Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday 6 May 2010 – ELECTION DAY

Dream: I am playing music in an area that looks like a modernized Covent Garden.  It’s just my guitar and me.  I begin practising in an Asian shop before having my main set a little later on.  The practice overruns and I find myself rushing to do my main set.  I appear to be playing mostly Yonokiero songs.  Go figure.

We are fucked.

Today is a big day for many reasons.  With this in mind I enter into it with caution, approaching with ease.  Extra effort goes into hygiene as I immediately begin regretting my late night last night.

Again my left eye is playing up as when I put my contact lens in pain shoots through my being and it begins trickling profusely immediately turning red and bloodshot.  This is not a good look.  My weakness.

When I eventually leave my apartment The Ghost has already arrived with his dog where he just stands opposite my building.  Was he a crow in a former life?  As I exit our building I pass the still remaining stinking fucking bin bag of the pig next door.  It smells like it has fish in it.  Nice.

The drive to the station is a tense one as I fly delayed through the streets with a dumb blue moped out in front holding our convey of cars up.  Would it really be so bad if I ploughed through that fucker?

With a bit of stomping and skipping I just about manage to board the 6.59AM train.  As I finally sit down I realise just how much pong I have put on this morning.  Pity the poor extras on the train around me.

From here the train ride into town is a comfortable one without drama.  These are the things that I value at these times.

As I head to the tube platform at Liverpool Street a train is already in place which I run to get on, pushing in a man with a limp in front of me in the process.

Taking my seat I sit opposite a black girl who appears to have taken her fashion cues from the Incredible Hulk (or maybe even DRUNKHULK) with her green tops and purple bottoms.  It looks better than it sounds.

Eventually I pull into work where early on I get a reprise as the consultant emails to say that he won’t be in today.  From here a sense of freedom prevails and attaches itself to proceedings.

The day plays out buzzing with subtle excitement for tonight’s election.  That and my first meeting (date) with the lady from Craigslist.  In conjunction I find myself busy today, having my most productive day of the week.  No time for nerves.

It feels like 5.30PM arrives quicker than usual today and with it I leave the office with The Girl.

As we pass the St Johns Wood HSBC a stream of water comes flying out of the skies.  I maybe paranoid but it would appear that somebody is firing a water gun at me.  I briefly look up to see where it has come from but the coward (the culprit) is high in the skies.

The Girl and I board the tube as usual and as we do so suddenly another gush of liquid comes flying my way.  This is the resulting sensation of some goof running for the closing door on the train, slipping and dropping/throwing his coffee everywhere, which appears to be mainly aimed at me this evening.

From here I look down at the coffee splattered over my smart date clothes and my smart Mike Shinoda DC trainers (that I went months without wearing for fear of dropping something on them).

While The Girl laughs her head off personally I feel like killing the guy.  How is this guy even let out in public if he cannot even do so without dropping coffee everywhere?

Looking sheepish he apologises profusely but frankly that isn’t going to do me any good now.  Perhaps I should have slugged him, made myself feel better about both the situation and myself.  He definitely looked like the kind of guy you could put your fist through without much in the way of defiance.

Eventually the train reaches Baker Street and I get to leave The Girl behind.  As I exit the coffee dropping idiot follows me gingerly exiting the train behind me.  What, does he now want to spill a different kind of beverage over me?  Honestly perhaps it would have been had I slapped him about.  It would have made me feel better and offer the kind of jolt to my self-esteem and manhood that is quite frankly much needed at this time.

From here the tube ride across to Liverpool Street flies by in what seems like a second as now away from The Girl I begin to feel a little less nerve wracked and a bit more confident.  Still I hate this belittle ritual and the way it makes me feel.  Overanalysing things I feel too vulnerable at these times.  I’m not jumping through hoops for any stranger.

I arrive at Liverpool Street in good time, heading straight to the RBS building where we are meeting.  As I head up Bishopsgate and near the building I receive a text from her alerting me that she has arrived.

When I arrive I spot her immediately.  Well, I spot an overweight and larger version of her than her photos had suggested.  It would seem we have both been disguising our weight issues.  As I near her she looks flustered and as she heads towards Spitalfields I say “Sarah?” and we have our first meeting and impression.

Immediately I see the Kirstie Allsopp likeness and indeed she does not look like the JPEGs that she sent me.  That said I probably don’t look like the one I sent her either.  Despite this things seem OK as we both smile and have our awkward first moment.

With salutations out of the way we head towards Spitalfields in search of coffee.  In the process we exchange routine niceties, enquiring about one another’s day as we both endeavour to feel the other out.  I even ask her which way she has voted, which is perhaps a question too forward at this stage.  Regardless she says “Lib Dem”.

Quickly as head towards what remains of Spitalfields Market it becomes apparent that we are walking aimlessly and wishing to avoid the predictability of Starbucks I make comment about finding an “independent coffee shop”.  What am I Naomi Klein all of a sudden?  She picks up on this comment, repeating it in a fashion that amuses her.  Am I coming over a badly as I fear I am?  I’m not a tree hugger, honestly.  Is it just too much to not want a first date to be in Starbucks?

Eventually we turn around and head back in the direction towards Bishopsgate where we head into the Market Coffee House where we take a seat in the corner without being hand a menu.  Immediately the elements seem to be setting out to undermine me in front of my potential future wife.

Finally we order some drinks as she opts for a rich hot chocolate, displaying some guilt in the process.  Myself I make comment that I need a caffeine boost which again she picks up on and begins quizzing me about.  I truly am under the spotlight this evening it would seem.

We properly kick off conversation and it runs relatively nice nice.  From here we discuss our respective careers and I suspect immediately our mutual expectations suddenly begin to take on a more realistic degree (in other words, they lower).

Naturally nervous, as ever I find myself talking at 100 words per minute but its all light and full of enthusiasm.  Sadly whenever I do this I tend to overcompensate running the risk of appearing too keen.

Of the information I do glean it turns out that she once wrote a national contingency/emergency paper on what might occur if a flu epidemic (probably avian) were to kick in and cause wide spread panic and chaos.  This paper was produced with the aim of creating some kind of guidance cum contingency plan to deal with the problem.  This is pretty amazing and high-level stuff.  Now however she works for the bankers association where she spends her life writing papers justifying spending such as bankers’ bonuses to the government (“if we don’t pay them they, the talent, will go elsewhere”).  Does she really have the ethics of an alley cat, as this role would suggest?

In contrast to this my anecdotes feel rather amateur and stupid in comparison.  Why do I tell her the story of the angry dog (Meg) in Harlesden that we turned vicious to the point that a year or so later it had to be put to sleep after it bit somebody?  Why do I consistently belittle my own feats and achievements?  My efforts have worth.  And how do I wind up talking to her about my former work colleague with tattoos (well, one of the waitresses) that plays roller derby?

Around 7PM she begins checking her watch, as she has to get to Hackney for election night at her friend’s house.  From here we begin making moves with her making comment “quite the life you have had” which dumbly and naively I cannot decipher as to whether is sarcasm or not.

I pay up at the till as she offers to go halves on a £6.05 bill.  Really?

We walk up Bishopsgate as I continue with potentially inappropriate tales and stories of my various wayward study exploits.  First off the back of knowing BPP in Waterloo I tell her about the time I met Damon Albarn in Notting Hill after drinking too much Leffe before returning home to Harlesden to have Meg (the dog) accidentally give me a little black eye the night before I had an accountancy course at the venue.

After this I continue with my ill judged anecdotes as we continue to discuss studying/revision and I tell her about my exploits during my finals.

Finally we get to Liverpool Street where she has to get some food before heading to her friend’s place.  I ask her if she wants to meet up again and she says, “we’ll email” in the affirmative making a keyboard gesture before we hug and cheek kiss before heading off in different directions.

I manage to snag the 7.30PM Norwich train home feeling excited.  Do you remember the episode of The Office where Brent over does his motivation talk but still thinks he aced it?  Sometimes I worry that is me when it comes to dating.

I get back to Colchester just after 8.20PM with the sun still out in force and optimistic fashion.  When I step home into my flat I potter around preparing for the election coverage to begin at 9PM.  In a rare bout of Facebook communication Racton gets me on messenger as we exchange our various experiences of the evening.

At 9PM the Channel Four coverage begins opening with a Come Dine With Me election special featuring Rod Liddle (monkeymfc).  Much against the morals and opinions of my friends I actually really like the guy, not least for the football club he supports.

At 10PM the exit polls come in and predictably it looks like the Conservatives have unofficially bashed their way to power.  This could be a sad day.

As the alternative coverage on Channel Four gets let off the leash, free to stick the boot in, I begin to lose interest as there is no longer any surprise or excitement left attached to proceedings and soon I fall asleep with the TV on.

I’d like to think today might represent a new dawn but ultimately there is just an overriding sense of the same old same old.

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