The weekend just passed turned out to be a lot like the story of Easter if it was told in reverse: Friday was a day where I felt revitalised and re-energised and full of life. It was, quite literally, a Good Friday. By Easter Sunday, however, I felt drained and lifeless and as though I was pushing against a giant stone to no avail. There is, I suppose, a limit to how much alcohol a thirty-four-year-old man can responsibly drink, and a four-day weekend is at the very peak of that limit.
Although Good Friday was a day on which I wasn’t working I had grown quite restless and bored sitting around my flat in a pair of dark jeans and a checked shirt and felt an urge to suit up before I went to Aulay’s Bar, as though it was any other Friday and I was indulging in post-work drinks. A part of me feels like I have a certain appearance to uphold having dressed this way on so many Friday nights, even if that appearence is of a man who has had too many whiskies and is woefully inept at talking to women but at least is sharply dressed. He was often very drunk and he certainly didn’t know how to talk to a lady, but at least his socks were almost matching the colour of his tie; is what I expect will be etched on my epitaph.
This could rarely have been more true than on Friday night, where the bar staff were witness to some crude form of dark comedic entertainment when the formerly red-haired barmaid who often smiles was able to convince a trio of tourists that it would be in their interests to move from the public bar to the lounge, where I was waiting to seduce them with my purple pocket square and some carefully prepared and beguiling introduction.
Unfortunately the bar staff were about to take the role of Pilate’s court to my Jesus Christ, only rather than turning water into wine I was going to transform romantic opportunity into sour grapes. I became fixated on the fluffy white bobble hat with light shades of blue and pink one of the girls was wearing and after a time all I could think about was passing comment on this hat. When she removed it her hair was the colour of a sunset which had bled most of its warmth into the ocean and she had a pale face which demanded a lot more attention than I was giving it, but I couldn’t move past the bobble hat. Eventually I determined that something had to be said, only the timing was horribly wrong: she had put the bobble hat back on her head and she and her friends were preparing to leave. I lurched towards her in an awkward fashion which betrayed my navy blue suit and congratulated her on the beautiful bobble hat she was wearing. She thanked me and told me that she is Welsh and I remarked that “I suppose that explains why it looks so cosy” and I never saw her again.
I stood at the bar nursing a Jack Daniels and coke, contemplating where things might have gone wrong with the girl with the bobble hat, when I became aware of two English women at the end of the bar ordering malt whiskies. I was able to put aside the feeling of inferiority which was washing over me as I clutched a bourbon whiskey sorely watered down by a sugary soft drink and I enquired about the story which led these ladies to explore whisky in Scotland. They were receptive to conversation and I went some way to making amends for my appearance as a Scotsman who drinks Jack Daniels and coke when I ordered a round of Lagavulin, a proper whisky which I have not imbibed since the night it coaxed me into collapsing through the screen door on my shower. The whisky was commended and the conversation was progressing remarkably well until I mentioned the ghost which I suspect haunts my bedroom. It was then that I learned that telling a woman about the female spirit which lingers in my bedroom and seems to be more interested in escaping than making contact with me isn’t at all a move that will entice said woman into visiting the bedroom. In fact, it strikes me that the one certain way to convince a woman that she shouldn’t go to bed with you would be to make it clear that even a ghost would not molest you in the night.
Although Good Friday was indeed a good night it also brought me to realise that all I have in my romancing repertoire is the colour of my socks and the way that I have laid my wardrobe out so that it goes from dark shirts to light. I have no escapades to regale, very little in the way of exploits and certainly no high jinks to speak of. It was this watershed moment which convinced me that I had to once again start doing yoga each morning, even if only to give me something else to talk about.
This morning I reached for the black yoga mat which had been stored on the top shelf of my wardrobe since I moved into my flat – an act that I suspect will be much easier after a few days of stretching and bending – and I tried to find a suitable spot in my living room for my routine. The room is quite small and there is little space for complex body movements.
The area inside the doorway seemed the most suitable for my daily exercise, despite the tips of my fingers almost threatening to brush the dado rail with every stretch and my nose very nearly making unwanted contact with the coffee table as I moved into a downward dog. What proved more difficult than the spacial constraints was trying to get into a mindset of ‘Zen’ when laying on a wooden floor and spying a piece of fluff under the couch or the discarded plastic tag from a recently purchased tie, which had somehow made it into the living room despite being cut in the bedroom. It is hard to be at one with one’s spirit when you are disturbed by specks of dust on the floor.
A different frame of mind to the peace of yoga is required when preparing dinner – particularly when chopping onions. I always end up with an abundance of them due to the fact that my nearest supermarket doesn’t sell them loose and so, like with lemons, I have to buy a net of five at a time, which often means that every recipe requires an onion. This isn’t a terrible imposition and onions do not have an unpleasant taste, but they do have a tendency to irritate the eyes and if drinking Jack Daniels and coke at a bar in front of a woman who enjoys malt whisky isn’t bad enough then crying over the creation of a pasta dish surely is. Recently I have devised a foolproof method to prevent this from happening, and that is to think of something sad before taking a sharp knife to the skin of the onion. Usually I will contemplate the futility of my romantic life or imagine what kind of dirt I might encounter on my living room floor while doing yoga the next morning, and at least if tears do stream down my cheeks I can convince myself that I am not crying over something as silly as an onion.
That, at least, is my interpretation of the proverb about how April showers bring May flowers.