Sunday, November 07, 2004

stay positive, sir

How eventful the last couple of days have been! The whole week, in fact, has been eventful, or at least contemplative, in some way or form. Hopefully this week will be a little more relaxed, although it does bring the troubles of essay writing.

It began last Sunday on Halloween. What I thought at the time to be a small case of friendly banter soon snow-balled into a rather cruel taunting session. Needless to say, the victim of said taunting got pretty shitty for the rest of the day. Over the course of that day and the next, it suggested two things to me. Firstly, that, for the most part, what I had been dismissing as 'friendly banter' throughout the short and narrow course of my social life was neither 'friendly' nor 'banter', but rather a way of exorcising myself of any insecurities. To put it bluntly, putting over people down had been a rather selfish way of making me feel better about myself - ignoring the fact that it made those that I directed these explosions towards feel like shit. Second... that this was not a good thing, and it must change. This has been the most difficult part. When you have positioned yourself into your own personal mould within whichever social circle you belong to, changing your attitude towards people is relatively easy, but, in your previous behaviour, you have unknowingly restricted yourself by impressing a perspective onto your friends and acquaintances that has become the 'norm'. And so, it is important not only to change the way you behave, but to convince those around you that you are a really nice person... (or am I?)

Any which way, having apologised once to Dunc's face on Sunday, and again by text on Monday afternoon, some alone time was needed. Its becoming that acts of self-isolation are becoming a habit at the moment, and this too needs to change, but that is of little relevance. And in this instance, it probably wasn't the best thing to do. By my return home at 7pm, I had already had a phone call from the house which I had ignored, and, on getting back, the tension was so great that it was impenetrable. Thinking that another apology wouldn't hurt, I said 'sorry' yet again, and while it was returned with a 'that's ok', it still wasn't right. In fact, it didn't feel right until at least Wednesday. Ever since, I've tried my hardest to make sure I have no more misunderstandings, though I can't say for certain whether I've been particularly successful. Of course, confidence in myself is lowered by the constant knowledge that I'm trying to save a ship that's already sunk, and the constant reminding of what I've been like in the past.

However, the remainder of Wednesday and Thursday went alright, I felt, if you ignored the fact that I had been a little bit pushy on the subject of Rachel, but then, pushiness wasn't something that I had previously acknowledged and decided to alter, so that can be excluded. It's a fairly minor issue in regards to my social conduct, though having now realised its existence, that is now also subject to change. It was Friday that proved to be the turning point. Rachel was coming over that day, and so it was understandable that tensions were high, I think. Given that we'd all been out the night before, Friday morning was, in itself, fairly alright. I wasn't yet feeling the after-effects of Thursday night's drinking, and so, by focusing myself on my studies, and managing to avoid any confrontation whatsoever, because everybody else was asleep, I had no social worries, or at least none significant. Of course, my pushiness the night before was at the back of my mind, and so I knew that I, of all people, had to be careful about what I said or did that day...

After three hours of class, I returned home to find that Rachel had already arrived with some bodily marks that weren't exactly a comfort to Dunc. He told us all, but I was sure not to say much on the subject, thinking that more than enough was said about Ra last year. Besides, it would have made the week's efforts redundant. I left them largely to themselves. However, all it took was for me to shout 'chocolate fingers' to Larry, and Dunc, overhearing yet not quite hearing (his senses had been roused when Larry said that I was going to shout 'KY jelly' up the stairs), to think that I was talking about him, and even if the situation had not reverted back to its usual self, I was most certainly pissed off that my efforts made apparently little, if any, difference. The rest of the evening continued fine, and despite the taunts of Larry and Rich, I felt that I remained fairly amicable throughout, even warning Ian to leave the subject of Rachel alone. It was the combination of lots to drink, and underlying anger at people's presumptuous attitude in regards to what I say and think, and one comment from Dunc that I can't quite remember that created a bigger bang than any of the fireworks had created that night. Recounting the ins and outs of a drunken argument is not particularly worth it, so I'll just give the effects:

  1. A Dunc that was pretty fucking pissed off with me because I was pissed off with him and had blanked him after he made the comment that I could not quite remember, but that really pushed me over the edge.
  2. A drunken me adamant to leave any possible solution to the problem until the following morning when we could think a little more clearly, and talk a little more sensibly.
  3. A Dunc that would tell me exactly what he thought of me, or, at least what he thought of me in terms of what I think of other people. My housemates joke about me being a 'genius' which is not particularly true, and it hurts a little each time they say it. I'm not sure why they've got the impression that I'm that big headed, but they obviously have. (N.B. Given the self-centred nature of this post, trying to argue that I'm not big-headed is utterly pointless... nevermind).
  4. In the first good turn of the day, a recognition that I had been trying to be less cruel and sarcastic all week, but that even then what I considered to be friendly banter was being misconstrued as cruel and sarcastic given my former, and more typical, social conduct.
  5. An Ian acting as peacemaker, which made me feel a little better since I didn't feel so much like the bad guy, just the misunderstood guy. He spoke to me first, and then Dunc...
  6. At which point, I made my escape. Given the stress that I had been under, I had already got through 10 cigarettes of my own that evening, and three of Rich's, and now, not wanting to bug Rich anymore, and having no more of my own left, I took a walk on Albert Road to get some. I took the time to walk from there to Fratton, from Fratton to the city centre, and from the city centre to back home. Looking back at myself now, I can see that I was probably a little bit melodramatic, but I had drunk a lot, and I didn't want to have to face anybody else. I figured everybody would be asleep when I got back in, and when I returned at about 4am, they were, so I went to bed too.
Fortunately, in the morning, Dunc apologised for whatever he said, though neither of us could remember. Since I couldn't explain what exactly had pissed me off, I had to explain that it was just his attitude that evening. Nothing more. I was just pissed off that he had attributed what other people had said to me. Though, as I said, that is understandable, and of no surprise. Hopefully, that should be the end of it. Now that I've sorted things out with Dunc, I'm wondering whether I should talk to other friends back home. I can't say that my attitude to them has been anywhere near as detrimental as it has been with Dunc, so, perhaps a mere change will do.

I am trying though... Chris and Ben always said that I was surly.


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