The Chinese New Year is a very confusing thing for Westerners like me. Its Zodiac classification system follows this twelve year orbital cycle of Jupiter. With each year being marked by an animal such as a Rat or a Dragon. In my case, I was born on the latter end of the year of the Tiger. But even that doesn’t present an accurate horoscope.
No, it’s very complicated. The Zodiac requires both the month, exact date and even the day you were born. The animal assigned by year is a fake animal; how people see you and how you present yourself. The real one can only be determined by date and what day of the week you were born. So by date I’d be considered an Ox, but by day I’d be a Rat.
This is so needlessly convoluted. Like, I know most of this stuff is flying over my head and a bunch of Chinese readers are cringing at my sheer ignorance but like…what the hell is going on? All this astrology bullshit is just so goddamn confusing. Who ever looked up in the sky and thought “Oh, you can dictate your personality and life by the stars!” should be shot in the dick.
My life is pretty weird, not gonna lie. Spent the entirety of Christmas coughing up blood as I suffered from a minor case of Pneumonia. Ended both the year and the decade working. Going out not with a bang, but with a whimper. And what a whimper it was.
I’m just so goddamn tired. Can’t tell if it’s the seasonal depression, the lack of sunlight or the fact that I’m just so goddamn sick. Honest to fuck I had to stay home alone on Christmas day as my family visited my Granny cause I was too feared I’d get her sick as well, which is very dangerous if you’re that old.
When you’re young you don’t get that. I don’t know if it’s the delusion of youth or if it’s just a me thing, but sometimes I feel like I could get shot in the face and just walk it off.
I had to come up from home because I was working. The bus was miserable and over crowded. It being boxing day, the 212’s timetable was cut back and a lot of people didn’t know. People were left stranded, lives in the big city out of reach. I get to the bus station in Belfast and it quickly becomes apparent that I can’t just carry all my shit a mile back to the flat, so I’m forced to get a taxi.
Mother fucker double charged me cause it was a holiday. I get to Elms and carry all my shit back to the flat, coughing sporadically as I pass the few souls that dwell in the village this time of year. The city is dead, the low yet intense “don’t fuck with me” vibe the city emits-that I personally resonate with- dwindles as the cold drives the freaks in doors.
So I get home from work after working New Year’s Eve, feeling like shit and…I can’t get to sleep. Clock clicks down from three to five and I’m lying awake. I got work in like eight hours, I smell like God spat on me and I can’t fucking sleep. So I take the phone out and I start looking up this Chinese Calendar horse shit and boom, I got my horoscope for the year.
The horoscope was the most vague crock of shit I’ve ever had in my life. It’s preictions and advice were either nonsensical or blatingly obvious. Stuff like “hmmm, 2020 seems ok for your health- don’t run in traffic” or “huh, love life for men might be difficult- go outside” that kinda shite.
All of it, of course, can be summarised from the lovely graph above. This is how my life will pan out from January 25th onward. Career is a bit jiggidy, meaning at times I excel or fuck up- sounds like a lot of drama that- like most of the things in my life- I have too much sense to write about.
Health is going down hill at the start, which makes sense because- y’know, Pneumonia. Most likely a few bad colds, maybe some acute bronchitis- hey, maybe if I’m lucky I get full blown bronchitis. You never know.
Love life looks like it’s going down hill for a while, which- if you’ve met me– tracks. However it does look like meet someone in April. God, that poor girl. Cna just imagine her at a bar with her friends, looking over and thinking “hey that scary looking ginger guy is pretty jacked” and she’ll blatantly ignore the intense serial killer vibes that I inadvertently emit.
Just for the record, that’s not me being funny- people have legit told me I give off axe murderer vibes. A woman once referred to me as her “little serial killer” and jokingly ask that when I go on a killing spree that I not kill her. Like..do you…do people not understand how goddamn offensive that is? Like just cause I have a monotone voice and a manic hairstyle and a stern looking face doesn’t mean I actively resist the urge to murder.
Romance will kick off and die down. What could possibly happen? You’ve read the blog, I’m a catch. What woman wouldn’t want to date a man that spends thirty pound a week and eats kale every goddamn day?
But, I bounce back. Woo her by taking a trip down to Nandos. Going all out and spending £40 a week and switching the kale with broccoli. They say you can’t have true love and a balanced diet but I beg to differ.
Wealth is the most surprising for me. Apparently I’m gonna end the year with more money than I started. Which, as a student, seems laughable. But I have recently made some money decisions, specifically purchasing a thousand pounds worth of lighting and audio equipment, which will either turn out to be the best or worst financial decision of my young adult life.
Started the month of December hyped. Got all my assignments for Uni finished, had a clear vision of what I wanted to do with the next year and so I went on Amazon, where that rat bastard Jeff Bezos swindled me. What started out as a £700 investment quickly spiralled out of control as I went mad with consumerism.
The plan being that in the year to come I would use this equipment and offer my services to people who would need them, like a student film that needs sound or a photo shoot that needs lights. I didn’t think I’d make much money at first, considering the clientele, but I was hoping when the year was out I’d have made in total double what I had spent on the equipment.
The equipment of which can help make photos like this;
I was energised, I was hopeful. I could make a place for myself in this world. But then you get to work and find someone has taken a shit on the floor and the life just drains out of you. All hopes and dreams are grounded as reality seeps it’s claws in. Because there’s a man out there, in 2019, who went out for dinner and and shat all over the goddamn floor.
I’m actually quick detour from the main article just to tell you about this traumatic event. So I’m working at the bar about a few months back. It’s a Saturday- fairly busy. I’m walking around picking up glasses when some man comes up, grabs me by the arm and says “Here, I think someone had an accident- there’s shit all over the floor in the gents.”
Man walks on to get a drink and I stand there for a split second, just to process- for a lack of a better word- shit.
I felt like George W. Bush on 9/11, where he’s reading to kids at this school and this government official comes in and whispers into his ear; “Sir, we’re under attack“. He just sat there, for eight minutes, staring off blankly. Thinking about how he got there. A few years ago he was just some rich hick doing coke in a pent house and now he has to console a grieving nation. How the fuck do you even process that shit?
So I went in, to evaluate the damage. It was surmountable. You couldn’t stand in that cubicle without standing in this puddle of runny, somewhat dried up, bronze looking faeces. I found the boss in the restaurant, I went up, like a good government official, and quietly said “there’s been an incident in the boy’s toilets.”
He asked for details, not yet grasping the context of the situation, and I gave them. He wasn’t angry- he just…went quiet. The restaurant boy glared when he heard the details and walked on. The two of us went to get the necessary supplies for the clean up job, in deathly silence. The only words he spoke were to tell me to “put on another pair of gloves” on top of the ones we already had, for fear of them breaking one us.
The ordeal of cleaning lasted about fifteen minutes. I’ve smelt all manner of awful things. Slurry in the fields, the stench of death that’s always out of sight, in the city you walk about some times wondering if you stepped in a puddle of piss or if that’s just how the street smells that day.
But there is nothing worse, nothing so violently visceral as the stench of human shit. Knowing that an intelligent being, a grown ass man, would spray shit all over the goddamn floor is more than enough to turn even the strongest of stomachs. If J. Robert Oppenheimer saw this, he’d feel a lot better about inventing the atomic bomb.
We got rid of the puddle but the stench was so bad we thought it best to close off the toilet. Later on that night I’d clean it again, just to try and clear away the stench. The two of us walked down to the bins, with the waste we had created in the cleaning process. At this point the boss had fully dissociated, like a soldier in Vietnam picturing himself back home as the stench of melting flesh runs in the air.
Once you’ve seen that, once you’ve had to clean a grown man’s shit off of the goddamn floor the world loses all of its wonder. Faith in humanity is forever lost, your eternal soul is tarnished as this Mad City takes a hold of you.
A few days like those, mixed along with bad health, is enough to bring even the happiest and jovial of souls to their knees- and I was neither of those to begin with.
When I worked in KFC, I met a guy who reflected this feeling. I’d just started out and was going through the online training on the computer. He was on his break, sat beside me in the wee office space and talked the shit. Man worked two jobs, one in a bar in town and this. The way he talked, the way he saw other people, you could tell he was a burnout.
An intense, low skilled, living wage job like this will gradually hollow out a mother fucker. You go into any shop, you’re guaranteed to find a miserable looking staff. There’s people who don’t want to be there, people who do the bare minimum and then there’s the people who resent others. That latter group is the one that the burnouts often fall into.
I think very few people in this world like working for a living. Even if it’s their supposed dream job, I think most people would rather not do that shit.
He sat, ate his chicken and helped complete the wee questionnaire I had to do. The dude was so tired and so pessimistic it reverberated around the room. You could feel this exhaustion and stress creep into you. “So, what do you want to be?” he asked, unenthusiastically “I’m guessing this isn’t what you want to be doing forever.”
I told him a half truth. Said I wanted to be a camera man, that I wanted to “go around the world like one of them Top Gear boys” or some shite like that. I don’t know jack shit about cameras. I just want to make movies and TV shows for a living, which is a lot less glamorous than it sounds.
“Huh,” he said “you don’t hear that often” I always add on the fact that my course offers an internship at the BBC or some shite at the end, create the illusion that I have a plan and that I’m not just another waster. I finished up my training and went back to work.
I never saw that guy again. Now, every day I relate more and more to him. When I was younger I wanted so much- I wanted everything. Now my wants are simple. Stripped away to bare essentials.
I think about it sometimes, what I want. Desire, dreams- all this shit is vague and formless. Changing depending on mood, culture and environment. An idea can be anything, but when you bring it into the world it can be only one thing- and you have to choose that one thing. You hope you choose right, but one possibility is never going to be better than every possibility.
At this present moment, what I want is just to have a small island that I could just lay on the beach and get drunk on. You can’t catch pneumonia there. No cunts around to shit on the floor. It isn’t cold or damp, the stench of piss or death doesn’t follow you everywhere. It’s peaceful, a thing for yourself, away from everyone.
The thing with desert islands though is that they erode away over time. Rising sea levels mean these little shores are washed away, palm trees tor apart by the waves. All of it cause we eat, chuck out, burn- use more than what we need and more that what we have. This little desert island of mine is doomed from the start. That’s the thing with people, give them time and they will ruin absolutely everything. Everything.
Now I know at this point in the article you’re feeling a bit bummed out, hoping for some glimmer of hope or optimism or some shit. Maybe it’s just ill health or the season. Maybe it’s just not one of those days- or even year.
There is no guarantee that things will get better. Matter of fact, often times feels more likely things will get worse. I don’t operate under the delusion that the world is fair or people are inherently good. The world isn’t fair, it’s never been fair. There’s people who are dead who ought to be alive and there’s people who are alive that ought to be dead.
Meritocracy is a myth. People don’t always get what’s coming to them. You don’t always get what you deserve and you certainly don’t always get what you need. People out there are struggling to get by, living pay check to pay check while that rat bastard Jeff Bezos makes three grand a second.
People out there think that they make choices. That they can turn left or they can turn right, back or forth. But they didn’t build the roads. The big decisions, the important ones, the ones that define the world- those ones were made for them a long time ago. All roads go to where they want you to go.
It’s New Year’s Eve, I’m down in the keg room. Coughing up dust at this point. No blood or phlegm left, I suppose my health is improving. Rats skitter by. It’s funny, on January 25th we will be entering the year of the Rat. I’d like to tell myself that this year will be the “Year of the Des” but I’m not naive enough for that shite.
Cheers emerge from the bar; “HAPPY NEW YEAR” they bellow, a solid fifteen seconds before midnight. I cough a little bit more and I think about my year, my decade. Attended two different higher education facilities, had two different jobs and have lived in three different houses- last one all occurred in one year. Yikes.
Everyone will make their resolutions, trying to be a better person. I think about who I am, who I wanna be and who I’ll become. Because honest to fuck, if I’m this goddamn grumpy at twenty what the actual fuck will I be like at seventy? I won’t even be a man by then, just a black hole sucking the life out of everything that comes into orbit.
Lastly, I think about my island and in that moment my wants change. Eyes heavy, back is fucked, throat feels like I swallowed a chainsaw. I think I’d trade that beach any day for some goddamn sleep.