Childhood, ah, such a bewildering time to be alive. For one, you have no responsibility and so much potential. You have no money but everything you actually need is provided to you for free. If you want to spend the entire weekend sat with your face in the television with a mouth full of marshmallows then you can, or at least until one or more of your parents objects to this. The point is that, as everyone is aware, life is so very different as a child.
I could bore you to tears with stories of my time as a tiny Ian. You may or may not have heard them already and the ones you haven’t heard are just as tedious. Believe me, I am doing you a favour by keeping my mouth shut. I haven’t quite reached the age of telling every single person I meet in the street (not that they would given how bovona has given everyone carte blanche to ignore you even if you have a leg hanging off or knife at your throat) of the time I found £1.10 in the front garden in the snow and became so excited you would have thought I had discovered the Turin Shroud hanging off the bin.
Do you remember those… things that you used to make? I want to remember the name and I don’t want to have to Google it like everything else. The power of words (Words!) don’t fail me now. You folded it up and asked someone to say a number. Then you would use your hands to move it the appropriate number of times and ask for another number, repeat, and then open one of the panels to reveal some mystifying piece of knowledge. It looked a little like this:
No, I haven’t lost my mind and made one I did something much more reasonable; I found one on the floor and brought it home. A scruff I may be and nothing more because there is no other way of finishing that sentence. I wanted to remember a time that was much more innocent, of whistle pops and candy whistles, running around the park until your lungs bled with Tizer (you know, before they changed the formula and made it taste like a shark’s coldsore). I am not clever enough to make a fully functioning version of this, nor an interactive snazzy one on a computer. I do want you to know this though:
If you pick 0 or 1: You are a banana If you pick 2 or 3: I am in love with you If you pick 4 or 5: You are in love with me If you pick 6 or 7:
Here we are, then. The end of June. I moved out of my home, the penthouse apartment above the exploding mattress shop, on 24 March, meaning I’ve now been Of No Fixed Abode for over three months.
Packing is tricky when you don’t know how long you’re packing for. Thankfully, some of the decisions I took when I moved out were good ones. I didn’t bring my coat, for example. It would have used up space and it wasn’t cold for long after I left. I brought what felt like too many books, but in hindsight was enough to keep me going even now.
Other things I could have done with more of, but there wasn’t much room. The same three work shirts in rotation are feeling a bit dull now. The same ten pairs of socks are getting pretty worn. I wish I’d packed at least one more pair of jeans.
Here’s the decision I regret the most, though. When I picked up some treasured sentimental objects, I chose a photograph of my sisters and my Pouring Beans 2020 Calendar. Then I looked at the envelope containing the calendar pages for July to December and I thought… no, surely not. I’ll be back before July. July is forever away.
Now my calendar is running out, and while you will simply turn the page tomorrow morning, I will have nothing. Nothing but regret, and a need to look at my phone to see what day it is.
It has recently come to my attention that I may have been a little hard on something that has always caused trouble in my life. I have my reasons, believe me, this isn’t something that I have plucked out of thin air. Looking back on my behaviour I am a little ashamed; I suppose everyone makes mistakes and the only way to learn is by making them. That said, how can anyone like 3/4 length trousers?
They’re ridiculous. They look like you tried cutting the trousers to make a pair of shorts and gave up halfway through. They look as though you’re wearing ill-fitting clothes. Who’s bright idea was to sell someone an item of clothing that is missing a part of it? What kind of person does this appeal to?
That was how I used to think, the malice lurking underneath the top soil, the brazen hatred seething through the pork vestibule. It’s not as though my wife ran away with some trousers and I have spent the rest of my life resenting the whole lot of them. Whole lot of them, wow, it’s talk like that that made me sound like a trouser racist.
I am doing my best to move on. This is less a plea for help and more an admission of guilt in the hope that by doing so I can exorcise some of the more harsher criticisms that I have levelled at those so-called “missing trousers”. Human nature is so broad that it can cover a wealth of topics. The only explanation why I shied away from them for so long, that I ranted until hot steam poured out of my ears, is because if I did try to wear them it would expose the tattoo of Pam St Clement (aka Pat Butcher from ‘Eastenders’) at the base of my leg. I don’t want people knowing that I have it; my love is a secret kind of love.
Anyway, thanks for listening. I’m going to omit parts of my name so you don’t know who I am.
I’ve never done anything very interesting while I’m asleep, beyond rolling around a bit, occasional light snoring and a bit of sweating. Until Monday night, that is, when I did the nearest thing I’ve ever done to sleepwalking.
I was having a very vivid dream, you see, that took place in the bedroom. Over on the other side of the bed, Some food had spilled onto the floor – I think it was a large amount of sausages, but very very thin sausages, almost like noodles. Anyway, there was a ton of it and if I didn’t get it off the floor soon I wouldn’t be able to eat it because it would be covered in carpet filth.
So I rushed out of the bedroom, in my dream, and headed to the kitchen so I could get something to hold all the slender sausages. The first drawer I opened had all the plates in it, and they were no use, so I closed that one and opened the next drawer where all the bowls were.
I picked up a big bowl and headed back to the bedroom in a hurry.
It was only when I was opening the bedroom door, bowl in hand, that I realised what I was doing, and that there were no sausages on the floor, because that had been a dream. It was 3am and I was now awake, carrying a bowl to the bedroom.
I did the only thing that seemed sensible, which was to put it down by the side of the bed and go back to sleep.