The first day back after any term is particularly auspicious (I can hear the cries of “This is going to be the term when I work hard!” already), but given that this is not only the start of a new term, but a New Year and decade; I am anticipating disaster; this is mainly due to my own recent personal experience. Nothing fails like the stubbornness of your average student combined with an over enthusiastic sense of turning over a new leaf. I personally had decided to; work much harder at university, get a job I don’t loathe, maintain a healthy relationship with my partner (V), keep in more regular contact with my parents and all my friends who aren’t in Southampton, give up smoking, get more exercise, drink less alcohol, always get up by 9am at the latest, no more ready meals, no caffeine, keep my room tidier, to not be late for anything, and to lose some weight. This is what happened.
My alarm goes off. I immediately call V.
In my bleary state, I deem this enough of a phone call to justify calling my relationship healthy. I traipse out to the kitchen in my dressing gown and am faced with the task of hungover busting breakfast, which cannot be ready made, must be low in fats and sugars, and cannot contain caffeine. As I ponder the wisdom of starting my resolutions the day after one of the heaviest nights of drinking in the calendar, I settle for porridge; a cup of that oaty stuff, and a cup of milk, on a medium heat for 5 minutes. As the stodgy mass congeals to form a surfeit of stodge, the colour grey, I fail to be tempted into eating it, and binning the globby mess, I click the kettle on, make myself a cup of decaffeinated tea and move into the lounge. I take a sip from my mug and am confronted with a flavour that could be described as a combination of taking a bite into a bag of rotten flour, mud, and dirty dishwater. I call my mother.
“That’s your own fault and you know it. *click*”
I’ve barely entered the new decade and two people have hung up on me.
“Just go drink some water, you’re not getting any sympathy from me. If you’re old enough to give yourself a hangover, you’re old enough to take it like a man.”
“I don’t want any sympathy. You need to explain why this tea is so rubbish.”
“Did you use gone off milk again?”
(I stomp into the kitchen to check)
“Is there anything else different about it?”
“There’s your problem. I’ve got to dash out, have a good day! *click*”
Apparently everything I like about tea is the caffeine. I pour the concoction down the sink.
After discovering that since I haven’t done any exercise for at least 5 years, means I don’t have any exercise clothes, I finally settle on a pair of tartan trousers, a nice pair of leather ankle boots, a purple satin shirt and a cravat (because a tie would flap in my face, obviously). I step out of the door, mentally planning my route, and reacting poorly to the light. In a semi-hunch I start jogging. About 30 metres in I realise this is a very bad idea with a hangover like mine. My body promptly retaliates by making me puke my guts out in front of some poor unfortunate homeless guy, who then proceeds to give me the thumbs up. I can only resume he thought I was doing the walk of shame after an awesome new years eve; a stark contrast with the reality that I am in fact doing the jog of puke, on an awful new years day. Regaining my composure, I set off again. I make it about 50 metres this time. At this point the pain gets too much, I feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest, I can barely breathe and my feet hurt like I’ve been training to be a geisha. Dragging myself home, I notice there has been a small glob of puke on my shirt this entire time.
Slinking in I undress myself from my “exercise” clothing. As I (painfully) yank off my shoes, I notice my socks are sticking to my feet a little too much. Gently pulling the socks off my feet, I am suddenly aware of a disconcerting stickiness. Upon removal, I spy a bloody lump where my little toe used to be. The only thought that dampened my utter horror was that at least I was finally sure there was some justification for how ugly running shoes were.
Having showered off the puke, and some of the hangover induced malaise, I limp into the kitchen to attempt breakfast again. Settling on low calorie bread (the reason why it’s low calorie appears to be that it’s mostly air) and flora light spread, I munch my way through to my first cigarette craving of the day. Not having made preparations for this event, and having decided to go cold turkey, I do the only thing I can. I make myself a cup of tea. As I get ready to imbibe the golden brown nectar, I suddenly realise why this tea is so delicious; I’ve accidentally made it with real tea. Sadness tugs at my heartstrings as I am forced to pour away the caffeinated goodness. I’m now unsure whether it’s sadness, or a cigarette craving.
My experiments into seeing if university work fixes cigarette cravings have been less than successful. Mainly because I haven’t done any work (as much as I would love to hand in an essay consisting of amusing drawings of drunken cartoon cats).
I can now conclude that university work doesn’t fix cigarette cravings. I better start making lunch.
Bulgar wheat and salad is not delicious. This would taste better WITH A GARNISH OF TOBACCO.
“V, is that you?”
“Speaking….was that you earlier?”
“At 8:00am. I just heard a moaning noise and it flashed up with your number, but it could have been anything. You could have got so drunk last night a badger stole your phone, and after accidentally making a call to me, was growling at the small talky block.”
“It was me. Not a badger.”
“Good! Happy New Years!”
Wishing me a good new year, clearly comes below the importance badgerchat
“Happy New Year to you too! Please come over?”
“Sure, gimme 30mins.” *click*
As V visibly shrinks, I ponder whether or not it’s fair to the rest of mankind to submit them to my withdrawal symptoms.
Coming to the conclusion there’s only one way I’ll be able to get my mind off these cravings, I lead V to my bedroom, emphasising the fact that we’re heading to the bed.
“You can do anything you want,” I murmur, in a sultry baritone. A massive smile spreads over V’s face.
“Okay…” and I watch V slink off.
After waiting for 15minutes for V to return I become concerned and confused. What did V need to prepare for sex in another room anyway? I keep all that stuff in my top drawer. After a decent period of searching (the kitchen, lounge, bathroom and I even check my housemates’ rooms), I glimpse a figure outside. Peering out the window, I see V making snowmen. God I need a cigarette.
Screw cold turkey. I’m vegetarian. If I don’t need meat in my food, I don’t need it in my ideals. Somewhere must be selling, gum patches, anything! I need a fix or I’m going to throttle somebody.
“HOW CAN EVERYWHERE IN PORTSWOOD BE CLOSED?!”
“Did you check the Tesco express?”
3:20pm (Yes, the tesco express is that close)
I attach two patches to my shoulder.
“You’re only supposed to u…”
As I wait the 5 minutes for them to kick in, I consider the fact that my “stop smoking” resolution seems to be cancelling out my “have a healthy relationship with V” resolution.
The craving is still here. I arrive at the deduction that the only way these things will stop me from smoking is if I use them to sellotape my mouth shut.
I actually have the shakes. I turn to V to vocalise my thought that I could win a shaking contest with Michael J. Fox. Just before I speak I suddenly realise this remark is in very bad taste. Thank god my mouth was nico-taped shut. I realise there are still 8 hours til this hellish day is over. By this point I am shaking and crying in the foetal positon. Out of concern V drags me out for a walk.
“Why did that homeless guy just wave at you and mime something coming out his mouth?”
I log on to the internet, and check jobsite, monster, amnd gumtree. Unless I want to become a charity mugger my options seem limited. Prostitution it is then.
Hungry and tired, I prepare my dinner. Lentils and more salad. I try to bring myself to consume it….and I come to an epiphany.
This sucks. What’s the point in being a better person, if I am miserable? I’ve failed at everything, and I’ve actually made most of them worse.
I order a pizza, and light up a fag.
Screw New Years resolutions; I didn’t hate myself before, and I hate myself right now.
Sometimes you just have to be happy with what you have. Change doesn’t happen every 365 days, it’s a gradual process, steeped in long term positive decisions. I’m never going to be a better person in one day. This is going to take years.