My Bibliography

Friday, 30 December 2011

Comma or not, pause for thought

Now, its been said about my work that it's highly polished, but I’m starting to realise that that might not actually be a good thing, perhaps it’s actually only a polite way of saying ‘too polished’. 

One of the things I’ve noticed with other new writers who perhaps can’t afford a professional editor, or just aren’t there yet, is that readers seem to have an issue with where they’ve placed their commas; commonly commenting on that in their reviews– and certainly that’s been true of my own work too.  In fact so much so that I’ve seen many writers get pissed off about the mention of them; saying things like ‘lets just agree to disagree’ when what they're really saying is 'just piss off will ya?'

It’s always a great idea to go over your manuscript after you’ve left it for a while, I feel; seeing it with fresh eyes; reading as anyone else would, for sometimes when you’re slogging away at it to make it the best it can be, you can’t actually see the wood for the trees as you can when you're pontificating about other people's usage of them.

Over the last few months I’ve been editing the final chapters of Prickly Scots Pt II (a massive task given that these particular chapters have never actually been edited due to the size of the book which was initially completely overwritten, unlike the many chapters that came before them over the years, and that were changed here and there as my writing skills evolved; always getting tired of it before I reached that point) however, now that I have no choice, what with people waiting on it, I have to say that this entire exercise has been excellent for my editing skills; seeing, among many other things, when you consider that I’m editing my amateur self from six years ago, commas misused all over the place.  

But yesterday, someone was reading my work in front of me, a bit mortifying really, me feeling like a wannabe auditioning for Simon Cowell.  They were discussing chapter one – a chapter that I especially have gone over many, many times, the last time earlier in this year, and the mention of commas was made; the person saying that despite the use of them, I, as the author, hadn’t seemed to pause for a breath myself, technically correct, but they interfered with the flow of words for their reading experience.  She did mention that other, newer works of mine seems to have dealt with this propensity though.  And so it made me want to rush home to look at chapter one of Prickly Scots.  I couldn’t believe it; I remember painstakingly considering those commas at the time, even trusting in Microsoft Word to tell me where to put them (don’t) and I saw exactly what she meant.  And whilst I only wanted to change a couple of little things on this latest read, which I was surprised at for I usually always want to change everything, I found myself removing about twenty commas in this long chapter.

The good thing is though, that I don’t think that’ll be an issue throughout the book, over exuberant perhaps in trying to make the best initial impression in this chapter one.  I believe though that it's no longer a problem for me, for like other things on this writing journey, the more I do it, more lights switch on with certain things, or at least, if not entirely floodlit, I won't be quite as over-exuberant in the future.

I could have written many, many new novels in the time that I’ve been editing Prickly Scots, and so I simply cannot wait to get it finished – I’m nearly there thank God - but I do now know when to recognise and pause for thought as to whether a comma is appropriate or not – and that usually means not.

Given that Prickly Scots was downloaded over the Christmas period hundreds of times (and my books well over 1000 in total) I just wish/hope that the latest edit, minus these commas in chapter one, will be updated on peoples' Kindles... if not, and you're reading this, let me just take pause to say... sowwy!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Publisher, friend or foe?

It's been a while since I dipped into my diatribe bag, and so today, having seem a number of comments on self publishing and agents, I decided it was high time.

I write with courage, passion and professionalism (Thank you Julie Gray) but having entered into the world of self-publishing, still, I find myself adrift; lost amid a sea of rising mediocrity and much of what I’m seeing from the opinion of the reader, slamming indie work because of it.

The writing world is changing indeed; publishers going the way of video stores.  And it’s not just technology, no, there’s a revolution; authors and readers alike increasingly demanding something completely different.  And why not, it’s happening in every other world? Publishers aren’t to be trusted, they say, failed in doing their jobs, that much increasingly evident.  No, not for much longer will they arrogantly scan a short paragraph that merely blends into their so-called talent scouting brains with the many other author’s paragraphs that came before it; not: seeing the woods for the trees; recognising individual worth; true talent, tossing it aside in all their professional conceitedness before they’ve even given it a fighting chance if so much as a comma is misplaced.

But it doesn’t matter; for is this publishing revolution not tantamount to the same deal?  Yes, we may sail a different ship in these digital times, on a deck from where at least we can send up a flare despite an ever-ending journey of blogging and slogging and flogging to create our perfect storms, to impede us, perhaps making complete twits of ourselves; inadequately trained to come through them in the hope that we can finally reach our destination by the stroke of our own oar or perhaps that search & rescue will swoop down and scoop us up long before we drown?

But that rock congested too now, barnacles clinging in their masses, a pea soup of digital weakness closed in fast to obscure stunning marine life of those that breathe through the fins of creativity.  Yes, ego-stroking oars paddled with a whip to the backs all set on a predictable synchronised course, most thinking that they can make a quick buck in Hollywood simply because they happened to put down 50,000 strokes during their entire lifetimes, and told along the way what a great job they’ve been doing by those who love them.  And why?  Because that’s all they ever see out there.  ‘I can do that’, they say, and who can blame them?  They probably can.  And so they set sail and poison the waters grey, thicken the soup, most without actually having studied the art of writing at all, I’ve noticed, ignorant to the fact that it has to be different from their otherwise everyday eloquence that just any-old-body can tell and not show and without actually possessing an imagination outside of the subliminal sub-consciousness of a pond life who can’t even be told, apparently, that there’s anything else other than boy meets girl, husband leaves wife for younger woman, and don’t even get me started on vampires and werewolves, for that horror show speaks for itself; that is what sucked the blood from true creativity - but therein, methinks, my own downfall, for I will not be assimilated.

And then there are those who have studied writing, but a choice, for some anyway, not a calling, like a slutty girl forced into the sisterhood, technically correct, getting the formula right, but reading a recipe that anyone with half a brain can follow.  What about those who experiment in the kitchen, mix up new worlds?  What about me?

I used to be much more modest, but I believe now that I might be one of those, innovative chefs I mean, for my readers, those I have managed to magnetise, consistently say so; they always have done, even when I first started this journey with no writing experience at all.  People who don’t know me, for I don’t know anyone; have no family to stroke my own ego, nobody owing me nuttin’ except perhaps a little admiration, appreciation even, for the effort I put in to the detriment of my real life business not to mention my health; lost in and preferring my imaginary worlds as I am and I do, the migraines I work through to bring something new to the table.  Yes, readers consistently saying that my novels should be movies, over and over again telling me how original I am, again even from when I was a complete amateur with starry eyes, strangers who’ve started forums about my work saying how it should be on the big screen.  And why?  Because they actually read it.  And readers, who all but harangue me, thank God, to get Pt II of one of my novels out.  ‘Where the hell is it?’ they’re shouting.  And so yes, I’m grateful for this digital sea for at least I can cling to a buoy where they can find me.  But still, it’s not enough; I am a writer, not a marketer; I suck at self-promotion, maybe even at pitching my books, even writing their synopses probably, but nonetheless, in 2012, I must try harder.

But how do you get noticed when you’re not the child of someone famous or when there is no panel of judges to give an unknown a chance, how can you convince the arrogant those who think they know what will sell, all demanding originality but failing their own rubric to actually embrace it when presented, positively shoved down the back of their effing throats?  How the hell can I get on with my writing when I’m trying to sell myself?  Happy enough to blog, tweet even, if ever I can get around to that too, but the effort of getting noticed, gaining followers, soaking up all my time in these unfriendly seas where everyone else is trying to do the same effing thing.  Kudos to those who can manage that, but perhaps they have more time than that which I can afford or even want to dedicate to this kind of self promotion in the hope that they would share my work on their Facebook page or something so someone more important might chance across it.  Isn’t this one of the reasons I wanted an agent for?

I invent cliché, I make up words, I utilise the natural resource I was given, have turned that burden of imagination that always boiled my blood more so than it stews even now when I think of the writing talent out there that may never come to shore.  Yes, that something that makes people view a strange fellow like me as being completely removed from normal society but are intrigued by nonetheless, people who love to compare me to countless authors living and dead, Joyce, Salinger, King, Dali to name but a few, all greats and all of whom I’ve never read for I am a writer, not a reader, despite the fact my professor said a writer needs to be one.  ‘Crap’, I say to that, for I am armed with my own voice, if only I could have it heard.  But how then, if I am a combination of these by my own volition am I not considered a superpower... a writing god?  Because I write with courage, passion and professionalism – and that, evidently is scary; too much to handle for an agent or a publisher. 

For any agent reading this though, hah!  I invite you to my book, “Prickly Scots’, not for a professional perspective, but to sit back and enjoy, for that’s only how this work can be appreciated, digested; rich, nuanced and intelligent as it is, not a book you can read in one or two sittings, but one that, by the time you read it in its entirety, the second part will be available so that you won’t have to beg me to publish it like the odd person is doing online currently; a few only, perhaps, given my lacklustre efforts at doing your job for you, but making it all worthwhile; appreciated by at least someone at last.  And don’t worry about not getting back to me; that’s a given from agents and publishers even when the old fashioned sase’s were sent, let alone an automated courtesy email that at least tells me you’re in receipt of my manuscript (and how hard is that to implement into your email programme?)  No, I don’t need you anymore, apparently, but a review to help me along my digital sea journey would be most appreciated if you do find an island a thousand miles from anywhere to actually sit and enjoy something genuinely different and dare to recognise new talent in its entirety for a change. 

What I need is someone who is going to tell the rest of us what we are going to like next.  But apparently, your boat has sailed, so what does it matter?


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I'm ba-ck.... Wow... what a whirlwind three weeks of writing...

Hello... long time no see.  I’ve been very, very busy though, on my new site, which I just love, its called Hubpages, a place where writers, artists and photographers share their work.  I’ve met some great people there, and in less than two weeks, amassed a following of 60.  I was fortunate enough to get noticed on the first day, a short comedic piece I wrote about the clocks going back, proving to be popular after a very kind person linked it to Facebook and suchlike that got the attention of published writers, who have left some really nice fan mail and comments. 

I joined this site near the very beginning of something called the ‘Patron of the Arts Contest’, the prize being published as an ebook and supported by Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony etc, as well as various cash prizes too.  It ran all month, until today the 22nd, and so I was busy not just with writing short stores and poetry, but digging into my photo collections, mostly around Italy, and shocked myself to death that I might actually be a really good photographer; seeing some of these images almost for the first time, but more, the comments of others about them.   It was also great to write little pieces about them and make sense of them, as well as sharing them, gives them more purpose somehow, and not to mention the memories they evoked.  I remember now, that I would’ve loved to be a photographer. 

But what a whirlwind it’s been, I’ve entered so many things, and now we wait until the 2nd December for the results.  I feel a bit lost though, the sense of urgency over now, but I can get back to my real life, back to making entries here too, back to remembering I have a dog that might need some attention, cooking real meals even, watch a movie or even the TV.  

Oh yes, I already won a cash prize for an entry that I named ‘Underage Spanish Dwarf’, a true story believe or not, but that was such a lovely surprise given that it was my first entry into the competition.   I’m not permitted to display any of my work anywhere else, but you can take a tour around by clicking on the link to the right: Hubs by Ercolano – that’s my name there, or just click the link here.

All in all, this competition really got my artistic sensibilities thrown into action like they haven’t for a while, and I think I’ve emerged, even after two weeks, rushing about as I needed to, a much better writer and with a realisation that it might not be too late to actually take photography seriously as well.

Finally, amidst all of this, I’ve been invited to write a piece for an airline magazine – depending on the concept and the quality of course.  Now that, for me, as an intrepid traveller my entire life, would be the frigging icing on the cake.  Can you imagine, a story of mine being read by thousands upon thousands of people flying all over the world?  The editor (my new best friend) said that she loves my creative writing style; I just have to come up with a great idea and a concept that would fit into their new rubric for out of the box short stories that each passenger can somehow translate into their own lives, that the airline now require.  I’ve already come up with one, tested it out on a few people even but I am going to take weeks to write the story itself, around 1750 words, rewrite it and rewrite it some more.  Hell, I’d even buy a ticket to be able to see something of mine in the pocket of the seat in front of me.  What a trip!

(Ps, check my medley, and I mean medley, serious, nonsensical and photographic) of work out on Hubpages, and you don't have to be a member to leave a comment either).

Monday, 10 October 2011

Bored or Boring?

Vortex of time
Funny, how sometimes I can feel like the only person in the world, something I have a hard time wondering if I actually love or hate.

Thanksgiving here, the day is still.  Every day is though, these days.  But a normal one, well at least for me, no history of the celebration coming from the UK as I do, and no family to serve up a platter of histrionics anyway, going through the motions of it simply because we're in another country, pretending, as immigrants, that the tradition actually means something to us.  Yes, I always eat alone, pretty much always have done, and happy to have done so. But now the rain is beating down and despite its enthusiasm, still gives the impression of a drip in a torture chamber.  I like the rain but there’s something about it on a national holiday that is excruciatingly boring, gives that feel of quiet that New Years day can bring; all life obliterated.

The dog feels it too despite being out for two long walks already and only 1pm, but he sits and stares at me in a way he doesn’t normally anyway.  Bored, as I am, something not quite right, he knows.  But it’s disconcerting.  He’s right though; I should get up and get on with something, but what?

I wonder how I can get up to mischief; make controversial comments on a forum somewhere, perhaps; incite unrest in cyber world maybe?  But what’s the point of that; self-satisfaction in such things long since tedious and with no real merit.  Talk about bored, when did I become that person?  When did I last go to a party?  I was invited to one last night, but did I go, did I fuck. 

And yet there is so much I could do, have any amount of projects to be getting on with, indeed any amount of dreams that if I only made a bigger effort in realising might just have a chance.  I feel like writing, being creative, wrote a piece for a competition entry actually.  But it was far too easy, occupying me only for a few minutes, don't even care if I win.  No, I don’t feel like writing now, at least not fiction, is there any point to that anyway, even?  Nobody sees it but me for the most part, a bit like this blog.  Now there’s something I thought I would never say.  That tells me how I’m feeling, where I’m headed if I'm not careful; I know a writer needs to put all such thoughts of not being good enough aside.  But its indicative of everything these days, I feel - or at least today I do.  What’s the point of anything?

I could get in the car and go shopping, have a leisurely drive, pretend to be a part of society; have a chance encounter, meet someone exciting, spark me into that kind of combustion that used to roar spontaneously from me.  But serendipity only happens in movies, I know.  There’s more chance of winning the lottery.   So I contemplate the life of others on Facebook instead; it seems that they might be as bored as I am; stretching for stuff to put on there, as many do, but still, they do anyway.  Could it be that they are actually content? I too have any amount of things I could share, but don’t wanna, don’t see the point.  But then, that, if I’m truthful, is at the heart of my problems as I log out and wonder what to surf next.  How can the world be at your fingertips but yet be so very boring?  Or is it simply the rain?

I’ve always been a firm believer in anyone saying that they’re bored, simply being boring people themselves.  So when did I become boring?  Wasn’t I always known for getting up to something unusual?  Being controversial, a bit outrageous?  Or have I exhausted that energy; succumbed to tiredness, seen it all, done it all, got the t-shirt?  Disappearing on a well-worn path, obscured by weeds?

I love change, but I haven’t had any for years.  I think that’s the problem.  But without the bravado, or even opportunity of youthful youth, I don’t really know how to anymore.  I’m not a person, normally, to sit and wait for opportunity to come a-knockin’, I know you have to make your own luck in this life.   Then why don’t I?  Tenacity is supposed to bear fruit, they say, or words to that effect.  Or is it because I can no longer live like a student?  But if tenacity is the answer, why then haven’t I moved on any in all these years?  I’ve been patient, hard working and optimistic.  But the, perhaps constant, change, was my tenacious occupation.  At least I was never bored.  So, despite all I've ever said about preferring my own company, it seems I might have bored myself to death. 

Wee MacGregor, a drowned rat, but at least happy to have chased his ball 
- maybe he'll stop staring at me now
Yes, the hands on the clock tick so fast, but time stands still anyway.  Maybe I should go out in the rain after all; hope for it to ripple the pond that is my life and escape this vortex?  At least the dog will be happy.


And he was, but the most exciting thing happening to me; a comment about how cute he looked in his coat.
Now what?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Bye Bye Wee Baby Girl

My little baby girl passed on today, but its all right, she lived a very full and happy life for the last twenty years. 

I can smile through the odd tear here and there, tears I’m not ashamed to say that I no longer feel the need to blink back now I’ve had a glass or two of good Chianti.  I’ve been known to be a bit of a hard ass emotionally, but when it comes to animals, any animal, my heart melts like a twelve year old girl trampled in the mosh pit at a Justin Bieber concert.

Her real name was Misty, but I always called her Moooooost and that was the name on one of the passports she had in her little life; the people looking at me as I had to spell it out as if to say 'really?'  For Moooooost was an international cat of mystery and her real name could not be told.  My niece and nephew, when they were kids, called her Moosty Moo Moo, and in fact she had many other names, one of which I was reminded of today on Facebook from an old friend’s comment; Misty Fish Finder.  That brought back a memory or two, and a little laugh; I hadn’t heard that in years.  But that’s because she had cool parents, ones who actually included her in the family as being just that; known and loved by pretty much everybody in our lives, come and gone as they might’ve.  Frankly, when we mentioned her sometimes recently, some expressed great surprise that we were talking in the present tense, for we’ve all changed and done so much, gotten old, moved on in life, a pet from so long ago, supposed to be one of those memories you look back on and say ‘awww... remember such and such.’   But no, it’s only today that we can do that.

It makes me feel better to write down my emotions, devoid as they can be otherwise, I did it for my beloved Angus, my dog taken heartbreakingly and suddenly only three years ago, ‘cept for him I wrote a poem.  I can’t read it now, and I don’t know if its because it was so amateur, or if its still too painful, maybe both, for he was special too in ways many might not understand fully - and I’m not just talking about him being a beloved pet; bringing so much more than just unconditional loyalty.  But here, I just want to briefly mention the fabulous life Moooooost has had, and who she was.

Born in Dubai, a little ball of mist with bright blue eyes when her mum first picked her up, hence her name (which I always thought to be a bit cheesy actually, but still...  she suited it).  Cute as could be, but teenage Misty drove us fucking crazy though; wailing like a baby when she first went into heat, and I mean non-fucking stop. If the local police in Dubai actually knew their way about the city, I’m sure they’d have been knocking on the door, looked under the beds, in large suitcases and trunks for a body.  We had to try and appease her hormones with a particularly inventive use of cotton buds.  And then came along Atrees, or Tweeeeeesy Boy, as we called him, as I still do (Atrees a name I always thought a bit pretentious for a cat who should’ve been called Charlie, but really suits him anyway) anyhoo, he was Misty’s husband and the same age.  Recently when I was in Italy, and I'm so glad I got to see her, both of them these two years running, she'd become a bag of bones with age, looking a bit like Bob Marley I have to say; unable to groom herself properly.  But the point is, she was Vanessa’s baby from beginning to end, the bond between them extremely special; Misty a one person cat, whereas Atrees (a little man whore who’ll let anybody, and I mean anybody, stroke his belly to the point where they could work up a good arm muscle) always had a special connection with me.  

Some years after, Vanessa and the cats all came to live in Canada with me.  And that was special, we took great pleasure in watching them for they’d never seen a bird or even a tree; the weather disgustingly hot in Dubai, and the city an arid, sandy terrain at the time.  Both were completely intrigued by the first snowfall they’d ever seen, completely excitable.  They lived in some swanky places too, in luxury, a birds eye view of the city from sunny decks, yes, positively flaunted themselves in 'no pet buildings', cat-calling all the alley cats in language I can't possibly repeat here.

Misty would only usually let her mum touch her; deeming, on the odd occasion as time went on, to sit close to me.  Privileged indeed.   But no way would she allow me to toss her around playfully like Vanessa did, not quite hissing, but staving me off if I even thought about it.  I got there in the end though; after her mum went to live in Italy to start a new chapter in her life, the cats remaining with me for a few years.  Yes, she allowed me to pick her up, cuddle her, always wanting to sit with me, especially at my feet, and taking the best spot in the bed right next to my face - despite that being something that saw an asthma attack or two and hives that any queen bee would give her sting up for, and, worse, so that I had to wait at least two bloody hours every morning before I could actually enjoy a fag.  And there was the old game that she just loved, us walking along the wall holding her up as she sought out insects that didn’t exist.  But she adamantly refused to play one of her favourites - messing around under the sheets when the bed was being made, a pastime obviously reserved only for Vanessa; looking at me as if I was stupid as I let the sheet fall on her with a big ‘wooooh’.  But she and I developed our own games and Vanessa was shocked to see when she visited from Italy a few years later, that I could roll her over with my foot and tickle her tummy.  Yes, astounded when Misty would sit with me instead of her now, come to bed when I did, unrelenting in her refusal to forgive her mum for leaving.  But it didn’t last, and in the end Misty Moo became a two people cat; reserving different traits for both of us.... but still... always a mummy's girl at heart.  
But Vanessa had to return to Italy, and while I knew she really wanted to take the cats back with her, she never asked, for she knew how much I loved them too and having had them for years, they’d become mine in the sense that matters too.  I could tell, even apart from her friend whom I spoke to on the phone subtly suggesting it, but I just couldn’t let them go.  In the end though I did, when I went to live in Italy too, a different part though, the babies flying into Rome to be with their mum, where they really belonged and where they’ve soaked up the Amalfi sun ever since watching all the poor stray cats in the grounds outside - where we rather suspect a few Siamese looking kittens are running around due to Atrees having escaped once or twice – something he was always good at and which once resulted in me screaming over the balcony to the Cathy Bates look alike (from Misery) that lived underneath us, a very rude name one Sunday afternoon when we discovered she’d been keeping him there with the hundreds of other cats she’d stolen – well okay, were actually hers; knowing we were franticly looking for him.  But tiring of him though, getting scratched a little once, playing with him, and then rather cheekily phoning us to complain about it.  Tweeeeeesy wouldn’t hurt a fly, but this is about Misty, and she definitely might’ve.

How we laughed when she would hiss at any one that wanted to touch her; Cathy Bates would never have stood a chance if it’d been Misty that went down the builder’s scaffolding instead.  Funny indeed.  That was a most excellent game, all sweet and innocent as she looked, caught between the clouds of heaven and the fires of hell depending on who it was trying to stroke her; the shock of their faces as they quickly withdrew their hands from the cute innocent looking little missy.  Priceless.

Our pets are not just pets, they’re a real part of the family, and ours have outlasted many of the people who’ve come and gone in our lives, as well as remaining in many others, touching them too, as was also pointed out in the nice messages on Facebook today.  They’re in hundreds of pictures, kids have grown up around them, and they’ve left a lasting impression on us that we’ll simply never forget; their love and their loyalty, their quirks (and their hives, if you’re me) meaningful in many, many ways.

When I thought about it today, Vanessa had Misty for almost half of her own life, that’s huge, and so not just a cat, her baby, a part of her family that’s been there for most of her adult life, lived in three countries with, and so, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me sharing this letter that she sent to me today; I want to, because it says it all... and perhaps better than I can here:

“My poor little baby girl, she’s seen me through so much in my life, from crying over boys, having fun, moving countries and starting life again, meeting my partner, losing my Mum and the birth of my child, I just expected her to last forever, I loved her so much, and only you could know that, and how deeply. I held her in the palm of my hand when I first got her and she had her babies on my chest. She waited for me to go to bed every night and come home from the pub! She was just always there.

I know you must be suffering too, you were her Daddy and she loved you. Thank you for all the love and kindness you showed her and me. She’s gonna be buried in a friend’s garden with a lovely view and she can sit in the sun and wander free now.

Atrees seems fine, don’t worry, he’s too daft to know anything’s amiss, bless him.

Well they say when someone dies they take an animal with them; I told my Mother out loud she could not have Misty, and now look! She always loved Misty.

Man oh man what a bloody sad day. My eyes look like piss holes in the snow!
Will ft tomoz as will cry today if I see you :-( xxxxxx.”

It’s very sad, yes, naturally, but I’ve always said that when anyone lives their full lifespan, and a happy one to boot, then nothing more could’ve been given to them.  So yes, my heart wants to shed a tear, but my face doesn’t have to try too hard to smile, I have, as do many, wonderful memories.

Misty and Atrees, Siamese twins always
Finally, we all take private comfort in our spiritual beliefs, whatever floats our boats I says, if it makes you feel better, so I choose to think that everything that once lived, returns to energy, man or beast, and to me, therefore, our wee baby girl has gone not to the big kitty litter box in the sky, a horrible expression, because that would be hell for our snooty little Misty Moo, but a big comfy cloud directly in the sun’s rays with an angel or two flapping their wings to cool her every now and then in-between portions of chicken.


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sink or Swim?

Now, as a new blogger, something I find I’m enjoying greatly, it has me wondering though, if it’s just me; am I really that crap at interacting, even online, with people?  Do they just not like me?

I’m not great at ingratiating myself into certain situations even with the relative anonymity of the Internet, and so it’s definitely a push for me to initiate any kind of relationship with strangers, always kinda on the outside looking in.  But I’m trying.

I see that most bloggers here have hundreds of followers, or a great deal at least, and I know I have to put myself out there to be like them, establish myself within groups, strike up a rapport, contribute, take myself out of my comfort zone, conform even.  And having been a member of a writing site for the last three years or so, I thought I’d learned a great deal about exercising my digital voice; contributing to online forums where body language can’t have a say, online communication very different from the intimacy of that face to face, conversing without the kind of animation I’m so good at that I could actually be Italian.  I thought I’d learned, at the very least, how to be subtle though; my straightforward, but nonetheless intended to be helpful comments often misinterpreted in the past; viewed as controversial even, because they hadn’t followed suit of the ego stroking niceties that were very often unmerited and in place of offering some helpful advice that might actually help a new writer grow.

Perhaps I take things too personally, but that’s who I am, I analyse everything, feel deeply, and so I can’t help but wonder why a complimentary comment I left on someone’s competition entry here should have been deleted.  It was a nice enough piece, sure, but I could have pointed out a passive voice, a lack of exposition and some other nitpicky stuff, but I didn’t; this isn’t my writing site after all, and I don’t know yet that this kind of advice is wanted, or even appropriate here even among writers – the standard of which I find pleasantly high so far - but mainly because I’ve learned that an honest to goodness kind of critique isn’t always received well, so I've learned to hold back.  Since leaving mine, five other comments such as ‘love it, go vote for me’, have been posted on that blog, I know, because I subscribed to the follow up emails, yet mine is soaring through cyberspace with no place to go.  So yes, it leaves me thinking that I can’t do right for doing wrong.

It bothers me, perhaps irrationally, but as I said, I imagine all sorts of reasons as to why this might have been.  It could be innocent enough or it could be that my British way of saying things meant that my comment was viewed differently from an American perspective, as can happen, although I can’t really see why in this case it would’ve; friendly as my message was. But the one thing we did on my writing site was to reciprocate; I wonder if the same unspoken rule applies here? 

On the other hand, there are those who have come to my entry by their own volition, and that is always a pleasure. Indeed I've 'met' some really nice people here, which is what I'll concentrate on instead of dwelling on the feeling of rejection that this one incident wants to instil within me - even though I know it could simply be down to a malfunction somewhere - perhaps residue from years of over-reaction from those on my writing site.

No, I won’t allow this deleted (misplaced?) comment to put me off my ‘up until that point, enthusiasm' for trying to join in, but nonetheless, perhaps now I know why I have only read nice reviews on blogs here as opposed to the mixed bag you get on writing sites; it’s easy to delete those that you don’t want - that can be a good thing though and I often wished for that function on the writing site. 

So, just so you know I welcome hearing from complete and utter strangers as surely a blog site is intended to accommodate, and hopefully this is just a one off innocent situation, no more needless obsessing. I look forward to those who want to interact with an otherwise lone wolf like me... talking of which, here's a little ditty I wrote (although I don't profess to like... wax all poetical or owt.)

Lone Wolf

What fate it is to succumb to a life alone in all things

Not sharing beauty of mind, your perception of the world
To suffer on the outside, the sense of not being welcome in
Click image to read samples of humorous poetry by S P Mount
To deny another of yourself in body and brain and all

A choice, no doubt, but from where is it made, and why
When the rest of the world is content to be in somebody's company
Is this designed to punish, or is it a form of enlightenment, are you being mocked
For not tagging along a trodden path of what is considered normalcy

How can humankind be so unique and individual yet so very different with distinctive fingerprints when given the droves in which it exists
Why does it punish goodwill, castigate learned people for what they know
For a gift of awareness so independently beautiful should be chastised, is a sin

Ignorance ostracises most things unfamiliar and not recognised, as intimidation
No welcome mat for inexplicable threats for fear of inferiority complexes stepping in
No salutation for a lone wolf… or is the welcome staved away with bared teeth
Is it better to be one, or alone in a pack, or both, what fate, strange one, is your doom

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot?

In some cases, damn right it should.

I don’t like to have a lot of friends; I can only commit so much of my precious time that I’ve always liked to spend on my own to other people - despite the fact that I have an abundance of it.

No, I genuinely love being immersed within my own thought process - much to people’s amazement, for most can’t comprehend a solitary existence; secretly thinking I only say that because I have no friends.  But I don’t, because you see, I lie least of all to myself. And anyway, I do have friends - in the real sense of the word.  But that’s indicative of why I love to say I hate people – although I hasten to add what I mean by that is, more the predictability of the human race. 

This is why I love to write; my imagination under-appreciated in the real world, it’s a huge escape for me and provides all the company I need.   What would be the alternative?  Talking to myself perhaps?  Sometimes I can’t help but think if I did that, I might just fit in better. 

No, knowing too many people would be as cumbersome and exhausting for me as much as it reenergises others.  But then, I am a quintessential introvert, peace and quiet rejuvenating me so that I can briefly be the life and soul on some another occasion. 

I’m extremely loyal to the hilt to those friends that I do have though, and I enjoy them greatly. Sadly, only one or two of those would be able to say the same about their relationship with me and so therefore, and the point of this blog, most people I’ve ever known have now been kicked into touch.  And I don’t regret it one bit.

I think a lot of people who’ve been BFFs; old friends if you will, are actually nothing more than old habits actually; neither really enjoying the other’s company if they were to be honest, some misguided sense of duty keeping them together but all a bit of a chore really. 

People do come and go from your life, yes; we all hear that, and yes, I believe that everybody deposits something with everybody else, a lesson learned somehow or other.  But that’s all it was meant to be.  So why not just let go when the suggestion box is obviously full? 

Most people change, go through different life phases, becoming more sophisticated versions of them, while others never change at all, or if they do; seem to regress even.  But what fit snugly last year may no longer fit, and as far as I’m concerned, neither do they have to.  We throw away underwear as we get a bit of a midriff going, so why not people in your life?  But then this is why people find me strange; consider I’m too philosophical, too honest, even for being able to say that if relationship no longer works, its as useless as broken knicker elastic.

Now that might seem a bit harsh so I should justify by way of saying that I do try to stitch up the gaping hole between me and some of the people who’ve been in my life for a long time before I mop the floor with them.  I do of course explain how I feel; e.g. that we’re no longer kids; I don’t want to hang out in the pub all the time; enjoying a sophisticated evening talking about such things as the latest wine that someone recommended, far preferable.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work like that for me; sick to my yellowing back teeth of listening to the same old negativity and dealing with consistent propensity for problem finding in absolutely everything, becoming increasingly weary of giving the same advice over and over again and them doing nothing to rectify their issues, which, I’m positive, they wouldn’t actually be happy without.  It gets completely tedious.  No, these relationships can be likened to that over-familiarity that we tend to display with our adult siblings, oftentimes otherwise mature adults who, by the very act of coming together regardless of how long they haven’t seen each other for, reverting back to being the kids that they once where; petty arguments ensuing all over the place, when in actual fact, for the most part they’ve become relative strangers; blood, incidentally, not having to bind you together forever either, I’ve found – but then perhaps I have a good excuse for that; being estranged as kids, as we were.

What I hate most is that the essential ingredient of loyalty is too often taken for granted - and perhaps so it should be, but never should it be unappreciated.  I will try to help in any way I can when a friend needs it, to me, that’s an integral part of friendship; it goes without saying.  I never make a person feel beholden, my generosity always big, selfless, unconditional.  But then, I question if that’s the very thing responsible for my downfall; people become expectant, entitled, when you deliver friendship seamlessly; it’s my fault that I’ve become simply a resource; they know they can contact good old reliable me any time they like to borrow money, my car or my level-headed approach to life.  And that’s fine, but only getting in touch when they do need these things, choosing not to invite you out for a night, round to dinner or a BBQ or include you in the festivities when people are in town or at Christmas or other occasions, and when they do, have obviously already bad-mouthed you, but the visitor, doing their best to snub you, unworthy of you anyway if they can’t judge a person by their actual merit.  And they never accept your invitations either, your suggestions of what to do, where to go, always, always only on their terms.

Despite the fact that I’ve forewarned many people of our friendship’s impending doom, gave seismic warnings about actually; mentioning how things need to change, they don’t seem to want to make any effort to help stitch up that old pair of knickers at all.  So, I guess they don’t really know who I am, and always have been, for they all know that if I say anything, I mean it; I will see it through even if it’s to my detriment; well known for being a person of my word and one who retains a great sense of pride and honesty.  They know too, that I’d rather have no friends than half of one, but somehow, when it comes to old friendships, they think all will be forgiven, forgotten, and we’ll carry on as we’ve done for over twenty years; even thinking, perhaps, that because it has been so long and we’ve been through so much, that I can’t live without them.  Wrong, but sadly, for them it’s not true of the reverse - as they’ve come to find out.  In all honesty, the knicker elastic snapped long, long ago, beyond repair, and I was simply relieved not to have to try and get those tatty old things past my knees anymore (and for the literalists, I don’t wear extra-large knickers, I wear a nice designer boxer in large, which is really only medium in Vancouver; clothes sizes related to the large Asian population and their miniscule sizing.)

I’m a smart person, smarter than most when it comes to seeing life and people for who they are, and I feel things deeply if I, or someone close to me has been betrayed.  I’m a friendly person, amicable, sure, in normal situations, but my so called friends have seen me look blankly right through some people we know as if they don’t exist (and usually for their benefit, because I don’t allow myself to get into ridiculous situations such as theirs) yet they go on to betray me themselves, shockingly thinking that they can pull the wool over my eyes.  Do they really not realise that after all this time I can read them like a comic book?  Do they really think that I can be used as a doormat (granted a very well worn one)?  Sadly, the answer is no, they don’t know me one iota.  They didn’t take a blind bit of notice that my tolerance levels were thinning rapidly, the message on my welcome mat so faded I had to get a new one with quite a different message - in fact, the same as the one that one such ex-friend actually had on his for real that read; “Fuck Off’ - you might have seen those.  We thought it was very funny at the time, but he certainly doesn’t find it funny now that that’s what greets him, and others, at my address; he can’t, for he still insists on trying to be the friend I wanted him to be for years, trying to engage me now, but too little too late.  No, him and others like him, no longer have the me that I once was to them, realising only now that they don’t have it, what it was I brought into their lives.  They have to; I’ve had a begging letter saying my absence is like a death in their family; I've had to ignore numerous phone messages and contend with other not so devious ploys by them trying to get back into my life – or my wallet, my hospitality, my mind.  But it’s over, well and truly - for their efforts never last.  A chameleon like me, can feign spots, but a leopard can never change its.

Apart from the material things, I feel that I brought vision, ideas, encouragement and excitement to some of these people, unable or just too lazy to think for themselves.  I’m a person who loves to learn, always have been, chic geek, I like to call myself, for I don’t look nerdy, quite the opposite, and for that I’ve been accused of being boring – which I simply laugh at, for I know the people who say this are actually the uninteresting ones themselves; believing that anything intellectual or that stimulates the brain is in fact dreary because its too much like hard work.  No, it’s only when they no longer have my particular brand of friendship do these people realise just what it was they abused; nobody else quite willing to deliver it as quietly and as generously as I had always done.  And yet they still blame me, my fault, cos I got ‘all weird’ about it.  But par for the course, and simply another reason they’ve been binned; their drama always has been due to external factors.

I’m actually a person who reinvents himself regularly while most people remain static, I do change with every year, have an abundance of interests, have a thirst for knowledge, but at the same time I realise that I don’t need to come across as a know-it-all.  Yet when they tap into that mind of information instead of them making the effort to go look it up, crossed between being impressed and resentment because I did know something, I’m called a snob, snooty, piss elegant, standoffish and any number of other things behind my back.  Crap, that’s what friendship is, unconditional.  I also often get accused of judging them when I never actually have - which is something that is simply due to their own inferiority complex kicking in, but my fault, somehow, that they feel stupid for not knowing anything themselves, the boring stuff, and coming to resent the very thing that they’ve always tapped into and in the end biting the hand that’s fed them for years by getting downright nasty and two-faced.  But truth will always out; I can read people you see, even if their other (disloyal) relationships didn’t tell me about it first.  

I fully resent hearing that people think I am judgmental; this is simply the perception of an ignorant mind, of someone's who can’t possibly understand a complex one like mine.  I have people from all walks of life in my own, from those who are as thick as two, maybe ten, short planks, to intellectual types.  I simply don’t care what education you’ve had, what your bank balance is, what you look like, how you dress, where you came from or what you do for a living, age sex or any of the rest of it. Individuality is what floats my boat.  God knows I came from the gutter myself, but if I find you interesting, then that’s good enough for me – as I expect in return.  But you know what, if I’m gonna be tarred with a brush, then I am the kind of person that will want to live up to it, and how.  So... I did come to judge in the end; and I judged that these old friends weren't good enough for me, not anymore.  The truth of it is, that those who talk behind other people’s backs, who are just plain nasty and bitter, yes, those are the people with the problem, not me, what they’re doing is judging me by their own standards, society's even, but by their own petty, mediocre, ignorant state of minds.

I’ve long since said that I have to get better friends – something not quite as easy as it once was, something about the people from your youth that is irreplaceable - despite all.  So therefore, it might not be possible to forget old acquaintance, no, but in my opinion, these days, as I become curmudgeonly, it can certainly be dismissed as easily as a fly to a swatter. 

In closing, I do want to say that by contrast, I most definitely appreciate those relationships that have had endurance and are more valuable than ever.  Friendships, where we discover as time goes on, something new about the other, new, yes, but somehow with that irreplaceable familiarity attached to it that we can still tap into and see flashes of who we used to be; shining moments without doubt that don’t need words from someone who loves you for all your idiosyncrasy, someone who gives as much effort as they demand of you yourself, and therefore none at all - that, my friends, is priceless.

Duplicitous Dumbo

You’re such a mediocre ‘friend’
You fake two-faced ignorant dumpling
I really can’t quite comprehend
How I thought we might've had something

You simply got worse as the years went by
Your pie face increasingly uninteresting
Redeeming traits... uh... hel-lo... long gone aw-ry
Gawd… what the fuck was I thinking?

Don't Call Us... We'll Call You

(As in Phone Guide)

I reckon what with all the no call lists being completely useless, that if you can’t beat ’em, then you might as well entertain yourself with telemarketing callers.   Yeah... why not dish a side of entertainment with your dinner, but share, keep the phone on speaker in the middle of the table so the whole family can enjoy.  That’s a great way to break the monotony of pretending to be interested in their day, or, if you’re just the lonely loser type like me and eat frozen lasagne and suchlike by yourself every night in front of the telly, you can actually look forward to the only dinner guest you’ll ever have.  Yes, telemarketers offer something for everybody – and they’re free!
A long time ago in the UK, I once rather stupidly listened to a consumer programme on television that said the best way to deal with such calls is to politely say something like this: 
‘Thank you for your call, but I’m not interested at this time.’ 
Absolute balls to that!  Why the fuck should I be thanking these annoying bastards for letting my pizza go cold?  But then that was back in the day when the world hadn’t become quite so rude yet and before the last bastion of the Brits became outmoded.  Because today, as we all know, telemarketers have an answer for everything; skilled, or so they fucking think, in counteracting your adamant refusal; repudiating that overly polite and civilised rejection; refusing to shove it where the sun don’t shine - as was always clearly the true meaning of even the Brits – and trust me, it don’t shine anywhere like it does in Mumbai - the main headquarters of the telemarketing race.  But yet they’re persistent, a bit like the gas you get for 48hrs after you’ve eaten a particularly spicy curry.
And you do know who’s responsible for them getting their murky little hands on your number in the first place, don’t you?  Yes, your telephone provider, for the most part, and you’ll find it’s in the small print: 
Periodically we provide lists to companies who may have a boatload of crap to sell that you’ve never heard of, who’ll call to tell you that you’ve won a competition that you never entered in the first place or that they can have your credit card bill reduced by 99% - but only if you provide the number, the expiry date and the three digit security code on the back as well as your mother’s maiden name... oh, and your bank account information.  
No, you have to actually read the small print to be able to know to tell them not to give your number out even if you do opt to pay their rip off charge for a private listing.  And of course these companies sell them to every other company ‘cos they’re all in cahoots you know.  And every time you’re asked for your number on some website it goes on yet another list, and before you know it, your phone’s lit up like a radio station’s switchboard when the prize offered is lunch for two at your local IHOP if you’re the 32nd caller.  Yes, usually around 6pm when you’re just about to sit down with your egg and chips to watch the news and see who’s killing who around the world now.  Or worse, making you miss the serious stuff, you know... like the headline news such as the unfeeling tyrant who stole one of our beloved and protected homeless people’s shopping carts, not to mention the feigned look of concern on the News Anchors’ faces when they go on to report that that member of the protected and revered sub-cultured species only has a wheely bin to collect all his bottles in now.  Um... excuse me, but didn’t he steal the cart and the garbage can in the first place?  But that’s all right, he’s a bum; it’s not a crime when you can’t pay a fine.
But seriously, I immediately block all strange numbers coming through on my phone these days though, fucking amount of them, shocking indeed, obviously numbers able to propagate like catholics, the area codes obvious even if they’re not 800 or 899 numbers cos they don’t belong to Canada, and nobody calls me from the States, I’m far too private for that.  Well, that is unless its the other phone companies; they rather cleverly try to trick you by assigning a local area code, making you think you do have a friend in the world after all and going on to further trick you by using your first name as if they’re an old friend: ‘Hey Johnny... how ya doin’?’  Of course that’s only if they haven’t been outsourced, for even if the fluidity of their second language skill is impressive, the telltale East Indian accent betrays their location right off the bat, and other aspects too that they’re so unaware of, like if you ask if they have HD service on Broadway yet, of the most famous streets that runs the length of the entire city of Vancouver, and they ask you how to spell it.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, I s’pose, I mean who else wants that job over here anyway?   But now you know why you had to settle for the secondary area code, the less prestigious one, the good ones all allocated to South Asia, all calling pretending to be just up the road, all wanting to ‘bloody helping’ me save money.
“KinnaspiktomeesterMoont?” the voice says. 
“Sorry, wrong number, I didn’t order any takeaway,” I say.
Or, if I’m in a completely bad mood (and I do feel slightly guilty about this one because I know that there might be somebody over there with three generations relying on them to buy a sack of rice for the entire year with their pitiful earnings, and because I do admire their ability to speak English, over-exuberant in its effort to sound as if its actually local, as it can be)”
“Can you repeat that please?”
“I can’t understand a word you’re saying,” I say.
“Iam-killin-from-suchandsuchacompany-a-kin-never-makeout-thenameof,” they say a bit slower, a bit louder.
“Nope, I still can’t make out a bloody word, can you speak English please?”
“Is this a prank call? Frank is that you pretending to be a Pakky again?”
provincesrefusetoregulateitlikeanyothercivilisedbloodycountry,” they say, obviously getting a bit tetchy now; that karma sutra thing we all hear about not doing much at all to release their tension, obviously.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I have no need for a carpet cleaning, we have hardwood... we changed after you told us it was extra to actually remove the dirty stains that we hired you for the first time.”
“Look, I have absolutely no idea what language you’re speaking, but you will have to excuse me; I’m expecting Tyramail at any time.  Salam.”
Now, I feel guilty, because the reason I do this is so that said telemarketer will get into trouble for not sounding like a westerner if their supervisor is monitoring the calls. Yes, at the time, I find that just punishment for them making my chips go as cold and soggy as a bunch of witches tits.  But then I have visions of his sari ass being kicked out into the streets of Mumbai with nothing but a begging bowl to earn a living.  Or I wonder if they just get hauled back into the classroom to learn the language properly, or perhaps demoted or something, but whatever, doomed forever to remain a slum dog sleeping on the undercarriages of trains, I imagine, and local ones too, you know the rickety old kind. That is unless they go back onto the tea plantation or something - or is that only women?  Its only ever women you see on the tea boxes, in their beautiful coloured traditional dress and that red spot on the forehead from where the gun pressed too hard to force her to smile for the photograph like you see on the kind of tea caddy your granny might still have on her windowsill or from a retro box of PG tips - well, that is until they replaced her with talking monkeys or some indescribable sock puppet that I believe they might use these days - if there’s a difference - maybe they shot her though; women’s rights the way they are, she probably demanded two rupees a month instead of one.
And then there are those who do speak English, the overly polite and professional female voices that are slightly flirtatious, giving the impression they’re sitting in some pristine, efficient corporate environment; but their only interest the details of your credit card  and not really its interest rate. Do people actually fall for that?  Like, do they give out their numbers and security codes?  Are there actually people so lonely that they get taken in by a scammer with a friendly voice professing to help reduce their debt?  There has to be or they wouldn’t be doing it.  In actual fact that friendly voice is probably sitting in a trailer park with a baby attached to her tit – or at least, the guy she picked up in ‘The Sheep Shack’ the night before, no, she’s probably talking on a sex line in a Chinese accent on call waiting. 
No, I listen to these people in their entirety, I can understand them after all and they can be quite amusing, with their American drones and idiosyncrasy that betrays who they really are.  But anyway, you have no choice; they just delve right into it without taking a breather, not allowing you to say that you’re not interested, ignoring you if you do, skilled in trying to hook the polite and unsuspecting with the monologue that they no longer need to read from a piece of paper, having recited it so many times that they’re not only feeding the baby, holding a sexual conference call, but also wondering just how Troy and Garth’s evil triplet brother Fabio could have come back from the dead, especially when his mother, who is also his first wife and little sister, had him hacked to little pieces in a hamburger factory to be served up at the cook-out at the county fair.  Yes, all this, as well as sending out spam emails informing people how they can achieve the hardest hard-on ever if they don’t mind imminent heart failure and impaired vision by opting for a cheaper alternative to Viagra because nobody can fuck without some help these days, according to them.  But on that matter, they might be right; the drug not at all for impotence, everybody knows, it’s merely a sex enhancing stimulant, in effect, no different from ‘poppers’, the amyl nitrate ‘leather cleaner’ that was so famed back in the eighties.   But no, we can’t admit that; it’s only for people with erectile dysfunction. Yeah right.  When will the human race say it as it is?
“Ohhh... you want to give me a credit card?” I say, when they finally expect me to jump right on whatever it is they’re offering. 
“No... sir...,” they say (a word that actually means ‘you stupid fuck’) after a momentary and stunned silence that might’ve been more appropriately employed to show surprise when they found out that Fabio had actually had a sex change and was now in love with his long lost quadruplet brother Hunter whom they thought had died in the incubator having been pushed out of the womb by the other three because he had a bigger dick than them. “I’m calling about your credit card interest.”
“Oh yes I certainly do have an interest, I’ve been trying for years to get a credit card, but I’m always declined... they won’t even give me a secured one you know.”
“Sir, I’m calling about our credit card interest rate services, we offer the opportunity to have your high rates reduced... we can really limit that for you... so if you’ll just provide me with your number... why pay more?”
“Oh that’s great, a high limit?  Aw... thanks for giving me this chance,  Oooh I can’t wait, I never thought I’d be able to have nice things again... fuck you credit bureau... I’m ba-ack!  But don’t worry; I have learned my lesson, I’ll only book four-star hotels in future... fly coach from hereonin. No sireebob, I won’t fuck you over.” I say, until the penny drops.
“Hel-lo... hel-lo.” I continue to say even though my act of dumbness has obviously worked and no one to hear me... God I guess I am lonely.  But again, the point is to entertain yourself.
There are other ways too to fuck with them too; you simply tell them that you’re very interested, but could they possibly wait a minute while you go look out all your credit cards and your partner’s too.  They’ll always say, ‘sure no, problem....’ but thinking privately what a sucker you are and not quite believing their luck, 4,223 calls that night and finally a schmuck that’s gonna pay for a new HD TV for them and any other amount of online electronics.  I often wonder just how long they waited on the other end of the phone though, but they’re never there when I check back fifteen minutes later.  Mind you, I only do this on the landline where there are no cell phone charges.  
But leaving them hanging is the easy way out, the coward’s way if you like, and no real fun at all, but whatever floats your boat; it still sticks it to them.  I also know someone who simply says, ‘uh-huh’ to absolutely everything that the telemarketer says or asks, no matter what... that can be fun as you listen to them get all agitated; thinking you haven’t understood them properly.
Then there is the gay guy or the cow from hell that just won’t let you go and they start to lose it; their professional voices soon reverting to reflect the gutter pig bitches that they really are – I mean come on, they must be.  No offence if you are one, perhaps its a stopgap, a way to earn a bit of extra money, but really you gotta be pretty desperate.  These particular calls usually start out by me interrupting their lengthy breathless spiel by demanding to know upfront if this is a telemarketing call, but they’re very skilled at avoiding that question though; simply reiterating how it is more of a service that they offer, or at least that is until I interrupt again:
“Is this... or is it not... a telemarketing call?” I say.
“Sir... we are a company that provides peace of mind by offering...”
“So it is a marketing call?”
“Well ye-es, but....”
Okay... well I’m not interested....”
“Well how do you know you’re not interested; you don’t even know what it is we’re selling?”
“I know if I haven’t gone looking for it, I don’t need it, that’s why?”
“But sometimes you don’t always think about the things that you need...”
“Oh fuck off.... hanging up now sweetie.” I say.
Now once a particularly inflamed queen (I could tell by his voice and the expressions he used) called me right back to continue the argument, and I found that rather funny actually, the gall of it:
“Tell me honey ham, did it hurt when the devil spit you up and you landed here?” he said.
“Not interested, buh bye.” I said.
At least these days though, I do listen initially, I just used to hang up.  And here’s why:  I got a call from someone speaking a bit too fast after the inevitable: ‘may I speak to Mr Mount?‘ which put my guard up immediately.
“Speaking.” I say all annoyed like.
“My name’s Jerome, and I’m calling from the Bank of (whatever it was).
“I’m not interested.” I interrupt, completely impatiently.
“Oh really... can you say that again?” he said rather bitchily, “you’re not interested?”
“That’s right,” I say all sanctimoniously, refusing to back down even though he’d peaked my interest.
“Well... o-kay then... you’re loss... buh bye.” he sang as if auditioning for Glee.
Yes, these days I at least listen, because to this day I bet you any money that call was from the bank that Visa used during the time when they had a promotional thing going on, the kind where they select people every month and void their entire fucking Visa bill.  I’m absolutely convinced it was something like that, but I’ll never know now due to my short temper - although I like to think that was just a ploy on the telemarketer’s part, I mean, they must have things like that that they do from their end too, sticking it to the nasty customers like me, psychologically abusing them.  And that’s what if feels like, it tortures me; if not that, then why else would he not have been as persistent as they normally are, been so haughty?  All I know is that I’m left feeling like I really missed out on something good there, something free for a change.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve blocked all of these numbers now, a feature that comes free with my landline, but I haven’t received any marketing calls in ages... perhaps they’ve blacklisted me, perhaps they’ve put me on their no call list.  Whatever... I feel rejected... keep picking up the phone to make sure it’s working, actually.  They still come through on the cell phone though, I know, because no-one, but no-one, in my personal life knows that number, not even I... and as much fun as fucking with telemarketers minds can be, until my cell phone provider doesn’t charge me for receiving incoming calls, which is another fucking blog altogether, I’d rather sit and ‘tikka masala’ thinking just what I might say when they do next call on the landline... and you know they will... just as sure as all the T (for telemarketers) in India... or perhaps I can consider that on my free cruise to the Bahamas that I just won.  Score!  I just have to make my way to a seminar in Florida to take it up.