Catching Up/Shark Bait

The last few weeks have perhaps been the busiest in a long time. Which, to be honest, isn’t saying much considering that in the last month I’ve seemed to have lived more life than I have in a year. At long last, I got a job: bartending at a dive bar in York. While it is perhaps not the best place for someone with an already very limited faith in humanity and an addictive personality to boot, it’s been surprisingly one of the best things I’ve done. So far being the ‘Shark Bait’, I’ve been referenced to as the ‘otter’ and as of yet, I can’t seem to work out if it’s in reference to my love of smooth pebbles – if it is, I have no idea how my work mates would know about it – or, it’s just I’m too short and skinny to be a bear.

It’s going rather well, as a way to meet new people, learn how to make drinks and most importantly, get out of the fucking house. That last part is becoming a problem considering tonight and the last are the first two where I have been absent from the bar since I started working there, on or off shift. A part of me feels like it’s a rite of passage for everyone who works at a bar to become a little addicted to the atmosphere or at least any place where you enjoy working. As someone who has only ever been a prefect or a pot-washer for six weeks, its strangely refreshing, terrifying and brilliant. It seems that every shift is like a slide at a water park: lots of build up; an uneasy gut before the rush; bemused life guards who know what you’re in for and then, wham. A torrent of drunk customers needing ID checks, cocktails, jaeger-bombs and a quick exit to throw up.  One thing is for sure: there are a lot of absolute wanker customers.

I took a break from the action last week and took a day trip to Leeds which I was told was the heart of sophisticated Yorkshire and I know now, to never trust a single lying word that comes out of that person’s mouth again. Despite the grandeur of the metropolitan city; the bustle reinforced by the difficulty getting an Uber to the station; and the endless fucking Starbucks outlets, the Wagamamas there does a real shitty job of a teriyaki soba. I’ve spoken about greener grass before and how in fact there is no such thing as greener grass and it’s all a self-serving fallacy, something wholly reinforced by how disillusioned I was with the place. While my friends claim that ‘it’s the best for a night out’, I don’t think you can beat a familiar gin and tonic in the bar you work at with people you can actually talk to.

While I have been busy and am set to be busier with university work, I hope to get more involved in writing. Every day that has passed and I haven’t exposed my whiny bullshit to the world, I feel like a bad Catholic guiltily glancing at the confessional booth. Which ironically, as an agnostic in a spiritual if not Catholic family, hopping from one existential crisis to the next, is exactly me. On the positive, the time I no longer have is being filled by actual real life not just festering in my room getting angry at things I have no control over.  Still, I can’t pull a good pint to save my life – all froth no ale. Also, did I just coin a new idiom? I’ll be throwing that one about the bar that’s for sure.

‘Shark Bait’ for the win.

Catching Up/Shark Bait

Wishful Thinking

I wholeheartedly wish that I could believe in a religion. It’s a depressing thought that I like everyone else on the planet will end up in the cold ground whether it be in an overpriced, plush coffin or as a handful of dirt. If I were to be approached by the devil himself, I would be more pleasantly surprised by the confirmed existence of heaven than the sight of hell. Or perhaps when I kick the bucket through one too many takeaways, I reincarnate as a mayfly I would end up wasting the few precious hours of life that I would have shitting myself with laughter at the reality of it all.

Growing up it was either too little Catholicism and Protestantism or too much, with an Italian family and Church of England primary school. It was there I went to church every Tuesday hosted by the vicar from the Scottish Highlands that preached more about Braveheart and the Scottish National Party than Christ, our saviour. It was a sobering piece of satire to realise the godly men of cloth were more human than anything. At age six, it was when my first rejections of authority began to grumble underneath the small and chubby surface.

Since then, it has been hard for me to believe in anything to a point where unlike my peers, even the socialist dynamite, Jeremy Corbyn, sets my teeth on edge. It’s like the moment as a child discovering that Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola to boost winter season sales and the world of whimsy collapses. Mind you, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking religion and while I see it as whimsical and just another nice idea, it’s not that for everyone.

It’s a surprising comfort for billions from Jainism to Scientology, people are desperately searching for meaning in a world that seems to generate horrible scenarios like a cosmic, random number machine. While it’s becoming fashionable in the new world of scepticism to shit all over the faithful, people don’t seem to understand the enormous room for the supernatural in our lives. Personally, if I didn’t have a few unexplained ghost experiences under my belt, I would be laughing at the supposed nonsense of astrology like the rest of them.

The big bearded man in the sky isn’t for me but is for others and that’s okay. It’ll be a bit shit when my ambivalence lands me in a pit of sulphur but even then, I’d find some comfort in being wrong.

Wishful Thinking