Tag Archives: Friends

Sex, drugs and frock ‘n’ roll with Slish (Part one)

It started with a private Facebook message sent at 20:09 on March 22. Although we’ve regularly messaged since we stopped living together, this particular message from Slish included the following lines:

‘i would like to see you soon my dear, are you free ths Sunday perhaps? i have some boy trouble thats troubling me.
xxxxxxx’

So today,  we went to Frock Me! at Chelsea Old Town Hall. On the bus there, I get a text. Turns out I have a new answerphone message and a missed call from Slish. I ring her and she says where she is waiting and that her dad is also there, which I was not expecting. Arriving at the coffee shop, I feel like Michael Aspel considering the surprise on Crazy Yank’s face (he was expecting Slish’s other friend with the same name.) He gets up, gives me a kiss on the cheek and a hug and tells me I look thin.* Slish gets up and gives me a hug. I sit down. We chat, catching up on each other’s lives for the next 10 minutes or so although we know most of each other’s news as Crazy Yank had also recently e-mailed me and I’d of course replied.

Afterwards, we walk a little down the King’s Road, another kiss on the cheek and hug goodbye and a (slightly) bemused Crazy Yank departs. Soon after, as we walk to a nearby cash point, I ask Slish if she wants to spill her guts to me then, during the vintage clothes fair or afterwards. She starts to offload and thankfully, it’s the usual early teen awkward-boy-situation-where-friends-get-too-involved-scenario. I advise as much as I can not once but several times during the afternoon.

Once inside Chelsea Old Town Hall, we walk from stall to stall, mesmerised by the seemingly endless trinkets, array of patterned clothes and striking characters with every step. She buys two necklaces and I grow balls the size of raisins to “haggle” by asking: ‘Would you consider taking anything less than £18?’ for an oversized sky blue Burberry tartan shirt. (I pay £15).

We creep up the King’s Road, buying semi-identical lunches at Marks and Spencer before sitting among the stub-legged pigeons opposite the Saatchi Gallery.  She fills me in on further teen angst although thankfully it is that of her friends. A lot of it is shocking although sadly not unexpected for a group of well-educated girls and boys growing up in London. She then asks me if I still eat toast out of a bowl. ‘Why didn’t you just use a plate?’ she asks. ‘ ‘Because I liked the bowls,’ I reply. It seems the memory still annoys her as much as the action did itself.

*I’ve always been lean but turns out I’m a little underweight. I also recently learnt at the doctors after having blood tests that I am low on Vitamin D. The doctor advised I take supplements and said how it’s not uncommon considering the long winter we’ve just had. Although, of course, it could be a delayed reaction to having inhabited a bedroom with no windows for such a long time. I did not mention this to the doctor or to Crazy Yank and Slish today. I just hope it doesn’t turn into full-blown Rickets.

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A-Z lodger survival guide: C is for Confidence

I (think I) know what you’re all thinking. You can’t have C without Crazy Yank. Right? Wrong. Such is Crazy Yank’s all encompassing character that he can’t be restrained to a single alphabetical entry. His omnipotence and omniscience means that he’s always here. On this blog. Not that he’s God or a ghost that’s haunting me (I hope not, anyway.) But he could be Big Brother. (I jest or once again, I hope I’m joking.)

No, instead, I’m going to talk about confidence. In terms of having confidence and being told things in confidence. To be honest, it’s more about the latter. And because of that, I could simply say no more because that would prove my lesson here that what a lodger is told must be always kept in confidence as, and when, it requires such discretion. As much as I found myself being consulted as rarely, or in fact as equally, as Demon Cat (sorry, Demon Cat but it’s true) about a lot of household choices, something I still feel most honoured, and also a little amused, about is that on more than one occasion, I was in the fortunate position of being a confidant for Crazy Yank, Wonder Boy and Slish. Sometimes this would happen simultaneously either about the same subject or something completely unrelated. What I found truly fascinating about this is that this often meant that, in terms of knowledge and what makes each individual tick, I was able to understand each person and the particular situations from a number of different angles and with a far greater understanding than any of the others did. I felt lucky being in such a position if not a little overloaded from time to time.

And having confidence? Well, when you’re lodging, confidence is of course important for integrating and building a rapport with the rest of the family to the best of your ability. It’s having the confidence to realise that you still have a life and that you’re not living with your friends because of bad timing, different budgets and contrasting preferences in terms of location. And finally, it’s quite frankly having the confidence to resist rising to the tiresome bait and/or forcing out a laugh when your twenty-something friends insinuate that you have a boyfriend nearly the same age as your father and have adopted two children (and not forgetting a demonic cat) for the umpteenth time.

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A-Z lodger survival guide: A is for Acceptance

Listen closely lodgers and non-lodgers alike. It may sound melodramatic but acceptance – your first lesson in lodging – is fittingly one of the most important in terms of staying sane and, ultimately, surviving.

For a long time, I didn’t accept my situation as a lodger. I would let being at the bottom of the ‘caste system’ within the house get to me. For example, trying to negotiate with a then 15-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl to watch something we all like on the television would, for a long time, frustrate me enormously. My requests to be fair would usually be ignored or refused. And when we rarely negotiated away from MTV Dance or the Disney Channel, it would inevitably be E4 and Friends or Comedy Central and Scrubs. Often episodes that I’d already seen and quite often they’d already seen. But at least it was a compromise. And that soothed me. Although any equality I had was non-existent when South Park was on.

And when Crazy Yank was in control of the remote, I initially expected negotiation to be greeted with the maturity of another adult. Instead, my meek ‘Why don’t we put on something we all want to watch?’ would inevitably translate into Extreme Sports, some obscure documentary about a molecule that nobody wanted to watch and him commenting ‘How fascinating’ and ‘Wow, get a load of this’ before telling us facts and figures about something completely unrelated… or Nigerian Movies. Whatever his choice, we would watch the television at an average 50 volume (10 was loud enough for the average person). Once I watched, as I sat two metres away from the dolby surround system, as the volume crept to 72. I was screaming inside.

But it is that these sorts of times that I learnt to walk away, down the stairs, close the door and regain some control. Yes, I could still hear the television in my bedroom. I’m sure the neighbours could hear it. I’m sure that’s what made the cat transform into Demon Cat because he apparently never suffered from severe mood swings or a stare that said: ‘Just as you’re dropping off, I’m going to jump up on to your pillow, sit on your face until my furry backside suffocates you and you die’ as a kitten. And no, I couldn’t change the TV channel in my room because all the television channels linked up to whatever was being watched in the lounge. But I could put on a DVD. Read a book or a magazine. And stop myself from screaming inside my head. For a while at least.

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