Thursday, 18 July 2013

Five Years After The Break-Up: Part One

I broke up my one and only LTR in October 2008. I haven't had a woman in my life, or bed, since then. At my age, that's a lot less painful than it is for a thirty-year-old. However, that's nearly five years ago, and it's worth wondering where the time went. When I look at it, it's a freaking miracle I haven't collapsed.

In 2005 I was unemployed for half the year. The company I had been working for ran out of money and made a lot of redundancies in the summer. I think I got a very short consulting gig sometime in the winter or the start of 2006, then nothing until about November 2006 when I had an awful three-month contract at Newbury Mobile Phones Ltd. That's a lot of time out of work.

In 2007 I joined The Bank. I stopped going to the local gym at the same time, as I had been getting bored, tired and lacking all enthusiasm for exercise. What I didn't know was that my blood sugar would shortly go from 4-5 micro units per millivolume, which is fine, to around 8-9 mmol/L, which while not life-threatening, caused me to get blotchy, itchy legs, a string of nasal infections (which are taken seriously by medics, and for which I became really well-known at the Soho Walk-In Centre) over a two-year period, and I swear my brain didn't function quite right. The fact that my slot in the office was gloomy, the boss was an insecure bully, and I couldn't see that my job would last past the next three months, did not help. Plus adapting to the weird world of retail banking takes much more time than you would think. I weighed 103 kgs, too much of it was fat, and I snored badly. That was pretty much 2008 as well, and you can add in some blood tests.

2009 started with me going on a carb-free, chocolate-free, reduced-sugar diet that lost me 15kgs (down to 88 kgs) in about four months. At 88kgs sometime in the summer, I was experiencing serious constipation, so I ate more bulky food and my weight settled around 91kgs. The nasal infections stopped. My head cleared up. My mood improved. But not before I was put on an "improvement plan" at work at the start of the year, and then re-organised into a lower-grade job in summer as a result of The Merger. (Not quite as bad as it sounds: at The Bank anyone to whom that happens keeps their existing pay and conditions for about three years, giving them ample chance to get their grade back.) All my Bro's went off in different directions across the organisation, and I had a new manager. Which was actually the best thing that happened to me, even if it took a while before I could recover enough to be an asset to him.

2010. Not a day went by that I didn't think of my down-graded status. I did my job. The entire company was in turmoil, new recruits were joining every month, and very few people really knew their way around. I just did shit I thought needed doing, and that turned out to be exactly what my new manager wanted his people to do. So I started to work my way back again. I was helpful to the new guys, and that's not as common as one might think, and I got my grade back in the autumn. A couple of months later I joined my current gym. That was because my weight had crept back up to 95kgs again. I've made that sound like an easy year, but it wasn't. It was stressful. I took time off work, but no holidays.

2011. The year of the holidays. I went to the Algarve, Pembroke and Biarritz via days in Paris either side. I brought a heatwave with me to all of them. And I was… not lonely, but exhausted from having to keep myself busy and occupied for the sixteen hours a day I'm usually awake. I talked to no-one who wasn't staff, except in the Algarve where I spent a couple of hours talking with a German girl who painted churches and who was driving round Europe with her dog and sleeping in the car. The people who ran the restaurant at that beach thought we were so cute. I was damn nearly in tears one of those lunchtimes on the Algarve. Dinner at Chez Phillipe in Biarritz was amazing. Then The Bank moved us from Covent Garden to Bishopsgate. We still don't like it. Also The Year of Spinning, Running, Yoga and Pilates. 

2012. The year I was coughing for months and my legs packed up. Don't let's talk about 2012. I don't want a repeat. I got a lot of massage and osteopathy. Almost as much as I did on my damn arms at the start of 2013. 

I didn't mention the building work I had done on the house in 2007, where I had to fire one set of builders and find someone else to finish the job. The place now looks finished - except for the cupboard under the stairs, and I really should replace the kitchen. I've had three cars in that period: a Ka that got written off when a drunk shunted me in Twickenham, a Clio that got flooded by the river at Richmond because I didnt know it was a super-tide Sunday, and the Punto I have now. All of them second-hand and all paid for cash. 

So over that period I've been dealing with shit and changing my life round pretty much non-stop. Everyone gets a year to mourn. That takes me to October 2009. Then the work situation takes over. That takes me to October 2010. I don't have an excuse for 2011, 2012 was pretty much a Lost Year, and I don't have an excuse for 2013 either. Except, you know, grey hair, a string of bad experiences and very few good ones, and one other thing, which will begin part two.

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