Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Can't Sleep, Can't Stay Awake

It's been a lovely, lazy day today - no pressure to create anything at all. I was entirely non-productive, and am completely satisfied with that.

Last night I was offered a few hints and tips - intended to help me sleep. Unfortunately I didn't receive the message until I awoke this morning, after another night of cursing the world for not being as nocturnal as I am. That's typical of my experiences with any sort of slumber-related information. I only own one self-help book on sleep disorders (because 'disorder' suggests that the problem lies with me, whereas I have spent many years convincing myself that it is everyone else who is unnatural.)

The book in question is called 'Can't Sleep, Can't Stay Awake: A Woman's Guide to Sleep' by Dr Meir Kryger, and I won it during a radio phone-in on insomnia. It was in the early hours of one weekend, and Radio 5Live aired a programme with Dr Kryger. The presenter (either Dotun Adebyeo or Rhod Sharp) held a phone in where people could discuss their issues with sleeping, or not sleeping, which made the predawn scheduling of the show even more fitting. The question was on the correct spelling of the Doctor's given name, because the phonetics of his title appeared far simpler than the actual spelling. (It's pronounced 'Maya.') Naturally I cheated and googled it, because they had announced the title of the book and the author's unusual surname - so he wasn't difficult to find. It was an interesting programme, and I finished the work I was doing, packed the computer away and actually went to sleep before daybreak. That is, until one of the show's researchers called me to tell me I'd won, and confirm the address to which they might send the prize.

The irony of this did not escape me, but was made even worse when a few days later the postman woke me at 6am to deliver the parcel. I was woken up twice, by a book on insomnia. I swear things like this just don't happen to other people.

I sometimes feel like I am locked together in some satirical-struggle with the Universe - a never-ending series of real-life Monty Python sketches. Moments like the one with the book are when the Universe parks me next to a canal so it might slap me with a fish, and every brush with authority is reminiscent of the Ministry for Silly Walks.

A good example of the second of those is the time last winter when I had a general check-up with my Nutritionist. When I first walked in he cheerfully told me that I looked much better than I had the last time he'd seen me. Then he frowned and said it "might be because [he] didn't have the light on," as it was then late afternoon and getting a bit murky in his office. He went over to the door and flicked on the overhead strip lighting. Then he did a sort of comedy-double-take as he started towards me, took one look at my naturally blue-grey skin-tone and spun on his heels to switch the light off again. He conducted the whole consultation in the deepening gloom, because he said I looked healthier that way. Now, I'm not a Consultant Nutritionist myself - but I'm not sure there are any clinical guidelines saying that it's okay to turn the lights off so one might pretend that their patient is getting better.

He's also the doctor that a month or so ago suggested I should see a therapist "because [I'm] not depressed." He thinks I should be, you see. He's apparently not worried about the years of eccentricity, manic behaviours, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, addictive personality, insecurity or narcissism - because he dismisses all that as part of being 'a creative type.' He tells me, however, that I am "not screwed up enough," in other areas. His theory being that ME is depressing - but as I have never shown any sign of being depressed, then there must be something wrong with me - and if there isn't anything wrong with me, than that in itself would abnormal, and requisite of a therapists services. (I do pissed off quite well, and am superb at being irritated and snarky, but I am far too accomplished at self-delusion to get depressed.)

I think he's seen too many of those Channel 5 'Fairground Murders Uncovered,' type shows where friends and neighbours of serial killers describe how 'normal and down to earth' the psychopath always seemed. ...Until the day he or she wiped out the patrons of a candy-floss stall by dipping them in boiling candy-apple glaze, and then using them for hoopla practice before wandering off with the headless remains of the giant stuffed toy no-one usually wins.

It may of course, be saying things like that, that causes him to worry about me.

I've seen two lots of psychologists over the years. The first occasion was eight years ago, and there were two of them. They spoke to me for little more than an hour, before saying bemusedly that they didn't really know why they were there - because I seemed not to have any need of them. They signed me off and I never heard from them again. The second time was a few years later, after some complexities that arose from a dalliance with prescription painkillers. She spoke to me over the phone a couple of times, and then said that I obviously didn't need her help, and should not concern myself with the pre-arranged appointment. I got a letter saying she'd cancelled it.

I've long accepted that my mind will always be a jumble of nonsense, but I was clearing some of the clutter in my house today and came across one of the first poetry anthologies to include my work. It's dreadful, it really is - I honestly think they accepted entries by anyone capable of holding a pen. I still have so many copies of that worthless tome because my mother bought several for her family - but then the novelty of having a daughter who is a published poet wore off, and she no longer wanted them. I gave away a few to grateful neighbours who naively thought me a considerate young woman, but the best story about that book comes from the day a sales rep turned up at the house to try and flog us a massage chair.

My grandfather broke his legs when he fell off a roof during his early thirties, and so he always had 'bad legs.' I don't quite know exactly what the problem was; but he'd get up to walk across the room after having been sat for a while, and would no longer be able to feel his feet - so would tread on the dog, who eventually got quite used to it. Anyway, I think one of us had seen an advert in the paper, which requested you fill in, and return the coupon for "more information" on something that was supposed to help with circulation. Little did we realise that a woman was going to turn up at the house with a suitcase of equipment and several hours to spare. She had a little seating-pad - about the size of a chopping-board - which apparently demonstrated the cyclonic-massage techniques that had first been developed for washing coal, but had been found to soothe aches and pains. (Something to do with Miners leaning up against the machinery, and miraculously curing their bad backs.) My grandfather was sat on this vibrating cushion and for almost four hours, as she tried to persuade us to purchase this chair. It cost £5,000, and so we weren't in the least bit interested, but still could not get rid of the rep. My grandfather continued to say no, and she left, though rather reluctantly. I mention it here because - during the time the saleswoman was at our house - I grew rather tired of her talking about herself and, as I am oft prone to doing, tried (and successfully managed) to steer the conversation back around to myself. I decided that if she was determined to be irritating, and continue in her bid to sell us a chair we didn't want, then I would challenge myself to outwit her. I can be quite endearing when I need to be, and managed - through a mixture of persistence and charm - to sell her a copy of my book at full cover price (which was double what I'd paid for it.)

A few months later we saw the company on the BBC scam-expose show 'Rogue Traders,' accused of bamboozling the elderly into spending ludicrous amounts of money on useless crap. I was quite smug that night, knowing that I had successfully conned the conmen with what was essentially the very same scam. Six pounds was a ridiculous sum, and it certainly purchased her useless trash. I only managed to sell that one book, and it was only a profit of £3.00, but I was more than a little pleased with myself for having gotten away with it.

I'm beginning to think that my life sounds worse when it's all written down. It says in the blurb for a well-known celebrity autobiography that the comedians' life is: "a series of embarrassing incidents, strung together by telling people about those embarrassing incidents." Substitute "embarrassing" for 'peculiar/mental/amusing/curious/unbelievable,' and that anecdote is pretty representational of my existence too. Only, I'd call my autobiography something better than; "My Booky Wook."

'Kate Lawrence - Meretricious Nonsense.' (Yes, I know it's the title I suggested last year for Russell's book, but - worryingly - people say it would work for my autobiography too.)

To be published when I have (A) written it, (B) found a publisher, (C) become famous enough that people will buy it, and (D) lived enough to write about more than mice and massage chairs.

EDIT: I'm concerned about the number of times recently that I have included Russell Brand in this blog. I think the over-exposure of the man's latest film is directly damaging my brain. Being a child of the eighties, I am conditioned to respond complicity to advertising, and every time I turn the TV on he's there. (There's also no getting around the boy if I want to listen to Matt Morgan on the radio either, until Matty gets his own heavy metal show - which would be brilliant!)

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