Friday, August 17, 1984

Hot under my skin

My condemnation of Gav and Alex and their ilk seems, on reflection, a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

In the white heat of contempt I don’t pause to look at my own failed bargains with myself. I promise myself so much and reward myself with so little. At least Gav uses every free moment he’s got. I don’t.

I paid the rent today, which was five days late. The landlord phoned us up in case we’d forgotten. So after handing over our money at Botham Street, I walked into town via White Deer Park. On Midden Road I saw a large blue-green dragonfly. This surprised me because to my knowledge, there aren’t any stretches of open water nearby and the area is quite urban.

Then, as I walked along Queen’s Road, a young woman rushed from a house across the street ringing her hands and in a state of agitation, shouting about “the dirty revolting working classes, they make me hot under my skin.” She passed me and ran off down a side road still shouting, beginning a tirade against “dirty fat women” which was lost to me as she disappeared from view.

No one seemed to take much notice.

Watermouth seems to have a large population of grotesques, derelicts and just plain nutters. You see them occasionally in the Cathedral grounds or pacing the pavements around Maynard Gardens.

When Jeremy was down I remember this: as he, Lee and I walked back from the pier, a young woman ahead of us with black hair, her face a ghastly orange beneath the street lamps, and carrying two heavily laden plastic bags, started shouting and cursing (“fucking-this,” “fucking-that,” etc.) at the passing cars and people. The last we saw of her she was squatting on her haunches on the traffic island at the bottom of Andrew St. with her trousers round her knees, calmly taking a shit, oblivious to all but herself.

Then there’s the young long-haired man in trench coat, woolly cap and kickers who’s always deeply engrossed in conversation with himself or some invisible friend, gesticulating with his arms, jabbing a finger to emphasise a point, and speaking in a rapid nasal voice so unintelligible that it sounds like complete gibberish. Sometimes he carries a newspaper and unfolds it, holding it up to show his nonexistent companion some feature of interest or importance.

Or there’s the old lady on the pavement near the Pembroke, she of the muscular, active outdoor variety with a bird like urgency of gait and bright gleaming eyes. The other day I saw her standing at the side of the road with a piece of pink toilet paper in her hand, thrusting it at the approaching traffic with a look of insolent determination on her face and going through the motions of wiping her arse.

The house has been empty most of the day; Lindsey’s at work, at the Admiral. Susie has gone out this evening with Conrad and the rest of Atom Dance Eight. I’ve been watching TV all day.

I was disturbed late on by a blazing row next door between husband and wife, she screaming that “you can’t tell me what to fuckin’ do!” while the kids sobbed and shouted for them to stop.

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