I'm very bored, and so the indignity of sharing my most private thoughts doesn't seem quite so bad as sitting here staring at the blank screen, as I pretty much have for the last month and a half.
Several things have just occurred to me, and they're quite frightening. The first is that some people really are destined to be alone. It happens. It is happening to me, as we speak.
Some of you will scoff and laugh, but for the most part the only people who react like that will be those expecting calls or contact from loved ones, those who are confident and secure in the belief that they mean something to somebody, or perhaps those who went to the cinema with their girlfriend last night. Therefore their lives have meaning. Because how others feel about us is very important indeed.
My life could be so very different, with some very minor adjustments. Some of those would come from within me, and some of them would take place externally, thus helping to foster further change in me, and mould me into a coherent human being, somebody who makes sense, to others and himself. Somebody who fits into the world (although looking around me at the state of the world, I'm not 100% sure changing to fit in would be healthy).
I sort of have this dream where there's a parallel universe in which another version of me exists. This other Alex looks exactly like me (well, perhaps he's lost a few pounds), and he is exactly like me in almost every respect. He even sees lack of a social life and social contact as a reason to stop shaving. But he still shaves everyday.
The difference between me and this other Alex is, the world reacts to him differently, treats him differently, and he's therefore fundamentally different in a very important way: he's well balanced.
Small things, or perhaps they seem so small. At least to people who take such things for granted.
So, let me take you into this parallel universe, and also back in time.
It's February, and the parallel Alex is sitting in a parallel classroom in a parallel university. In a parallel Canterbury, no less.
It's Friday morning, and he has this class with a goddess. A Lithuanian one. Her hair is as blonde as the purest gold, her skin as flawlessly pale as the finest porcelain. Her eyes are beautifully blue, deep blue in some ways and yet clear and piercing, the kind of icy, refreshing blue you might see if you cut a hole in the surface ice and stared down into the Arctic ocean.
Before Lithuania was forcibly Christianised by the Teutonic Knights, she was worshipped as the Goddess of Fertility, as her beautiful golden hair was said to symbolise the successful corn crop, meaning that the Lithuanians would eat well that year. Women who wished to conceive would thus leave an offering at her shrine, in the hope her beautiful but chaste virility would help them. It's a true story.
Anyway, he has this class, with this girl. He considers her the most beautiful creature ever to have walked the earth, but that's not terribly important - the important thing is, he likes her. Her presence makes him happy, makes him believe in the goodness of the world.
Now, here's the most important parallel bit: when she catches his eye and smiles, this Alex smiles back in a manner that does NOT make him look like he's got a nervous twitch.
This Alex walks up to her after the class. Remember, he's had totally different life experiences - he has a degree of confidence. A rejection would shatter him, too, make no mistake; he's just better equipped to ensure that no such rejection is forthcoming, for 2 main reasons:
1) He has a personality of some description.
2) He's not a useless prick.
Remember - it's all opposite here. So, he goes and asks her for a cup of tea after the class. He finds her beauty intimidating, but in a pleasant way.
She accepts, of course, as she's less busy in this parallel world (or perhaps less inclined to make excuses, depending on whether or not you're a gullible twat who constantly needs to lie to himself).
They enjoy each other's company - it's not a purely one sided thing. He finds her use of the English language adorable, her love of coffee perplexing and he makes her laugh, as well as feel safe. She likes his accent, and his knowledge of Lithuanian history, as well as his unusually apt anger at how her people were betrayed and sacrificed to the Soviet Union and that c**t Stalin. It's mutual.
So, things take their natural course (or what I'm led to believe is their natural course by those of my friends who aren't trapped as a perpetual 13 year old).
What I of course mean by this is that there was a mutual attraction - she liked parallel Alex, at least enough to allow him to prove himself with further opportunities.
So there was dinner, and dancing (parallel Alex could dance), cinema visits, drinks after classes - all sorts of fun social activities which, when combined with the person you truly want to spend time with, make the world go round.
Of course, parallel Alex was able to maintain interesting conversation. He didn't turn into a gibbering wreck with a blank mind as soon as she turned her gaze on him.
Parallel Alex was therefore able to capitalise on the opportunities which God had so kindly and unexpectedly bestowed upon him.
How does this end? Well, I'd have thought that was obvious really. I sit here now, planning to get very drunk later (well, quite soon in fact). Parallel Alex has things somewhat differently - he's getting texts from her as I write this.
Perhaps they'll meet up later, watch the football together. Perhaps she'll answer his texts and emails.
Perhaps he'll get to fall asleep holding her in his arms and making her feel happy and safe like she deserves.
Perhaps they'll go for a walk later on, just a nice slow stroll, hand in hand, enjoying the weather and the location and most of all each others company.
Perhaps they'll have a holiday together - he'll take her to Paris to fulfill her dream, or maybe she'll take him on a tour of Vilnius.
Perhaps most of all what I'm getting at is that she might think he's worth investing the same feelings he has for her in. She might see him as a worthwhile human being, someone she wants, someone she could perhaps love.
I've lost that.
I hope parallel Alex enjoys himself, wherever he is. Such things should not be taken for granted.
It doesn't sound like very much written down. Perhaps I'm just as bad at this as at everything else.
Lastly, I'm reminded of something which Joyce taught me, one of many things: even when you're surrounded by other people, even people who claim to know and like you, you're on your own.
Because true loneliness is a state of mind, something which burns in your heart, not something solved by standing in crowds or adding forty people to your msn list.
So please, each and every one of you; take something from this. If you have what I can only dream about, cherish it, and don't take it for granted.
I might be a miserable bastard, but I am happy that some of you made it. Really. It takes a special kind of person, someone who certainly must have many qualities I don't. Finding someone who understands you and cares enough to try in the first place is an incredibly precious thing.
So, there it is. Comment if you wish and good day.