Sometimes it still gets me – Loneliness.
You would think I would have battled my way through it by now as I have so many times before.
Lets think about this – what period in my life springs to mind regarding loneliness … Oh! I know the perfect story to tell you all.
I will set the scene …
So, now this is going back over ten years ago. I was in a bit of a dire straight as I was back in Scotland having worked the summer cheffing in Blackpool. I was like a cat on a hot tin roof – I just couldnt bear to me back in the town of my birth with all its drudgery, so I hopped on a bus back down to Blackpool and while I was in Glasgow i phoned a loose acquaintance of mine who was working as a barman down there – luckily he said he would put me up for a couple of nights.
Phew! I would have been fucked otherwise.
I got down to Blackpool very late and turned up in the pub he was working in with my kit bag – that was a bad fucking move as his landlord owned that pub and certainly hadnt been told that I was going to be sleeping in her digs free of charge. Neither my mate or myself thought it looked that suspicious so that she might realise what was going on – but she obviously did as she burst in a few days later shouting at me to get the fuck out! My mate only just managed to persuade her to be able to keep his living arrangements the same – thank christ as I would have hated myself if he had been chucked out too. However those first few days before that happened, staying in his flat was ok. I couldnt be in there through the day though as it would make the other tenants suspicious. So I spent my time either walking up and down Blackpools Golden Mile picking up peoples dropped loose change or sitting reading in the local library. If you dont know about the Golden Mile in Blackpool how can I explain it? Well its like one very long amusement arcade which British stag and hen parties rove up and down the outside being paralytic drunk, starting fights and pissing anywhere. Even throughout the day. You can quickly learn to hate the human species when you see that kind of behaviour … the average british person is quite vile when in those kind of groups. Anyway, that was bad enough, but being absolutely without funds was worse. I couldnt claim a crisis loan from the DHSS as I technically didnt have an address yet. I needed a job and fast.
Then of course I got turfed out my mates digs.
But somehow by a stroke of luck I managed to pull a job and a flat rental out of thin air the very same day. The job was shit … in a large seafront hotel waiting tables … I lied through my back teeth to get it – I said I had loads of waiting experience – HA! I thought to myself “Well Ive been a chef for years … itll be a breeze!” How wrong was I! The flat was a piece of pure human kindness. I saw a “Flat To Rent” notice in the window of a local shop. I went straight to see the landlord and was honest and upfront with him … I told him I was flat broke and couldnt afford the 120quid deposit. He was a Scotsman too and had some connection to my home town, plus he could see how desperate I was. He gave me it on the spot saying that I could pay him what I could on my first pay day.
And thats when the grinding loneliness set in.
I was working 6 days a week. 2 shifts per day – the first one starting 5.30am and the second one ending around 9.30pm. I was a terrible waiter – I just didnt give enough of a fuck – but it was good for my customers – id give them free desserts, id tally up their orders on the minus side – Id take the piss and get the craic with them … but I was a terrible waiter. The restaurant manageress was the re-incarnation of Hitler. Id walk home at night and go into the off licence as I passed it – 8 cans of Super Lager everytime. One of the other waiters was dodgy as fuck – he had scams going everywhere and Im pretty sure that he had his missus on the game – One night after work he asked me if I was interested in buying some fake pound coins for 50p each. I told him yeah why not and went round to his flat with him. He showed me into the living room and his missus was there. We exchanged pleasantries while he went into the other room to sort out the coins. After taking thirty of them he showed me to the door, but on the way out I noticed his missus nodding to strangely when she thought I wasnt looking … “What dya think of the missus then”, he asked me as I paid for them … I didnt know what to say … “Eh, Aye, she seems nice” I told him. Then he said “If you slip us an extra 30quid mate, shell suck you off if you like.” I was dumbfounded. I told him that I was ok thanks and got the flying fuck out of there. Scum.
In fact – looking back there is loads of weird wee stories that happened during that 4 or 5 month period. But the main one was isolation. I felt completely and utterly cut off from reality. Despite undeniably walking through the face of it everyday. I hammered myself with alcohol to just get through it.
I managed to make it through till a couple of days after xmas and then woke up one morning and just jacked the job in … I was washed out with all the craziness. I had 50 quid to my name and bought a one way bus ticket to Skegness where I spent three nights sleeping on a beach … but thats another story entirely.
Fuck me I was burnt out even in my early twenties.