Nostalgia can be a curse and to prove it I’ve created a list of five times in my life that I made a decision I’ve always slightly regretted. I’m calling it ‘My Five Biggest Regrets’ but the title is a bit misleading. Creating a list like this is a really important thing to do and if you’re going to get it right then you have to be constructive and try to determine whether in all probability you’re either right or wrong in each case. What do YOU regret? It’s a killer question. If the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions, then I strongly suspect that the Path to Dissatisfaction is paved with overly nostalgic memories, especially ones involving missed opportunities. If you’re autistic, an overthinker or even just an unusually reflective person, then the retrospective analysis is probably a huge part of your mental landscape. In simple terms, retrospective analysis is where you overplay conversations in your head after the event, often applying your own biased narrative to anything that was said. What you end up coming out with can potentially do catastrophic damage to friendships and relationships or even destroy them completely. It’s a curse of a burden to bear, which is why I find movies like ’13 Going on 30′ so incredibly difficult to watch.
It’s October 2014 and my phone is ringing; it’s a mate I used to play games with (don’t worry; his identity is cunningly disguised in this post). “Dave? It’s Tim. Listen, mate: I can’t stop putting on weight, and I know you do loads of exercise: can you help me out?”
“Ah, there you are boys. This isn’t a great start, is it? “What time did I tell you?” I look blankly at my best friend but he doesn’t have a watch on either. “Er….nine o’clock?” “I said eight fifty-five, actually.” “I think it IS eight fifty-five.” “Not on my watch.”
The picture for this post is very deceiving, because at first glance it appears that I’m totally spanking the five or six plebs still standing on the starting line behind me. In actual fact, those boys are waiting to START the next race….and they’ve been waiting a while. Sports Day at my primary school was usually a competitive event, but most of the bets between the parents focused mainly on whether David Stone would hold up the next race by more or less than ten minutes.
Ramsgate is an old town, and old towns have old stories. As time goes on, you hear all the ones people want you to hear: great moments, town heroes, wartime memories, etc. There’s some you don’t hear so much, these days and I’m talking about the heady mix of bullshit and bitter that used to fly around the pubs during the eighties: legends like Jim Scarridge, a man known as ‘The Blade’.
It’s October 1989 and I’m in my second month at St. George’s School on Westwood Road in Broadstairs. I haven’t been beaten up or bullied yet and the entire secondary school experience is still relatively new and exciting. There are so many amazing bikes, so many new potential friends and so many GIRLS….but I’m not interested in racing bikes, making new friends OR asking out girls (which is very fortunate as I’m going to turn out to be TERRIBLE at those things).
I found a letter in my attic the other day: it was written by myself, aged either five or six. The spelling wasn’t great, but when corrected it basically read: Dear Geoffrey from Rainbow, I am worried about you because I watch you every day and you are my friend and I have to tell you that there is a man inside Bungle did you know this do not say anything to Bungle in case he gets angry and the man comes out I never want you to die. Love from David Stone from Ramsgate.
I grew up in a family of smokers who smoked in between smokes. My mum was the lesser of the these: she only smoked Superkings and bought them in packs of twenty at the local shop. When she couldn’t get Superkings, she would smoke other brands but the fact that she needed to get them from the shop did at least mean she didn’t smoke constantly.
During one of the worst years of my childhood, my mum returned from a hospital stay literally wreathed in pain. She’d had a hysterectomy, but something had gone wrong at the end of the operation and all I really remembered from that Winter was constantly turning up the music on my walkman to drown out the sounds of her sobbing in the bathroom. It was a grim, terrifying time: being an only child, you have a certain amount of fear tied up in the fact that there’s really just the two of you: my nan was a borderline alcoholic, and could really only be relied upon to provide unpredictable problems whenever she came back from the pubs.
It would be easy to say that I don’t like cats and cats don’t like me but it’s just nowhere near as simple as that. The war between the cat kingdom and myself began – as many things do – in a pub.