Sunday, November 19, 2006
Chapter 22. Blogger.com thought this was a spam blog! :o)
Well, it's a lazy Sunday afternoon in Toronto, and I'm sitting here eating After Eights (mint ones, you can't get the orange ones here), organising my iTunes library and my thoughts.
This was always meant to be a blog about one man's courageous struggle to get to Canada and save himself from madness. As such, I considered shutting it down. In fact, the lovely people at blogger.com threatened to do it unless I let them know - they thought it was a spam site! You know, the type that sit there for ages not being updated advertising something like "GAIN 2 INCHES IN 2 WEEKS!!!!" (my friend always got these emails and commented 'I think I'm tall enough already, thanks'). Maybe I should wind up the blogger people? Let's try it...
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Cobob's Random Meandering Thoughts Of The Day (At Least 40% New Content)
Anyway. Cobob's Thought Of The Day today is about Emotional Baggage. I've been thinking a lot about this over the last few days.
A good few years back, I went through a very messy breakup. I've probably already mentioned this, and I won't bore you with the details (I'm pretty sure I've already bored too many people with the details!), but it's something that pops back into my mind occasionally. A number have things have brought this girl into my mind recently. She's still in Bristol, and she's now really successful, and as far as I know things are going very well with her current boyfriend, who she picked up shortly after our split. I wish her all the best in the world, really I do.
The thing is, this breakup has had a huge effect on my view of relationships. I am what I think is termed on DSM IV a "commitmentphobe". The problem is, for much of my life I've compared every relationship I've had to The One That Got Away. Which is, to anyone who would care to consider it, a grossly unfair thing to do for many reasons.
Say you're back this way again, winter's one breath away
For one, I was very young. Love when you are young is a new, exciting thing. A friend of mine and I used to call it 'vibes'. It was a play on getting good 'vibes' whenever someone you liked was around. It was our lingo essentially for 'butterflies'. Whether I'm a cynical old hack now is a point for another time, but I think that some of these butterflies come from the novelty of the situation. When you've been through a number of relationships, as I have, this feeling becomes almost non-existent. Not because you care less about the person you're with, but as time goes on, your feelings manifest them in other ways. Like choosing soft-furnishings together. Apparently. Nothing terrifies me more than picking out cushions with someone in Ikea on a Saturday. Not least because Ikea is what I imagine pergatory to be like.
The problem with butterflies is that Hollywood uses them to manipulate the audience's idea of love. Watch Moulin Rouge and compare the intensity of love in that film to any of your relationships. Unless you're extremely lucky (or unlucky, depends on your point of view), none of your relationships would come close to the intensity of the writer and the courtesan. Hollywood (and Celine Dion) would have us believe in society that love is some collossal force that runs the universe. Well, I'd love to believe that, and I once did, but now I don't know. And it's a thought that keeps popping up again. And I think that when we look back over how we felt in relationships, especially ones where we're young and new to it all, we remember the butterflies, but we apply the hollywood mentality to them. We think "I felt that way because I was in love, properly in love, and that must mean she was the one". We don't think rationally and think "Yes, I loved that person, but perhaps I felt the butterfiles because it was new and exciting to me at the time". I haven't come to any conclusions you'll be disappointed to hear, dear reader, but it makes comparisons with current relationships to Ones That Got Away slightly unfair if we listen to Celine Dion (which no-one should, obviously).
Another reason why comparisons to The One That Got Away are unfair is simply because of the type of eyewear we sport when reminiscing. These days when you can get two pairs of rose tinted spectacles for the price of one from Specsavers (and in under an hour), the picture we paint of the past would be a very different image from the camcorder reality. A classic example is this. Annie (as we'll call her) and I went to Cornwall to stay in her parents' shack (it wasn't really a house per se). The disparity between What I Remember and What I've Missed Out is stark.
I remember a barbecue on a secluded beach with her, putting the sausages in seawater to keep them cool, then finding the shrinkwrap wasn't watertight and eating salty sausages. I remember taking a jar of sand as a souvenir. I remember playing darts in the local pub, drinking shots of Mirage for 80p a time. I remember our friend's birthday and the cake we got her.
What my memory conveniently fails to recall properly is that there was tension there. We had an argument. I can't even remember why. I can't remember whose fault it was. But I remember the tears and the sulking. But not with the same clarity as the good times. Memory plays tricks on you, it feeds your mood, and if you're one given over to bouts of blackness and depression, it tries to drag you down. Good memories, if we're not careful, can take on a harsh edge.
I've been consistently amazed about the clarity with which I can remember the good times. A George Michael track popped up on iTunes the other day, and it's one from a CD we used to put on while we went to sleep. Suddenly, every single aspect of her bedroom, the feel of her bed, the t-shirt I wore, the colour of her covers came back to me... From one single point, the whole scene suddenly exploded. From that one bed, came the rest of the house, her family, the teapot they use, the dolls house, the greeting card on the mantlepiece, the floorboards... All useless details, but ones which overwhelm my brain. Why on earth is this information useful to me now??? Surely it serves no purpose?
I'll never know why my recall of this period of my life is so detailed and so rich. Perhaps it's just because for the few years following it, I gave it more thought than any one human being should give a single subject. Perhaps it's because my brain is naturally self-destructive. I don't know. There could be a million reasons. One thing I've begun to realise is that these memories form part of our baggage in life, and it's how we deal with them that make us who we are. More on that later. ;)
A third reason is probably the hardest to deal with. It was My Fault. Mea culpa. The whole thing went toes up for one reason. Infidelity. Mine. I have reasons for why I did it, but they're not excuses. But they are things that given a police box or a DeLorean, I would go back and change in a New York minute. Which means I have beaten myself into an emotionally toothless pulp on the floor time and time again over the years. Regret, like baggage, is something that defines who we are. Not by how much we have, but by how we handle it. To long so desperately, as I did in the few years that followed the break up, to be able to go back and fix it is wholly pointless and destructive. Unless I invent a Flux Capacitor, but aside from the Y-shape, I wouldn't have the first clue where to begin... So why does this make comparisons unfair? Because it's unfinished business in my mind. I still want to go back and fix it. I would still drop everything and go back in time if I could. Not because I want it back the way I once did, but more because it's simply unfinished. It's something still on my To Do list. No matter that I can never do it, no matter that I'm now happy with my life and happy with who I'm with now and who I've become. I would just like to go back and un-fuck something that went horribly wrong. I don't think that's unnatural.
It doesn't mean I don't love you, it doesn't mean I won't come back and
stay beside you
It only means I need a little time
To follow that unbroken line
To a place where the wild things grow
To a place where I used to always go
So why am I writing all this? Well, I've been in Canada for 8 months now. That's 2/3 of my time gone now. My thoughts are turning to the future again. And the vast majority of my thoughts are with CA.
Now, this post may sound like I've been missing Annie loads and I've been thinking of her and hoping desperately to get her back. Did you think that? If so, you'd be wrong. You see, I came to Canada to try and sort my life out. It was a Stop The World I Want To Get Off year for me. And slowly, very very slowly, it's working. And to handle the future, sometimes you have to think about your past.
You see, with baggage, we have to carry it around with us forever. We have no choice. So, if we're going to be lugging this crap with us for the rest of our lives, we may as well use it to our advantage. And I don't want my baggage to get in the way of my relationship with CA, because she means far too much to me for me to do that. So I'm getting all of the crap out of my suitcase, glancing at it, reminiscing, and folding it a little better to give me more space for some more valuable things I want to carry with me for the rest of my life. In this case, CA.
You see, I've decided that it's not the end of the world to be wrong. It's not the end of the world to devote 100% of me to someone who might turn out not to be the one. It's not the end of the world to still hold a past relationship special and to still mourn its end to a degree. It's not the end of the world to be scared about the future. It's not the end of the world to be sad about the past. When it comes down to it, it's not the end of the world if every single word written here turns out to be wrong.
It would, however, be the end of the world not to embrace and cherish someone that in any comparison, fair or unfair, knocks all the competition into a cocked hat. I'm looking forward to coming home, CA.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Chapter 21. A guilty post.
Q. How do you get 200 drunken Canadians out of a swimming pool?
A. Say to them "Would you mind leaving the pool, please."
* If you're a goth, enjoyed all of Placebo's albums, or both, you probably orgasmed.
Chapter 20. A somewhat cryptic entry.
Hi all. I know it's been a long, long, long time. And you're probably wondering whether I'm lying dead in a ditch somewhere, but I'm not. I'm having a great time in TO. I've picked up the Canadian "Eh?" quite happily, I've got a fantastic job (far better than the one I left) and lots of friends. So you needn't worry.
So, why the unseasonal blog entry? Well, things started to get a little strange about 1 month ago with the whole CA situation. And to put it mildly, all hell broke loose. And I haven't quite managed to put all the evils of the world back into Pandora's box just yet.
I don't want to fill you in on the gory details, but seeing as there probably aren't any of you out there left, and I don't blame you, I thought I'd have a rare creative moment. Someone involved in the situation said they wished they were more like me, able to switch off my emotions. I can't. I can only postpone them. And I know that the decisions I've made over the last few weeks and am still making could easily come back to haunt. I'm making decisions I could easily come to regret. But I'm doing my best. I could be wrong. I could be so wrong. This picture was inspired by a Gus Gus track called "Superhuman". The lyrics...
It's not you
It's not hate
It's love for you
Sleep now love
There will always be failure...
I'm trying my best. I just have a horrible feeling I'm still fucking this up.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Chapter 19. Tim Henman Returns To Cobob!
You don't wanna hang around
Said you were leaving town for the summer
At least till sundown
'Cos time ain't gonna grind you down,
ain't gonna waste your life
chasing rainbows like some clown
But who's gonna come with you tonight
Who's gonna to tell you it's alright?
Everything changes over time
Just like wine
Time ain't gonna hold you up,
Ain't going to make it stop long enough to ease your mind,
Ain't gonna make it last forever
whatcha gonna do?
Walk it solitary?
But it's alright
It's your birthright
Hey, hey everything's different down the line
Everything changes over time
Time ain't gonna make it worse
It's gonna make you start feeling better
Just like wine
We're gonna make it last forever
Whatcha gonna do?
Just be ordinary?
But it's alright
Yes it's alright
It's your birthright
It's your birthright
Magne Furuholmen - Hey, the guy writes a good lyric.
Jesus, nobody wants to read about your neuroses, dude.
Now, I hate blog entries that begin with poetry, song lyrics, etc. as much as the next non-American teenager, but it's my blog and that means my rules, ok?
So, I guess you're expecting a jolly old blog entry telling you all (well, both of you at any rate) how much fun I've been having in the colonies. And let me just ease your minds, I have been having quite a lot of fun in the colonies. I've made some friends (my new housemates, by the way, are lovely), and I've been out independent of Mr and Mrs Nipples and I've worked for four days for peanuts, but it wasn't as traumatic as I expected returning to work would be.
The only problem is that something doesn't seem right. I don't know whether it's my mind ticking away in the background asking the ubiquitous (thanks, Nick) questions. All to do with whether I made the right decision. I don't think I regret coming. I don't feel actively sad anymore. That faded a couple of weeks ago. But I think something in me is just, I don't know, out of kilter.
Let me try and describe how I feel a little bit. Imagine if you get a piece of black sugar paper, the stuff you used at primary school. It's about 9" square. Now, get the safety scissors with the rounded ends (please ask an adult to help you with this) and cut straight lines across the middle of the square, so you're left with cuts in a rough star-shape going right across the paper. Then put the palm of your hand in the middle of the paper and move the triangular bits of paper around a little. Now you have a bunch of triangular bits of paper which clearly used to tessellate but don't anymore. Well, that's how I view myself at the moment. All the constituent bits are there, they just don't seem to fit together quite the way they used to. And that's beginning to weird me out, if I'm honest.
Depression is a funny thing. It doesn't really exist. It's not like 'being sad' where you can cry and you can talk about it and you can point at the thing that's making you miserable and say "that's what I wish was different/hadn't happened/I could take back". Depression is like when you clean your TV. You dust the screen, then realise that it's had a thick layer of fuzz on it for ages. Suddenly the picture is clearer, post-dusting. But while the TV has this layer of dust, you probably don't even notice it. Things just don't look as sharp or clearly defined as they once did. And a lot of the time you don't even spot it until you can barely make out Trevor MacDonald, and that's when it takes a lot of dusting and patience to undo.
I've been depressed, properly depressed, probably twice before in my life. These were both quite a while ago. Since then, I've become pretty astute at spotting when it's stalking me. And I know it's following me at the moment. It's been following me in the form of dark blue Peugeot 306s*, but now I'm in Canada and they don't have Peugeots, I'm presuming it's travelling round in an Acura or Infiniti or one of the other silly North American lookalike cars they have here.
My doctor told me once to get lots of sunlight and eat lots of bananas to help cure (and, by extension, stave off I suppose) depression. I figure Tim Henman must be the happiest man alive during his annual two days at
I figure, though, that it's all about keeping busy. Often, people with depression are advised to join a club or take up a hobby. This is often under the pretense of "you'll meet interesting people" and "broaden your horizons". Stuff and nonsense. It's actually simply to Keep You Out Of Trouble. When the mind has nothing better to do, it has a habit of keeping itself company by having a big ol' chit-chat with itself. Sometimes you can hear it, late at night while you're trying to get to sleep. That's not so bad, because you can tell it to keep the noise down because it's late and you're tired. Other times, though, I wonder whether it's having the same conversation while you're paying attention to something else, such as buying bananas. Now that's slightly more difficult to control. And that's the bit I reckon contributes to depression.
The bell is for MY benefit, not yours.
So, anyway, Psychology According To Cobob 101 over with, I might as well tell you what it relates to. Well, I still have no job. And while I have a place to live lined up for May 1st, I can't move in until then because I have no money coming in (and the money I brought with me is going to run out any day now) so I don't want money to go out any more than I have to. It's just proving a little frustrating. As you've probably gathered. And this little diatribe above is pretty much what I'm fearing is just around the corner if I don't get it sorted at some point in the near future.
Which makes this week Searching For Work (Still) Week. Or SeFoWoStWee to give it its slightly South African sounding contraction. Wish me luck!
Oh, and I promise the next entry will be a happy one. It's not that I'm not happy, I am for the most part, it's just I like to write about things as they pop into my mind. As I say, my blog, my rules. ;)
Take care of yourselves, and each other. Seriously, do.
* Don't worry, this isn't early onset schizophrenia (at least I hope it isn't), there was just a Peugeot 306 that seemed to be everywhere I went in
Friday, April 07, 2006
Chapter 18. Again.
So, here’s my second attempt at making a proper blog entry. Provided this ordinateur français de portable doesn’t screw everything up again, you’ll be rewarded with a quick synopsis of my last few weeks in The Colonies.
"Apartment Hunting Season" or "What The Adverts Should Have Said"
Room To Rent on Queen St W and Rubbish St. 1 dark, damp room to let with no natural light. Smoking allowed in the flat, it helps hide the smell. To share with one large Canadian male with a dirty t-shirt and a cat that, from the smell of it, poops everywhere with impunity. Access is via an unbelieveably long staircase guaranteed to kill you if you’ve had a beer or two, via a graffiti strewn door next to a hardware store in a crap area of town with evident drugs problems. $400 per calendar month. Is what I should be paying people to live here.
Verdict: NOT TAKEN
Lovely cosy place for rent on College St, a little way out of town. 3 female housemates who, while a little Earth Mother, are really nice. 2 very cute cats. Large room with lovely sloping ceiling and large window. Excellent balcony for parties in the summer. Rent only $400 per month. Oh, but you’re not allowed to cook or even keep meat in the house. And, yes, that means you can’t have bacon sarnies on a Sunday.
Verdict: NOT TAKEN
Fort Awesome (Actually, this is how it was named on Craigslist). Share with 5 students in Fort Awesome. The awesome thing about this property is the location, right in the heart of vibrant Little Italy. Everything else about the property is less than awesome. We take student living TO THE MAX!!!!! and the house demonstrates this perfectly. Yes, there’s far more bicylces in one place than you thought possible! We’ve painted the phrase "Fort Awesome" in black emulsion on one of the walls, so you don’t forget where you are while you’re debating your suicide. The room on offer is a basement. No, not a basement room, a basement. Complete with cold concrete floors, damp smell and spiderwebs. It’s big though. The people you will be sharing with all listen to too much punk music, and two of them are actually in punk bands, as you can probably tell by the drum kits. We have great parties in the summer in our back yard which comes equipped with outdoor speakers, a random door lying on the lawn and the obligitory shopping trolley. All this student hell for only $400 per month.
Verdict: NOT TAKEN. IN A MILLION YEARS.
One large room in a really nice place quite a way out of town, but on the College streetcar route straight into town. Share a lovely place with 2 female housemates who are generous, funny and nice to a fault and two lovely cats. Unbelieveably nicely decorated front room with comfortable sofas. Friendly neighbours upstairs with another cat and a 6 month old chocolate labrador called Abby. One neighbour even uses glitter glue to advertise their open house evening. $542 per month, which is a steal.
Verdict: Brilliant, I’LL TAKE IT.
So, I’ve found a place to live. Hurrah! I’ll post some photos when I can, but if you want an idea of where I’ll be living, look here.
I also have a job lined up too. As of Monday, I’ll be doing four days at the Department of Education which should be dull, but I get to meet people! And get out of the flat! Hurrah! It’s just data entry work, but hey, I’ll take anything at the moment*. It’s only $12.18 per hour, but the agency have put me forward for a position for $30 per hour (about £15), which is more than I was earning in the UK! I’ll keep you posted.
Sorry I’ve not really updated the blog in a while. In actuality, the last few weeks have been very dull. Mr & Mrs Nipples aren’t really the Going Out type any more, they’re settling into middle age pretty well, bless ‘em. So, I’ve been stuck in the house during the day for the most part, and I’ve not been going out in the evening because Mr & Mrs Nipples aren’t either. Oh, well. At least once I’ve moved out and started working, I’ll be meeting people and My Canadian Life can begin in earnest. Actually, I have a party to go to at my future home tonight, so maybe I’ll make some friends of my very own then. I’ll try and let you know how it went.
With regards to how I’m feeling at the moment, I’m up and down more than a pair of YoYos who are trying to avoid each other. Some days I feel really good about being here, and really positive. Others I wonder what the hell I’m doing here and have the almost unbearable urge to get on the next plane home. I put the latter down to two things; firstly, that I’m not really doing anything at the moment, so I’m bored out of my mind, and secondly, I miss CA pretty badly. I’m homesick in general, but I miss CA most of all. She’s been a legend even since I got here, she was really excited when I found a place to live. I’m speaking or messengering her every day, which is really nice. I want her to be a part of my life in Canada, and she’s been a huge support to me, but I’m a little preoccupied with how it will turn out long-term. I’d love to write more on the subject, but my feelings are so complicated, we’ll have to leave that for another day.
Thanks for reading. Take hair off your elves, and bleach your mother.
*Except heavy lifting, concierge work and counting people at subway stations, all of which I’ve rather naughtily turned down.
Chapter 17 - French Laptops. Expect Strong Language.
Were it not for the fact that this isn’t my laptop, or even Mr Nipples’, I would defenestrate this from the 15th floor quite happily. Sadly, it’s Mr Nipples’ Mother In Law’s, so I’d better not, eh.
Don’t think I don’t want to, though. I'll put a proper entry on once I've calmed down enough.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Chapter 16: Things We've Learned So Far
1. If St Patrick's Day falls on a Friday in Toronto, be at the pub before it opens. Otherwise you don't stand a chance of getting in.
2. The Canadians celebrate St Patrick's Day as if they were all Irish, but haven't even heard of St George's Day.
3. The smoking laws in Toronto are actually quite good for meeting people.
4. I know more of the song Sweet Home Alabama than I give myself credit for.
5. When I'm drunk, I think I can sing and consider my deep south American accent pretty passable.
6. The Polish claim to have a real animosity towards the Germans but not enough to actually be passionate about it.
7. King Ralph is a great film for when you're hungover.
8. The most evil drink in the world is Bailey's and Lime.
9. Or possibly sambuca and Tabasco.
10. Sambuca and Tabasco isn't fun the following day, either.
11. Apartments where the room has no natural light are evil, whether they have a cat or not.
12. Blogger won't let me post pictures.
13. I wish CA was here to cwtch up with me.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Chapter 15: Arrival
Well, it's 6:37 am and I've been in Canada for about 16 hours now. The last few days have been, well, a mixture of fun and rubbish.
Saying goodbye to CA was the most heart-wrenching thing I've had to do. Possibly ever. She was practically inconsolable, and I was much the same. I just hate the thought she was so upset and that it was my fault. I also can't believe that 28 hours ago, we were nicely squished up in bed, and now she's 3,550 miles away. We had some really nice times before I left though, went to the zoo on Monday (Turkish Spiny Mice are unbelieveably cute, btw) then to the Firehouse in the evening - The Firehouse is easily one of the finest restaurants in Bristol, although it ain't cheap. Then CA and spent the entirety of Tuesday, my last full day in Bristol, packing my stuff and putting it in the loft, storing my car, etc. It was pretty horrible watching the clock count down hours in real time, not the nice, slow passing days we've had the luxury of. There was always "Well, we've still got next week", then "Well, we've still got tomorrow". When you reach "We'll we've still got the next quarter of an hour", it's f***ing difficult to stay positive, I can tell you.
I don't know how things with CA are going to pan out into the future. Really I don't. I could end up back in the UK within a month or two because I miss her too much (although I've got to be strong about that one), I could end up back in the UK after a relatively decent 6 months, I could stay the full 12 months, or I could end up wanting to be here longer. At the moment, there's too much emotional crap in my head to be thinking about that now anyway... All I know is that I love CA dearly, and whatever happens, I want her to be a big part of my life in whatever format that takes. At the moment, I don't care what that is, I just feel I've partly lost her now, and I don't ever want to lost her completely.
Still, I have to stay positive. The constant urge to bottle it completely that I've had since I entered the departure lounge at Heathrow yesterday is beginning to fade. It's still there, but I've just got to jump right in there and show myself why I moved here, to try new things, meet new people, etc. Mrs Nipples and I are off to see some of TO today, I need to go to a Bunac presentation which sounds deathly dull, and exactly not the sort of thing I want to be doing today, but I have to go to get my Social Security number, or else I'm not working anywhere! Sorry this has been a rambling post, and that it's been the first one in ages. I'm sure you have lots of questions along the lines of Why?, What?, Where? etcetera, but frankly I couldn't care less.
And Yahoo Messenger is today's prime example of Why Computers Are Shit (why won't it let me change my picture?) and Blogger.com is the No Really Computers Are Shit winner with changing all my formatting when I paste a picture, so I'm getting cross and need a cigarette. Which will be fun, as it's apparently -14 outside. Anyway, see you later!
Monday, January 30, 2006
Chapter 14, in which the blog gets a radical overhaul!!
Just a quick quickie. I've been learning how to do HTML!! I guess you've already noticed the big changes to the blog, eh? What do you think?
Actually, yes, you're right. I spent the last 2 hours making my blog completely unique. It had a lovely silver and burgundy feel to it, with smart and modern Times New Roman Italic everywhere. I changed borders, backgrounds, fonts, pictures, the layout and even the hit counter. I was on the way to something really fresh. Something exciting!!
As it happens, it didn't end up looking fresh and exciting at all. It ended up looking mouldy and about as exciting as Last Of The Summer Wine. Trust me, it was duller than a particularly boring drizzly Sunday in Slough when all that's on TV is the horse racing on Channel 4. So I scrapped it all and threw it in the (metaphorical, computer related) bin. I guess I'll have another crack when I'm feeling more artistic. The only change I liked - and hence kept - was the hit counter.
And someone else made that.