Bipolar Life and Facebook – PART TWO

After enduring a train journey to the capital in order to meet an ex-stripper I’d befriended in the summer while working at T.G.I Friday’s, I found myself at the entrance to a place I never thought I’d gaze my eyes upon ever again – T.G.I Friday’s. A fantastic restaurant to many, but a sanctuary of horror for myself and my self-esteem. There are literally hundreds of pubs, bars and other alcohol-selling hotspots in Edinburgh, but by my tragic luck, the ex-stripper had directed me towards the exact place I’d ridiculed myself in just a few months in the past – let’s just say that while working a shift on the busiest night the restaurant had ever seen, the pressure of relentless service slowly emancipated into a hellish purgatory of sobbing tears and shameful tribulation and I stormed out of the restaurant mid-shift with a wet face and minimal dignity.

She must surely have heard of the breakdown I had in the summer at this place, surely! I mean, she still works here to this day for fuck’s sake.

Regardless of the embarrassment that lurked behind the black pine doors of the restaurant, it was the ex-stripper that had kindly offered to pay for all of my drinks so I had little choice but to humour her choice of settlement on that cold night. With a slight pause and a grimace on my reddening face, I opened the heavy doors and advanced straight towards the bar with a burst of adrenaline flowing through my veins. I whipped my phone from my pocket and began meaninglessly browsing Facebook in an attempt to distract myself from the impending doom that awaited me. Waiters and other familiar staff members filled the room, floating from table to table as I hurried towards the bar with my phone plastered to my vision. As much as I was expecting the indefinite looks of horror and disgrace from each and every employee I’d worked with in the summer to shoot daggers through my skull as I darted towards the bar, this was shockingly not the case.

I meandered towards the bar, the ex-stripper following closely behind, my eyes darting in every direction and my ears tuned-in to any murmurs of laughter or gossip that may begin to fill the room. I painfully recognised the bartender as someone I’d regularly exchanged small talk with while working here.

“Hey, can we have two pints please?”, I asked solemnly.

“Sure thing bud’, Tennents yeah?”.

“Yeah…cheers”.

The bartender calmly poured our drinks, without as much as a whisper emerging from his mouth. He clearly didn’t give a flying fuck about my unorthodox presence, and this sort of bothered me. After all the thoughts of horror and apprehension that had flowed through my mind over the previous ten minutes, not a single recognisable person could even bother to give the slightest shit towards my dilemma. Ten minutes flew by and not one ex-colleague of mine had even batted an eye at me, not one. A waiter I shared lunch with a few months ago even accidentally brushed against our table as she glided past, but still, not a single odd look or malicious word was directed towards my shattered ego as I sipped cautiously on my pint. As much as I would have loathed it if my expectations of crude frowning and awkward stares were correct, I was sort of hoping for some kind of bemused reaction from my fellow colleagues. Oh well, life went on.

I enjoyed a pint with the ex-stripper before indulging in some of the more costly beverages displayed on the drinks menu. A few cocktails later and the ex-stripper and I were in delirium. As tragic as this may sound, the two hours that proceeded the clenching awkwardness upon entering the restaurant were probably the most enjoyable two hours I’d had in years. A blissful optimism swept over me as thoughts of sex and other far-fetched fantasies began to conquer my mind. For most nineteen-year-old guys, the notion of taking an ex-stripper out for drinks in the capital is almost certainly a guarantee of some form of sexual contact, but for me, the tragic one, it was almost certainly wishful thinking.

I wanted two things to occur at this point; either that we would venture off to a night club for another two hours of delirious intoxication, hence increasing my chances of waking up at her house the following day, or that we’d take the direct route and head straight to her abode. Either way, the alcohol in my system forced a very strong desire to wake up at her house the following day. Contrary to my own endeavours however, the ex-stripper disappeared onto a bus soon after and I found myself staggering solo back to the train station at eleven o’clock at night with a crinkled cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I was inexplicably fucked and the escalators leading down to the platforms were an immaculate symbolisation of how my night was momentarily about to plummet downhill.

After surpassing the escalators, tipping my head up to the looming electrical boards to identify my train was more than challenging given the state I was in. But it wasn’t long before I was able to identify the correct train, and not much longer after that before I realised it had been cancelled. The last train back to my house had been cancelled due to “someone being hit by the train” and I was therefore trapped in Edinburgh for at least another hour before another train, only stopping at a town close to my house, would arrive.

What a selfish little shit. I busted a gut to get here tonight and you’ve gone and thrown yourself in front of my last chance of not having to walk home tonight. 

After half an hour of perilously waiting for the wrong train to take me three miles from my house, I sort of began to wish that I was the one that had been hit by the train – it certainly would have made my life a lot easier than it currently was and I probably wouldn’t have felt any pain due to the significant amount of alcohol I’d consumed. At this point, I would have died to have called up the ex-stripper and inform her of my horrific situation in the hopes that she’d feel sorry for me and invite me back to her house; but once again, life decided to slap me in the nose and my phone had decided to die on the way to the train station. I sat helplessly drunk on a freezing metal bench amid the bustle of the train station for nearly one and a half hours before my train finally arrived.

I careened aboard the train half-lashed and tumbled onto the nearest seat to a gloriously warm comfort only to be remind myself of the three mile trek that fate had paved for me upon my exit from the train in just over half an hour. It would be a cold, miserable end to my night and I could do nothing to help it.

I hate you, life. 

Advertisements

Returning Home With the Wrong Jacket – PART ONE

Last night was more eccentric than the two occasions of Christmas and New Year combined, and I’m still unsure of how that’s even possible given the fact that I was planning to get mortal on both of those bitter nights. I’m the type of person that wanders on out into the world in anticipation of a quiet night in the pub or a subtle movie night with a close friend and then somehow ends up outside in the freezing cold trudging along an unknown pavement, stoned out of my face at three o’clock in the morning with someone else’s clothing on. Everything seems to spiral out of control by twelve at the latest, and nothing ever goes to plan. Drugs, alcohol and snoring old men have unexpectedly devoured the last 24 hours of my life, and oh boy have I learnt a lot about myself.

I’d been grinding the same video game for most of the day, occasionally taking a break to smoke the odd cigarette in the garden, and I was slowly growing anxious of what the night ahead held in stock. Once plans begin to swirl in the air, it’s all I can think about until the plans eventually transition into reality – anxiety really is a bitch. Jimmy and I were planning on indulging in a quick smoke after he had finished work later on in the night and I was more than game given that I hadn’t inhaled a Jamaican roll-up since Christmas eve.

Impatiently meandering around the warm floor boards of my parent’s house, seeing the word ‘Jimmy’ suddenly appear on my phone as it vibrated to the sound of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, I hastily answered the call and proceeded to stuff an old pair of shoes onto my restless feet and scrunched an extra jumper over my frazzled hair as I did. Despite all of the morbid fears I’d had previously that Jimmy would cancel the meeting – the fear that Jimmy’s mum’s hamster would spontaneously die that night and he’d have to stay in and comfort her, a shower of relief trickled over my head as soon as I heard the words “Meet at the tire at eleven” zoom through the phone from Jimmy’s mouth. Just as I trundled out of the front door and onto the sparkling frosty pavements to leave however, I had a peculiar thought – I’m probably addicted to drugs. Wearing nothing but two cheap jumpers and a crinkled pair of jeans, I began my odyssey towards the tire.

There’s something quite frightening about walking through the frost-bitten streets with the desire to smoke illegal drugs at an old tire behind a local rugby club at eleven o’clock at night. Four miles of walking in the stagnant wintry air would certainly not be worth it for anything but drugs and I found myself strutting along the pavement at turbo speeds just to ensure that I was at the tire before Jimmy. That walk to the tire was certainly the most intentional walk I’d ever done in my entire life. Accompanied by two cigarettes and half of a bottle of red wine I’d found in the fridge from Christmas however, and the the four mile trek was over before I knew it.

After Jimmy’s silhouette slowly emancipated into a real person through the thick fog of the night, everything seemed to flow considerably smoother than on previous encounters. Aside from a dodgy lighter deciding not to function of a couple of occasions and Jimmy thinking he’d forgotten the skins for a brief moment, I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable hour of smoking marijuana at a rugged old tire on a Sunday evening. I sat contempt for the entire hour with my arse half-stuck to the ice polished rubber before Jimmy lumbered back to his house only half-stoned. I however, after just a couple of joints, was inexplicably wasted, my mind flickering through a million fiery thoughts at once.

I can never have enough. Every time I remove myself from the warmth of my house, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing or who I’m with, I’m always thinking ahead to conjure up exciting plans for after. I hate going home, because going home late at night always represents the end of an enjoyable time, a transition into a dark, dull house of nothingness – I can’t put the TV on, I can’t venture out into the back garden for a smoke and I can’t even flick any lights on in fear that I’ll wake up the likes of my boring family members. If I’m at the pub enjoying a few pints of Scotland’s finest beer (Tennent’s Lager), then I’ll constantly be battling away on my phone or to a friend beside me for an action plan afterwards, whether it be going to another pub or intoxicating ourselves further with drugs. As I stood lone wolf at the tire, vacant of any form of rational thinking, it dawned on me that I could probably get away with a late night visit to my unorthodox friend Gordon’s house and enjoy a harsher smoke from the discomfort of his garbage-engulfed sofa.

Gordon is one of the more dodgy characters in my life. A rusty old man worn down by society, Gordon lives a quiet, solemn life in a decayed apartment swallowed by the past. He’s played quite an important part of my life for at least six months now, having been a regular at my local pub for most of his days. Of course, Gordon’s cave would never have been my first choice of dwelling for the night, but I always knew him to consistently be in the possession of drugs so the plan was essentially set in stone in my head as I perilously began to walk up the street towards his apartment.

Passing through Gordon’s large black steel gate and descending the cold bulky steps leading to his front door injected me with a familiar buzz. The only thing that frightened me as my clumsy feet clanged thunderously off the rusty clutter that lay scattered throughout his garden was the possibility of him not answering the door and having to perform the walk of shame back to the darkness of my house in the glacial conditions that clung to the air like thick glue. Standing at Gordon’s chipped white door, I realised there was not as much as a trace of a doorbell or any other form of sounding equipment. If there’s one thing you should probably avoid doing at midnight on a Saturday, it’s knocking on the doors of people who least expect it – there’s a high chance that Gordon thought the DEA were ready to raid his house of drugs the moment I battered the blurry white glass with my clenched iron fist. To my own surprise however, the door popped open with a loud thud just six seconds after I’d knocked and Gordon cheerfully beckoned me into his humble abode for a standard night of smoking cannabis and woeful banter.