Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Welcome to hell.

As you may (or should) know, if you've been reading ILB for a long time, I've spent the last few years doing a vocational course, which in turn leads to an academic diploma and a professional qualification (this is separate to my English Degree, which I got years ago and is still something I'm pleased to have - it's the degree of champions, you know). As this blog is anonymous, I'm still not going to say what it is, but it's really not difficult to work it out. Really, really not. But if you do work it out, don't put it in a comment. That's not cool.

Anyway.

While my approach to taking the course was unorthodox (I'm an English graduate, wherein creativity is awarded - what do you expect?!), and also whereas I wasn't enjoying the course at all (the college taught it very badly, the organisation was terrible, the assessments were pitiful and the placements were slapdash), I did pretty well on the academic side of things, passing all the written exams first time around and getting a couple of distinctions along the way, some pretty high ones relating to compendia I put together over the course of the weeks. And as the course snailed by, I got through it by keeping my sights on the end point. I'll get my diploma, I said to myself. I'll get my qualification too, and then I can get a job I like, and birds will sing, et ceteri.

[I've just inadvertently reminded myself of the fact that one of my tutors didn't approve of my use of the phrase et ceteri in an essay. It's Latin for "and the rest", and I used it as opposed to etc. or even the archaic &c. which I used about four thousand times in my GCSE Food Technology exam. I got a B.]

However clever and smart-arsed I might be, the placements proved to be a bit of a problem... eventually. In my first year, I didn't like either of the work placements I did, but I did them and there weren't particularly any problems. But after that, things got tougher, and as my health went up and down, so did my enthusiasm (if I had any). I had some really good placements, and some not-so-good ones. I failed one placement because I wasn't being taught anything by the lazyincompetentslackjawednincompoops who were mentoring me, prompting a repeat placement which I passed without even trying (or could have, but I was trying). Punching my way through the hordes of situations which threatened to beat me into submission before I finished this accursed course, I reached the final year, final placement, final week.

And failed.

Now, this is probably due to a number of things, but it's been the general consensus from people who hae heard my side that it is in fact mostly the fault of the people on the placement, particularly my mentors, who - while I'm sure they have the best of intentions - started the placement by telling me that I had a lot of work to do. Fine, I thought, 14 weeks, that's enough time to put a lot of work in. And, by gum, I did. I put so much work in that I didn't seem to be spending any time outside of work. I was even asked by the head to take some weeks sick leave due to fatigue in the middle of the placement (which I did, putting me three weeks - nine if you count the extra placement -
behind all my friends, some of whom have started new jobs already). And I returned to work, had an unpleasant interview with Mentor #3, in which she said that if I really wanted to pass I needed to work very hard indeed.

So I did. And I badgered Mentors #1, #2 and #3 consistently to appraise how I was getting on. My 'client group', for want of a better phrase, seemed to be pleased with what I was doing, but they're not exactly in the situation to appraise me either. The mentors, good as they were, took a rather lacklustre approach to my progress - on occasion, teaching me how to do certain things, but on more occasions, not doing so. So when it came up towards the end, Mentor #3 seemed disappointed that I hadn't learned enough of the 'skills' required to get the qualification.

So why didn't you teach me them then, eh, Mentor #3?

I fought. And I fought. And I fought. I quadrupled my efforts. I came back home with my feet in blisters, I arrived at Oxford sometimes and all I wanted to do was sleep and cuddle. I even went to my union and had a discussion about what I could do. Nothing seemed to work, even though I was putting my all into this situation. But I still failed.

Although I thought I was good enough for the job, I wasn't overly surprised when Mentor #3 told me that I failed. The day beforehand, Mentor #1 had given me a mark that fell just below the passing grade for the placement anyway (despite about 498402 attempts to get him to wait and re-mark me), so I would have failed on a technicality if nothing else. But what none of them seemed to clock was the fact that this was the final year, final placement, final assessment, and since I'd already re-taken one placement, there was no safety net here. Either I passed the whole thing, or I was effectively out of the course.

So I'm out of the course.

Not surprised, but yes, still upset. I wandered about for a bit, phoned the course leader to ask her if I could get the diploma without the qualification (I can, actually, so I haven't wasted these years), and then when there was nothing else to do, I went home.

TD called me. She said that I didn't sound too upset. Well, I was upset. I also felt extremely ill. (I still feel ill now, actually. My body feels like lead, my throat is raw, my eyes are streaming and I'm not only coughing, but have those stomach cramps, only worse than usual. An infection from work? Most likely.) I had a conversation with her about what I'd do now, and what plans I had for the future. She told me that I didn't seem to be taking it very seriously. I had plans about moving to Oxford, actually, working temporarily and also looking for more permanent jobs in and around the area. You know, get away from all this, fresh start, clear my head a bit. As she'll be doing a Ph.D. for the next three years, she'll also need someone to look after her room for a while.

You see, backup plan. It all seemed like a good idea to me. I'd formulated it in the days before my final interview, just in case the placement didn't work out.

So then she told me that, because of my attitude...

...I know, right?...

...she wants to 'take a break'. So she can work out how she feels about me (I know how I feel about her - I love her, and that's unlikely to be changing at all, ever) now that I'm basically a loser. Although I fail to see what I could have done differently! I tried as hard as I could, on a course I didn't even like, so that I could get a job that I wasn't sure that I wanted, to get a little financial stability for myself so I could press on with my - our - life! WHAT ELSE COULD I HAVE DONE?!

My dad found me crying in my room about ten minutes later. He didn't know what to do except make me a jacket potato, which he did. My mother then came in and wasn't helpful for a while, and then she went to play in the orchestra she plays in on Tuesdays, because I told her to. Music is important, I told her, but I also wanted to be left alone.

For the first time since I left university the first time around, I'm unemployed, broke, and (temporarily) single. And yet I tried as hard as I could. Well, there's a important lesson somewhere in here. I just wish I knew what it was.

Oh, yes.

Never try.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Masterclass

"Don't do that," she said.
"Don't do what?" I replied, a little muffled.
"Move so much," she explained.
"But if I don't move, it's not as good," I complained.
"Just say there, keep going with your sweet licking, and I'll move, making sure that your tongue goes where it needs to go," she offered.
"Okay," I licked, "how's this?"
"That's better," she sighed, as she pushed her clit into my mouth.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Back and forth

"I love you."
"I love you too."
"I love you, all the loves, 100%."
"How could I get you to love me more?"
"You couldn't, I love you completely."
"If I swept you off your feet, took you to Paris, popped down onto my knees and handed you a rock as big as the Ritz, would that make you love me more?"
"No, that would be just maintaining the status quo."
"Wow."
"Of course, if you want to take me to Paris..."

Saturday, 11 September 2010

It's my remedy, remedy

I love dancing. Love it. It's one of my favourite things to do, even though I just don't get the chance any more (back in my TA days, I used to finish at 12pm, cycle home and then dance for an hour in the living room; now, there's no energy after work!). Sports I can't handle, walking is fun but a bit pointless, swimming is cool but a lot of hassle, but dancing - well, there's nothing to fault it, really. Not that I'm particularly any good (despite some friends telling me I am, and some others to the contrary). But I love it. People used to watch me dance in the clubs at university. That's how much I love it.

Moreover, I love watching it, too. Tim Booth can't stand still during James' performances, and the way he loses it is incredible, especially when you consider how long the gigs are and how much energy can be exerted. I'll never forget the time I first saw a Shakira performance - her technique was amazing and suitably sexy. And finally, there's no single episode of Glee that hasn't got some amazing choreography. Check out the Safety Dance, a cameo-laden flashmob of joy, and the boys' mashup from "Vitamin D", in which they go totally crazy and the dancing is spot-on, especially the solo body-popping of Mike Chang. (And that, my friends, is why Glee is an incredibly visual experience - the CDs are cool, but just don't measure up.)

It makes me wonder - naturally - just how good dancers are in bed. Having sex is, as I'm sure you know, a very choreographed thing. Not that you need to have a natural rhythm (you tend to build one up as you go along, in any case), but the best sex happens when both participants are finely attuned to not only what their partner's doing, but what they're doing in response. What's the missionary position without positioning of the arms? What's the astride position without extensive use of the hips? What's oral sex without a beat?

And so for professional dancers, what's sex like, I wonder? Is it a good natural process, or do they feel under specia pressure to perform? What if they want to have slow sex, and they feel pressurised into turning their hula horizontal? I bet they're good - really good. Really, really good. But how are we regular folk meant to know? Short of appearing in the Metro they're not likely to tell us, are they? But enough with the speculation. I still find dancing incredibly sexually charged. I'm sure people who dance aren't turned on all the time, but it certainly worked for me (dancing, not watching, that is) - throughout my university and TA years, I was - well - as horny as I am these days, but I noticed an especial desire to engage in flagrante delicto following a session of thrashing about on the floor.

Has anyone else had that experience?

Because, after reminiscing just now, there's definitely some sort of plan forming here...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Life, Louise, Lookalikes, and Lube

Work was interesting today because I found myself, at one point, facing a girl with a disposable glove on with one finger covered in lube.

This would be a lot funnier if I didn't explain it, so I won't. Suffice to say, the task for which she was preparing wasn't pleasant. It did remind me of this, though.

I've always been a bit strange about the prospect of something coming up at work which is used for sex, like lube. Hell, we use big marker pens all the time too, and I know for a fact that swallow, among other people, has come across certain ladies on the internet who like to insert those into their rear ends for pleasure - although I shouldn't even know that, big marker pens have that significance attached! Why? Why? Why?

When it's lube (and there is a tube of lube available at my workplace; it's not a sexual one, don't ask), I'm slightly spectical of mentioning it for two reasons: one, I may say something which implies that I know either too much or too little about it; two, I wouldn'teven be sure what to call it. It's not a question that's come up before - I don't, strange at that may seem, indiscriminately ask myself, "what do I call lube should the need arise for someone to have to use it at work, especially for a use which isn't related to the use I would put lube to?". Lubrication? Gel? Lubricant? WD40 substitute?

In the end, I settled on 'lube'. Not that I said that too loudly, there may have been children listening. Perhaps.

So. I had my colleague standing in front of me, with a 'client' between us, pulling on a disposable rubber glove (something else perhaps pervertible, although for what use I can't imagine at the moment - that's not a cue to give me any ideas!) and looking almost gleeful at the fact that she was smearing lube all over one finger. But less like Lord Kitchener than... than...

"Louise!"
"My name's [colleague], ILB."
"No... I mean... since I first met you, I knew you reminded me of someone I know. And now I remember, it's my friend, Louise!"

Short, unfairly thin, blonde hair, smile. If it wasn't for the glasses, my colleague would have been a dead ringer for my internationally based, oversexed friend. Hell, maybe she is Louise and couldn't bear to be apart from me. Although that's unlikely - she doesn't sound a thing like her. But here's the thing, right...

Right...

If there's anyone I know who could make a disposable glove covered in lube look good, even in the situation we were in, it'd be Louise.

My colleague almost succeeded in the task.

Not that our 'client' thought so, but then again, however much I may or may not know about lube, I'm pretty sure it's more than she did.

The client, not my colleague. What she knows is best left to speculation... no, wait, it isn't!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Untitled

I honestly thought I'd be writing this post as a single man again. I even started thinking of titles in my head. "Reset." "Failure." "Castaway." "One is one and all alone and evermore shall be so." I also wondered what I'd say, how I'd craft it, how I'd deal with the emotion. How overcome I'd be. What would I wrote about? I thought about it in the shower last night. I'd write about being single, how I coped quite well with being single and was very self-effacing about it, starting this blog to chart how I felt about sex, especially when I couldn't find any, and record my failure to get any good sex through any means...

...but, however I felt about being single, I couldn't handle the thought of living without TD, the girl I have been in love with for two and a half years now, and continuing onwards. I have, I'll admit, spent the last two or three days thinking that our relationship was coming to an end. Not that I wanted that, but I thought she did. That's the way my mind works. It says, "your girlfriend is annoyed with you, she's going to dump you." I've no idea where that idea comes from. A mixture of films, perhaps, and my past history of relationships, where I let myself get walked over.

We had an argument on Thursday evening. That is to say, we had what's as close to an argument as we have, given our different temperaments. It's not easy to do over the 'phone, really. It's not easy in any case, when you consider that she likes to fight until the argument burns out, whereas I like to resolve and peacebuild without any aggression. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In any case, this argument wasn't being solved in any particular way. I was trying to explain, she was claiming that I couldn't see her side of things (which is true, I couldn't)...

The implications scared me. She didn't want to see me. I didn't want to push it. I spent three days in a very uneasy state of mind. I saw my friends, I kept busy. The rest of the time, I locked myself in my room. I didn't want to talk to anyone - least of all my mother. I lay on my bed, reading Peanuts and resisting the urge to call TD, tell her how much I missed her. My stomach cramped up and made me groan with the pain. I had no idea how I'd go back to work today and be able to do it with any motivation or drive. At points, I cried.

Last night, I called her, as I always do. She wanted to talk. We talked. We talked a lot. At the end of it all, everything fell back into place - as it should do. At one point, I said the phrase, "can we be in love again?" But, to be honest, there was no doubt about that. I reached for the bedtime story, a spark lit in my heart which I thought I may have been unable to grasp again.

Do I love her? Yes, yes I do. I do. I do. I do.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Street Incest

The last two posts were a little depressing (like the new James album - now that's depressing), so have something a bit more upbeat.

I've spent the majority of the last two days with my friends - days off OWN ME, it seels - and last night we went for a curry to celebrate the return of my hairy friend - who is now less hairy - from the USA, where he's been sweeping and mopping a theme park for three months in exchange for sex with his girlfriend, who lives there. Desire makes people do strange things.

We piled out of our local Indian restaurant, tightening our belts. While my hairy friend decided where to do next, my extremely thin scene girl friend spotted some other extremely thin scene girls she knew, so off she ran - with one of those squeals that girls seem to be able to produce - to greet them in the customary fashion. While the other 11 of us milled around, the young raver gave a sly look out of the corner of his eye. One of the girls - a short brunette - gave a merry wave, not only to the thin scene girl, but to the young raver as well. He grinned to himself as we all started generally milling towards the direction of a pub we sort of like.

"Hey," he nudged the thin scene girl, "why didn't you - introduce - me to your friend? I'm always up for meeting new girls - you know..."
"I didn't need to introduce you," the thin scene girl smiled.
"But she was kinda fit," insisted the young raver. "Next time, you put in a good word for me, right?"
"Okay, okay, I will," she said.

Then she paused.

"One more thing, though... why didn't you recognise your sister?"

We didn't stop laughing for three hours afterwards.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Confession

A few years ago I has having a drink with 47 and some of his weird friends from university in the back garden of a pub in Canterbury when there were the calls from a girl in the alleyway next to the pub. They were all clearly quite distressed, and they were all along the lines of "get away from me!", "leave me alone!" and "let go of me!" I an't recall whether the voice shouted "help!", but maybe it did. Eventually, the voice grew quieter, as if she had been dragged away.

I didn't do anything. Nor did 47 or anyone else. We exchanged glances and carried on talking.

It's a few years on and I still can't believe that I acted the way I did. Maybe there wasn't anything I could have done, but I could have at least looked. There was a fence separating the pub garden and the alleyway which I could have peeked over in order to see what the fracas was about. I could have at least said something to 47 and we could have looked together. I could have shouted. But I did nothing, because nobody else did anything.

Reverse crowd mentality.

I didn't know and never will know what it was. It may have been a trap - there was no second voice, and it could have easily (since it was next to a pub) been a set-up for an easy mugging of any kind passer-by who would attempt to intervene. But then, a big part of me knows that's a very unlikely possibility, and the guilty bit of my brain - the one that usually speaks in my own voice - consistently calls up the possibilities.

I could have stopped an abduction.
I could have stopped a mugging.
I could have stopped a rape.

And I'll never, ever know what it was I didn't look at. And I'll never know why I didn't.

I hate guilt.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Crash.

I got home from work a few hours ago. In an ordinary way, nothing particularly ostentatious. The trains were okay; my sister was in so I came home and had a chat with her, cooked some pasta with cheese, drank some lemonade and orange juice - nothing too strenuous, really.

Went upstairs, put my BlackBerry on charge and immdiately got two messages - one from my girlfriend and one from a work colleague - which it may have delivered earlier, had it had the charge to do so. Replied to my girlfriend, left the colleage until later. Went onto the internet for a bit, checked my e-mails... and crashed.

I stood up and found that, to all intents and purposes, I couldn't. My bed (it's roughly euqal to three feet away from my desk) seemed very far away, and this was exacerbated by the fact that I staggered one pace in the wrong direction before brushing aside the clothes that covered my bed and falling, face forward, onto it. Like increasingly desperate, delirious sex - but not as fun. Without as much energy, either.

Ignore that - without any energy. I was sprawled at an odd angle, my limbs everywhere, my duvet heavy and lumpy under various bits of me, Oxford (the rabbit, not the city) clutched in between my arms. My breathing, although it took me a while to notice, was ragged and heavy. And my body... was throbbing everywhere. Every part of my body was throbbing with a cross bwteeen pain, heat and radiation. Not the nice sexual throbbing. Throbbing which screams, "I've had too much, so I'm just going to lie here and throb for a while."

Thump, thump, thump.

I tried, at one point, to get up. I wanted to blog, I needed to shower, and that presentation for work's not going to research itself. (Note the order of importance in that last sentence... it's unintentional, I swear). But although I shifted and began to rise, this lasted for no more than one groan, a feeble remonstration against myself, and a collapse back onto the bed and entry into an even deeper torpor than I had already been in.

Eventually I managed to get up, fuelled by my desire to go the toilet. Everything was a lot darker than I remember. I tottered across the room and exited in the direction of the hallway.

I still feel slightly delirious now. Slumped, tired, unwell. Crashed. I'm upright, but this is typing while sitting at a desk. Anything else is likely to make me fall, once again. Although I do need that shower... and I have to make myself lunch for tomorrow...

Let's have a try.