29 June 2009

T19 - “I feel like the captain of the Titanic”

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So, sitting in the canteen after the meeting I, my boss and S are watching the lunch queue.

“Oh, that reminds me,” says the boss, “I gotta meet with LH after this”.

I ask him to point her out to me. Last week at work, Friday it was, I walk in and someone goes ‘ah, LH is on the phone and wants to talk to you’. She says a few things but mainly wants my project out of the ‘main area’ and onto laptops in the back room; wants me not to use the SPC (in house) paperwork and to design our own booking-in form and provide a list of all the learners contact numbers ‘in case I’m off sick and we need to contact them’.

So anyway, I did do that for her but it was our first encounter and it could have gone better. The boss buggers off to talk to LH across the canteen on the sofas whilst Suki talks about his (Sikh) family argument this morning, which subsequently made him half an hour late for the meeting. Some cousin who was a relative of his ex wife said he disgraced and shamed the family. She’d spread rumours that he’d physically and mentally abused her – which he hadn’t he assured me. He was at this family gathering and there were about 200 people there. “All of them,” he said, “every single one of them didn’t say one word to me all day. I hadn’t heard that she’d said those things about me and I was thinking ‘why’s no one speaking to me?’"

I tell him about the DSU business with J and how she wants me out and all that guff. He said he hadn’t seen her for 8 months. He said she was ‘grooming’ him and getting him into situations that would flow into certain scenarios. “I was gutted. I thought I was her mate! I was having none of it”. I mentioned that her grooming worked on me and how I regret it now. He comes over all ‘hey! Geezer!’ on me, slapping my hand. The boss comes back.

“Thought I should let you know that LH has just said that a learner has just made a complaint about you in Sheppy. Don’t lose any sleep over it but she saying that our project is ‘stealing’ her learners, SPC learners!”.

“You’re fucked,” says S. “Look around.” He pans with his hand at the canteen full of lunching staff. “All educated, middle class, middle-aged women. Look at us bruv. The wrong sex and the wrong colour”.

Ju comes over. In the building for a ‘fire wardens’ course. Her and a TA on a little day off from the grind of the SPC. Ju, who has the manager’s position at a different Centre to the one I’ve applied for mangers job at, leans over and says in my ear that “I think I have the questions from my interview at home. I’ll email them to you if you like? Oh, and get a management how to do it book out. It might help.”

I nod; “I will do. Thanks”. And off she goes saying “I’m gonna learn how to use a fire extinguisher now! Bye!” The meeting was about the end.

“I feel like the captain of the Titanic,” says the boss. And he was. Project ends end Dec 06, maybe 6 months early if the targets aren’t met. But if the targets are met; then it’s the end of the project. Looking like the end of the summer.

Literacy and numeracy needs are higher now than ever. Surely the project should be expanding? We cite growing class sizes and waiting lists. How the paperwork’s running smoothly. How we love the fucking job. How the learner’s love it!

“Start looking for another job now is what I would recommend. I wouldn’t mind if you had to leave the project.” Anyway, so much for Paulo Friere’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’.

Curry last night with JP was a hit! Nice food - chick pea and prawn madra, sag paneer, peshwari rice and nan. Nice wine. We toast the 'curry club'. Me And You And Everyone We Know and Infernal Affairs III on DVD. A few nice texts from S finished off a lovely night. Off out now for P&J's farewell meal at the Morroccan restaurant in Canterbury.

Living in a moment like that. Man what a day. At work one of my learners said to me ‘I don’t want to be nasty…’ just before she was. She’s been studying for 6 hours over three weeks this same bloody thing that won’t sink into her fucking head. I repeat it to her every week. Show her. Ask her write it down. Ask her explain it to me. Give her a hand out with it written down. Show her how to LOOK THE FUCKING SHIT UP! Yet, every week, she to me goes; ‘how do I save/print/save as/format text again?’ I’d just got back after recovering from a bout of bad-throat-so-can’t-speak-itis and wasn’t on my best form anyway. I said ‘look you gotta use your fucking loaf' (I’m paraphrasing here you understand), 'and think about what you want to do and how you’re going to do it’.

Ah man. Going to have a curry round mine tomorrow. Invited JP as I was at his last week doing the same thing. Nice home made curry and a DVD or 2 to watch. Should be a nice chilled midweek thing. JP will probably talk about CM and how their relationship went pear shaped at the weekend. Mustn’t bitch about T or R to him as he’s their chum. Although he doesn’t have that much time for T these days.

Going to cook something out of Claudia Rodan. Was going to text or email T about her birthday on Saturday and say that if she didn’t want me to come because of the R thing then I wouldn’t go. I changed my mind and decided not to. Best not make a fuss. Remember you’re over her! So stop fucking obsessing. It unbalances me when my friendships aren’t right and aren’t on course. I’m ok now. Glad I didn’t sent send it though. Or compose it even. I’m going to buy her a birthday card too. And a nice plant for her lovely flat. Reading back over some of that stuff that I wrote the other day I was in two minds whether or not to take the whole bloody lot out and pretend I never wrote it. But I thought if I lie to my blog then I’d lie to anything. Oh, I’ve got to revisit the JPH thing that I mentioned the other day. She and I nearly had a thing together. Well we do have a thing together but not the thing it could have been. Well I say that. We had the makings of a relationship there but I pulled back because she was going through stuff with her ex; shall we get back together; shan’t we get back together? It was too confusing for me. They had three kids too. It was complicated. She liked dressing up in S&M clothing and dancing in specialist club nights put on by fellow enthusiasts. We used to have food and film nights at hers. She is funny, intelligent and independent. Studying for her degree in Religious Studies. Loves techno free parties in the woods. Loves hugging trees. I liked her a lot. We met through a blind date. Well, I say a blind date. I mean a ‘blind date’. My mate Timo, a ‘veteran’ of this scene recommended I try a dating website www.match.com. He’d got a few email relationships kicked off after a few months and he said it was great getting to know these new people and building up a connection. Fine, I said. Went off. Joined up. Spent ages filling in all the various fields; being as honest as one could be in such a scenario, then published the profile and started playing around on the site. The button ‘10 Best Matches’ brought up my first glimpse into this world. Hang on a second. Who the fuck is that at number one? That looks like JPH. Her profile says she’s a tree hugger looking for someone, oh fuck, I forgot what it was now. Some big deal in my life ey? Anyway I texted a mate who I knew had her number. Once I’d got her number I texted the old tree hugger comment in her profile to her. She sent back a 2 page text just going ‘hahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaha!’ We arranged a meet. She said she’d wear a flower. I said I’d wear a lime green baseball cap with the legend ‘if it feels good do it!’ on the front. We had lunch and talked for, ooh, hours. When we parted I took a phone picture of myself driving and sent it to her. She sends a similar one straight back. Oh, how we laughed. Living in a moment like that.

The Smack night was a blast; rammed as usual with great people despite there being a split in town for the available crowd. Hip hop at the Fountain, the Crazy Fucking Bitches at Dukes (yes, that is what they call themselves and yes they are!) tVC at the Smack and The Happy Accidents at the Horsebridge. Friendly Pete was playing his last set with us before him and J head off first to Thailand then Australia for a year of partying and travelling. Lucky bastards. DJ Molly made her debut appearance on Saturday, doing warm up for MDM who did warm up for FP. Warren was there pissed up and on top form. T turned up (my ex). She was her usual sniffy self, all hunched and quiet and worried about something but unable to talk to anyone. I’ve given up trying to talk to her and dropped all pretence of the ‘lets be friends’ deal we had when we split. As long as I keep it shallow; keep it nice; keep it polite she is well cool with me. As long as I don’t ask her where she’s been, where she is going and what are her thoughts and plans on anything; don’t mention what I’ve been up to (particularly with other women) and don’t ask any awkward questions about feelings or our past relationship or the future; then we’re cool! That’s what I call balance! Instead we politely kiss each others cheek; say ‘hiya!’ (god, I fucking hate saying that god-awful phrase, and hate people saying it to me). ‘Alright?’ ‘Yes, I’m alright! You?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine!’ we’ve done our duty. Everyone can see that I still ‘endorse’ her; which I do. What anoyed me with her was her keenness to show me pics of her trip to Cyprus with her mate T.
‘These are the pictures of the two guys we picked up on the plane and fucked stupid for the week’ she said. I'm papaphrasing there.
‘Get the fuck outa my face’ I thought. And aside, to myself; 'Still quite funny though.'
‘Oh you should just fuck anyone’ she says; ‘just so I wasn’t the last girl you did it with…’.
‘Get the fuck outa my face…’. Maybe she's right?

Anyway, took a quick half hour out of the Smack to go see the Seren Deputies debut gig at the Horsebridge in Whitstable. A bunch of fat, middle aged men nervously churn out some nice chilled out ‘Balearic’ style beats. Bear, their lead singer, gives it a bit of Ian Duryesque vocals on top of some gentle beats. He’s the best bit of it all. A bit of presence there. My mate JP giving it a real bit of solid bass action but very uneasy. Stage fright I think. They only really pick up when the drum machine is switched on and they have overcome the technical difficulties of a feedbacking loudspeaker. Well done boys! I know how difficult playing for the first time publically can be and, speaking as a fat, middle-aged has been myself, or as Nero used to say; ' a sad middle-aged sack of shit', I thought you all did rally well. Obscurity and some gigs way down on the bill at the Glasto Green field festy tent awaits you in 2010. This is exactly the market they are aiming at anyway! I'll be there whatever.

So I walk in, after paying a fiver, and right in the middle of the crowd is a bunch of the local women, all of whom I know. I, get me, work the room and say my hellos to them all; who are all pleased to see me and are grateful for someone observing the ‘greetings protocol’ properly and for genuinely making a big fuss of them. I do this to all of them except R who has blanked me out again. I pretend this doesn’t bother me but it does. I talk to CM who tells me her and JP are ‘having difficulties’. ‘Oh’ I say. ‘Yes, I told him to fuck off the other day. He’s not supporting me enough. I’m trying to give up smoking and drinking and it’s been very hard for me’. Poor CM; she’s quirky and kooky and very difficult to understand. She has to produce some artwork for some big feminist show soon to be on. It’s about woman’s empowerment and the theme is ‘vaginas’ I think. She’s thrilled and honoured to be asked but hasn’t a fucking clue what she’s going to do yet. I look over at JP on stage. Now I understand why he’s looking so worried.

I end up staying here longer that I should coz I end up talking too much. I take a few shots of the band and chat to EF who shoots some footage. ‘You should have said!!’, she says. ‘I’d have put you on the guest list!’ Damn! ‘You never know’, I say, ‘this footage could be worth a bomb when in the future we talk about how we were at the Seren Deputies debut gig. Could be like that footage of the Pistols at the 100 Club in 1976?’ ‘Could be!’ she says. We both laugh… Coz of that, and the fact that PD was an hour late with the rig, I missed most of Molly’s set which Mike said she did very well and didn't miss a mix. He really likes her and I’m glad he’s happy with her. She’s a kook but we love her energy and friendliness. So, good one on her. Mikes ex, TW, is a total psycho or pretends to be. Is that the same thing? Coked out of her tits most of the time she’s paranoid and aggressive. Her little son’s life must be hell as she denies him access to his dad. Who am I to comment on that state of affairs. I love both of them and want to support both of them. Made the mistake of inviting T back to the chill out at mine after but she didn’t turn up. She was at the usual ‘walk with Mitchell’ on Sunday however, mouthing and miming her usual platitudes but keeping everything at a good arms length with everyone. Which is just how I like it now. A part of me still worries about her a lot but I have emotionally pulled very way back from her now and have absolutely no intention of ever revisiting that land again. What a fool I was. She invites me to her birthday party at J&J’s in Margate next Saturday. I’m going, but after buying her series 5 of Six Feet Under for her for Christmas and her not getting me a prezzy in return, I don’t think I’ll be visiting the card shop in a hurry .

Besides the lovely S and I are going ‘out dancing’ on Friday night. Blimey, finding something to do local is going to be a nightmare. S and I wake up at 4.30am today and start talking about ourselves. It’s the first real conversation we have had, She wanted to hear my ‘problems’ so I bitched a bit about these women she doesn’t know; J, T and R. Then I bitched a bit more about the job I’m applying for and how I probably won’t get it coz I’ve got a caution for ‘cultivation’ of cannabis i.e. I had a plant. Even though I’m more than capable of doing the damn job.

So, T fucks off from the pub after coming from the Horsebridge to ‘check us out’ (probably coz of R and her distancing attitude to me), Molly plays a great set as does Pete, JP’s band get through the nerves barrier unscathed and I invite a select band of close friends home to mine after the pub to cane the 2 crates of beer I have and the 6 bottles of wine. Decks are set up, sofas occupied and we all get on with the job of having some fun.

Highlights for me; the 2 convo’s I have outlined above. I get also lots of advice about how ‘mad’ J is and always has been and how stupid I’ve been for fucking her. Oh, well. You never listen to your friends’ advice do you? Especially when you know damn right that what they are saying is the truth. Good to see JPH to, who came over coz PD was there. She and I nearly had ‘a thing’ last year but it didn’t happen. She wanted long term commitment; I didn’t. I think. I dunno. We should have talked more but didn't. Maybe sometime in the future? Could have give it a bit of bullshit and got laid but I’m not that kind of guy. Really!