It is wrong to say that I have not improved, but moments of recrudescence do not a renaissance make; real progress is measured in years and counted in grains of sand. It is all very well that I have found the fortitude to treat Dog’s Bowl Beer the way their brand demands, and better still that to do so becomes a self-fulfilling mechanism by which to train oneself into that cold, hard-hearted adversary that has been long coveted, but it is no good if it cannot be applied liberally and generally.
I’ve have just re-read my diary entry of the other day, and suddenly I see that I have once again allowed my enthusiasm run away with me. You see, I’m cool with Dog’s Bowl but as soon as I find someone like Fips, with whom I sense a multitude of shared values, I allow myself to fall in love with him and assume that he feels the same about me. It’s like that time that I met someone at a poetry reading evening, who was married to a vague connection of the person who’d invited me, and when he said, ‘I hate meeting new people, all that talking,’ that I decided he was just like me, and attached myself to him for the next four hours, during which I came up with increasingly vivid examples of how distasteful I was to the rest of the human race and them me. I still wince when I think about the impromptu, extemporised limerick about the old lady poet who was being feted that night, that I delivered from the unoccupied lectern to round off the evening. She’d been sat between us at dinner and had this sort of flaky skin, most of which stayed on the seat when she got up. I’d imagined that we’d shared a knowing smile as we witnessed it, but we hadn’t.
A writer with sore eyes, sis …
for punning limericks are always the best.
I’m sure now that Fips was only humouring me, and so by my constantly looking for the mentor in every new acquaintance, I seem to have alienated my best chance of finding one. Until that call, I believed he was just like me – I’d even started plotting him on my ADHD chart to note similarities. I had him down as someone who had a better version of the illness than me, which I had rationalised as my occupying the militant wing of the condition, whereas he’d turned his into adorable traits, and which by his constant and dedicated counselling, he could do for me too. The call was all about the new Cum-Bot Quiz Show (good name actually but I have a better one brewing), and I thought that we were equally enthusiastic about our crazy new idea but I see now, having read it up, that I brought to it the classic ‘flight of ideas’ – something recognised by pycho-professional classes like Melinda Messenger as a formal thought disorder in which ideas tumble forth through a disordered chain of association, where one word sparks another, which sparks another, until the speaker is soon out of control. I am Donald Trump; he is merely encouraging and polite.
I am using the time between our last phone call and the next to convince myself that my concerns are a form of conceit, and that like the peasants in the Fall of Icarus, Fips does not care. To an extent this works, there is some solace in recognising the indifference of others, but my stomach still turns a somersault as I recall the gusto with which I pursued our great new idea and the gentle restraint with which he responded. I wonder whether there’s a category which Melinda Messenger has omitted from her assessment chart which notes how people with my condition will ‘hear’ endorsement and collaboration where there is none, in the hysterical and noisy discussions which they alone have created? In the cause of advancing medical science and the better understanding of my own condition, I have considered writing to tell her, but the risk of ending up as a footnote to a misspelled academic paper making a minor addition to a condition that is not universally accepted as such, written by a former Page-3 model, as my only act of consequence in an otherwise poor life, prevents me. My eulogy will melt in the hand before it ever gets near the mouth.
Whatever, which is it that is me? To treat arseholes like arseholes does not come naturally to me, but I still believe it’s a strategy worth pursuing and I’m hopeful that it will come with repetition, but is not the real me the better and more creative me? Is not the genius he who is most like himself? Of course, he is. Fips is mad and doesn’t give a flying fuck, but he’s not manic. Is that natural, or is it worked at? Oh, and finally, what the fuck am I talking about?