Archive for August, 2011

So the interview was yesterday, and it went alright I think. Got there just before the shop opened, there were three other people already waiting: one other guy who seemed a bit quiet, a girl who seemed a bit prim and proper, and one woman who I hope actually knew the people who worked there, because she never shut up. We were split up and had different people showing different parts of the shop, first was the tills. I’d never used them before but they seemed easy enough to pick up, I’ll have to work on my hellos though. They’d made a big point about the till monkey being the first and last thing you see in the shop so you had to make sure you made a good impression on the customer. At first I tried a breezy, almost campy “Hello!” that felt like a lime green g-string cutting into my bollocks, so for the next customer I a normal “Mornin’.” They seemed to change their mind for what I’m sure was an entirely unrelated reason and promptly turned heel and walked back out of the shop. Next was the warehouse, or shelf stacking, side of things. So mundane was this section of the business not even my tour guide couldn’t think of much to say about it. Though she was kind enough to tell me how she’d just had to serve a gypsy she used to shag, which served a nice wee ice breaker. The one-on-one interview came after that, featuring the kind of idiotic questions that I can’t imagine ever give an accurate reflection of what a candidate is actually like as a person. All the same, I fed them the usual shit that’s gotten me work in the past: I worked as part of a team when I captained the rugby squad for a few years, my friends would say I’m reliable and punctual, of course I love answering questions, yadda yadda. That part went alright, the interviewer was friendly, we both liked to read and I guess it doesn’t hurt to have something in common with the people who decide whether or not you get off the dole.

Last up was working with the animals themselves. The girl showing me was around a foot shorter and surprisingly cute until I noticed The Thing. Everyone has it, there’s that certain part of them that stands out, like a freckle or the way their ears are, or they bear a resemblance to someone you know or who is on the telly so that afterwards each and every time you see them from a certain angle or have they a certain look on their face, it always reminds you of it. So what ruined this otherwise quite pretty girl? She gave a wee coy smile and I caught a glimpse of Limmy:


I could barely look her in the eye from then on. It was as if he was chopped at the knees and had undergone a few months of hormone treatment, I was horrified. But she was nice, and took great pleasure in showing me how to tell the sex of any small furry creature she could get her hands on. Hamster vagina, phwoar! I was shown mostly stuff I’d picked up while at the kennels, cleaning, caring, all the usual shit. We were all brought back together to be told that we’d hear if we got the job in a week or two. There’s supposed to be another couple of groups to come in in the meantime, so I’m guessing that maybe four or five jobs with roughly twelve candidates to choose from. Better odds than a lot of places. Tits McGee was nowhere to be seen, fingers crossed we both get the job.

When I got home I got a phone call from a girl I went to college with, who I shall call Hans despite it being a guy’s name, because she’s German and it’s short. Thinking of it now she makes up a kind of trinity of the people I spent most time with when I was there. 28F was like the Id, who had a habit of making me go “fuck it” and fall for whatever impulses were around at the time. Marsha would probably be the Ego, who broached the middle ground, indulging baser instincts but in a less self-destructive way. So Hans would be the Super-ego, which is a retarded fucking name, but she’s the one who encourages me to be on the straight and narrow, study, do well, and thinks I should be a writer. According to the wikipedia page on the matter (which I checked in the hope that my lack of Psychology knowledge wasn’t too obvious) the “super-ego works in contradiction to the id.” Hey, that’s foreshadowing! Maybe there’s something to that whole being a writer idea…

Anyway, after the exams Hans disappeared off the map, didn’t answer anyone’s calls, didn’t reply to any messages on the internet. Bunch of ideas got thrown around: she’d decided to just close one chapter of her life and move on, her teacher boyfriend didn’t approve of us, she was in a state over the exams, she plain didn’t like us… Loads of stuff. Marsha made more of a fuss over it than anyone else, got quite hurt at being snubbed. I was slightly too, but in all honesty I thought that I’d end up not seeing anyone either, and most of us have drifted apart anyway. So no-one had seen her for months, but she messaged a few times. Like a bitter ex, it’d only be when she was drunk, but she seemed happy enough and I just let her get on with it. On Wednesday night she’d messaged again asking if I could come in with her to an interview for uni the next day, obviously couldn’t because of my own interview, but I wished her luck and figured it’d be another few weeks before I heard from her again.

So she phoned, asked if I wanted to come into Glasgow, where she was with another girl from college, Missy (as in Elliot, she loves her rap music). Figured it was time for a catch up and I’d nothing better to do, so I got the train in. George Square in the center of town has been turned into a mini Philadelphia for the filming of World War Z. This has caused an outbreak of yokelism as papers and people make a big deal of Brad Pitt being in town and a few American cars parked on the street. It’s embarrassing really. We met up there, picked up exactly where we’d left off, no awkwardness or bad blood between us. Hans said after the exams were done she’d gotten depressed about it all and spent a month inside, then the rest of the time travelling and going back to Germany for a bit. Getting worked up to the point of acting like a hermit sounded like her, so I accepted it, told her she was a daft bitch, and we forgot about it. We went to a pub, had a few pints and shot the shit. Turns out that neither Hans nor Missy are, nor ever were, particularly fond of 28F. I had an inkling, but didn’t think it was that bad. My annoyance at her feeding my dog hash cakes has grown rapidly larger over time, and if I wasn’t still drunk and partly high myself the next morning I would have most likely told her to fuck off out of my sight. Having her laugh after my dog managed to make it out of bed and be sick in the back garden pisses me off more each day. I knew that dope wasn’t going to hurt her, just make her thirsty and tired, but it shows a lack of common fucking sense for 28F to have done it in the first place. Rant adjourned. Hans felt bad about not replying to any of Marsha’s messages, I told her that the pair of them could pussy-foot around it and end up not seeing each other again, or just meet up, which Marsha would be happy to do. A few more jars later and we got the train home together. Got dropped off by Hans’ boyfriend on the way to take Missy home. He’s a nice enough guy, but I’ve yet to see him not talk like he was a teacher, though it is funny for one of the first questions I hear him ask people is “what school did you go to?” even if they’d left years ago. Not sure what to make of him, don’t think he’s too fond of me, but I see him little enough that making sure he’s won over isn’t high on my list of priorities. I’ll get the cunt drunk one night and see what he’s really like.

This run is really looming into view now too. My default reaction to somebody saying “you can’t do that” is for me to go “wanna fuckin’ bet?” and then doing it just to prove a point. I’m liable to have a heart attack doing this thing. But I’m committed, and it’s better to just fucking get on with something and make a memory than do nothing and watch one day bleed into the next.


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Got a call this morning telling me I’d gotten through to the work trials for the job at Pets At Home. Really need to let the phone have two more rings so I have time to wake up before I say “Arreeeuugh?” as a greeting. As far as I know it’s not a full shift, probably an hour at the most to see how I handle myself. Fuck, I’ll need to put on a happy face and everything, it’s going to be fucking murder. With a bit of luck Tits McGee will be there as well, can’t imagine her not getting through. Having never been a till monkey before, I’m no doubt making a bigger deal of it than needs be. Getting a half decent amount of money coming in regularly will be awesome.

I’d applied for the highers course at college again this year after the interview last week too. It starts on monday I think, so I’ve most likely missed getting a place by a long margin. However if it’s anything like last year, there’ll be a fair few bams that drop in within the first three weeks or so, I might be able to get on that way. Part of me doesn’t want to go through it all again, but then I might be working in Pets At Home for pennies, getting an upgrade of my results would be productive.

I’ve had about two and a half hours sleep, I’m dying as I type, I’m going to take an early night, get myself used to dawn starts again. Peace and love and gie’s ma hole, Johny.

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So, the big news story from my neck of the woods has been the English riots. The news might say the UK riots, but they’ve only taken place south of the border. Scotland did wake up in glee to hear there was a chance for some mayhem, but then decided that for once the high horse was just too damn comfortable, so we watched from afar as England tore itself apart from a couple of days. A lot of people from around the world have been asking just what caused it all, and depending on who you ask it might be because of this year’s new buzzword: “sheer criminality,” or as a result of Tory cuts and disillusionment by the poorest from society. What can be agreed upon is that it all stemmed from the killing of a man by police. The breaking news was that he had fired upon police and received the expected result, with one officer only surviving because the bullet was embedded in his radio. Then came the doubts, the allegations that not only did he not fire any weapon, but he wasn’t even carrying one at the time. During the riots it transpired that while he was carrying a replica that had been converted to fire live ammunition, he hadn’t fired upon police, and that the bullet found embedded in the radio was in fact police issue. A peaceful protest was held as a result of the man being killed, painted by some as a father of four who had been with his partner for twelve years, and by other as a drug dealer who got what was coming to him.

Said protest turned violent after a policeman allegedly beat a sixteen year old girl with a baton as result of her mouthing off to him. From there it deteriorated and spread over London, rioting transformed into looting and arson, and any unified message there was disappeared. There was no big march or frontline for the police to deal with, it was a load of separate flashpoints all over the city. Part of me understood in the beginning when the main images were of big businesses being broken into and looted. Who gave a fuck about them? They’d be insured to the hilt and could take the knock to earnings, it was opportunistic and illegal sure, but I don’t know if I wouldn’t have taken the chance myself. My instinct to “row row fight the powah” came into play, but as I said before, there was no cause being fought for, no target to combat, no unity in action. It wasn’t blacks, it wasn’t whites, it wasn’t the poor or underprivileged, it was individuals. There’s that little voice in everyone that wants to make a mark on the world, to change something. There’s also that other little voice that makes you wonder what you’d do if there were no rules you had to live by, and if you thought you could get away unpunished. I wasn’t in any of the riots, and I don’t condone them, but they must have been exciting for the people in them. They actually did something, put their little miserable corner of the world on the news and have people halfway around the world thinking about them. Could you imagine being able to just walk into a shop, take whatever you wanted and then smash the place up? To set a building on fire, one that had stood through centuries, monarchies, empires and world wars, and marvel at how you brought that big thing down? To have changed the landscape of that place forever? You’d have made the only mark on the world you ever will. It must have been intoxicating. And the fight or flight of battling against the police wouldn’t have been half bad either. For better or for worse, memories have been made over the past week.

But then it wasn’t just big businesses being burnt to the ground, it wasn’t about protesting against a rise in student fees so smashing up every bank in sight or storming the headquarters of one of the parties in power. It was homes and communities being destroyed, and thugs taking their chance to mug and beat people without any worry of being punished for it. I’ve never seen anything so directionless and pointless in all my life. Some soundbites had the most idiotic people they could find giving reasons like “punishing the rich” and “showing they could do what they want.” And for what? So that innocent people were left destitute? So the corner shops that had been open going on three generations were destroyed, probably never to reopen? The rich sat miles away, safely tutting as they laid on their couches and watched it all unfold on TV.

The entire thing has saddened me. What were the causes behind it? Fucked if I want to delve into whether computer games are more at fault than kids not being leathered by teachers in school anymore. Maybe it’s that nobody is scared they might go to the bad fire after they die. Who the fuck knows. For now I’ll chalk it up to an outbreak of mass cuntishness on the part of the looters and the arsonists, and even more widespread hysteria and stupidity by the media and people at large. It seems many aren’t very good at joined up thinking. Punishing those responsible by cutting off their benefits and evicting them from their homes sounds great on paper, until you go and try to find a place in the world where making people poor and homeless has done anything to help the country at hand. Then there’s politicians wanting to appear tough and in control advocating the use of water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets, none of which have been used on the mainland UK before. Would they have been useful in these riots? Perhaps. That doesn’t mean that the precedent should be set, as it only means they’ll be used at legitimate protests, leading to injury and death where there otherwise wouldn’t have been. I don’t trust the police, it’s a job that’s very tempting to thugs and those who want to feel power over others, handing them access to even more dangerous weapons shouldn’t be considered. Batons, kettling, and horse charges have served until now. Another idea was to send the army in, which is in itself laughable. They just don’t have the proper training that the police do, and the idea of the government ordering the military to act against civilians, even those who are rioting, isn’t justified in almost any situation. The papers went to great lengths to inform us how young these supposed hardened criminals were, nobody seems to see the problem with sending infantry and reservists in to deal with people still in school. Then there’s good old freedom of speech that’s being threatened, with “proposals” being drawn up that would block or limit access to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Blackberry Messenger. Turning off mobile phone masts was also bandied about, obviously 999 calls don’t matter that much when there are headlines and votes to be grabbed. All of these are knee-jerk reactions that could send us on a slippery slope where rioting is justified. Mass disorder in this country is few and far between, the police don’t need any more power than they already have to deal with it. Part of me is worried that what may have been our one chance to properly change things, to have the police on the back foot and those in power worried, was wasted on looting fucking Comet and JD Sports. Imagine how things may have been different if the protests against the Iraq War eight years ago for instance carried such venom, if a million angry people had shown just what they could do given the chance. We don’t fight to stop war, we fight for a new flatscreen TV and an Xbox to play it on.

But that’s enough rambling about silly English nonsense, I had an interview! Or at least stage one of three before I’m allowed to have a (probably) part-time job. A lot of fucking hoops to jump through, I’m sure people get on the boards of international companies quicker than this. Anyway, it was for Pets At Home, they were opening a new branch in the retail park not far from where I live. This group interview was meant to show off how you worked with others and talked in public, and involved the stupid activities you have to do as a result. My first instinct was to say a dog: friendly, does lot’s of different jobs, all that shit. Of course I had to wait until the end, after there’d already been a bunch of dogs, a fly, a guy who wanted to be a cat because they could be lazy, a couple of cheeky monkeys and the wanker next to me who was the predictable lion, with the proud, fierce, not-to-be-fucked with connotations that go with it. I had literally seconds and couldn’t think of one. I had to show I had imagination, it had to be original, it had to be common enough people would know about it,  it had to have a load of positive attributes that wouldn’t sound clichéd or contrived. This was a lot of stress for working in a fucking pet shop! My turn came.

“Hi, my name’s Johny, and if I could be any animal, I would be a bear…”

SHITE! Why in fuck’s good name would I be a bear? Do I like honey? Is it because I prefer fishing but am at home raiding through bins and killing the odd teenager in Norway as he sleeps?

“…because, eh, everyone loves a teddy bear! ;D ;D ”

I’d somehow developed a third, ginormous testicle that made my voice into a low cuddly growl and a big cheery grin on my face. They all burst out laughing, some had tried before to be funny and got a polite murmur in response, I think what I said was as unexpected to them as it was to me, and they all started roaring. I might just have pulled it off. Next we had to talk for a minute on whatever subject was written on the card we pulled from a deck of them. Again, I was nearer the end. Some weren’t too bad, like what your last meal would be, then Tits McGee (she’s getting a stand-in name right now, as I want to get onto the next stage of interviews mainly because I think she will, and I want her phone number or Facebook) said her’s would be her mum’s lasagne with all her family around, which was almost exactly what mine was going to be. A couple of people pulled “What was your most embarrassing moment” and told stories of them being drunk, one girl went in depth about how after three kids she had a week bladder, so as she was vomiting she peed herself at the same time. I struck a big red pen through them in my mind’s eye, doubt they’ll get the job. I pulled out “What would you do if you won the lottery?” It was the universe’s way of throwing me a bone after calling myself a teddy bear. A minute on what you would do with a lottery win? Fuck, most people could talk for an hour. I mentioned I’d try to be sensible with it, maybe invest in a couple of businesses, but that I always wanted to skydive as well, so I’d definitely do that. Plus buy the plane, airfield, pilot… that section was easy. Next was having to build a fancy plastic hamster cage, that might’ve went better, most made a show of talking to people, showing they could work in a team.

Last exercise was a Dragon’s Den task, we had to design a new product for the shop, didn’t matter how daft it was, you just had to sell it. It was a group task, my first thought was a mileometer / dynamo attached to a dog’s tail to record the distance travelled and power a battery. It stayed at the back of my mind however, as I was in this group with Tits McGee. She had the idea of what amounted to a climbing frame for dogs, everyone agreed on it, and we set about designing it. The two other guys stayed mostly silent, the two other girls spent time making a horrible drawing of what it was meant to look like, and me and Tits McGee got down to hashing out a mind map of all the rest. She’s bubbly and outgoing, and the bitch stole my spot when I was meant to do the presentation. I did answer the questions though, fucked if I was going to let her steal all the chances to show you aren’t shy, but not in-your-face. The two other groups only had one person talking apiece, so that meant five were getting the most notice outside of the planning stage. Last was a five minute one on one interview. It was simple enough, I was asked how I would handle an angry customer, do I like working with the public (ideally no, but a job’s a job) and mentioned I worked in a kennels, which got a lifted eyebrow. Earlier it was mentioned most of the questions by customers were about dogs, s hopefully it counts for something. It all went not too badly, until I went through an alarmed door. Make a bit of a cunt of myself there. The jobcentre’s treated like Fort Knox, the door had no reason to even be locked. Escorted by a security guard who didn’t bother telling anyone the door that had no warnings on it would start screaming. Prick. Don’t know whether I’ll get a call back, it’s possible, or they might just choose more bubblier, outwardly cheery people. Fingers crossed.

Ex phoned me out of the blue a few days ago. She’s like the fucking Candyman, mention her too much and she’ll come and get you. She said hello and I had to ask her who it was, I didn’t remember her voice. As an example of how fucked our relationship was, my first thought was to wonder who had died this time, as that’d been the main reason for her phoning in the few months after her breakup. She said she called as we hadn’t spoken in a while (eight months and not long enough) and asked how I got on with my exam results. I more or less stonewalled her, one word answers and could almost feel the awkwardness at her end of the line as she struggled to start a conversation and then realised it wasn’t going to happen, said goodbye and I hung up. The whole call lasted 46 seconds. She texted me a few minutes later, apologising for calling and asking what my results where. I didn’t reply. She might have changed, but not enough to break the habit of being awkward sounding and apologetic over the slightest thing. I didn’t want to be rude, didn’t want to be the cunt ex, but there was no point letting her into my life. We’ll never hang out and be friends, and we’ll never get back together, so having to contact at all is for the best. Something nagged at me, it seemed too random, and not really like her to just want to chat. And though it might sound strange, there was no background noise when she was on the phone, it was too quiet. I checked her Facebook and sure enough, she was in her sister’s playing truth or dare at the time of the call. I guess that she was dared to do it, in which case I’d expected her to say she was pregnant or just roll about laughing or something. In terms of prank calls it was the shittest I’d ever heard. Still, it’s done now, and if it’s another eight months before she bother calling it’ll be too soon.

Oh, and my car’s fixed now, had enough money (god bless JSA) to get it fixed. Was relatively cheap to get it sorted, it was misfiring. Got that run in a week as well, looking forward to it.

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And the results are in! Expectations weren’t high, especially after the night before when a few people got their results in early after signing up to email and text notifications and a couple of folk who I thought would get good grades didn’t. Three that I know of so far failed all four subjects outright, including Marsha, which part of me is convinced is down to some computer error. We were neck and neck most times in regards to marks on any tests, and she was far ahead of me in the prelims, and revised more in a day than I did in a month. I thought that if she’d failed, when I opened up my letter it’d have been four straight “no awards.” But it wasn’t! I actually did far better than I thought I would:

  • B for English. Despite my second essay being terrible and so lacking in sleep that I couldn’t focus in the exam and actually forgot the name of the poet I was writing about. Had to ask someone after the exam had finished who it was so I could quickly put the name in before the invigilator collected the papers. An upgrade from a C that I got in school.
  • B for Modern Studies. Really surprised at this one, as knowledge-wise I was one of the best in the class, knowing a lot background shite that for once served a purpose, but structuring the essays and reports I always seemed to be struggling. Perhaps the tutor marked me more harshly during the year, maybe I just pulled it out of the bag. Biggest surprise either way, as I honestly thought I had fucked it, being just as tired as during the English exam.
  • C for Business Management. Slightly disappointed in this one to be honest, I thought it was one of my strongest subjects, and as it was an afternoon exam instead of in the morning I managed to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. Left the exam feeling quite confident as well. Mostly likely I lost marks by giving a list of the right stuff, but not explaining it properly. Endurance subjects are a cunt.
  • Biology was a no award. I wasn’t surprised by it, and to be honest if I had even gotten a D I would’ve been shocked. I never found it hard, it just bored me to tears, and I didn’t do enough revision. My own fault, fuck it.

So it wasn’t the three As and a B Thickness got at the same time, but it’s two more highers than I had last week. Now I need to figure out what in fuck’s good name I want to do with them, or indeed what I can do with them. And there’s still that nagging sensation that I know for a fact that I could’ve done better, could’ve worked harder. Then I remember that my best marks came from the times I was sleep deprived and carrying a hashover, so maybe things are as they’re meant to be, fuck knows. The grades aren’t bad, but they aren’t brilliant either, and I’m tempted to go back and try to upgrade them, make it easier to get into Glasgow or Strathclyde uni. So I’ve got a few more avenues open, but can’t decide what I want to do. Same old story. At least I don’t have to make excuse of why I spent nine months and got nothing out of it.

Was woken by an unexpected phone call from 28F of all people (who I now realise I haven’t mentioned before, but I’ll leave that until the end) asking how I’d gotten on. The postman hadn’t been yet (In Scotland, I’ve yet to see post get delivered as you have your breakfast, like in every film ever. And postage classes are When It Gets There and Good Fucking Luck Bud) and I was still asleep. We had a short chat, her avoiding the word boyfriend like it could give you cancer when she said what she had been up to the night before, and me sleepily hearing what she was saying through three feet of muffling sleep. I told her goodbye, realising later that I’m not sure if she heard me say it, the phone being most of the way to the bedside table at the time. That opened the floodgates, and reaffirmed my determination never to work in a call centre or be anyone’s secretary. Was nice to be able to say a little bit of good news for once, and though it’s naughty of me to admit it wasn’t totally bad that I did better than some people either. My mum had a day off from finding everything I did negative as well, a well deserved break.

Got a call from the Jobcentre today about an opening at a new branch of Pets At Home that was opening near where I stayed, from the sounds of it they need a fair few staff and soon. The number of hours isn’t great, but it’ll double what I get just now on the dole (I’m trying not to think of the fucking tax) and it’s easier to get a job when you’ve got a job. And as it’s only sixteen hours a week, that could work out at either four “after-school” shifts or two full ones at the weekend. Either way with a little bit of luck I could maybe go to college during the day. Hopefully having worked with animals before gets me a foot in the door. Though I pray that they don’t bother to phone up that particular reference, and 1) I didn’t tell her that I was using her as a reference. and 2) I’m almost certain she couldn’t wait to see the back of me. Decentish exam results and the chance of a job all in the space of 48 hours? All I need is to bang a wee dirty tomorrow and I’ve gained myself a Triforce.

28F’s story after the jump. (more…)

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A beige update.

Urgh, bored beyond belief so thought I might as well make an entry. Precisely sweet fuck all has happened in the past week, and I can’t seem to content myself with anything. It’s not for lack of distractions either, I have more music, films, and games than I can possibly listen to, watch, and play, but none of them hold my interest for very long. I’m into the slowly-feeling-more-shit-and-listless phase of unemployment from the looks of it. Get my results the day after tomorrow, same as my little brother. Man is it going to be shit comparing what we got. Let’s hope the wee gobshite had a lazy fifth year and will make it up in sixth.

My dad has been in an unusually helpful and generous mood, not sure if I like it all that much. My car’s been parked up outside for maybe around a month now as I can’t afford to get it serviced and fixed, he’s offered to pay to get me back on the road. I don’t want to sound or be ungrateful, and it’s nice of him to offer, but it’s my problem and I’d rather sort it out myself than have to rely on anyone for it. At the end of the day I’m coming up for 22 years old, I shouldn’t even be living with my parents, let alone relying on them to fix my car as well. Can’t afford to move out, but I want to handle this myself. I paid for it myself, as well as the first years insurance at nearly two grand, it’s my car, letting someone else contribute to it even with the best of intentions seems to make it less so. Even if it did get fixed, right now I’ve nowhere that I actually need to drive to, it’s a luxury that does nothing but eat money, so it can stay where it is until I’m rich again. Walking won’t do me any harm either.

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