Sunday, January 23, 2005


I shall try not to add too much time to the 6 days 13 hours 7 minutes 49 seconds I’ve already spent on EA Sport’s Total Club Manager 2004. I shall probably achieve this by acquiring the 2005 version. Neil might like to know that the Blades are now five times Champions’ League winners and that Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane now holds 100 000.

I shall not take firearms or trout of any description into TESCO with the intention of introducing radical reforms in the fields of public relations and customer service. I shall accept sullen staff and shoddy service as my lot. I shall smile beatifically, thank them for the ritual humiliation and return after dark with ridiculous quantities of high explosives.

I shall have more conversations which resemble the following.

“Right. One of the questions you may be asked in the oral examination concerns the reasons you have for studying English. So. Why are you studying English? What could you say?........Anybody?........No?........Okay, I’ll tell you. Three little words. ‘I…don’t…know.’ Right…moving on to….” In short, I resolve not to care.

I shall find time. Bollocks. I have time, I am just irredeemably lazy. I shall spend less time in front of the monitor or reclining on my right flank on the sofa watching all the football on Sport1 and Sport2. I shall, not to put too fine a point on it, get off my ass and deal with the following.

My IT technician friend has three children, one of whom is 12 years old and is a jazz pianist. My saxophonist friend has been teaching him since he was nine and he now says that he has taught him as much as he can. He gives concerts every Friday evening in the vineyard jazz club and I have yet to get out there to witness this prodigy. I suck.

I do not see enough of my friends. And when I do, I am listless and terrible company. Suckity suck.

I do not pay enough attention to Idris. There is a dynamic there that is in urgent need of adjustment and fine tuning. I shall spend less time in completely and utterly selfish bastard mode and do something about it. I shall probably phone out for pizza more often.

My daughter loves me. Now there’s a weight too heavy for anyone’s shoulders. I fear I shall never be worthy of it. It is also only recently that I have had to accept the fact that she is Hungarian. She is four and a half years old and we have communication problems. Her Hungarian is better than mine. Up to now I have always spoken to her in English and she has replied in her mother tongue. As Idris doesn’t speak English, this is the only exposure she has to the language of her father. Minority parent, minority language. Not good. As far as I can tell, her passive skills are excellent. She replies appropriately (most of the time) to what I say and she can handle English language children’s web sites with aplomb. Actively however, is another story. Vocabulary wise, she’s pretty good but her sentences are limited to, “Daddy, can I have a …..”, “Pick me up please, daddy”, “Thank you” and “Pretty please”. I don’t think I can rely on her naturally acquiring the language any more. I am going to have to take a much more active part.

For failing to deal with any of the above, I have two perfect ready made excuses. I work far too many hours and am usually drained when I arrive home. And do you have any idea of how exhausting it is to have to conduct your entire life in a foreign language? To have to actively concentrate and focus exclusively on even the most mundane of conversations?

My use of ‘have to’ in the above expresses obligation and it is true that I am obliged in the ways I explained. But. It was also my choice, my free will, my decision. I shall have to find better ways of dealing with its consequences.

I shall focus less on excuses and deal with the reasons. I am fat, I am lazy and I am a slob. I eat shit and far too much of it and get no exercise whatsoever. I am of an age now where remaining fit is an effort of will and an expenditure of time. Even if in my mind I am still 18, I shall have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot abuse my body as I did then and still be able to run for buses. I guess this is the nub. I get fit and I will have more energy. I have more energy and I will not feel as if everything is too much trouble or somehow beyond me. I will then deal with my life in a way I can be proud of. I shall remove the crates of Amstel and Stella from off the multi-gym in the conservatory. I will. Honest.

And I shall not hold out any hope of hearing anything better in 2005 than that which I could hardly believe I heard on Friday evening.

“You don’t mind if my friend joins us this evening, do you?”

You what? Birthday, Christmas and New Year all in one. Waheeeeeeeey! Life can be good sometimes.

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