The Short Road

I was surprised at how quickly I recovered from Sunday’s mega-walk. I was in pain on Monday, but by Tuesday most of it had gone and on Wednesday it was just one blister on my foot that was problematic.

This morning it has all passed, but yesterday was rather annoying. I went to the rescheduled medical at 4:50pm and it seemed to be one disaster after another. There’s nothing wrong with me at all – and that was the end result. But along the way, there were plenty of calamities.

My biggest mistake was going the toilet before I came out. Consequently, I had to sit around in the surgery drinking cup after cup of water until I finally could “produce a sample”. I’ve never had the pleasure of aiming into a test tube before, so it was quite an experience. The doctor thought it was ridiculous that the they wanted to know if my urine was up to scratch – he said he’d never seen a form like this before – and I agreed. Working in the USA hardly calls for such stringent health checks. But the fact that I had to wait extra time just drinking water really annoyed me.

Then the doctor couldn’t understand why I hadn’t had a TB injection and there was no record of it in my patient records. This really pisses me off because at the time I was told I didn’t need it. I had the heaf test – what felt like a staple gun going into my arm – and a week later all the lumps were still visible, and if I remember right they had almost formed into a little circle. On the day I was supposed to get the injection, the nurse said that I had reacted to the test so I didn’t need it. I got a short letter explaining why, and I was pleased. No nasty needle and scar for me.

Only… there is nothing to explain this on my records. When I explained the result of the test, the doctor decided I might need an x-ray – at my expense – to prove I don’t have tuberculosis. A copy of this letter should have been in my records, but it isn’t, and I don’t know where I’ve put it now. So he has referred me to some unit where I’m supposed to go through the process again.

The final straw came when I was informed as I was about to leave that this medical now cost me an extra £30. I had a feeling I was going to have to pay more, and the doctor told me to expect it, but I could have done without it. I couldn’t get my form back until I paid this money. It was about 5:45 and they were closing in 15 minutes. I insisted I could run to the cash machine and back well before closing, but they moaned and whined that they were “about to close”. Eventually I just said, “I will be 5 minutes” and ran.

Suffice to say I did come back in 5 minutes and they weren’t yet closed. I can’t help but feel that they seemed to want to piss me off at every stage.

When I finally got home I began to discover that I was paying for the sprint to the cash machine and back. I got cramp in the back of my calf muscles, and it still hurts this morning. Another few days of recovery added needlessly. Thank you, doctor.

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Blisters

Yesterday was a fine day here in Hull – a rarity in itself – so I decided it was time to do a bit of exploring. I’ve been here for nine months now and I still don’t really know what lies beyond where I live and the route into the town centre.

The most logical place to explore was the Humber Bridge. It’s a pretty impressive piece of architecture, the weather was sunny and this was probably the last opportunity I’ll get before I have to get down to some serious revision.

It might have been a mistake because I’m suffering this morning. I walked from here to the Humber Bridge, then across it into Barton-on-Humber, then back across and into Hessle where I got the bus back to my house. All in all, at least 13 miles walking. It was pretty good, and it really surprised me that there are some very nice parts of Hull in the suburbs, and Hessle is quite nice. The walk across the bridge was cool, but Barton was seriously depressing.

I’ve never seen such an empty town. There were houses, almost back to back, and a pretty desolate high street, but there must have been absolutely nothing to do here. It’s hardly surprising that people seemed to just be wandering around the town. There were kids just roaming everywhere, and the old classic of sitting in the bus shelter was in full use. But nothing to do. It’s hardly surprising that anti-social behaviour happens if that was the highlight of the day.

While I was there I bought something to eat and sat on a bench. There weren’t many people going past, but cars were flying down a one-way narrow street at around 50-60mph. I didn’t feel particularly safe. Two people hung around near me and said “Alright”. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise he was talking to me – I assumed he was talking to his friend, and so I ignored him. He walked away and called me an “ignorant cunt” which annoyed me. If I’d known he was talking to me I would have responded. I hate people who ignore others, and I normally think the same thing if people don’t say thank you if I hold a door open or let people through.

That ordeal over, I struggled back home as my feet felt like they were on fire. I knew I was going to pay the price tomorrow morning. My feet have several blisters on them in very painful places. I’ve had to pop a few of them, even though you’re not supposed to… but it was just too difficult to walk anywhere.

The worst of all this? I have a medical at 4:30pm today for Camp America. I probably couldn’t be in a worse condition for it…

Moving on

Things appear to be falling into place quite neatly at the moment. Although I have exams coming up, I’m not too worried. I haven’t started revising yet, but I’ll have to start soon. I’m hoping I can keep myself focused for the whole of next week on the exciting issues of Europe and investment maths. Then again, I did wake up this morning totally horrified by the fact that I’d just been dreaming about one of my front teeth falling out. It was extremely realistic. A relief to wake up…

But what’s exciting at the moment is that full details have arrived of what I’m going to be doing this summer with Camp America. It looks fantastic, and although I don’t know where I’m going to be placed yet, I have been officially accepted and I now have to get police checks, visas and medicals sorted out. I have a medical on Monday, and I’m not particularly looking forward to it. I hate going to the doctors. I’m hardly ever ill, and it just has this feeling of being a negative place. Especially as this one will set me back £13! What a negative…

Could have been worse. I was planning on going home this weekend and I was going to have the medical at my local doctors, but apparently they charge £65. So I’m rather pleased I decided to phone the nearest doctors to here and see what fee they charge.

It’s not really settled in yet though that in just over a month’s time I could be off to America. It’s going to be interesting to find out how I cope with being away for three months. I’ll hopefully have some form of internet access so I will keep being able to record my thoughts on this blog. I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved here so far. It’s turning into a fantastic archive that I’ll be able to look back on in a few years time, or more, and see just how my journey into Real Life took shape.

So it’s important that I am still able to take notes of my life in what could possibly be the most interesting three months of them. At least, I hope so.

I’m going to start the Youth Review soon. I’ll probably make it a weekly post on the same day so that I can keep writing about the other bits of my life. I think I’ll find this an intriguing delve into my memory.

On the Up

It really is remarkable just how much things have improved around here. My friends are still annoying me, but I think that’s my fault for not being tolerant enough. I’m not quite sure why I seem to have switched this on anyway, as only a month or so ago there wasn’t much of a problem. Maybe I just like being miserable.

But the atmosphere in the house is much better now. I’m sitting in my room at the moment, and it’s so much better to not have to hear my Enemy in the room next door to mine through the paper thin walls constantly laughing and jeering at the latest episode of Cheers he’s decided to watch for the ninth time. He’s gone for good. The acceptance of this has settled into my head now, and it makes me a lot happier.

Sure, it probably means I’ll spot some other smaller problems and start picking on them, but I suspect I can deal with those a little better. The past eight months have been a constant struggle with my sanity just because he pissed me off so much. I was always having to carefully manage when I left my room to go to the kitchen, or vice versa, so I didn’t happen to bump into him on the way as just his presence was enough to stoke my anger. I shouldn’t have had to do that. It’s mostly ruined my enjoyment of what should be the best year in University, and I’m deeply regretful of that.

But I can’t dwell on it. It’s been a nasty chapter, and I hope I can now close it off and get down to finishing off this year. In exactly a month’s time today, my exams will be over and I’ll be free for the summer. And on that issue, there is also good news in that I have been accepted for the Camp America thing. It looks like my summer plans are now sorted, which is a great relief. I’ve spent other summers inbetween school years mostly sitting on my arse all day while the sun shined brightly. So it will make a pleasant change to actually do something worthwhile and interesting in a faraway land.

So life is getting better. I thought it would be best that I write about this extremely rare moment as it probably won’t last! One for the archives, I think.

Changes

At long last, the Enemy has left the building. He’s packed up, took his stinking girlfriend with him and quit University. This was a fantastic development. Without his presence, a weight has been lifted. I didn’t have to suffer as bad as I did on that Thursday night again, and now the nightmare is over.

So a positive change has been registered. My friend has also acquired a bass guitar, and so I’ve been learning that the past few days too. Another positive change, apart from the blisters I now have on my fingers. At least it gives me something extra to do when I start to get out of my mind on boredom.

But tonight, things have really pissed me off. It’s my friends again. I think I must have been asleep when I allowed myself to drift into these friendships, because they are just not the people I remember them to be. They come round to this house, plonk their arses on the couch, use the wireless internet here, tap tap-fucking-tap away on their keyboards and conduct pointless conversations in a ceaseless attempt to out-intellectual each other.

Suffice to say, it’s boring. They think it’s funny to use words like “sufficient” when a simple “OK” would do the job just as nicely and not sound so up-themselves. Then they have ridiculous thumbs-up gestures that one person started and the others have all subconsciously copied like sheep when they approve of something. And there’s always one grammar pedant who tells me I should have used “taken” when I said “took”. I feel like smashing his face in.

As you can tell, this is a bitter and angry post made just minutes after the event. I’ve no doubt I’ll go to bed in a minute and wake up totally not remembering what all the fuss was about. But hey, it’s been a while since I got a chance to write my thoughts down about something without rationally analysing it.

I’m really not sure what the problem is. I keep thinking of class, but I don’t know whether I want to draw myself into this. I was brought up in a working class family, and I feel a lot of these values have rubbed off on me. My friends are all most certainly middle class, and some of them have very annoying accents – or rather, non-accents – thrown in. I really like to hear an accent… it can give a person a sense of genuineness, and it’s a great conversation opener. I’m proud of my accent, but the two of my friends with unplaceable accents seem to annoy me the most. It feels so fake.

The thing is that I’ve never experienced this problem before. In the school I went to, most of the other people there were middle class, but I still got on with them. This lot seem to have picked up one of the worst aspects of the middle class – snobbery and one-upmanship – and it’s beginning to grate on me.

Or maybe I’m just turning into a right miserable bastard.

And More Difficult

After moaning about the lack of conversation in this house on Wednesday, I now find myself eating my words and would be quite happy to return to something a little more quiet.

Unfortunately, on Thursday night, my two Hated Housemates returned within minutes of each other. I’ve no doubt it was carefully orchestrated, as they hate facing anyone in this house on their own.

But this time was a bit of a shocker. They not only returned themselves but brought at least five or six “friends” from home. Thursday is vodka and Red Bull for £1 a go at the local student bar. This legendary night – an absolute disgrace since it makes people pissed and completely hyperactive – was obviously enough for them to want to impress their friends with the joys of Hull.

While me and the only other housemate were sitting in the living room, we heard all the pre-going-out activites. A whole crate of Fosters was drunk. They ran up and down the the upstairs landing, shooting BB guns at each other, shouting, roaring, laughing and generally just being complete tits. As my room was upstairs, I couldn’t get to it. It’s impossible. The atmosphere was far too charged.

While all this was going on, through good snooping my friend overheard that one of the housemates said he is quitting for good. This is the housemate I hate the most, and he’s the one who has made my first year at University quite difficult at times. It came as no surprise – he hasn’t been in for months and he should have left in December – but it was still worthy of celebrating. It suddenly made sense. He’d invited all of his friends here for The Last Hurrah – and probably a chance to piss me off (since I am his key target) as much as possible.

There was no probably about it. I decided to go to bed at 11pm so that I could get to sleep before they came back. I’ve done this before and most times it works. Somehow I sleep through the noise.

But not this time. 12:30am I was woke up by an almighty noise as they came back with their late night takeaways. Another steaming night out was concluded; he likes to make a lot of the fact that he can go out at 9pm, get pissed to buggery and return by 11pm proclaiming it the greatest night out ever. To me, a “night out” involves staying out till at least 2am, but not to this guy.

They ran up and down the stairs, chanting, shouting, singing, for at least an hour. They argued and fought, and one of them decided to sleep in their car outside. My door got knocked on several times, as did my friends. Luckily I have a lock on it, but no one attempted to come in anyway.

I know I should have said something, but I was fiercely outnumbered. The other consideration is the fact that my Enemy gets very brave when the alcohol is in him. In the daylight of sobriety, he is weak and feeble. Put a bit of ale in him, and suddenly it is to him as spinach is to Popeye.

I managed to get back to sleep, only to be woken again with more noise at 2am. I now needed the toilet – uncannily inconvenient since I never need to go the toilet in the night – but I just couldn’t leave my room. I also noticed that the central heating had been switched on and realised it had probably been on for two hours. They had no intention of turning it off and they don’t need it anyway given that they have electric heaters in their rooms. Obviously this was one to piss me off, since I’ve told him off about this before.

3am came, and there had been enough quiet for half an hour to allow me to leave my room. I went the toilet and turned off the central heating. It would have been left on all night if I hadn’t.

Finally I get to sleep and manage to sleep through till 8 when I needed to get up. Friday had finally arrived, but I felt terrible. Sleep disruption is a nasty thing, and I felt the same all day.

Their chums finally went home at about 2pm, but there was no sign of the planned visit in to University to set the wheels of leaving in motion, despite all the boasts to the contrary the day before. Their words on Thursday evening strongly implied that they would be gone by Friday night. It now looks likely there is at least another week.

Naturally, I didn’t see them at all all day. They deliberately went out of their way to avoid me – the guilty conscience kicking in I’ll wager – and on Friday night they were extremely quiet. This morning I’ve bumped into him and he was terrified to look at me. He said “Alright mate” and I went “Mmm”, while he looked away and fumbled for words in the awkward position.

I just wish he’d go. He’s said he’s leaving… just stop pissing around and about with me and go. My friend has an archive of pictures about the disgusting mess this guy creates, and we’ve recently had to call in pest control as for some reason (or maybe the fact that my Enemy left three binbags full of rubbish in his room for three weeks) we have seen and heard mice around the house again.

There’s something missing in his head. He’s rude and anti-social and the most unhygienic person I have ever had the displeasure of stumbling across. He’s permanently obsessed with putting on the big man act despite being the biggest pussy I’ve ever seen. He’s terribly insecure, and here in Hull, he has precisely zero friends beyond the housemate who follows in his footsteps. He’s incredibly wasteful, and has been heard talking that he is in many thousands of pounds of debt.

He’s not kidding anyone. His life is being wasted, and he’s ruining other people’s while he’s at it. I don’t want to put up with it any more, but all I can do is wait and hope he finally carries out his promises to leave soon. Then maybe… just maybe… I can see a light at the end of this perpetual tunnel.

Difficult

Still no sign of my two hated housemates. When I think about it, I remember hearing them say they’re coming back on the 11th, which is fantastic as another week off for both of them will probably result in them being chucked out altogether. Superb.

No word from Camp America either. It’s been two weeks now since I had the interview, and they said I would hear from them either way within two weeks. I suppose there has been two bank holidays to disrupt it, but nevertheless it’s frustrating. I want to know if I have my summer sorted because if I’m not successful I can plan something different. I really can’t just sit around here for three months.

Meanwhile, back in this house, things are slightly difficult. I feel like I’ve fallen out with my friends again… they’ve been doing some stupid things lately, and two of them piss me off for the fact that they desperately need haircuts but just will not go. They’re ridiculously thick and stupid looking and it’s got to the point now where people on the street are starting to pass comment. I’m not normally one to tell people to attempt some form of comformity to a norm – in fact, I hate it – but in this case, as a student living in a reasonably hostile area, it really doesn’t make sense to make yourself an easy target.

But the other problem is that conversation is very thin on the ground. For days now I’ve virtually sat in silence with them, and it’s only through watching the TV that I have a semi-excuse. When the adverts come on, I used to mute the TV, but now I leave them on so that the room doesn’t fall to deathly silence. The problem is that they don’t notice it, since they all sit playing games on their laptop computers not wanting to be disturbed while I have to just sit their and wait for them to decide they want to talk.

The art of conversation really is dead. I’ve been comparing myself again with how I am with friends at home and the difference is frightening. At home I’m reasonably talkative and am rather witty. But I just don’t feel the atmosphere is right to be like that. My friends are used to me how I currently am, and if I start changing things up they might not appreciate it. It’s almost like I’m having to be sensible when I don’t want to be.

Not a good start to the month.

Return and Resume

I arrived back in Hull yesterday, and this morning unpacked all my stuff. Two of my housemates are back, and fortunately it’s the two housemates who are my friends. The other two idiots are not back yet, but their arrival must be imminent. I haven’t seen them for weeks now, and I’ve almost forgotten that they were involved in my life at all.

But they are, and I’m sure they’ll be making sure I don’t forget it when they return. In the meantime, I should just enjoy the peace and quiet.

There are now four weeks left before my first exam. I should be OK with them, and as long as I pass them all I’ll be pleased. I haven’t set a high target for them as there’s no point. I only need to get 40% across everything, so I shouldn’t use up all my time and energy on getting the highest score possible when I could do that and it counts for nothing. Just as long as I don’t fail any, because any resits will totally blow my summer plans out the water.

It’s weird being here again. I’m glad to be back at my computer, because I’ve missed hearing my music, especially the song Half Light by Athlete which I heard a week before I left Hull and fell in love with immediately. But it’s good just to be back in my free and private space again. The presence of parents is remarkable for just making me much less independent. When I’m here, I do things for myself. When I’m home, I can’t help but get lazy, mainly because my mum likes to fuss over me.

It’s awkward at times. Even now I’m older, the other night when I went out to play pool with my friends, my mum was still wanting to know what time I’d get back. I’m convinced she was more worried about me being out then than she ever is when I’m here in Hull. I can be a few miles away and she’s worried constantly, and I can be 100 miles away and she isn’t. It doesn’t make sense.

But life now resumes. Just like last time, I felt my life had stalled while I was home. I recognise now that I’m still doing my growing up here, but it’s a different kind. Here I feel my freedom and independence is allowing me to develop as a person in ways that I just could never do at home. It’s just all about finding my own feet, which didn’t seem to be happening back home.

This academic year is nearly over. I still can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. Soon I’ll start a series of posts reviewing my entire youth (this idea was blatantly stolen from one of the interesting blogs I read by Disliked) in the build up to my 20th birthday on July 9th, when my official life as a teenager ends, and adulthood begins.