And that's just the start. Look around. Do you see the usual lolling drones, each engaged in their own personal battle to keep from screaming in boredom or frustration, desperately sawing time into chunks that can be choked down? No! You see mess, glorious or hideous: piles of books and CDs, t-shirts bearing obscurely cool or cooly obscure slogans, battered coats, frayed Levis, hanging socks that dried a week ago, toys, fairy wings, board games, card games, computer games, comics (some shamefully unread), copies of New Scientist and Private Eye, last month's Saturday Guardian, last year's cinema listings, plastic bags, receipts, expired cheques, wires, leads, plugs lurking prongs-up like punji sticks beneath discarded shirts, boxes untouched since at least my last move, bags picked through but unpacked since the last trip to my parents, shoddy furniture, crumbling yellow walls, footprint-sized glimpses of beige carpet between bed and door, a mirror with 'Is this you?' written in blood across the top and rolls of wrapping paper in the corner *
Even I've changed, though you may have been too polite mention it. My usual posting attire may have been casual to the point of scruffy, but it can't have escaped your attention that this is my first post composed clad in only one item of clothing. Two, if you count the perennial ring-pull on the chain round my neck. Three if you count the duvet. And notice my bleary, bloodshot, half-closed eyes, my rumpled hair drooping across my face, my slumped posture making you wince in anticipation of the years of discomfort it forbodes, my blank expression punctuated by the occasional ironic grin or causeless chuckle, my periodic swigs of flat tap-water from an empty bottle of gin... Some things haven't changed, at least.
Listen. I can choose any music I want, without the discomfort of ill-fitting headphones and the nagging fear that the trapped fly buzzing bleeding through is making someone-else's day that sliver less bearable. But the only sounds are the distant, comforting rumble of trains and cars, the click of keys and the sporadic whirring of the fan. And the dawn chorus. Fucking birds.
* Because if the thought counts, surely the actual purchase of gift and paper counts double. Even if the gift is never wrapped or delivered. In a way, that saves a lot of embarrassment. After all, by the time you've actually managed to choose and purchase the thing, the occasion has passed, and just as well, really. I mean, it wasn't shit, but it's not like they needed or wanted more stuff, and the realisation that essentially that was all you were handing them would have discomforted you both. Far better to leave the paper in a roll in the corner, a discrete yet visible reminder of failure, getting gradually, inexplicably creased and battered until if you do try to use it the results look even shoddier than your usual ham-fisted attempts, and the prospect of handing over such a small and shabby thing, shabbily concealed, makes you cringe, so it stays in your bag getting more battered still, and returns home with you to be unpacked and stuffed out of sight to lie like an emotional landmine, a reminder found when tidying of why you hate tidying.
Current site: LiveJournal. I go off-line for a few days, and return to find over two hundred test results, complaints, rambles, wars and works of art to read through. On a slow modem connection. At night only, housemate archie needing the line during the day to work, and prevent his social skills from atrophying by chatting up pretty American women.
I love you guys.