Sunday, 16 December 2007

‘I Am At Home With the Me. I Am Rooted in the Me Who Is on This Adventure...’

I’m a film buff. Films have served me well since I discovered the Marx Brothers as a miserable nine-year-old and Halliwell’s Film Guide when I was 12. I currently have a library of over 600 DVDs, which I dip into when I need to be reminded of something or inspired in some way. So, for instance, earlier this week, the night before my first ever school reunion, I rewatched Grosse Point Blank.

Jesus, what I wouldn’t give to be Martin Blank. I already have the flexible morality, the sharp suits and the occasional smart-mouthed remark, but just imagine having John Cusack’s face and Martin Blank’s skills as a professional killer. What a repertoire.

Anyhow, the night before my first ever school reunion also happened to be the night before my 30th birthday, the day that I had long vowed – like so many before me – would be the day I’d finally stop disappointing myself and would turn my life around once and for all.

This was two days ago. Happy birthday to me.

I’d been invited to the reunion by someone who’d tracked me down, appropriately enough, on Friends Reunited. I’d finally got round to joining Friends Reunited because I was nearly 30 years old, and I was sick of hiding away. When I saw that the reunion coincided with my 30th birthday, I accepted the invitation immediately, before I could talk myself out of it. Then I attempted to talk myself out of it. But I resisted. I would go. If only to show the world that I didn’t care what it thought anymore, and that its verbal slings and arrows bounced off my broad back like ducks off a diving board.

So, the night before my first ever school reunion and my 30th birthday, I stood naked in front of my flatmate’s full-length mirror and I said, a la Martin Blank, ‘I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure.’ And then I laughed. God, I’m ugly. I’ve always known that but it took till very recently to be able to laugh at the fact. And with that newfound ability came the desire to show the rest of the world that their jibes didn’t crush me anymore. Much.

And so to the reunion.

The reunion was held in a pub in Dartford, where I lived as a child. Now – the last thing I want to do is come across as in any way bigoted or discriminatory or supercilious – but it’s important that I’m honest about this one, perhaps slightly controversial fact: people from Dartford are subnormal. Now I’m sure there are a small few rule-proving exceptions – none of whom are Mick Jagger – but on the whole… massively subnormal. I don’t know what went wrong in the gene pool, but at some stage in Dartford’s history, I suspect some malevolent swine urinated in it. The people of Dartford possess less human kindness, less discernment, less decency and fewer IQ points than the inhabitants of any other inner-city conurbation anywhere else on planet Earth. A lot of this is conjecture of course. But it’s based on fact.

I hadn’t been back to Dartford in ten years. Not since my mother’s funeral. And the celebration that followed. I was horribly nervous. I would have given anything to have been accompanied by a friend. But I had no friends from school. Which made me wonder why the hell I was going to a reunion. I was essentially voluntarily walking into a room full of people who, 15 years previously, used to amuse one another by seeing who could be the most cruel to me. I was deliberately, and with self-harm aforethought, putting my head back into the lion’s mouth. And why?

Just to show ‘em, that’s why.

It felt similar to the reasons people give for doing extreme sports. They climb stupidly dangerous mountains and whatnot because if they don’t, then the mountains have won. I was fed up with letting the mountains win.

And breathe…

Must eat.

Back soon.

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