Monday 14 January 2008

Empty Flats and Dangerous Games

Our own security.
We all devise our own ways of keeping ourselves safe.
We create existences for ourselves in which we feel comfortable.

We all need people, I think, but how we need them varies.

The last week has seen my life alter in a way that has knocked me for six. I knew the day was coming, but I wasn't able to adequetely prepare for it, due to other worries.
My flatmate has finally gone, gone to make her own life with the child she is expecting.

She comes round regularly to check I've not destroyed the flat by leaving the oven on, that I'm still alive. She's only been gone a week.
And I'm not handling it well. It doesn't feel right.

I really can't take the feeling of being alone in the flat. I could always deal with it for an hour or two before getting edgy, now I'm supposed to come in and spend my evening in an empty flat.

I've not managed an evening yet. I'm out the door by half seven for a quick pint, coming back and posting, then heading out again.

The paradox.
My flatmate is irreplacable. I'm kind of looking for a new flatmate, because the alternative is a drop of my income in real terms by three hundred quid a month. That's a lot of money.
I could afford it, if I got the promotion I'm hoping for, but that's a long shot.
And it doesn't solve the problem of being alone in the flat.

But get a flatmate I don't know?
The whole point of home is, you can let your guard down. It's YOURS. YOUR territory.
That means it can only be shared with someone you trust implicitly. Someone who can live by your rules. Someone who does not interfere in your way of life. They are there to talk to when you want to talk, but they do not intrude.

I can't see a solution to the problem.

I'm suddenly feeling helpless and vulnerable, nervous about being in my own home.
It was the perfect set up, living with a friend, in a flat that was in my name.

It doesn't get more perfect.

But of course, it couldn't last forever. And one day I must surely get used to living alone, because one day I'll have no choice. Maybe it's best I start now.

I suppose most of my life is built on two premises;
1. Maintain a large social circle.
2. Don't let anyone get too close.

I do that relatively successfully, I think. I have different people for different things. There is an inner circle that I trust reasonably extensively. There is you, the readers of this blog, who I tell things to that I don't tell people in Real Life for the simple reason that you don't actually know me, so it doesn't matter. You all know a lot more about me than I'd ever feel comfortable talking to, say, my parents about. In fact, my parents know next to nothing about me, and it is important to my own sense of well being that they don't.

I like the fact that I have a large social circle, that people enjoy going out with me, or having me at parties. It's important to me. It's all part of my overall support network. Ultimately, it keeps me secure, because I don't depend on any one individual. I remain completely independent (well, interdependent if one is honest), no one can claim they can see inside my mind, I can stand alone, and ultimately I will stand alone.

And here we come to my most recent conundrum.

In RL, I am a compulsive flirt. I flirt with pretty much anything. I call most women 'honey'. It means nothing, really, though obviously if it has the desired effect, I follow it through, if I think it is safe.
There is an exception. It is highly significant the ones I DON'T flirt with.

The bottom line is, I need to ensure my life is safe, that everything in it is safe. I need to be sure that nothing in it is threatened.
Sex is dangerous. You have to make sure you don't go falling for people. That threatens everything. If you think there is a possibility you might fall for someone, don't let anything happen in the first place.

And the last week I've felt I'm trapped in a dangerous game. I think I'm playing a very dangerous adversary indeed.

She is our new HR girl.

She is stunning, absolutely stunning. Lookswise, she is my dream. She is intelligent, mature beyond her years, outstandingly self confident.
I'm trying REAL hard to be a total bastard to her.

I've made a point of having discussions with people within her range of hearing emphasising the fact that currently my ABSOLUTE lower age limit is 23. I've gone out of my way to reinforce the message that she's not my type, having fairly masculine banter with her, telling her candid details about various aspects of my life, all in an effort to convey total disinterest.
I'm actually quite rude to her.

But I think she knows. I think she sees right through me, and I think I'm being played. Or we're both stalking round eachother.

She's certainly playing games, I think. She wants me to let slip that I find her attractive. She knows it's out of character for me to be so cold towards a member of the opposite sex, especially knowing that she ticks all the right boxes for me, aside from being under the age threshold (my preference for women of colour is well known). She's talked to the other female staff, especially Dizzy Bizzie, who has undoubtably told her her own theories regarding me.

It's power she wants over me, of that I'm sure. If I let her, she'd waltz all over my spine in sharp stillettoes.

Maybe she doesn't see through me. Maybe I'm being paranoid. I just have this sense she smells my fear.

But- and here's the point- the paranoia is entirely the result of the fact that I'm bloody scared of how attractive I find her.

It's 2008 and everything is crashing down.

I feel like I'm losing control of everything, my perfect little life that it took me twenty nine years to finally find, has slipped out of my control.

I feel like I'm defending everything of value to me, and losing.

I have a sense of foreboding.

I'm not even sure what I'm hoping for any more.

A couple of pints of bitter before I go to bed.
That's a start.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Which poses more fear? Losing a roommate, or calculating the possibilities with the lady in HR.

As far as roommates go, it's easy to find one in NY. Put an ad in the paper, and you interview a ton of people, and pick one that seems cool.

Part of the reason why I tend to live alone, though, is that I don't want to live by anyone's rules, other than my own. Furthermore, I don't feel like dictating to anyone else.

I'm actually hoping you get the promotion. You might find that the extra 300 quid a month is worth it after all, especially when the ex-roommie tells you about 2:00 feedings in the blessed am.

As to your co-worker, perhaps its time to form a betting pool.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this post!

It should be compulsive reading for every woman that was ever attracted to a man.

I hope you live dangerously and manage to stay safe at the same time :)

Anonymous said...

I think the more obvious you try to make it, the more power your going to give her.

If she's getting to you this much now, think how much worse it's gonna get.

Maybe you should give it a go?

Anonymous said...

I'm also having my own bit of 'walls crashing down, bit by bit'

I think it's called growing and changing. Scary as all hell yes, but absolutely required.

Take care of yourself and you're gonna be fine!

Anonymous said...

Work and relationships are fraught with danger as you well know. Too bad, since she sounds interesting.

Flatmate thing is a dilemma for sure. Good luck with solving it, one way or another.

Anonymous said...

I am quite happy to come and live with Mr Ingsoc, I have no dirty habits and I am sure you would enjoy my singing/playing the bagpies etc. As for the HR girl? I would propose marriage if I were you - its sounds like you are doomed...

Anonymous said...

> Ultimately, it keeps me secure, because I don't depend on any one individual
Or, rather, you depend on them all, hoping that if one lets you down, someone else will be there...? that's useful, i guess (although still not foolproof)... 'cos not everyone is always free for us (and to the ones we love, we give the power to hurt us most). As for the HR girl, it sounds like a good game. You just have to decide if you can trust her *and that takes time*

Anonymous said...

Did you read Eve on letting go ?

I highly recommend it. Great wisdom from a young lass.

How about a cat in your life ? Fantastic companionship and they take the edge off the cold in an empty flat.

You need time to adjust, something always turns up in the end but don't resort to intoxicants in as compensation - you, of all people know where this leads.

Sorry if I'm preaching.

As for the young lady. You're age limit is ridiculous if you don't mind me saying. Does she really fancy you do you think ? You're probably right but you shouldn't assume. Drop the guard, let her in and be kind.

You never know, Ingsoc ...

Could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Lord knows you need something soulful to happen from what you've been telling us recently. But especially as she's a colleague treat her right.

Anonymous said...

x dell- It's not quite that simple. I don't really have time on my hands to interview people, and it's very narrow criteria.

My ex flatmate came from a sales background and knew me well, so she understood what to expect.

I never had to dictate to her. She just fitted in. Never once had an argument in all the time we lived together.

I can't live by other peoples rules either.

Miladysa- I try my best. Life to me is better when I'm skirting that fine line. But you have to know which gambles are just TOO dangerous.

Oestrebunny- :) You need to understand companies based entirely on sales.
She's from a recruitment background. She's been taken on because she's got experience of selling people, therefore she knows where to buy the people we need to expand.
She's hard as nails. I originally put her at 25, because that's how she comes across.

You probably can't imagine a sales environment. It's very male dominated, very brash, people aren't subtle.

The sort of abuse that is normal to give your colleagues in uch an environment, is beyond anything you can comprehend if you've never worked in such an atmosphere. Basically, the rules are, if you can't take it, you haven't the character for the job, and rising in such an industry is partly about being able to publically face people off.

Sex is a weapon in this game. She's young, stunning, and she wants to use that to win control of male members of staff.

It's a personality battle, and I'm not stupid enough to fall for it.

Betty- It IS a pain, there's no denying it. Swings and roundabouts I guess.
I also have the ominous 30 loomin up, and that's kind of depressing me a bit.

jmb- I well know that. I've got myself into trouble on that front several times. A certain amount of inter office hanky panky is standard in the sector, but sometimes it can create a nasty taste afterwards.

The obvious solution to the flatmate thing is taking up the first request I've had. I know him, and I've said he can move in if he turns teatotal, because he can't handle his drink.

Mutley- You can play bagpipes when I'm out. But I'm not sure how we'd share the PC.
Marriage is always a no-no. I don't believe in it, mainly because I'm Catholic and cannot get out of it.

Nothing will happen with the HR girl. It's just a mindgame.

Eve- You seem to understand how I work. I'd say that I have several people almost as close to me as partners to eachother, without the sex, and without living together. One, (The Baker), I'd be surprised to go more than two days without hearing from.

I don't like anyone having power over me, simple as.
The HR girl? Don't trust as har as I can throw her. She's like a coiled snake, fadcinating, but ultimately venemous.

E-K- I did, it was a great post, as I told her.
Technically, I'm not supposed to have pets, my contract says so. Not really a cat person, I'd like a dot but it's not practical.

I'd be highly surprised if she does fancy me, she just wants control over me. It would give her a huge advantage in intra-office personal dynamics if she could wrap me round her finger.

You can't afford to trust female colleagues, I'm afraid. Not in our line of work. Admin staff, yes, but not the ones who play with the boys.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, Crushed. You are so used to being the one exerting all the flirtatious, sexual power. It's a good thing to have a woman who challenges you and throws you off your game a little.

Without being too patronizing, I think a little time getting settled with being by yourself may be a good thing. You can choose not to have it as a long term living situation, but a little challenge does us all well sometimes. As I've said before, I enjoy living alone, and you certainly seem to have the social network and traits to avoid the danger of a little of hermithood!

Anonymous said...

Get a dog!!!

And if that girl is as hot as you say she is, she'd know it too. So your attempts to show her you don't notice how attractive she is, is a damn good clue as to the fact that you're concealing something.

Anonymous said...

Blogger phishez_rule said...

Get a dog!!!


Anonymous said...

Dude, I understand the part about being alone at home. Before my cousin moved in I dreaded going home to an empty house. I was ok once there and didn't mind it but the trip home was miserable for sure. But you are a youngun' and need to experience being on your own. Maybe a nice little weenie dog to meet you at the door would help. Too bad you live so far away I would ship one over.As far as the girl goes, quit being a prat as y'all say and just be yourself. She may be THE ONE!QUIT PLAYING!

Anonymous said...

*Nods* I understand :-) Then don't let yourself be used... :-)

Anonymous said...

Princess P- Generally I avoid them, but here I have no choice.

It's an interesting game, but bloody stressful.

I'm trying to use as few things as possible in the flat. I'm trying to keep the workload down, now that my area of cleaning responsibility has become the flat in it's entirity.

Also, I'm discovering things in the kitchen that I don't even know what they are or what they're used for.
All very interesting.

Phish- She does know it, that's the point of the game.
The point is whether or not she can use that to control me, and I'm showing her she can't, mainly by talking down to her emphasising the age difference.

Mutley- Even if my contact didn't say no pets, it wouldn't be practical. I'm gone eleven hours every weekday. And I often go away weekends.

Poody- I did live on my own before, for a while. Not very well, it has to be said.
Locking myself out is a big fear. It happened when I lived alone before and I had to break in.

The girl is attractive yes, but dangerous. We're conflicting characters. It would the stupidest career move in history.

Eve- :) I'm not. I'm keeping the stakes high. By not responding, when everyone else is flocking to her like flies to honey, it means she has to devote extra machinations to trying to win me over. All of which enables me to follow her game.

And more importantly, the directors watch the byplay. That's what matters.
Promotions are given on the basis of ACTUAL authority. That's how it works.

Anonymous said...

Crushed - get a dog!!

Anonymous said...

1980s Berlin wall (East side) my absolutely NONIDEAL HOME