a result.

Ever since Flatmate told BK that he and I 'sometimes have a kiss and cuddle when we’re drunk’, BK has very subtly been trying to divert our attentions elsewhere.

“A has a French friend,” he said to Flatmate one night last week. “Last time we were out I heard A say to her, ‘You should meet BK’s brother, he’s just your type’.”

Flatmate’s eyes lit up at this, as BK knew they would. “Is she fit?” Flatmate asked. “Fitter than A? It would be hard to be fitter than A.”

“Flatmate really fancies A,” BK said to me one night last week. “He’s going to come out clubbing with me, her and her French friend on Saturday night.”

My heart sank at this, as he knew it would. I was away for the weekend with my sister.

BK reported that Flatmate spent both Friday and Saturday nights sleazing over A. As I knew he would. (The French girl, apparently, wasn't fit enough).

Flatmate is approximately five foot eight and a half. A thought they were just being chummy. Flatmate jokingly told BK he'd be prepared to waive his 'no kids' rule for her. Flatmate told me he liked her but didn't think he was her type.

The meditation class helped get me in touch with my dukha.