bulk :: 15st 13 (slowly but surely)
alcohol units imbibed :: 10ish (surprisingly few, considering)
cigarettes smoked :: 0
joints smoked :: a thousand
runs run :: 1
bets won :: 1
promises broken :: 1 (I’m very unhappy about it but I can’t start training for the marathon until a) the weather gets better, and b) my back gets better. I feel like bad about it, but there it is.)
Well, here I am in sunny Peckham where - thanks to Keith’s disturbed, effervescent rage and my own idiotic sense of pride – I have been disconnected from the internet for an entire week. In fact, today is my first day back online, and while it’s obviously a relief, I suddenly feel like I have a terrifying amount of work to do. It’s like I’ve been constipated for months and then all at once – with a slow creak and a hefty crack - I’m flowing like Enya’s Orinoco, close to drowning in my own backed-up effluent.
So, catch-up. On the whole – although not exactly what one might consider a move up in the world - the transition from Herne Hill to Peckham went fairly smoothly, albeit in some of the heaviest downpours this side of Noah’s Ark. I hired a van for the weekend so managed to get it done in four shifts. Or was it fifteen? I can’t remember, but it was all staggered over the bank holiday weekend and included a couple of trips to IKEA to stock up on still more beautifully designed but absolutely one hundred per cent completely unnecessary stuff.
One thing I realised when I was packing up to move was that I already have far too much stuff. I hoard. I can’t throw anything out, but both Keith and Sally did their best to make me feel bad about this, so I ended up acquiescing and chucking lots and lots and lots of stuff away. In the end, this actually felt rather good. It was like a spring clean. A spring clean of the soul. But then I went and spoilt it all by buying lots of rubbish from IKEA. I couldn’t help myself.
The most exhilarating part of the spring clean incidentally, was giving away lots of clothes that don’t really fit me any more. As I dumped them in a supermarket recycling bin, I felt ever so slightly like a snake must feel after shedding its own skin, except of course that when a snake sheds its skin, it grows larger. I felt like a snake in reverse. Like the Incredible Shrinking Man in fact. And not like a snake at all.
So anyway, by Monday evening, it was all done. I closed the front door, opened my extremely cramped bombsite bedroom window for Pablo to slink onto the stairwell and start exploring the back garden, and I slumped down in the living room, like a great big lump of sweaty lard. At which point Keith revealed that he had three surprises for me.
He said, ‘While you’re here, staying in my humble home, we are going to have fun. I’m going to make sure of that’, and then he produced the first surprise, which actually wasn’t so much of a surprise as he’d already warned me it was coming. It was a large bag of grass. I pulled a face. I was trying to convince myself that I didn’t want any more of that. But in truth I did want it. And I was grateful. Sorry, Sally. Sorry, Curly.
The second surprise was a brand new box of Wii, which I have to say, was a wonderful and glorious surprise. I’d only ever played once before and I loved it. I was very excited. In fact, surprises one and two very nearly made up for surprise number three.
‘I’ve killed the internet,’ said Keith.
‘Excuse me?’ I said.
‘It’s gone,’ he said, shaking his head. ‘It’s gone.’
Keith had an account with Virgin Media, but apparently: ‘…they were really, really shit. The TV was always going down and I seemed to be paying loads and loads more than I originally signed up for. Then every time I phoned them up, they annoyed the shit out of me, keeping me on hold for hours, making me pay for calls when it wasn’t my fault, refusing to phone me back and refusing to let me speak to anyone who was in any position of authority or even in the same continent, so in the end I just told them to fuck off.’
‘I don’t know. Last week sometime. I know that the person I told to fuck off was just some poor call centre bogey and it wasn’t their fault at all so I explained that hopefully this would be one of the calls that they were recording for training purposes and somebody else, somewhere down the line, could take the brunt of my ire.’
‘Did you actually use those words?’ I asked. ‘The brunt of my ire?’
‘I dunno,’ said Keith. ‘Might have. Anyway, I tried to go online a couple of hours ago and it was down. So I think that’s probably it. No more internet.’ He nodded sagely, as if it were a good thing. ‘So,’ he added. ‘Let’s bowl!’
I pointed out that I had very important proofreading work I had to get on with all week, work that would eventually enable me to pay Keith rent money.
Keith pointed out that I didn’t really need the internet for that. Surely all I needed was my laptop and my brain? I scowled.
I then pointed out that I needed to blog urgently, that I hadn’t even managed a Feedback Friday post this week, which was basically the only thing that ensured that I blogged at least once a week.
Keith pointed out that I had become addicted to the internet and that I should make an effort to participate more fully in the real world.
I pointed out that smoking grass and playing video games was not necessarily what a lot of people might consider ‘participating more fully in the real world’.
Keith pointed out that a lot of people needed to get with the programme.
I pointed out that using terms like ‘get with the programme’ was probably going to cause the two of us to fall out.
Keith pointed out that I should probably wake up and smell the coffee.
At which point we fell out.
Then Keith suggested that while we waited for a new ISP, this would be a good opportunity for me to test his theory that I am now officially addicted to the internet. As an added incentive, he then bet me £50 that I couldn’t stay off the internet for an entire week. Rashly, I shook his hand.
This morning there was £50 waiting for me on the kitchen table.
I have to say, it really amuses me that Keith genuinely seems to believe me when I say, ‘Honestly, Keith. Cross my heart and hope to die, ram a chisel in my thigh, I have not been checking emails on my phone.’ Which is not to say that I lied, for I did not. Or did I? No, of course I didn't. Or did I? No, no, no. But if I had of course, he would never know. He can be so childlike sometimes. And he still leaves his oven chips just lying there in the freezer.
Anyhow, I’m going to put my winnings toward buying a Wii Fit just as soon as they become available again. I really want to be told I’m fat by a machine. I’m sure it will inspire me. Like it did this guy. (I’ve just got off the phone to a man in HMV who explained to me that there is ‘a national shortage’ and they have no idea when they’ll be back in stock. And meanwhile the rain continues to fall and us chubbies are just getting fatter and fatter and fatter.)
Anyhow, today we have a new internet service provider and I am prepared to bet Keith £50 that they will be every bit as shit as Virgin were. If not shitter.
In other news, Pablo didn’t come home this morning. And Pablo hates the rain. I can’t help feeling something is horribly wrong. Usually he comes home in the middle of the night, bringing me the intestines of some rodent as a gift. Always he wakes me up some time around dawn seeking food. But not this morning. I am worried. If he’s not back in a couple of hours, I may have to attach signs to local lampposts.