It’s a cold morning. I’m at Enoteca on Ramsgate seafront, and I’m in a terrible mood. I’ve had the worst night’s sleep in living memory, as I woke in the early hours from a dream in which I was digging up a dead relative in order to prove that they’d put his shoes on the wrong feet. As it turned out, I was right…but that doesn’t mean much when you’re suddenly awake at 3am….
I hate waiting for people, and this guy is over an hour late. An hour late. It makes me wonder at what point you stop being late and start being dead. I know it’s morbid, and I know I’m a depressing b*stard, but there’s a certain point whenever I’m left waiting for somebody that I naturally assume they’re dead. You see, I have that level of misguided self-importance: I am, in fact, telling myself that the only reason someone would no-show at a meeting with me is naturally because they’ve died. Weirdly, I start to miss him….and I’ve only met him twice.
One day after my daughter found an entire crop of grey hairs in my beard, something pretty terrifying happened to me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my wife laugh so much…but I still haven’t recovered. Here’s what went down:
‘Dave, don’t look around now….but I think the man by the stairs might be my father.’ If these words had come from anybody else, it would have been an incredible, life-changing moment, one of those moments that you always remember….like you’re always going to remember the day Cliff Richard finally goes bad and knocks over a post office. But the words have come from Dean, and – as my friends go – he’s not the most emotionally stable horse in the paddock. Dean thinks everyone is his father, and I feel for him: I really do. I grew up in single parent family with no dad around, and although there were odd times when I could have maybe benefited from a father and son chat, I certainly never felt in any way deprived of some great advantage.
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.
When my writing career didn’t explode like I wanted it to (that wouldn’t happen for another two years), I headed into Ramsgate town to see what work was available. My extraordinary collection of GCSEs and one-week show-ups at Thanet College afforded me the following tree of opportunity….
This lovely photograph was taken during our first trip to Euro Disney. It’s a great picture, and I think it shows just how happy we were and what a great time we had there. If you look carefully, you can see that all three of us are seriously LOVING Mickey Mouse Land: myself, my wife and our best friend, Goodshot.
I’ve only been at Costa for ten minutes, and I’m just about to write a really scathing attack on a well-known supermarket when I suddenly overhear: “So, you wait until we’ve got four kids before you decide it’s her you want and not me.” I don’t turn around. I sit back in my chair, very slowly, and…