A Friend in Need is a Pain in the Arse!

Posted on October 24, 2011

I know that the general quality of many peoples daily lives is judged upon whether I have written an hilarious blog to get them through the humdrum of the normal working day, so please accept my apologies for a bit of blog starvation, I had a rather draining week last week that left me lacking inspiration to find the energy to tap on the old keyboard. This I have to accept, was partly self inflicted by a boozy weekend that left me a bit hazy and down in the dumps, then, just as I was in a situation where I thought that the only worthy thing to write about was the compelling 1-1 draw between Reading and Southampton at the Madjeski stadium on Saturday, I was rescued by two chance meetings yesterday with people from way back in time. These conversations took place at the gym where I spend so much of my life trying and failing to reverse the ageing process that always finds the time to affect at least one part of my body, be it the knee, shoulder, hip or lower back. I have a body in terminal crisis.

The first meeting was at the Sauna/Jacuzzi area of the gym where I was greeted with that worrying introduction that features the chilling words “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” What was quite remarkable about this, was that yes, this chap did know me from somewhere, but I did not have a clue who he was, not the foggiest idea. However, he identified me, quite correctly, as a former Sporting Baughurst FC footballing legend from the late eighties, which is really quite remarkable when you analyse any “then and now” pictures of me, the lack of hair being an obvious change to my sparkling film star looks which have for decades, had me beating women away with a shit tipped stick. I had to be on my guard here because the last time I was identified as a former Sporting Baughurst footballer, I was disturbingly close to receiving a fist down my throat in the Hopleaf pub in Basingstoke from a former Royal Mail Reserves centre back who I had apparently kicked up the arse ten years previously. The hatred between teams from Baughurst/Tadley and those in Basingstoke was comparable to that of Portsmouth and Southampton, we were carrot crunchers or inbreds, whilst they were Stokey’s or plastic cockneys, a term used for second generation Londoner’s with parents who had arrived in the 50’s as part of the London overspill project.

However, this guy, Andy, was not looking for old enemies, he was looking new friends at the gym after (now this is ironic Alanis, write it down love) his wife of fifteen years had cleared off with……you’ve guessed it, a bloke from her gym (Isn’t that what happenned to Alan Partridge?). The underlying issue with this is that it became apparent that the bitter tale of the demise of his relationship had also cost him friends as he took them to the edge of suicide with his constant belief that they were interested in joining him in his misery. People can only be subjected to so much before they start using embarrassing and desperate avoidance tactics and whilst his remorse towards the actions of his ex-wife are completely understandable, it really is not my business, and in any case, how can I judge a woman that I have never even met? I really didn’t need to be hearing all this, I have enough of my own problems at the moment, to be blunt, I wanted him to bugger off and leave me alone.

When he started talking about every song on the radio seeming to sum up his feelings, I decided enough was enough and did what all good tabloid reporters do, I made my excuses and left, leaving him to go out and buy Coldplay’s new album and a length of hosepipe. I then went to the bar to watch the Manchester derby, and this is where I met someone who this time I did recognise from years ago, school in fact. In this instance and for the sake of privacy, let’s call her Sarah (because that is what her name is). She gave me a little wave from where she was sitting, so I did the polite thing and went over for a nostalgic chat about who was up to what, but once again, I began to regret my open nature as it turns out Sarah had had an even worse year than Andy……for fucks sake, what has suddenly attracted me to people down on their luck?

Sarah has had a year that has seen the demise of her mother a month ago and a husband who left her on Christmas eve after just ten weeks of marriage………….FUCK ME!!……TEN WEEKS!!! Having lost my own mother many years ago, I knew how she was feeling, it is not a pleasant experience and I was genuinely sad for her, but the inquisitive side to my nature was more interested in what would make a bloke just simply disappear after ten weeks of marriage. I was missing Manchester City demolishing United for this, but it was intriguing all the same and whilst Andy was wallowing in self-pity and potential self-harm, Sarah was more upbeat, but still absolutely fizzing with unbridled anger, so I tried not encourage her further just in case she started smashing the bar up….. it was quite apparent she wanted this chap’s head on a silver plate. I figured that for a bloke to leave after ten weeks, the honeymoon period, there must have been some pretty nasty underlying problems, so without any justification or evidence, I came to my own conclusion that he was either in serious debt or he had become a rabidly promiscuous homosexual.

I settled for my own outrageous summary of the break up because in truth, I was too scared to dig to the very bottom of her problems as it could have got really ugly. What if it turned out it was because she wet the bed? How would I possibly control a serious bout of inappropriate giggling that always affects me at the worst possible moments? Some things, I thought, are best left alone and she seemed a really pleasant charater despite having a run of luck to test the most steely of characters, I certainly had more time for her than Andy.

The next time I see both Andy and Sarah I am going to introduce them to each other then run like fuck!

They will be good together, she might cheer the miserable bastard up and he might hang around for longer than ten weeks!

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