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Flatlands

  Sun 16th June 2013

The one giveth


The (same) one taketh away


The Council had a stand in Market Square the other day, promoting their recycling scheme. I chatted to two employees in hi-vi's and came away with a roll of composting bags and a couple of pet food tin lids. Of all my debts it's the Council tax I wish I could pay. The credit card companies can wait.


The break-up with Trina started one night when I was coming back from another drunkenly cultured night at the book group, where we'd been having great craic and only perfunctorarily discussing Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

It was my fault for not turning my phone off. I was walking home, the grey, metallic sky and the drink both within me, and she sent something innocent and well-meaning. It jerked me out of my evening and back to her, in a way I found infuriating. I responded thus (proof that reading doesn't make you a better person):

Trina you are so demanding sometimes. I've had a lovely night with the girls and the book club and now I am interrupting it to assure you of something. Why can't I just be left alone sometimes to enjoy my own life? You want to control me. I love you darling but I don't like this constant surveillance.

I don't love her, but I sometimes say it as a lazy shortcut to avoid the difficulties that ensue if you don't. She was very upset and cut me off. Once a few days of regret had passed, there came a feeling of relief in amongst my other emotions. Before the latter arose, and still in the tide of the former, I sent her an apology.

Trina, I am abjectly and deeply sorry to have said such a very hurtful thing, to someone who has shown me nothing but love, kindness and affection. It is too late for apologies now but I am utterly sorry and ashamed of myself for being so cruel and heartless, and I bitterly regret what I said and the sentiments behind it.

We had a hurried reconciliation, a telescoped emailed and telephoned accomodation before I went to France with Kirsty and the girls, and she to Italy with her friend.

A couple of days after I got back, I was walking tiredly back from the station and decided to pop into the pub for a quick one. I met Barry there and we got talking about it. "The only way it'll work, looby, is if you pretend."

On Thursday, Trina picked me up in her racy sports car with its flippy-uppy headlights and growling engine and low centre of gravity which makes 40mph feel like 70. She took me to the flatlands of Lancashire, a part of the county which will be under water long before it affects us on our perches up here. I was to stay overnight at the house in which her mother "lives", in a body which persists in housing a senile brain.

Trina's mother's house has a garden akin to a small nature reserve out the back, with hedge sparrows, goldfinches and great tits having their busy avian social life. I more noticed how the conservatory's uPvC shut off all sound and sensation from outdoors.

Trina saw her mother off to bed (which takes a good hour), and I found a shortwave receiver in my room, which evoked memories of sending reception reports and learning all about single sideband and how sunspots affect propagation, when I was about thirteen and thought I might be a broadcast transmission engineer--before I abandoned the idea of "being" anything. I managed to pick up Radio Romania International by laying naked on the bed and gripping the aerial, making my body into one.

Trina crept in for a cuddle lest mother wake up and notice her missing. It was only a cuddle too. Successful sex requires control over the situation, and I had none.

She's coming round tomorrow. I feel all of the following: like a gigolo (given her texts about what she's expecting); a coward (given the fact that the braver thing would be to end it); wondering whether I should try to make the best of the ingredients I've got (given that they are: a woman with whom sex has worked successfully, who likes a drink, who's kind and with whom I have several interests in common--especially dancing).

Another part of me thinks it all sounds like a lot of fucking effort, that I never make with other female friends of mine. Don't know, just don't know.

7 comments

Comment from: [Member]

perhaps if you bring the compost bags and pet food lids with you to the magistrate and offer them as a partial payment?

Sun 16th June 2013 @ 15:48
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

What do the rest of us all do? Compromise. You have to accept what is frankly you have a relationship many many others would kill for accept less than perfect. ;-)

Sun 16th June 2013 @ 16:07
Comment from: [Member]

DF: Not sure that’d sound that convincing. They were theirs in the first place.

F: “Compromise.” Why does everyone recommend such a conservative course of action? I can only see this sort of advice as saying “resign yourself to a life of sexless, domesticated, peace, with its undercurrents of resentment.” I suppose there are compensations for those who want to live with someone else, but I don’t.

Sun 16th June 2013 @ 16:22

Spinning, spinning, spinning. Round and round the wheel goes. Where will it stop? I can’t wait to see.

You’ll find that the recommendation to compromise generally comes from folks like me who have compromised everything away.

Mon 17th June 2013 @ 12:18
Comment from: young at heart [Visitor]

me me me me me……. you are old enough and ugly enough to know that if you want something from someone you have to give something too…..she’s not your female friend she’s your girlfriend there’s a difference deal with it!!!!!!!

Tue 18th June 2013 @ 10:29
Comment from: David Oliver [Visitor]

I have found it impossible living with a woman you don’t love. I have found it possible living with one you do love but it’s hell.

Tue 18th June 2013 @ 23:31
Comment from: [Member]

YAH: I’m not prepared to do anything that resembles effort, where I’m not aware of the benefits that will accrue to me as a result. It’s meaningless–like being a social worker or putting oneself through some kind of ascetic training.

If this means that I don’t have a girlfriend then that is perfectly fine by me, since at the moment it doesn’t seem in the slightest bit attractive as a proposition.

D: Thanks for your comment and nice to see a new face round here.

Living together would never work out for me. It was difficult talking Trina out of it, as she thought it was an inevitable part of a relationship, that it is “natural” or “shows commitment.”

Wed 19th June 2013 @ 12:53


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M / 59 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


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The Comfort of Strangers

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