I’m going to enjoy this weekend.
For the uninformed, this Saturday is of course Valentine’s day, a day which you approach with mixed emotions depending on what is happening in your life at the particular time it rolls around. In the past I’ve done most of them:
– The desperate teenage hoping that something will arrive for you, immediately followed of course by the self loathing that comes from being completely ignored AGAIN.
– The oh-my-God-am-I-really-doing-this feeling you get when you go out on a limb and send something lavish to someone that you have feelings for but are too scared to articulate them in a, you know, conventional sense. This also is followed by either the humiliation of being discovered or the emptiness of realising you have no way of finding out how your gesture was received given that it was totally anonymous.
– The cringeworthy moments when you actually receive something from someone only by a process of elimination realise it is from the last person you want to receive this kind of thing from and then have to spent hours agonising over how to deal with it. This is often followed by the realisation that the person you were chasing in phase 2 above probably used the same logic to work out it was you in the first place.
– The bah humbug feeling when you decide you are too old and cynical to worry about it and can sit and marvel at the way everyone gets sucked up in the blatant commercialism of it all.
This year however things are different. I am attached, committed and shacked up. Best of all it is with someone who comes from a country that doesn’t have a Valentines day except as a kind of European by-product. So it means very little to her – thus is money saved by James.
On the downside for some reason I’m being bombarded with complaints from friends about how crap this time of year is, how they will hate the weekend and boo hoo why does nobody love them, complaints which of course in previous years I would have empathised with totally but which now are getting tedious. Pull yourselves together people and stop texting me suggestively hoping I will rescue you from your misery.
February 14th is important for another reason anyway, Mum’s birthday and as usual I have nothing to get her. I mean what do you buy a woman you are related to when the shops are full of fluffy teddy bears and hydrogen filled heart balloons?
Strangely enough all the work doesn’t seem so bad when you have it out of the way and can look back with satisfaction.
What helps is the odd highlight that makes it all worthwhile. Take Saturday night for instance. The presenter who I desperately had to keep in line was Mike. Not the usual host of the slot and perhaps with good cause. An opinionated and argumentative man who never quite manages to strike the balance between debate and out and out abuse.
By one stage during the evening I was starting to get quite annoyed at how bad the whole thing was. That was until one caller came on the line in response to a debate about America and whether we would be better off being a part of it.
The caller was a fan of Michael Moore and was in the process of recommending his books, entitled Bowling For Columbine and Dirty White Men. Yes, I know that is not what they are called and all of us in the studio did too, but the caller was quite convinced that was what they were. I immediately dissolved into giggles behind the glass and ran the risk of seriously rupturing something when the caller went on to talk about his latest, Hey Guy, Where’s My Country Gone?.
The rest of his points were almost certainly lost on those of us in the studio. I was unable to see with tears running down my face, Mike frantically trying not to lose it on air as well. Therefore we should apologise to the caller who was almost certainly making a very valid and very serious point. Even if his grasp on his favourite literature was somewhat limited.
I’m my own worst enemy of course, unable to say no when people wave the prospect of paid work in front of me. Without wishing to boast, this is the almost ludicrous schedule I am currently in the middle of:
Friday – work at the office 9-6. Dash home for dinner before racing out to the radio station to work from 10pm until 2am. Taxi home, fall into bed exhausted.
Saturday – rise mid-morning and try to have some semblance of a life outside work. Not for long, immediately race out to the radio station again to get paid to listen to a football match and press the odd button along the way. Have a three hour break from 5pm before going back on the air at 8pm. This shift lasts until 2am during which time I discovered that a taxi home was a non-starter and so had to trudge through the rain across Blackfriars bridge to the bus stop. Two night busses home results in a one hour journey.
Which takes me to where I am right now, bleary eyed and unfocused. Ahead of me I still have another six hour shift at the radio station before coming back home to write the Launch column before bed.
Yes, I actually said I would do this and was enthusiastic about the prospect. Some people are their own worst enemies.