Thursday, July 1, 2010

Still Leeds

I’m still working in Leeds, i’m still dreaming of teaching English somewhere and i’m still a drunk idiot. Not much has changed since last updated this thing but i thought i’d try and write something anyway.

Actually, i’m not just dreaming of teaching English again. I did an English teaching course called a CELTA which was like swimming through the sea of syrup that is the English language for four solid weeks whilst conducting classes to immigrants and asylum seekers and having your teaching constantly assessed, evaluated and commented on. I’ve been applying for some teaching gigs on the back of that and in the mean time i’m still being an office monkey and living with my parents.

It’s not all practicality though. The added bonus of living in your home city is that there’s always somebody you’ve not seen in a while who wants a beer. Although as it’s Leeds this comes with its own unique drawbacks as well. I was walking home from a friend’s house one Saturday night a few weeks ago when a car pulled up next to me with the passenger window down. It was a Mini (one of the new girly ones) but filled with lads. The fella in the front passenger seat called out to me, “Scuse me mate, do you know where Napa is.” Napa is a bar just down the street from where i was so i pointed down the street said, “Yeah, if you just keep going on down here it’s on your-” which is as far as i got. The fella in the front passenger seat squirted water all over me from a sqeezy bottle and somebody else in the car threw an egg that whistled past my face and hit the hedge behind me. Then they drove off.

I stood there laughing to myself (actually i was laughing with them) as i just realised that i’d been victim to the world’s most white, English, middle-class version of a drive-by shooting that there will ever be. No need for semi-automatic, pump action, high velocity firearms in this part of the world. Oh no, just some common baking products and a girl’s car – not even a pimpmobile or a Hummer. And just what is the standard white, English middle -class reaction to this event? Lob back some spoonfuls of mango chutney and glass of gin? I also enjoyed the way they were polite about the whole thing by saying, “Excuse me”, before initiating the one sided drive-by food fight and then fleeing the scene at a pacy yet legally acceptable speed limit. I wasn’t watching close enough but i bet the driver even mirror-signal-maneuvered his way back into traffic without a firearm in sight.

I, on the other hand, have very recently used a gun. A paintballing gun. One of my mates is getting married this summer so the traditional stag weekend was duly rolled out all the way to Edinburgh which was a wonderful mess that included some oversized levels of alcohol, quad-biking and, yes, paintballing which is an activity that provides right and wrong in equal measure all at once. If you’ve been paintballing before you’ll probably understand that it turns placid, nice, affable people into mad, anger-filled commandos before you can even say, “Capture the flag”. Give a nice man a jump suit, a face helmet and gun and all of a sudden it’s you against the world and everybody else can eat paint. It’s also seems impossible to be good at and generally just involves being in pain and sweating and trying to find out where the hell you are or who you’re meant to be shooting or who just shot you or, more to the point, why the hell you and a large group of young men are celebrating the fact that one your best friends is going to be spending the rest of his life with the woman he loves by scurrying around a forest trying to impale each other with paintballs in the blistering summer sunshine of Scotland whilst nursing a hangover from the previous day. And that’s a lot of stuff to be thinking about when somebody’s just shot you in the arse. Which they did.

In other news i’ve now got a hearing aid. I know. I’m already short sighted with an acute drink issue. Give me a walking stick and tweed jacket and i’d be fucking pensioner. Anyway it got fitted yesterday morning so i now have perfect hearing through my right ear for the first time in years as my hearing has been slowly deteriorating for a while. It’s now a bit weird. I feel like i’ve got bionic hearing. I can hear a mouse fart in the room next door. Things shouldn’t be this loud. It’s ridiculous. It also sounds as if everything is being played through a Dictaphone including my own voice. Twenty-eight years gone and two out of five senses already malfunctioning. Which one’s next do you think? I’ll let you know when i do. As long as i can hear it or see it.

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