That’s what I’ve always wanted, really. A huge cannon surrounded by an Alton Towers-esque fenced queuing system, where I can send endless processions of bad drivers to slowly shuffle their way towards the front of the pack. At the front they would be gently but efficiently loaded into the huge barrel by a squad of highly trained and super-friendly staff.
“Do I need a helmet?” the next guest smilingly asks, the gravity of the situation having not yet fully dawned.
“Won’t do much good, luv” they are told with a wink, as they are guided into position. “Keep your arms straight behind your back luv, chest puffed out, and wait for the countdown…”
Another middle-lane-hogger is successfully blasted into space.
The cannon is aimed directly at the sun and the lucky ones will reach it and expire quickly, burning to a crisp before they get a chance to comprehend the situation. The unlucky ones will miss, or fall short, and instead spend eternity orbiting the earth as a shriveled and frozen piece of space-junk, eyes still held tightly shut with involuntary launch-face, a natural reaction to the sudden propulsion experienced at lift-off.
This is a recurring fantasy for me, and one that was most recently called to mind last Monday when a fucking IDIOT reversed into my car at the local Tesco petrol station. The total meff had been sat in the queue for a good few minutes, me directly behind him, before he spotted a faster-moving queue and decided to switch. And without a second thought for who or what may be behind him (fucking ME!) he popped his big ugly Citroen Xsara into reverse and wazzed it into my front bumper. What a total bell.
There’s a reason I’m writing about this in a booze-recovery blog. Bear with me.
In the few slow-motion seconds that spanned the time from the reverse light coming on, to the gentle crunching noise of my lovely car’s nose being inverted, I got a bit panicked. I blasted my horn and screamed obscenities, I waved my hands around like a flailing inflatable tube man, but the oblivious goon went merrily about his car-mashing business.
After the accident I got out of the car, and it’s here where I saw a difference in myself compared to the old Jon – the Jon that used to drink. You see, everything used to feel like a battle for me, and every incident such as this was seen as an injustice, ruthlessly bestowed on me by some higher power wishing to add further pain to my already stressed and hungover existence. Life is already hard when it’s made up of nothing but 5-day hangovers book-ended by 2-day binges, so – quite frankly – I didn’t need this sort of shit. I’ve been known to abandon cars and let them go to ruin due to nothing more than a little problem that could’ve easily been fixed, had I found time in my hectic drinking schedule. Once upon a time nothing much mattered more than booze did, but that’s now different – and so the way I reacted last Monday at Tesco petrol station was not perfect, but much improved.
We swapped numbers, I took photos of the cars, he tried to convince me not to go through the insurance (fuck off mate), and then I calmly went about my day. The upshot is that there’s £800 of damage and I’m fine driving the car about till the garage books it in. Insurance company are happy to pay, and I’m happy to wait. No stress, no panic, no ditching my tainted car over Beachy Head or setting fire to it in Lidl car park. I’m cool, everything’s cool, let’s all have a lovely cup of tea and wait for this to be forgotten about.
This wasn’t the only test of myself in recent weeks though. I’ve spent a lot of time since quitting drinking banging on about how much easier life becomes when you’re sober, and I do stand by that, but work appears to have still managed to crush me recently. I’ve perhaps not quite found the equilibrium between useless-hungover-mess and super-efficient-project-management-legend just yet, and things just haven’t been fun. In a recent one-to-one with my boss I was marked as ‘under performing’ and this is the type of thing that, again, would not have sat well with drunk-Jon. The last time I found myself feeling that way, I actually just walked out and never went back. This time I had the foresight and clarity of mind to take it on the chin, then go home and make a plan.
This shit with work has played on my mind for a while, to the point where I’ve not written anything for about a month, hence the lack of recent blog posts. I just can’t concentrate on writing when there are things on my mind. But last weekend, after my disappointingly fair and accurate one-to-one, I made a 3-phase plan. Phase 1 is getting back on top of things at work, and I feel like I’ve managed that so far. Phase 2 is the setting-up of a self-employment opportunity, something which I’m going ahead with but might not work – if it does then Phase 1 gets brought to a close. Phase 3 is the safety net: Sell my car, cancel my phone contract and climbing-gym membership, and live off minimal savings and cheap noodles till I die. If I ever need to invoke phase 3 then I plan to grow a massive beard too.
It turns out that life is still hard sometimes, even without booze, and maybe I naively over-estimated the power that getting sober can bring. It turns out it’s not quite the breeze I have been professing. Oops.
One thing I can say though, hand on heart, is that these hard times would have been a hell of a lot harder with the addition of the booze. The journey through a trying part of life is manageable when you’re sober, and only mildly perturbing in comparison to taking the same journey as an ‘enthusiastic drinker’. I honestly can’t imagine the mess these comparatively insignificant challenges would have left me in as the old me. There’d have probably been a lot of bawling and blame-wanging, none of which would have been particularly justifiable or helpful.
It’s worth also saying that I’m a very lucky boy, and I’ve been able to find distraction from my work grumbles thanks to my lovely fiancee, my climbing buddies, and my old school mates who I met up with recently to go and see Guns & Roses live in London. Was it really worth the £95 ticket price? Fuck yes it was.
Stay strong you filthy mothers. Hopefully the blogs will get more frequent now that I’m a bit less of a miserable bastard ❤