Putrid Modern Hell #25

by HST UK on January 30, 2012

Often my mind wanders back to the past; the glory years, though those years weren’t necessarily enjoyable at the time, they’ve only became so, with the benefit of hindsight. I think back to my first serious office job. I don’t remember a lot about the work I did, since it was pretty boring – A tedious, uninspiring job that mostly involved talking drivel about car insurance; however when I first joined the company, it was a liberal, forward thinking place, and everything that distracted you from work was actively encouraged, as long as you effectively met the productivity standards and provided stellar customer service.

Basically this office allowed you to listen to music on your computer station between talking to customers, and rather marvellously you were freely allowed to surf the internet. At the time MySpace was the most popular Social Network, so naturally everyone messed around on that.

Often a team manager would buy you a lunchtime pint, and these office managers were alright chaps and girls, unlike most managers they were human and approachable. There was no obvious hierarchy. Each Friday we would go down to the pub round the corner from the office and drink the night away. One evening a messy haired manager invited me and two of my colleagues down to the underground car park before we nipped down to the pub, he asked us if we smoked, I said no. He then said, “No…. do you smoke?”

That was the second time I’d tried marijuana. The experience was a lot more uplifting then the first time I ‘smoked’ weed. Back three or four years before the office job, I was sat in a friends flat on a sofa that smelt of cats wee. A joint was passed around, and when it was my time to puff, my hands were shaking, I inhaled, and then choked on the smoke. Coughing uncontrollably, as my friends around me laughed. I remember standing on the balcony to get some fresh air, looking out over the concrete council houses at three in the morning, feeling the same as I always felt after several cans of beer, evidently I hadn’t done it right; which reminds me, I’ll have to tell you about the first time I tried to have sex.

There was another awkward marijuana moment. I recall buying a tenners worth of weed from a mutual friend. I took the weed up to Manchester, where I and another buddy had gone to visit another friend who was up there studying Politics at Manchester University. We stayed at a Student House in Fallowfield, and one night when we were up there I pulled out the weed and some rolling papers, trouble is, I had never rolled a joint in my life. Cue several minutes of fumbling, until the point that I produced one of the thinnest, most puny looking joints ever rolled. Then to top it off nobody had a lighter so we had to use the toaster to catch the damn thing alight.

Which brings me to the point of this piece; I was watching David Fincher’s The Social Network early last year whilst partially high. After the film finished I went on my laptop and checked my Facebook account. I don’t tend to pay much attention to my number of friends since it fluctuates in the nineties; however for some reason, whilst edgy, tired and a little paranoid I noticed that I was five down. I managed to work out three of the five, and for some reason sent emails and messages to those three people asking them if I’d done something wrong. Two of those people have to this date not replied back.

Now, I have no idea why I did this. Since for one thing, I am an atrociously lazy networker. I also have a love / hate relationship with Facebook, having twice deactivated my account due to the annoying tendencies that my ‘friends’ have to update their statuses incessantly about their ugly children and their disastrous relationships.

I think Fincher’s film spoke to me through the smoke and I believed that Facebook was a significant part of my life. I believed that my account was an indicator of who I was to other people. If I lost contact with these people on Facebook, then it must have been because I had done something wrong. It was irrational to think that way. But I was high, and paranoid.

I only smoke when a rogue acquaintance of mine is back in town, he’s my contact; I usually treat myself once every six months. Trouble is the smoking nights have coincided with a time when paranoia levels have risen above the rationality threshold. On a micro level, when each Sunday I’m confronted by this glorious red headed girl at the gym who wears one of the most distracting push-up bras I’ve ever seen. God damn, how can I focus on working the shoulder press when the devil is whispering such decadent thoughts in my ears? I’m fearful that she knows I’m looking. I’m not a pervert, honest! On a macro level the terrorism threat level is substantial, Europe is on the precipice of another economic breakdown, and everybody is beginning to worry with another recession creeping up on the horizon.

I think it’s probably the right time to quit smoking. No, not smoking. SMOKING.


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