Saturday, March 18, 2006


Prior to my flatmate's leaving for Africa, I was all excited about the prospect of having the flat all to myself. You'd think I would stick around more. But neeeoooeeww, even when I'm in London I don't even seem to sleep at home. I left my flat yesterday late afternoon for a bit of St. Paddy's Day pub crawling in and around Covent Garden, and just returned home today.

After Covent Garden I ended up at a friend's pub in Bounds Green, which, considering the history of the neighborhood, is a plush, fantastic pub, where I played with lotsa friends I've not seen in a while. See, the thing about working and traveling all the time nowadays is that I seem to be neglecting all my friends in London. Last night, since my laptop was not physically attached to my fingers and legs, I temporarily forgot that I was even in London. My good friend Clare has just temporarily moved to her parents' big home in North London while she is 'in between' flats. Yesterday evening and especially this morning, when Mummy awoke me with a giant breakfast spread across the dining room table, I thought I was hallicinating, and that I was in yet another of the B&Bs in which I've been staying while traveling all over England. During my confusional misplacement, and slight hangover, I thought Clare was going to slap me when I asked if I was supposed to tip her mum, and especially when I handed over my Visa. Having only met her parents a couple of times prior, and having the partyboy reputation I've displayed to them previously, this morning I felt like Spud in that scene from Trainspotting when he awakens in confusion at his girlfriend's parents' place. (Only, in comparison to this scene, thankfully I hadn't shit myself and splattered the kitchen walls with the nasty contents of the dirty sheets.)

Two weeks ago, the B&B I stayed at while in Leicester was gorgeous - I didn't want to leave. It was so cute, comfy, and quaint. This past week while in Yorkshire, though, I thought I was in the little place from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The owner was a yappity, rather deranged man who ran around in loud flannel pajamas at all hours of the day, emulating a spooky Norman Bates-esque oddball. When I awoke the first morning I was there, I expected that he would serve me breakfast in one of his mother's dresses. Whenever I am in such situations, I just think of the satirized characters of Little Britain, remember that they're weird but harmless, and then calm myself down.

Speaking of Yorkshire (and excuse my hardcore American kick-ass phrase), this weekend I totally rocked the fucking film festival to the ground. Because of my presentation/lecture, my article has already been chosen for another book publication (yay!). I wish I could just get paid to write and research lectures/presentations and travel all over the world giving speeches. I was by far the youngest speaker at the film festival - everyone else was at least 10, 20, 30, or perhaps even 40 years my elder.

I am far better accepting punches in the face than I am compliments. I'm not one of those people who automatically returns a compliment to the person who has complimented me, as that seems like a cliche or cop-out. It's a sort of fake benevolence, and I'm not so into human plasticity. Still, I have no idea what to say when I receive praise, as my Type A, driven personality tells me that I only want to hear what's wrong with me so I can continue attempting to perfect myself. So, as I stood around receiving praise from dozens of film festival admirers, I somehow proceeded to drink two bottles of champagne, in an hour, on an empty stomach. (I repeat from a previous post: I am far more comfortable talking to 3,000,000 people at once than I am just 3.) When I excused myself and went to the toilet and saw my plastered face in the mirror, my conscience told me, "Dude, you must get the hell outta here before you say something stupid or offensive to one of these people, or before you fall on top of one of them."

So I ran away. Far, far away. Well, as far away as my Norman Bates B&B. I am laughing about this now, but at the time, the worst part was that I shoved my champagne glass into the hands of a high-profile film festival convener, and said, "Here, please hold this." Then I ran away and didn't return for fear of having to accept and respond to more compliments. I am far more comfortable being the cynical fuck-up in the corner than the one getting all the attention. Maybe it's part of my Middle Child Syndrome, I don't know - but we second-borns don't wanna be in the damn spotlight; we just want to be the best via quiet self-confidence. Many middle children aren't particularly interested in pleasing others; when it comes down to success, we only want to please our unpleasable selves.

Now, even though I am tempted to go play with more friends all weekend, I really must lock myself in for much today and tomorrow and knock some of these dense items off my infinite To-Do List.

You know what I think? I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch. - Norman Bates