Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 11

Like I said, the good thing about the whoops incident was that no one else knows about it. I never mentioned it anyone and I'm pretty sure Susan didn't. I have no idea why I said whoops or what difference it made and there you have it. And before you ask, no whoops, I did not do it again.

"What nothing at all, not once? You must have?"
"I swear, never."
"Gord, mate, everyone knows about the whoops incident."

I'm shocked, how on earth can everyone know about that. It's a total MI6 like secret.

"You do, how is that possible, who could have possibly told you?"
"Errr you did, immediately after it happened, you talked about for hours non stop when we got home from the club."

This is a totally mystery, I don't remember any of this.

"Are you sure? I don't remember any of this."

Adam laughs at this point, which is never a good indication at moments like this.

"That's because you insisted we drink that bottle of Tequila. You completely passed out and we found you asleep on the floor in the morning."
"You know, now you mention this, it does sound horribly familiar in a general and non-specific way. Did I make you swear never to let me drink Tequila again?"
"Oh, you sure did."
"I have absolutely no memory of that, damn I thought the whoops incident was totally secret. Does everyone know about it?"
"I would have thought so," Johnny says.

Adam laughs hard at this.

"See I told you Gord was a complete idiot," he says looking to Johnny, "They have had a historic moment, but still why haven't you? Amaze us with a sane explanation."
"It's what the world wants to know," says Johnny.
"Susan's one of my closest friends, why would I? I mean we are together all the time."
"That's my point," says Adam.
"You have a point suddenly? When did that happen? Was there a point meeting? Did someone out of the kindness of their heart give you a point?"
"Yeah, I have a point."

Then he pauses like he's thinking up some diabolical plan.

"Let's try this another way. Think of this as self help. Describe to us now your cardboard cut out perfect woman. Be honest as we could ask just about anyone on the street the question: 'excuse me, but could you tell me what Gord is looking for in a woman?' and they would be able to answer. So for this to work absolute honesty is required on your part."
"Easy 5'5, 5'6, although I don't mind just taller."
"Oh you mean like Larissa Snowe," says Johnny laughing, "just taller than you that is."
"No I don't mean like Larissa Snowe."
"Okay we've done height, which ranges from Susan's just shorter than to Larissa's just taller. What else?"
"Okay, slim, brunette, fair skin, big brown or green eyes, medium sized lips, small eyebrows, smart, wordy funny, and oh yeah I guess if we're being brutally honest, not flat chested - I feel bad for saying that last one, but you said honest right?"

Adam nods, munches on some Doritos and nods.

"Absolutely acceptable. Some people can deal with the washboard, but some people can't. I like it - a lot. What can I say? Personally, I'm fine with the wash board chest, but you on the other hand..."
"You promised that you had a point?"
"Oh and I do, but really that's my point right Johnny?"

Johnny smiles, shuffles the cards.

"That is his point Gordon."
"You lost me."
"Well you just described to us your perfect woman right? A bit of Winona Ryder with a touch of Ally Sheedy and maybe a dab of Kate Beckinsale? Thrown in for good measure."
"That's possibly stretching it. I actually want to date a real girl."
"And we're talking about a real girl. The point is that you just described Susan, more or less, you know give or take and even though Susan is more or less your perfect woman you refuse to ask her out? What Johnny and I want to know is why?"

I look at Adam like he's totally barking. I mean what a stupid question. How could I go out with Susan? I'd have no one to talk to and hangout with. It would be insane.

"We've been over this. Susan's my friend, that's why."
"Lets put this another way, when was the last time you met you ideal woman, you know someone you thought was a vague if not exactly perfect approximation of the girl you would love to go out with?"
"You know I don't think I have. I mean I thought Rachel, and Larissa right at the beginning ... used to make me sort of dizzy, but she did dump me three times, so I guess really if it comes down to it I haven't."
"That's interesting," says Adam nodding, "So lets look at this another way, looking at Susan in a completely neutral way, how many of the qualities you described earlier does she possess? I mean we're just talking on paper here, you know hypothetically?"
I shrug, fidget, on paper?

"On paper? Okay, there are a lot of similarities - but she's a friend."
"So ask her out then, she'll be your girl-friend and if you don't eventually someone else will and you know what will happen then don't you? Right now you see her five times a week? Or is it seven? You two live in each other's flats. You moved to the same god damn street for Christ's sake. But some day not all that far away she's going to meet some guy. They'll start dating and before you know it they'll be talking about moving in. Five minutes later, in the well worn tradition of early thirty something, they'll be standing at the alter and after that your five times a week of Susan will be down to once a week, then once a month. Before you know it you'll be standing there thinking to yourself 'you know I don't think I've seen Susan for years'. That's the future Gord and the only way to avoid it now is to ask out Susan."
"Last time, for the group I am not going to ask out Susan. I can't do anything about the future. Future boy I'm not. I hope it doesn't play out like you said, but then if it does then I guess so it goes."

Adam does a little whistle, shrugs and looking over to Johnny.

"You heard that right?"
Johnny nods, "Yeah, I did. I don't believe I heard it, but sadly I did. Gord mate you're a total fool. It is the most obvious and natural thing in the world to do. I cannot believe you won't do it. It's stupidity on a grand scale. And you wonder why you're single all the time."
"I am not single all the time."

And to be honest, I really didn't mean to sound as testy as I did.

"Oh really," Johnny says again, "other than Larissa, which was what four years ago, virtually prehistoric, as far as I can recall, you haven't lasted more than a few dates with any one. As I said single all the time."
"Okay, so my dating record has not been perfect. Look, what can I say I have not met the right girl. Besides I'm picky, they're picky, everybody's picky, what can I say? The world is big with the pickiness."
"You can say," Johnny says, "that you will ask out Susan."
"No and for the last time no."
"What you won't even give it ago?" Adam pushes.
"NO! Come on guys, read the sign, the sign says time to move on."
"So last time just so we're clear here. You are never ever going to ask Susan out?"

I think Adam must have a blockage. I don't know who many more times I can say it so I say it again one last time for Adam's benefit.

"I swear I will never ever ask Susan out."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 10

Adam and Johnny are sitting in the pub attempting to play poker when I get there with drinks stacked up around the table.

"Where've you been? Poker doesn't work with two people."
"Yeah, sorry about that, I just had a flurry of phone activity. Kind of weird."
"Interesting? Any women involved?" Adam asks.
"There were as a matter of fact, but not the kind you would be interested in."
"Hey, don't rule them out, who are we talking about?"
"My mother followed by my sister."
"Okay," Adam says, "feel free to rule them out."
"Your sister?" Johnny says, "unusual for you."
"Yeah, rarity in itself I know, but then really weird, she suggested that we actually meet up and have dinner. Tell me, how weird?"

And I raise my arms up and open my hands.

"Very," says Adam.
"You two should talk more," says Johnny looking down at his cards.
I eye Johnny, curiously.
"Why do you say that?" I ask him.
"That's obvious," says Adam laughing, "He's had a thing with her."
"Hey! I'm sitting in the room, if you don't mind."
"Well he has."
"It was a small thing though," I say, "Wasn't it?"
Johnny nods, "Pretty sure it was."
"Besides, it was definitely a one off. It should be like a rule you're friends should not be allowed to date a friend's sister. I mean, just too weird for words."
"Do you think?" says Johnny.
"Yes I think. Too weird, it's like too close for comfort. Family and friends should all be kept separate. To avoid any unnecessary entanglements."
"But it's good news to hear you two are spending time together."
"You think? I don't know, but something is definitely up. I think she's going to tell me something."
"Must be big," says Adam.
"It's what I'm thinking."
"And bad," he adds.
"Oh definitely bad. Big and bad."
"You don't think?"
"Well the wedding? You don't think she's going to call it off."
"You know that was my first thought, but I don't see it. Her and Jack they are totally solid. Besides it would literally kill my mother. She has put the last year of her life into organising this. It's like her life's grand work. I don't think even my sister would contemplate killing my mother."
"Well the only one who knows you sister here is Johnny, what do you reckon Johnny? Is the wedding off?" Adam asks him.
"Sara does exactly what Sara wants to," Johnny says shuffling his cards.
We get some drinks and start a new game throwing in two pence coins as chips. None of us are very good, but to be honest the cards are really just a distraction.
"Where's Susan tonight anyway?" Adam asks me.
"No idea, besides I don't keep her social diary."

Adam and Johnny both laugh when I say this, which I think is completely uncalled for.

"What? I don't. Contrary to popular opinion we don't go everywhere together. I think she's gone out on some Mademoiselle evening. I get the impression that just about all of the women who work on that magazine are single. Weird I think it does something to them."
"And we're sitting here three guys?" Adam says.
"We might have a supply problem on the female side, but I believe we are having a good time."
"I agree," says Johnny.
"You would," says Adam, "you've just come out of a long relationship. It's well known that men who have just got out of long term relationships are less interested in immediately meeting new women."
"I wouldn't go that far," says Johnny taking a slow sip of his drink.

Adam and I both look at him. Something is definitely up.

"Oh really," I say.
"Sounds like Johnny has a confession to make, tell us more mate," says Adam.
"No confession."

Johnny doesn't say anything else, but then he doesn't have to as his face says it all. Johnny has definitely met someone new.

"So who is she?" I ask him, "Do we know her?"
"You'll meet her soon enough and then you can make up your own mind."
"You must have started this when you were still with Carolyn. And you call me a dog."
"Carolyn and I were over. As you're so fond of saying we had absolutely nothing in common. Gord mate, you were right."
"What about some details then Johnny?" Adam asks.
"Yeah, you're being very secretive, what's with?" I ask him.
"It's tricky that's all," he says.
"Where did you meet her anyway?"
"Like I said it's a little tricky."
"But she isn't married right?" I ask him.

He shakes his head.

"But she's seeing someone isn't she?" says Adam.
"You could at least tell us why it's tricky. Too much suspense and mystery is not good for the soul."
"I will, just not just yet."

I shake my head in mock disappointment.

"This girl sounds incredible high maintenance, I mean seriously."
"New subject," Johnny says shuffling the cards.
"Okay," says Adam, "But we want full details at the appropriate time. I have a question for you?" he says pointing to me.
"Yeah you, lets continue the relationship theme."
"Well that's easy enough. I don't have one."
"True, but as we all know you could do if you wanted quite easily."

Johnny smiles, he seems to know what Adam is talking about when I don't have a clue.

"Not so cryptic what are you talking about?"
"Okay," he starts, "we were talking about her earlier."

I scratch my head.

"We were talking about my sister?"

Johnny shakes his head in dismay at this suggestion.

"After that idiot."
I still have no idea."
"Susan you fool."
"Don't be stupid," I say.
"Come on have you ever made a pass at Susan?"
"No," I say putting my hands up.

Okay, to be honest, that isn't strictly true, but it wasn't exactly a pass, it was more of an incident. To be more exact it was the whoops incident.

The whoops incident happened along time ago and really I was never all that sure what to make of it and really it is ancient history. We were out celebrating my 28th birthday in a club at Kings Cross. It was hot, we were trashed, the music was thundering. We were thrashing around crashing into each other hours into a long night still holding plastics glasses of lager, which were being crushed underfoot on the slippery wet dance floor.

I can't even remember who was there, although Johnny and Adam were certainly in the group. What I do is that remember Nirvana were playing and Susan and I were dancing close together shouting the words out to each other, "I feel stupid and contagious, Here we are now, Entertain us" and holding on to each other's arms dancing closer and closer still jumping in time to the music as we sang "hello, how low?".

Then something happened. There was this brief moment, a split second, where our eyes fell in synch, and a hazy drunken euphoria took over as we stepped together and started hungrily kissing. It was one of those moments. No one said anything and we both started it.

We didn't move, we were in the middle of the dance floor, with people sliding and turning all around us. I don't remember noticing anyone and I'm not sure how long it lasted, probably not that long, it just seemed longer, and when we broke away I don't know why, but I didn't know what else to say and Susan didn't say anything and as we cooled, as the music changed, the beat slowed, and the heat of the moment sapped away, we were left standing there like a pause waiting for a sentence to start, and then I said it.


Susan looked at me.

"Errr, yeah, whoops."
"Whoops," she repeated flatly.
"Yeah, whoops."
"Right whoops."

And that was it we danced off, went to the bar and carried on for a little while longer until we all got a taxi back to the house and we sat up for hours longer. Nothing else happened that night and neither Susan or I mentioned it in the morning and never again afterwards.

It was just the whoops incident, not a pass, just a one time thing, and no one else knows about it. So why come clean now?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 9

I am just on my way out to meet Johnny and Adam in the pub to find out about Johnny's break-up with Carolyn when the phone starts ringing.

It's my mother. I know her ring, I swear. It's like her signature tune. I could go on that show and I would be able to say: "I'll name that caller in three Bob". My mother's attitude is that the telephone is just another system to crack and you can actually crack it if you just let the receiver ring off the hook. It's like an endurance thing for her.

This is a weird one. My mother has something of an odd request for me. She wants me to call my sister. I know that doesn't sound odd, but we just never talk.

My sister is my mother's major focus this year, he's been busily helping plan Sara's wedding to her perfect boyfriend Jack, and she's also the main source of news coming my way about my sister's movements. For instance when my sister got engaged it was my mother who told me.

She rang me on an evening just like this, which I would have been surprised at if for the fact that my for my last birthday my sister sent me a text message.
"She's been incredibly busy telling people about it," my mother told me.

"Well I think she could have called, that would have been nice."
"Well you know she has work as well."
Oh did I mention? My sister has an is a MBA armed management consultant. My mother loves my sister's job as much as my sister does. Equally my mother was less thrilled when I quit mine to go freelance.
"Oh but Gordon your sister did say for me to give you a message. She says she would rather you didn't come on your own."
"You're joking, right?"
"No, you know what she's like. She's worried that you'll create an uneven number."

Uneven number? That's the worst lie I ever heard. What she's worried about is that she'll have to point me out to her friends. "That's my brother over there, he's on his own and still rides around on a bike. I know his hair is receding".

The weird thing is that my sister's attitude to the wedding is (in comparison to my mother at least) somewhat pragmatic, even indolent, and I get the impression sometimes that she agreed to, rather than embraced, the idea of marriage.

I have to admit when I first heard I was a little surprised. A few months previously when I had asked my sister, as she drove the two of us to our aunt's funeral at (great) speed along winding country roads, how it was going with Jack she hadn't exactly been boiling over with enthusiasm.

Gunning the engine of her Audi she turned to me and said: "Well he's hardly the love of my life."

I have to admit I was non-plussed by this answer.

"Then why are you with him then?"

Sara laughed, lifted a hand from the wheel and brushed her ash blonde hair back, her driving makes me more than just a little nervous at the best of times and the idea of getting a lift to a funeral with my sister initially sounded like someone's idea of a bad joke ("Mother, you want Sara to give me a lift?"). Sadly I didn't see my mother agreeing to a Buffyesque tombstone inscription: 'Killed on the way to a funeral, talk about being all ironical'.

"I like him, we have fun together. It's just that the earth doesn't move. That's what it is. Despite what women might have told you Gordon it's what we want. We want the earth to move, even if it's just a little, it doesn't have to be a seismic shift."
"Careful Sara you're making yourself out to be a died in the wool romantic, you're disappointing me."
"Oh please, I have high expectations that's all. I have the first class degree and I have the MBA and the perfect job. I think I deserve the man to match. There's nothing romantic or old fashioned about that its just math, that's all, I want it to be like this Audi: nice looking and with plenty of power to match."
"Now you're sounding like a bloke."
"Grow up Gordon."
"Working on that one."
"Better work harder older brother."
"So if that's all true why aren't you out there looking for the perfect man then? Rather than Jack who to quote you doesn't make the earth doesn't move."
"Sad truth is, and don't take this at all personally, men really aren't built to meet such high expectations. It's rather unfortunate and to be honest I feel cheated."

I wasn't at all sure how serious she was being when she said this as she was smiling brightly most of the time as she spoke, but that's why I like my sister so much: she's brutally honest. Her and Susan get on like house on fire. I just worry that one day they will burn the place down.

I digress, my mother wants me to call my sister.

"Your sister has been acting very strangely. You don't know what's going on do you?"

"Sorry no idea, you know what she's like."
"Yes, of course, but she's been more so."
"What do you mean more so?"
"Well just hard to pin down."
"Hard to pin down? Maybe she's been working hard. You know she's totally obsessive about her job."

I feel a smile of minor reassurance waft down the line, my mother loves my sister's job as much as my sister does.

"That could be it, I suppose. Maybe you could speak to her?"
"You want me to call her? You know she won't tell me anything. She doesn't even give me her direct line at work, I always have to speak to her assistant who puts me on hold. To be honest its kind of humiliating."

My mother mulls this for a second.

"I'm telling you its work."
"Mmm, but would you call her anyway. I think you'll catch her if you try now."
"Now? Are you kidding? I was just heading out."
"It'll only take you a minute and I'm sure she'd love to hear from you."

She makes it sound like I'm a distant relative. Wait? That's exactly what I am.

"Okay, I'll call her and if she tells me anything I'll call you straight back, but I wouldn't wait by the phone."
"I'm sure it's nothing, but you know I appreciate it."

I say goodbye to my mother and then spend about twenty minutes trying to track down my sister's telephone number.

"Hey Sara."

My sister says my name slowly showing no more surprise than is strictly necessary, but definitely intoned in her voice is the question 'what on earth are you doing calling me for?'.
"Unexpected, I know and I apologise in advance for breaking our covenant eschewing voice contact."
"Now I know why we don't talk. I so rarely have any idea what you're talking about."
"Yeah, well I'd been thinking."
"Well, I was talking to...
"Mother and?"
"That's weird as you already sound like you know she thinks something's up?"
"Do I?"
"Oh definitely, Sara what have you been up to?"
"I...well...nothing," and she pauses, recovers even.

More weird. My sister never gets flustered, absolutely never. She is usually as cool as winter ice, seriously. And for a second there it sounded like she was going to tell me something - also pretty unusual.

"Nothing going on, it's just work, you know how it is. Oh that's right you don't. You took the novel approach of resigning your job in order that you could stay at home more."

And there she goes, snapping back to her old self in a matter of seconds.

"I'm a freelance journalist, which is a job."
"Freelance, that always sounds quite grand and mercenary, but the reality...well that's rather more mundane isn't it?"
"You're sweet, I mean it's what people say about you, which is just what everyone wants in a little sister."
"I'm joking."
"You don't say, but I think you rather dodged the question there. There isn't anything you want to tell me is there?"

Sara laughs when I say this.

"Oh really Gordon how likely is that?"
"It would be unusual I admit, but lets say we're growing."
"Growing, there's a thought. Does that mean you'll get a girlfriend and stop living like a thirty something student?"
"It seems unlikely, I've just acquired a new flat mate."
"I heard about that."
Already, that is a surprise.
"Really, who from?"

There's a slight, almost undetectable pause, and I perk up, as that is weird, Sara takes no interest in what's going on in my life period.

"From Susan."
"That was fast."
"Well you know how we girls like to gossip. She just said Johnny had moved in with you. It's terrible he's split up with his girlfriend."
"Yeah, terrible. I take it your wedding plans are all thundering ahead?"
"Mmm, last I heard."
"Last you heard? You're not exactly kicking to get down the aisle are you?"
"I don't think they allow kicking."
"Really? That's sad to hear."
"Isn't it just."
"So what's going on then? I mean something is so going on."

Sara pauses again and we both just sit on the line and I get the feeling again that she is thinking about telling me something.

"Oh you know how women get in the run up to their 'big day'. The nerves, they just take over."

This just makes me laugh, my sister doesn't have any nerves, and she sounds resolutely bored talking about the whole thing.

"Yeah, I know how most women get, but I have no idea how you get."
"What you mean none at all?"
"We should meet up and catch up."
"We should?"

This is very strange. In Denmark right now something is definitely rotten. As well as not talk the other thing we definitely don't do is meet up. It's rule number three.

"We can have dinner. We'll be very grown up. I think it'll be nice. We can start a new tradition. What about next Wednesday evening? Islington? Are you free?"
"Yeah, Wednesday's cool."
"It's agreed then. I'll see you then."

I sit there on the couch for a moment just looking at the phone. It's like the beginning of an X-Files episode. This is definitely a case for Mulder and Scully. I'm just trying to work out now which one of us is going to be abducted by aliens. Damn, it's bound to be me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 8

I spend the of the morning trying to finish off my men and yoga piece, which is for Mademoiselle the women's magazine that Susan works for, but to be honest I'm still having trouble coming up with a conclusion.

After a couple of hours wondering about this and pottering around the flat I call Susan for advice. When she answers the phone Susan does her jumping straight to the subject you want to talk about thing, which is always kind of uncanny.

"Hey Suze."
"You're calling me about men and yoga aren't you?"
"You know that's just uncanny, how do you do it?"
"Well let's see? You promised me it would be here this morning and it's not."
True, I forget these small details. Susan has an excellent memory, which she uses to spring well placed traps.
"Hey, I know, and I'm right on schedule."
"Gord its 11:45, that's hardly right on schedule."
"Hey, it's still morning."
"Technically speaking, so tell me about yoga."
"Well here's the thing. My thesis is that guys go to yoga for one reason only - yoga teachers are hot. I've tried to dress it up, but errr that's it."
"I despair, really I do. Is your yoga teacher, what's the word you used? Oh yes, is she 'hot' Gord?"

I just smile at this mostly, I'm sorry to admit, because I have an image of my yoga teacher. Yes she is hot. What can I say, she's this super toned, 5'8 brunette who can do the most amazing things. The other one is like a blonde version, with more or less, give or take, the same MO.

"Gord are you still there?"
"Yes, yes, sorry, I meant to say attractive, but the teenager in me escaped. Sadly they both are, but they're also I fear a bit too much of the hippy chanting types for me. They do long sojourns to the sub continent where there's more chanting. I have to tell you Suze, frankly something of a relief as otherwise I would have to hit on them, one after the other, which would no doubt be deeply humiliating and not to mention embarrassing if I got turned down."
"But what about if your yoga teacher said yes? You could end up married to your yoga teacher and have lots of children with great karma."
This I have to laugh at, Susan is always marriage projecting on me ("what about if you dated X you'd have kids with fabulous cheekbones").
"Suze how likely is that exactly?"
"Oh I'd say your chances are a zillion to one."
"That good, huh?"
"That good, but I just wanted you to know that it's okay for a boy like you to dream the impossible dream."
"Cool, always wanted to dream that."
"Well dream on."
"You know this is what I always tell people, Suze is always there for me in such a good way, it's what I like most about our friendship."
"Oh me too," says Susan and we're both laughing, "besides I know you'll do it, I know you'll ask one of them out, I can tell."
"There is no chance of that happening."
"How much?"
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, shall we say £20? And if you do you can write a "I fell for/dated my yoga teacher" feature and give us all tantric insight."
"To be strictly honest tantric insight it not my thing."
"You say, anyway, feature wise Gord you know that Mademoiselle readers don't have boyfriends who lust after their yoga teachers. They're all too cool and they're girlfriends are leggy beauties who do not condescend to smile at ordinary mortals," she says.

I think for a moment Susan is going to laugh or indicated that this is in someway a joke, but then I mentally slap myself Susan doesn't actually joke about this kind of stuff. It's actually true and, to be honest, it scares me.

"No problem would that be Kate's (who is the editor) official line on men, yoga and Mademoiselle?"
"The boyfriends of Mademoiselle readers are spiritually enriched by yoga in the same way they are by Helmut Lang and Paul Smith. Write it like it is Gord won't you?"

Of course I knew this was the answer, but sometimes it's nice to check.

"Oh other thing, have you heard my exciting news?"
"Of course, Gord, it's fantastic, I'd been saying for ages you should get a flatmate for absolutely ages, you never listen to me though."

This is a total lie, well partly. True I never listen to Susan, but she has never mentioned me getting a flatmate before. I've been saying that for ages? That's Susan's version of 'I told you so'.

"So Gord how do you feel about it?"
"Well you know Suze I think I feel pretty good. It'll be good to have Johnny around again, but I do worry that it will be like regressing somehow. You know going backwards."
"Back to the future," Susan says, "retro is so fashionable."
"No, Suze, more like back to the past - you know when I had flatmates."
"Gord it will be good for you. I've been concerned for ages that you were getting all recluse like. I've been saying to people at work 'Gord is getting all recluse and hermit like living on his own'."
"Yeah, I heard that, please tell me you don't really say that, you're joking right?"
"About the hermit bit. Yeah."
"Suze, how can I be a recluse? You're here all the time?"
"True, but Gord I don't count. I'm only there to take advantage of your collection of Buffy box sets and load your music collection onto my iPod."
"Suze I hate to point this out, but you live on your own as well."
"I know, but women are much better at building complex support networks than men," she says matter of fact.
"And you read that in which magazine precisely?"
"I'm serious."
"What about the complex support networks?"
"Yeah about those."
"Oh right, that must be why you spend so much time at my place."
"Between boyfriends Gord. It's a perfectly legitimate explanation."
"Of course, you're like a resting actress. I get that, I knew you had a marvellously good reason stashed away sometimes, which is why you kiss strange guys at New Year's. Frankly, I would rather be a hermit."
"You promised you wouldn't mention that again, remember?"

It's true, I did say this, but really the story is so amusing that I think it would be a crime not to share it.

In the run up to midnight when it became increasingly apparent that Alison and Paul had not invited a selection of tall dark and handsome men for Susan ("not even one, that is so poor") she declared that she would kiss just about anyone.

"It's New Year, I swear I'll kiss absolutely anyone."
"Absolutely anyone?"
"Dream on Gord it has to be a guy," Susan said crossing her arms.
"Okay what about that guy over there."

I pointed to Mr nose and forehead.

"He's definitely unattached. Sure he's a candidate for surgery. That nose sticks out further than something that sticks out a long way and his forehead has that strange jutting thing going on, but you did say you would kiss absolutely anyone," and I smiled at her sweetly as I said it.

Susan just smiled back.

"You don't think I will do you?"

I shook my head. No I didn't.

"Not a chance."
"Fine, besides I don't have problem with noses, that's why I like you," she said smartly.

With that off she went. See not exactly my fault, but still I feel responsible.

There he was alone just before midnight when a rather attractive 33 year-old brunette with big brown eyes walked up to him and started a conversation and who minutes later was celebrating New Year's with him in the only way that counts - with a kiss.

Susan then spent the next hour trying to get rid of him. It was, and she was the first to admit it, all her own fault.

"Look," she had finally told him, "it's New Year's Eve people are prone to impetuous kissing. They do that kind of thing."
"Not to me they don't," said the guy with the large nose and forehead and rather indignantly at that.

Susan was philosophical as she considered what he had said before sending him off.

"Yes I can see that now. You should carry a warning. Now go away."

Mr nose and forehead was unsurprisingly rather stunned by this. I mean you would be wouldn't you? As that's the other thing about Susan: she can be so harsh at times and it's tough being on the receiving end of witheringly delivered Susan invective.

Later that evening, Susan blamed me for having absolutely no single male friends that she can go out with.

"As far as I am concerned that was all your fault. I shouldn't have to go around kissing strange men."
"My fault?"
"Absolutely, you don't have any eligible single male friends, which is one of your failings."

It was at that moment that Susan, belatedly made her New Year resolution.

"I have decided that the next person I go out with I have to be desperately in love with."

I couldn't help laughing at this. Susan, like so many people I know, was talking again like a teenager and I told her so.

"You sound like a teenager."
"I guess I am, but, if I'm not desperately in love with them I'll at least have to like them quite a bit. Besides I don't think I have ever been desperately in love and frankly I find that depressing. What about you? Have you ever been desperately in love? I want to know."
"I don't know, but it suddenly seems terribly important."

"Okay, Gord, you're not a recluse."
"That's nice of you to say, thanks."
"Anyway, what do you have planned for the rest of the day?"
"What you mean after I finished the piece?"
"Yeah, after that."

I think about this. I have no plan. I never have a plan, this is why I quit my job to go freelance. I like a lack of plans in my life.

"I thought that I'd take a walk."
"Mmm I always imagined that you spend vast chunks of your day wandering saying hello to all the neighbourhood people: the news agent; the postman; and the grocers. A nod, a friendly grin, a wave of the hand it must make you a regular part of local street life."

I smile at Susan's critique.

"That's not me."

This, of course, a total lie. I will be in conversation with Zahid, who runs the corner shop within the hour. Zahid gives me top advice. Such as last year when I had recently split with a girl I had been dating Zahid cut straight to the chase in the way that only your local newsagent can.

"Ah Mr Gordon I'm wondering if you are having relationship problems?"
"That's scary Zahid, how can you tell?"
"Always when you are looking tired, you are having women problems."
"Well spotted, I am indeed having women problems. I don't think this one is going to last."
"A girl should last for a lifetime."
"A lifetime? Are you sure? The ones I meet don't last quite as long as that. I swear some don't even last through dinner."
"Ah Mr Gordon," Zahid says shrugging.
"Zahid, tell me about it."
"You must find a wife, and then you will have no more women problems."
"A wife?"
"Yes, a wife."
"You know, to be honest that's a little more radical a solution than I had been strictly considering."
"Children will follow and you will have no more time for worrying about women."
"You know to be honest, I'm not exactly liking this picture you're painting."

"Are you sure that's not you Gord?"
"No, and I should get dressed."
"I wish I had your job. I can't believe you are still not properly up."
"Suze that's the point: I don't have a job. We've been over this before, it's why as you put it I'm poor, permanently single and not much of a proposition to any female of the species."
"That's true, I'll see you later."

And with that Susan hangs up and leaves me to my laptop and to shower and think about leaving the house. That's right I might even go to the park.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 7

I've had something of a bizarre morning. Johnny turned up on my doorstep at 7am ringing my buzzer like someone in need of a restraining order. Who is up by 7am?

Oddly he wasn't even on his own. He had bought his suitcases and bags with him, which he was unloading from a black taxi as I looked on bleary eyed in my t-shirt and shorts. Not a pleasant sight for people passing in the street on their way to work.

I was still staring at Johnny's bags and trying to join the dots in a bags, bags, what does it all mean kind of way when he started telling me he needed to move into my flat.

"My flat? Move in?"

It was like one of those movies where a distant relative turns up and says they are coming to stay with you – permanently. You know, exactly like that, but just different, what with the lack of distant relatives these days.

I stood there looking at him as he told me this, watching him and the grumpy medallion wearing pot bellied taxi driver pile up half a dozen assorted bags, trying to workout why he would be doing this. He already shared a perfectly luxurious flat with his very good-looking girlfriend. My flat was small and not luxurious and it did not contain any good-looking women. I mean, come on lets be honest, that's a downside.

Then Johnny explained some more.

"She's thrown you out?"

"More by mutual agreement."

I eyed him and folded my arms. This was more to cover the writing on my t-shirt, which read: "I am not a lesbian". I have no idea where the t-shirt comes from, I swear. And to be fair it was never intended to be seen by the outside world.

"She kicked you out?"
"Okay, she kicked me out, but it's an amicable split."

I continued to eye him. Johnny is never on amicable terms with his ex-girlfriends. It's all frosty and artic waste like and just not a place you want to go visit.


Johnny smiled, shrugged, "Well she agreed to stop screaming at me if I left immediately."

"Oh yeah that's amicable."

"Yeah, well, easy come…" and he does some more shrugging as he pays the cab driver who suddenly finds a smile as he takes Johnny's generous tip.
"Dude I'm sorry, she was…"

And I'm lost for words. There are a few facts that you should know about Johnny. He works in advertising, is too good looking for his own good and dates stupidly attractive women who he has nothing at all in common with. Carolyn was typical of this group. She liked horse riding, tennis and going to the country. Johnny doesn't even know where the country is, I swear.

His idea of country pursuits is a visit to Hyde Park. The other thing is that despite not having anything in common with these women other than being good looking, which is (lets be fair) more a factor of Darwinism than commonality, he ends up dating them for between one year and 18 months at a time. At which point one or both of them will realise that their relationship has no future and never did, but at least they always looked good together at dinner parties and other people’s weddings photographs in a way that slightly irks the bride and groom. I could be wrong, but my feeling is that Johnny has been dating Carolyn for sometime more than a year but less than 18 months and we have in fact again arrived at that moment.

"Errr, really attractive."
"Really attractive? That's it?"
"She liked tennis, a lot, right?"
"Yeah, she liked tennis, but you know every blonde I have ever dated, likes tennis, what's that about?"
I shake my head laughing, "No, idea."
"Me neither, grab a bag will you?"

Johnny and I cart the bags upstairs and dump them in my spare room. I make some coffee in the kitchen and we stand there sipping from our cups.

"Oh I forgot to mention…" Johnny starts.
"You don't actually mind me moving in do you?"
"You know I did kind of like the whole…"
"Recluse thing?" Johnny supplies.
"Recluse? Hey, I was going to say space. I like the whole having my own space thing."
"Oh, Susan said she thought you were getting all recluse like."

Susan, I swear that girl has no life of her own.

"Susan, man wait until I get her on the phone."
"So bottom line is?"
"Dude, of course, I don't mind. Two player Playstation games are absolutely no good on your own."
"For a second I was going to ask you if you're joking, but then I realised that would be a stupid question."
"True," I nod.
"Cool, anyway, got an early one, better shoot. I'll give you details later. I know how you love a good break-up."
"Hey! That's unfair, I just like good stories, happy endings are way over rated."