Looking back on my life, where I was two years ago to where I am now, I’d say a great deal has changed. I moved out of my home, attending two different further education colleges, worked two different jobs and I started this blog; the Green Rover.
Latter of which I have been kind of neglecting recently. Used to be I’d churn out four or five articles a month, now you’d be lucky if I wrote one in two months. On the back burner I have a “Let’s talk About” article on Sherlock, a show that kinda/sorta ended over two years ago and I’m giving my belated hot takes on that. Then we have some weird, psychological, socio-political commentary on the value of money as a social construct and where it’s authority in society ends- which even just describing it sounds confusing as hell so how am I meant to write a 950 word essay on that? Then of course I have this boat allegory, which effectively describes my view of the limitations of benevolence, how much a person or an entity is able to help before it gets overwhelmed, but also I stress the importance to help anyway.
That latter one was just the remnants of a train of thought I had one time on my walk to work. I got while sad and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people drowning in the Mediterranean fleeing persecution and war and economic strife. Whole families torn apart by tides. There’s a boat overflowing with people and they hope to be safe, but there are even more in the water. But while the people in the boat watch these people struggle to stay afloat, they know there’s only so much this boat can handle till it capsizes; there’s only so much good you can do before you actively hurt yourself. That’s what the boat was supposed to mean.
That’s the fucked up shit that pops up in my head some days. I have the tremendous ability to break my own heart every goddamn day without even lifting a finger.
Like this one time I thought about what it’d be like if I met a girl and fell in love and we had a relationship. Whole relationship spanned like three or four years, pretty steady. Not perfect, because no relationship is, but still pretty rewarding. Then I imagined what’d be like if one day this girl I loved got cancer. How it’d feel to watch the life drain out of the person you love every goddamn day for years on end. How in public we’d put on a brave face but behind closed doors we’d have this deathly silence, the kind where the invisible guillotine hangs over your head and you don’t know how close its getting. Late at night she’d break down in tears as we sat by the kitchen table. Fear of her own mortality would shake us both to the core. As she’d grow weaker I’d have to carry her to bed. The brave face turns to a deep sadness you can’t hide. The time comes, you can smell it on the wind. We’re young, in love, this shouldn’t happen to us. Not now. Not ever. So I do what I gotta do; I marry her. Even though I know it won’t last long, even though all the money and all the paperwork seem futile, I marry her anyway because I’m young and full of heart and I want to look back and think of my wife. We don’t have long after this. The woman I’d known, so full of vibrant life is now skin and bones. In the hospital I hold her hand as her pulse fades away and her soul returns to its distributor. The girl I’d loved so much for so little time is gone, the loss builds up like a tidal wave and in my final thoughts I wonder what this would do to me. What kind of man I’d become, or whether there’d be a man left at all.
…Are you crying? It’s ok if you’re crying, I cried. Well, nearly cried. I was heading into work, I can’t have the boys see me cry. It’d be unprofessional.
But if we were to answer the question as to why the Green Rover isn’t producing as much content as it once was, the answer is simple; when I picked up this wretched old car, I hoped it’d reinstate some semblance of mental health. But as I drove along my life got so goddamn weird. Really weird, inexplicably weird. I park the car in this mad city and when I got out I saw that everybody around me was crazy. I’d often felt I was shouting into the abyss but now the abyss was too goddamn loud.
I found myself thinking less about books and tv shows, ethics and daydreams. My thoughts were consumed on the immediately material. I thought about rent. Food, job security, where was I going to live, the employment options I should try and secure within five years- all this monotonous bullshit took up my rampant mind. There simply was no time, nor interest, in the Green Rover. It was a vehicle bought by a man who didn’t have these problems at hand.
But that being said, the blog is coming up more now than ever before. I’d bump into friends and have coffee. As we talk about how we could build a nuclear reactor with a few hundred smoke detectors and the intricacies of selling LSD, a friend of theirs, some randomer I’ve never met, would tell me that they’re familiar with my blog. That they’d read an article or two. I’d bump into people on a night out and they’d bring it up, usually followed by “I can’t mind much, I was drunk/high but…dude. You like…know so many big words.”
One time my boss even made a reference to the Drunk Des Diaries, the most popular series on this blog. I’ve had people I’ve met now and again out drinking come up to me. Sometimes they’d express their flattery in their representation, other times they’d be insulted in how I depicted them. Especially if I gave them a shitty nickname. One boy suggested I buy him a pint to make it up to him, letting on that any of this actually matters.
We’re here now though, and I know what you’re thinking; Des, where’s the blood coming from?
A few weeks back I was in a pit of constant stress. Work, Uni and on top of that I had to find a new place to live. My living situation at the time was…complicated, to say the least, so I’ll say nothing about it. Every moment I was constantly moving about, constantly worrying about finding a new place to sleep. My moments of leisure and rest were polluted by worries of money.
I needed to get this weight off my chest, so I had to get absolutely shit faced. I’d organised a night out with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. Booked a night off of work, bought some pre-drinks and got ready to head out. My friend arrived at my place around five o’clock in the afternoon. Had a few cans and kind of just…waited for the conversation to unravel.
I’m not much of a talker. Takes me a while to pull the string along before I actually have anything good to say. I talk about work stories, one in particular that I still find hilarious. One night at the bar a boy took a shit in a urinal. The logistics of it boggles the mind and every time I think about it I can’t help but laugh.
Think about it; the gents has one toilet, five urinals. Toilet was probably in use, so the boy either didn’t know there was a disabled one available or he simply didn’t have the time. The guy has a two minute window to take this shit- because there’s always at least one guy coming in to take a piss. Did he wait for people to leave? Did he hope that no one would come through the door? Or did he full on shit in the urinal while there were boys standing right beside him taking a piss?
I don’t know! Nobody knows! Who would do this? Was it a really tall guy who was able to take a shit at a normal angle? Was it a medium guy who had to shit in this really stiff, painful angle? Was it a small guy who literally had to sit in the urinal and take the shit? I don’t know! But it’s absolutely fucking hilarious.
We had a few more cans as we talked and ate some pizza. As we finish up I notice the faint trace of blood on my left hand. I find that I accidentally cut my thumb opening a beer can. My hands are burnt from the nature of my work, they never have the time to heal properly so it’s very easy for cuts to occur. I’m bleeding like crazy, plots all over my dinner table as I’m mowing down some pizza. Friend gets on me about not taking care of myself and to shut him up I put a plaster over it. Hoping it’ll hold.
Eight o’clock rolled about and on a Saturday night in Belfast, you’re guaranteed no taxis. So we had to walk to Limelight. Along the walk we drank and talked about my friend’s new job in a window factory.
The conversation quickly shifted from our working lives to; “Hey Des, do you know what meth smells like?” and then he told me about all the times he’s ran into junkies smoking meth in beer gardens in his home town. Bumping into dealers in the pub and one boy in particular who he works with. Boy in question smokes meth only on the weekends, goes to work all the rest of the week and sweats it out. By Friday he’s cold turkey and he goes back on it. The sheer amount of willpower it takes to live like that is impressive, but you could smell the meth on him even on Wednesday as it was sweating out of him.
Don’t do meth, kids. It’s fucked up.
As we get to Limelight, it was a heavy metal gig we were attending. Not really my kind of scene but then again I was just there to get drunk. When you’re drunk, every scene is your scene. We make it in and the final two bands are playing. Your shoes stick to the floor if you stand there too long. Gallons of Sambuca and various other substances gave it an almost glue like substance.
We drink and head up to the front, getting as close as possible to a man screaming his lungs off. As the last band gets on, they perform this hilarious mic test; “Testing, testing- 1,2,3- AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH- how was that, Jerry? Try the second one? Alright, cool- AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” truly was the best part of the show.
The band plays for thirty minutes, in the end the main singer thanks everyone for attending. He thanks all the bands for playing, especially for the band on before who lent them their equipment. That was what metal was about, he said. Everybody helps everybody get ahead.
I liked that sentiment. Always nice to explore a world you’ll never be a part of.
We head out at about half nine or ten. Certain bars up here are expensive as hell. I once spent a fiver on a pint of Guinness so I’m adamant about staying up in the student areas so we don’t get fucked over. We head over to the Speakeasy to play a few rounds of snooker and it quickly becomes apparent to me that I have no idea how to play this stupid game. Hell, I was in such a state that I thought my friend was making up the rules. Probably was, too. He won all the games.
At this point the plaster had fallen off. As I handed over my money the barman looked at me while concerned, seeing as there was blood all over it. He took it, the boy standing next to me made some joke about how he “didn’t want my AIDES” I was liable to kick his teeth in there and then. That was the type of mood I was in. It was a tense time.
My friend kept on giving me shit about how I don’t take care of myself. I say that I’m used to the cuts and unless its bleeding I wouldn’t cover it up. Saying it out loud, kinda made me realise how weird I’ve been acting. The nature of my work means that I’ll often get some cuts, so if I’m bleeding obviously I’ll plaster up. But my hands are always getting soaked so the plasters will fall off. Which wouldn’t be a problem but there’s only so many plasters so you gotta be careful on how much you use. So unless I’m bleeding, I’ll leave it be.
I let on that I can’t be fucked buying more plasters. At this point the cunt looks me dead in the eye and says “Jesus Christ Des, you’re a slum dog” coming from him, that cut deep. But he’s not wrong. I’m cheap as sin. I once spent around £275 over the course of two months. That being said, I’m not a slum dog.
I cover up the bleeding with some toilet paper and head on to the next bar. At this point I’m dying for a piss, so I make a stop at the Parlour. Which was my first big mistake of the night. The toilets were stocked to the brim with posh cunts. Wearing polo shirts, cardigans wrapped around their shoulders- the whole uniform.
One of the boys kept trying to talk to me as he was pissing beside me. Giving me unsolicited advice on the pubs we should venture as he stuffed his tiny dick back into his £500 white shorts. All the while, I’m letting on that I can’t hear them properly, getting them all irked as they had to repeat the thing they said. I get out of there fast. Can’t stand being surrounded by posh cunts.
I get outside and my friend did the smart thing, found a nice wee alley way to piss in. There’s some unspoken rules with piss etiquette. The first, you do not talk to the man pissing beside you, regardless of circumstance. Secondly, if it’s late at night it’s socially acceptable to take a piss in the street. Ideally nobody would see you, but even then the only people that would care are the police.
We head on to Cuckoo. I have a minor issue getting in, as my ID is stained with blood. Bouncer holds it in his hand and says “What’s this? Cocaine?” God I love bouncers. They’re all psychopaths and their worldview is so warped that instead of thinking of a paper cut they imagine a boy doing a comical amount of cocaine, whose blood dribbled down almost exclusively onto his ID.
I show him the cut on my thumb and we head in. Friend gives me a concerned, disappointed look but I ignore it. We grab a few more drinks and head to the club area. We dance around a little and then things get sad. Like all the serotonin was sucked out of your body. We find ourselves adrift in this crowd of drunkards, stumbling aimlessly to this forgettable beat.
There comes a moment at every night out where the life gets knocked out of you. The foundation of drinking culture was to engage in good times and celebrations. To laugh so hard you cry and to forget about your problems. But there comes a point in the night where you can’t forget your problems. You’re left alone too long and you whip out the phone to let on you’re doing something, but you’re not. You’re sitting among friends and the conversation begins to bore you and you find yourself disconnected, alone. Everybody looks sad when they’re alone, that’s why you have to drink together. I see it all the time, how these jovial people who let on that they haven’t a care in the world. But when all eyes are off them you see them how they are. Filled with worry about money, health, their kids- something. They never see me so they never even think that I’m watching them. Sometimes that’s all I think I’m here for, to be an observer. To see what nobody else pays attention to.
The craic dies down, me and my friend get some silly ideas in our heads so we head on back to mine. We make a quick stop at this shitty little takeaway. It’s cold and near empty. Those that are there are drunk, high or worse. He gets his curry and we head on back to mine.
We do an inordinate amount of running for some reason and we get back to mine at around two o’clock in the morning. I drink as I watch my friend eat his curry. We talk a little, the silly little ideas we had died away when we bought the food. We were pretty tired then so we said goodnight. He collapsed onto the sofa as I climbed up the stairs.
When I awoke the next day my head felt it had been split open. There was a bucket next to me full of vomit. I stumble downstairs to get something to eat, knowing if I miss a meal I will surely vomit again. I had to head out to the shop to get some milk. The wind felt indifferent to my decaying flesh. The shop was way too goddamn hot, it took every fiber of my being not to boke as I waited in line.
I got back half an hour later and the cunt was still asleep. I sat down and just…suffered, I guess. He awoke eventually and we once again began pulling the yarn of conversation. We had more difficulty now in our hungover state. We could only really talk about what we did last night and at the time we remembered very little.
He left half an hour later, electing to walk to save on the taxi fee. My thumb had healed up a little and I took better care of my hands over the next week. Used to be some days my hand would be so burnt I couldn’t form a fist without feeling this sharp pain. Most times I couldn’t even straighten my index finger. But the hands got better, they were in better condition than they ever were. But as I took the bins out one Saturday night as we were closing, I looked down at my hands and I saw blood.
The lessons we learn in life are not the difficult part in change. It is ensuring that we follow those lessons so that we do not repeat the mistakes again that is key. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. Change is inevitable, often times it’s subtle. So incremental that you barely notice it until one day you find your hands feel like leather and you no longer write about books. Your mind rambles on about money and other boring shit. Like an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time, you have lost touch with your former self.