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Unbirthday

  Fri 10th May 2019

Neither me, nor the new job, is working as I'd hoped. I haven't the slightest self-discipline, and my days have returned to my default pattern of full-time drinking. I took on an essay from a third year undergraduate from a London university. Thirty-five minutes were allocated for its completion, yet it took me well over an hour; consequently, my hourly rate worked out at less than the minimum wage.

Instead of dealing with this by learning techniques to work faster, I am willingly discouraged, and haven't returned to the site since. I've had two long (an hour-and-three-quarters each) interviews with a Chinese maths teacher who is setting up an online English teaching agency, and I've got my first two pupils on Sunday, half an hour each with a seven- and an eleven-year-old, for which, in total, I'll receive twenty pounds. It feels like an act of charity. Things fall apart for me when I don't have an employer.


Things have been improving over the last few months between Kitty, Wendy and I. Wendy sent me a postcard in return to one I sent her. "One good Shrigley deserves another," she wrote. "Love, Wendy Xx." But if I needed any reminder about the immobility of The Injunction, it came today.

I rang her for a chat, and to say that I wouldn't be able to make it up for her birthday later this month. Weekend after next has preoccupied me day and night; making myself feel unloved and miserable with bitter, resentful memories of when I was told I wasn't allowed to come up to hers when Kitty, Wendy and Helen were all there a few months ago, banished to Wetherspoons while my closest friends caroused all night.

We chatted away, about her very ill Dad, work, Lancaster. I then broached the subject of her birthday, saying that money prevents me coming up. I told her that I miss her and Kitty every day; but the train fare is over a hundred pounds, and then there's paying for somewhere to stay. Everyone in Lancaster thinks that someone else will put me up.

"I know looby, but realistically, you can't bankrupt yourself for two hours in The Fur Coat and No Knickers Arms, and I'd have to go back anyway and look after The Little Dictator anyway." My stomach sank. Without saying it, she had said that her and Kitty would be getting together later, a gathering to which I wouldn't be invited.

We chatted on for another couple of minutes before she returns, unprompted, to the subject of her birthday. "...and then on the Saturday, Kitty and Auntie V are coming round for the evening."

The accident of meaning takes no effort to grasp. I'd have been corralled with a pub lunch, after which they go up to Wendy's house for her birthday do, all of us smiling as I'm waved off. Neither of them will stand up to Wendy's ex's baseless jealousy; it's easier to send me away. There's no sign of her knowing how much this hurts me, as she chats away about her birthday night before moving blithely on to another topic.

8 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I never know what to type when I come here as I’m a solutions kind of girl, and I have none for you, which makes me feel your despair, I guess.
I’m pretty rubbish without an employer as well - you’re going to have to put your rates up though, Bristol is an expensive place to live.
Sx

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 07:36 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Good morning Scarlet. There isn’t a solution to this wretched situation that doesn’t come from Wendy. It’s been going on for years and there’s no end in sight. She needs him to looks after The Little Dictator while she’s at work, but he hates her having male friends and gets The Little Dictator to report back to him if she sees me. They’re not even in a relationship any more, haven’t been for years. It’s a controlling behaviour, visited on me, using his threat to Wendy of withdrawing childcare. If me and Wendy *were* having some sort of illicit relationship then it might be worth it, but I’ve not even got that.

I still think Wendy and Kitty could do more to stand up to him and allow me into social gatherings when The Little Dictator is around. They’re my friends, but a man I don’t know is controlling how I see them.

Moan moan moan….:) hope you have a nice weekend me dear.

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 07:58 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

The Little Dictator won’t always need childcare? Non?
You have a nice weekend too!
Sx

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 08:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

She’s eight. Years of this to go yet.

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 08:38 Reply to this comment

Oh dearie me, I’m really not the sort that offers unsolicited advice so please forgive me if I do just that. Have you tried to book train tickets on Train Split - massive discounts if booked a month or so before:

https://raileasy.trainsplit.com/

I guess teaching in London offers more opportunities but I’d be happy to ‘chat’ with you about the agency I get my (main) work from. They have teachers all over the UK.

If you fancy / prefer doing online teaching, have a ganders at:

https://www.fluentify.com/become-tutor?r=r

https://preply.com/en/teach

or if teaching (Chinese) kids is your thing:

https://www.onlineenglishteaching.com/palfish

Shall I shut up now and shuffle off? :-)

p.s. I hope your lessons go well tomorrow

Sat 11th May 2019 @ 23:20 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Please don’t shuffle off! That’s all very useful, many thanks.

It’s taken the fare down to £75 return so worth doing, once I can find £75 down the back of the settee. I used to buy tickets that only covered the sections in which you’re most likely to encounter a ticket collector, but I’m too old for the worry now.

I’ll email you re the teaching – I’ve never done online teaching before and the old perfomance anxiety has got its talons in again.

Mon 13th May 2019 @ 10:43 Reply to this comment
Comment from: 63mago [Visitor]

Welcome to home tutor hell ("Nachhilfe"). We all had to do it, since Kant. And centuries before …

Mon 13th May 2019 @ 22:11 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I don’t like it. It’s not rewarding, neither financially nor intellectually. I don’t care about what I’m doing. I have no interest in it. I don’t give a shit about my students’ futures.

Mon 13th May 2019 @ 23:04 Reply to this comment


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 55 / 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.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
Jeremy Wagner

La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
George Szirtes

Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
John Whale

One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

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