On Thursday at work, I spot a new flag on top of the British Museum, a flag that I can’t quite make out what it is, so I go online, find contact details and send the following email to three British Museum departments (General Information, Marketing, The British Museum Shop):
I was wondering whether you could help me with something. I suppose there are only two things that you need to know about me: a) I work near the British Museum and b) I am a Flag Enthusiast (FE).
Every day I come in my office, expecting the usual pain and sorrow, watching my life run through my fingers like sand, sand that no lovers will ever step on during a romantic stroll.
However, recently I’ve had a tiny glimmer of hope that’s been helping me get through. That little white flag you’ve raised.
My question is – I can’t quite make it out from where I am. What is this flag please? And how long are you planning to keep it up?
I look forward to your response.
After my work is done, I go to the gym where I do chest and abs wearing a grey Nike t-shirt, white rugby shorts from Canterbury, white lycra shorts from Nike underneath, one navy blue/light blue stripy sock, one navy blue/white stripy shop and white Adidas running trainers with the whole ensemble looking only 72% ridiculous.
Then I shower and get changed, thinking that I haven’t seen the sleazy guy with the faux-friendly attitude and wandering hands that I wrote about last week, since…well, since I wrote about him. And on this Thursday evening, I choose to not take this as a coincidence.
After the gym I meet up with Scott – we’re having dinner at the restaurant in Soho Hotel with Brendan, Donnell and his boyfriend at 2030 – but it’s still only 1955 so Scott and I go to Starbucks nearby and sit there without ordering anything. I show Scott the latest issue of Boyz that I picked up on the way, which has a picture of me from Matinee, and point out that – in yet another in the series of punches in the face that I’ve received over the last 28 years – my picture has been altered to make me look more tan.
I recall the conversation with the photographer on Sunday night who pointed out to me that he’s likely to do that, but I wasn’t strong enough, I didn’t have the conviction to ask him not to. This is the picture, nonetheless, with not quite the whiter shade of pale that my skin has now reverted to.
“I actually thought when I saw the photo that you looked a lot paler in person (translucent even… akin to that weird glow that gin and tonic gets under a black light)”
Thank you, Nathan.
Then it’s 2020 so we walk over to the Soho Hotel and find out that we’re the first of the party to arrive, then we sit in some hotel lounge for a bit and take pictures of each other, then I tell Scott that I’d really like to start hanging out with people who are not late for their dinner reservations, then it’s 2045 and Donnell and his boyfriend arrive, then we sit at the table and Brendan rocks up at 2055.
I only have a smoked salmon and thyme omelette because I only want to spend a maximum of £10 with a view to my impending unemployment, we all play the parts of people who are having dinner together and talking, Brendan asks me if I’m looking forward to my move to Sydney, I tell him I’m looking forward to coming back to London actually and getting the whole thing done and over with.
Then it’s suddenly 2220 and I need to get back home right about now, so that I have a chance to sit on the couch in front of the TV and freak out a bit about the following the day at work. If I don’t get home at least an hour before bedtime (usually midnight), I don’t have enough time to get the fretting out of the way, so it keeps me up.
This Friday night I get home at 2245, fret, manage to still be awake at 0050, take some Nytol, manage to still be awake at 0200, take a Valium, drift off.