I’m a bit lonely.
I’m a chatty sorta person, which you might’ve realised if you follow me on Twitter. So much so I’ve been slammed in Twitter jail 4 times since I started in August, and once it was twice in one night. If you don’t know, Twitter jail is when Twitter decides you’ve tweeted so much in the past hour that you must be a spammer, and stops you from tweeting for a bit. It’s a lonely place. And being sent there twice in one night on New Years Eve was not nice. Being sent there again on Wednesday when I was responding to all the lovely ‘Welcome Back’ messages I got was also quite shite.
I like banter, debate, and talking nonsense. Conversation keeps me alive and keeps my brain firing. It’s good for the soul. Nourishing. And makes me feel human.
But I’ve not spoken to anybody since Thursday evening.
Actually that’s not true. I had to speak to 4 separate people in the bank to find out why my card had been stopped and why they’d removed my ability to pay for stuff. It was a mistake at their end but the fact is that this was a functional and frustrating conversation. One which meant I had to ask them to do something and they kept asking ME questions. Not a conversation at all really. More a game of draughts. But with mouths.
But this is the problem. I don’t have many friends in this town. In fact, I’d say I have none.
I have lots on Twitter, which is always humbling. Real people at the other end of a laptop, Ipad, Iphone or similar. Real people who really care. Yet they’re all over the world. Not just round the corner. I can’t ask them if they fancy a drink or a coffee. much as I really want to.
And for the last 3 years I’ve been a full-time dad and since my wife and I decided to split the friends we had are now hers, if this makes sense. They’ve taken her side a bit, which is normal and I’m not going to judge them for this. It happens. And so I don’t have anyone local I can ring up and say ‘Hi. Do you fancy doing something?’ Plus, opportunities for socialising decreased once the kids were born. We had no-one we could tap up and ask to babysit. I think, in 3 years, we went out by ourselves 3 times.
So friends are a little bit thin on the ground. And it’s difficult to fully embrace this new life I have knowing that I have to fly solo for a while. Without a wing man.
How does one make friends? Through work I guess, but I’m looking for one of those job type things, so I that will come in time. Perhaps I should join a club? There’s a writing group which meet once a month and so maybe I should join that. A quick look at the societies and clubs noticeboard in the local library tells me I can also join the following:
A club for Nordic Walkers. I have no idea what Nordic Walking is. Is this walking like a Norwegian? I think I could do that as they seem to walk about pretty much like I do.
A folk club. Is this all beards and singing songs about sweet maidens of long ago with a finger in one’s ear? Nasal singing with a fierce smell of real ale?
The WI. Erm. I could drag up for this I guess.
A drama society. I’m not an actor. At least I don’t think I am. Perhaps I could be brilliant. Or perhaps I’d help with some scene shifting. This has got potential.
A bead and jewellery making club. I’m extremely clumsy and not very dextrous. I also hate threading stuff. I could go to this but they’d kick me within seconds for swearing.
I could join a book group but that would mean joining the same book group as my ex-wife and I’ve agreed to look after the kids while she goes to that, so that wouldn’t work. Besides, if we were at the same book group we could argue.
“Well I thought the characters were badly drawn, and as I got through the book I found myself unable to identify with their problems.”
“THAT’S YOU ALL OVER THAT IS! ALWAYS FAILING TO IDENTIFY WITH PEOPLE! I don’t know how you live with yourself. And you never put the rubbish out and always left ME to hang the washing out, and do the recycling.”
Apart from walking around town wearing a sandwich board bearing the words ‘Please be my friend’ I don’t know what else to do. I’ve forgotten what I enjoy doing.
I’ve decided that I’m up for some volunteer work. I’ll ask about in local charity shops. I did this many years ago in a shop in Clapham and the place was run by some of the funniest old dears I’ve ever met. I was able to do all the heavy lifting which made me feel useful.
And so, this weekend, while lots of people will be at street parties, hanging bunting, making Jubilee cakes and eating Jubilee flavoured food I’ll be sitting somewhere by myself. Blogging probably. Tweeting definitely. My children are away with their mum and for this bank holiday I’ll be trying to find things to do which will keep me sane and send this loneliness packing.
In the background? Can you hear that? Yes. That’s right. The sound of the world’s smallest violin playing a tune just for me.
But it’s like this for so many people, especially some of the elderly who have partners who’ve died and relatives who’ve moved away.
Any suggestions how I could make new friends? All comments and ideas will be warmly received.
Oh, and thanks for reading.