Sunday 25 May 2014

#71 Sit back and turn up the volume

It was the second bank holiday weekend in May. I lay on a futon, that I had dragged out into the garden, to soak up some of the sun that had appeared, boldly, for that one day in the week and as I lay there, I reflected on the variance in my moods of late and the sense of wellbeing that I had come across at times. I could remember very little about the first few days of the week, except that I was profoundly happy. So unusual was it to find this level of happiness, let alone an unbroken three day run of it that I sought to question it.

My understanding of sources of happiness was limited. My parents, by nature it seemed were both happy people and I knew that a certain amount of a person's emotional palette was genetically determined. Tony Robbins, the American self-help guru would explain that happiness could be achieved through progress towards ones goals and contribution by helping others. The likes of OSHO, an Indian mystic, would argue that happiness didn't need to come from anything and that it was in our nature to be happy. In fact, he would say, if a person tries to achieve happiness, they will usually miss out on it, unless they find it in the pursuit of that achievement but even then it will evaporate when the goal is reached. Happiness is not an achievement, it's about realising that things are fine as they are.

My own experience of happiness was that it had come simply from an absence of problems. Work was going ok, health was ok, parents and sister were ok. In truth I had never really had any problems in my easy life but I tended to commit the sin of creating plenty in my own mind, even when they didn't really exist. Perhaps my brain felt like having a break for once and just letting itself be happy. The sunshine was certainly helping. 

Sunday 18 May 2014

#70 Party party

"Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people. Unlike most of the party games you've played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends". It was about eight o'clock and to get the guests chuckling with a mix of suppressed glee and guilt, Naino had launched us into the most politically incorrect form of entertainment since Trey Parker and Matt Stone started playing with little 2D eight year olds and filming it. Fortunately, the young, white, heterosexual and able-bodied group of friends around the table were inherently unlikely to be offended by any of the inappropriate sentences encountered. They were the exact target audience at which the game was aimed, which is of course, why they found themselves playing it. It helped that Naino had spent four hours that week diligently cutting up the little cards, which you can find myah.

In one particular episode of House, the maverick doctor diagnoses what he refers to as the world's first case of human parthenogenesis, a virgin birth, to a woman who I think didn't want her husband to find out that she'd been cheating on him. Hugh Laurie's character explains how one other case was theorised, referring of course to Jesus. A friend informed me this weekend that there are in fact many reported cases of virgin births worldwide and most interestingly, many more than can generally be explained by the human propensity to lie, a factor to which House usually gave a great deal of respect.

Friday 9 May 2014

#69 Pomp it up

"We're across the road in Wetherspoons" texted Rich. "Cripes, you're starting early" I replied. When I got there, he was sipping a coffee. The minibus turned up and took us to Go Ape, that thing where you climb up trees and then walk across rope bridges on a safety line. Activities that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults are generally not appropriate for stag weekends, with the possible exceptions of karting and paintballing. Still, we tried to be creative by bailing up hay and holly at the bottom of the zip lines so that the next person smashed into it at the bottom. Don't do this yourself.

By 2pm, we were done pretending to live dangerously. The minibus weaved through the country roads of Kent and we started boozing. Rob stood above Rich with a look of complete concentration as he tightened the gimp mask around the stag's head from whence hung the One Direction dog tag that I'd picked up in Tesco moments earlier. We sank a few cans and eventually checked into Portsmouth's Ibis Budget for more pres. Rich was langered at this point. The ship came into the harbour and brought with it all kinds of shite, including shots of some really bleurghy rum but it was ok my brothers cause we were about to head to the Chinese buffet.

Kind of knowing where the three cabs we'd ordered were but also kind of not, we hobbled across the city and gave them a ring to give our locations. The drivers turned up about five minutes apart from each other as we strolled but they found us. Rich's phone had been confiscated by one of the lads, who posted an ultrasound foetus pic on his Facebook wall, which the others then started to congratulate. Rich drunkenly led me towards the buffet and then hurried to the John to chuck for the next hour and a half before a couple of boys took him back to the hotel. We hit the pub and then the club.

I found Brightwell and Stu in the corner next to the treasure chest of cocktails Yates had layed on, got rid of a couple of them and helped out with the fishbowl before staggering off to do some dancing on my own somewhere. The bass line thudded from the floor below but it hadn't started to fill up yet, so I wandered around and around, occasionally rendezvousing with Rob, who also likes to wander around clubs on his own. There can be only one but I don't really mind if the other one's Rob. So. We danced. The awesome thing about this place, if you don't know it that well, is that there's another massive club through the door on the other side of one of the blokes' toilets. You could probably spend a night there and not notice it. There is another entrance somewhere but it's a big place. Anyway, we found it and went in there and bounced around for a while.

At about 1:30, we were back outside. The night was still young but we wanted chips. Leaping up onto the plastic garbage bins without falling through them, I made my way around the back of the carpark and met up with two of the guys. The McDonald's drive-thru wasn't buying our impression of a car and told us we had to be in one, so we called a taxi, took it through and then parked up. Sitting in the foyer of the Ibis Budget eating chips, we started to weigh up whether to head out again and decided to. Different sort of club. By 4am, I'd handed over the last of the cash and stuck some stuff on card. We grabbed a cab back to the hotel, set an alarm for a few hours later and collapsed into bed.