Monday, 24 September 2012

The Answer to the Ultimate Question

Of Life, The Universe and Everything.

Anyone who knows anything worthwhile knows that the answer is 42. Today I turned 42. I have to say I feel distinctly underwhelmed. I probably know less than I did yesterday, given that my brain cells are dying off with my increased age. I did get called "Marvin the Paranoid Android" once upon a time, to be fair. Don't expect a cheery posting here, folks...

I woke up to rain and wind rustling in the trees outside my window. I really didn't want to get up. I'd had a few beverages last night and, whilst not hungover, I had stayed up far too late again and just didn't feel like getting up. I always struggle to get up before 7am, and as the nights stretch their dark, autumnal jaws to swallow the daylight hours, it will become more difficult, I'm sure.

I eventually roused myself at 7.16am. I needed to get to work, and was going to be late anyway. I showered, cursing the fluctuations in power and temperature from the lime-crusted shower head. The surrounds are depressing...brown tiles and creaky, old piping. It's like showering in a public toilet in Grimsby. At least the light is working again.

After dressing I take my birthday cards from my laptop bag and open them. They've been waiting in there for a week, ready to celebrate another notch on the ruler that ends somewhere down the line, but ends inevitably nonetheless...


OK. I'll snap out of it, but let me explain my foul mood: I am once again trapped in solitude. I am working in Holland now, near the city of Groningen. I stay in the city itself and drive up and down to the work site every day. It's a pleasant city, with canals, bicycles and lots of students. In my spare time I have had a good look around, taking photos with my new camera (I've got into the DSLR side of things now, and am enjoying it). I probably have too much spare time. A 2-day weekend is not good when you're completely alone. There's no socialising here; I'm just a consultant here, dropping in to do a few months of work, and everyone else has their own life. Some go home every other weekend and I am going to explore that possibility myself, I think. At the end of the day I find myself going to bars and restaurants alone, sitting in the corner watching big groups of people having fun or couples holding hands...

I've said before that this kind of life sucks, and I stick by it. I am so close to home, but so far away. I had a weekend at home last weekend, and it was great. We went to Whitby and had fish and chips and the sun shone all day. Then this weekend, I slobbed about in the 50s-era apartment (it's great location-wise, to be fair) and went out only to get food. I even watched some Forumla 1 racing, and I don't really care for it.

And so today is my birthday and I think that fact is amplifying the loneliness. Well-meaning people have sent me a torrent of texts and facebook messages, wishing that I have a "great day" and so on. I would love to have a great day, but so far it's been pretty shite. When I got to work I was told there is a meeting at 5pm tonight, which will last up to 2 hours. Fantastic. I don't want to be lonely, but then I don't want to be stuck in a meeting that means I won't get back to Groningen until 8pm. I've found an Irish bar near where I'm staying, and fancied a trip there tonight, even if I end up sitting alone at the bar and watching English football...the barman is friendly enough.

I dislike this current situation so much that I've been considereing the Middle East again, even places like Saudi Arabia. At least I'd be part of a team and in the same boat as everyone else there. Of course, this kind of thought is little short of utter insanity. I would find faults there...I'd not get home for 3 months at a time and would soon tire of the Middle East Medieval Mindset again. And then it might kick off in Iran. I'm clinging to the fact that the light is visible at the end of the tunnel. The situation that brought me here (that thing in the Middle East) is nearly resolved, and a large weight will lift from my shoulders within the space of about 5 weeks. It'll just be my luck that the world WILL end in December, just as I'm getting back on an even keel.

Hey ho. Chins up...there will be some wine drunk at some time today.

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