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Options April 10, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Right, so pushy German friend is in town. Pushy German friend used to live in Berlin. Pushy German friend now lives in S_, rather a long way from Berlin (though still in Germany). PGf wants, while he is in town, for me to a) spend every second having hijinks with him or b) spend every second that we’re not having hijinks on the phone to him discussing how we’re next going to get round to having hijinks. I’m not anti-hijink, strictly. But there’s talk of the hijinks being extended into a phase 2.

Since PGf left the Hauptstadt for S_, he has spent most of the time on the phone to me asking me to come and visit. A reasonable enough request. But to a miserable anti-social old Wichser like me? But I have always fully intended to eventually plan to get round to going at some point or other. PGf thinks that time should be NOW, this weekend. Personally, I think that’s overdoing the sociability factor. PGf being in Berlin and then me going back with him to S_ for extended hijinks? Un peu trop.

OK, not the world’s worst dilemma. Unless you’re me. And barking. And, as discussed at various times in the course of this blog’s life, not THAT rich and don’t fancy spending quite an oodle of cash on a train trip to a not earth-shatteringly exciting town to spend time with PGf and his friends, none of whom I know (but who would no doubt be trying to organise my life for me, pushily, within minutes) and who are all, if I have gleaned correctly, 19-year-old frat boys. Though this would no doubt provide moments of eye-pleasure, the thought of talking about fencing (I mean with epées, not what you shut the neighbours out with) and having burping competitions, in German, appeals little. And it would be a new weapon in the Russian’s armaments to bring up in any future ‘conversation’ about money. (New Zealand’s got legs, let me tell you.) And, anyway, I don’t want to go.

So what do I do? What I WANT to do, and should do if I wasn’t English, was capable of saying no, standing up to pGfs etc. is say, “Sorry, pGf, I don’t want to spend a lot of money (that would get me and the Russian to Paris for a weekend) (though I wouldn’t say that bit) (well, I won’t say any of it) on a (long) weekend in S_. I’ve got work to do. It’s an extravagance I can’t afford. It will be a bone of contention at BiB Towers for ever and a day. I have no social interest whatsoever in 19-year-old strangers. And I like being at home, actually.” But I won’t say any of that. So what do I do?

I have a number of options, as I see it. Your advice is sought, natch.

1) Commit suicide. Seems a bit drastic for the sake of a few days in the provinces.

2) Fly to London, today, for a break. Hm, rather defeats the saving-money and having-to-work principle. Plus, I’ve checked Easyjet and it costs too much.

3) Hide under the bed till it all blows over. The Russian might not tolerate it. And there’s not much room to work under there.

4) Send an SMS to pGf saying, “Sorry, no,” then switch off my phone in a hurry before he can answer or ring and hide under the bed till it all blows over. Might raise stress levels.

5) 4) but without the hiding-under-the-bed part. Dunno.

6) Feign illness. Has served me well in the past.

7) Make myself ill. Dreary.

8) Go to S_ for three or four days, make the social effort, have a bearable time, come back and be livid with myself for having gone. Hm.

9) Go and have a nice time and live happily ever after and wonder what all the fuss was about. Unlikely.

10) Write an incredibly fraught and gut-wrenching SMS to pGf saying that, for various reasons, I find our friendship too difficult and I can never see you again. Touch drama-queenish, and not (really) true.

11) Become a monk. This is my favoured option, actually. But I don’t believe in god.

So your wise words are sought. How can I not go to S_ and satisfy my anti-social desires?



1. Wyndham - April 10, 2006

Go to S_* and refuse to leave the hotel bar. That seems a good compromise. Or take the Russian with you and do partnery things for some of the time. Better still, pretend you have other – mysterious – friends there you can visit and bugger off down a bar on your own.

* I love the way you don’t mention the actual place. You’re even starting to post like an old Russian novel!

2. Paul - April 10, 2006

I would second ‘take the Russian with you’…but!

Do you really like PGf? If not, send the SMS saying ‘No’ and then change your mobile number.

3. daggi - April 10, 2006

This is such like a Victorian novel, with B___s and L___s, and, er, I presume, Stuttgart.

Say you’ve caught Vogelgrippe and be done with it.

4. BiB - April 11, 2006

Speaking of Vogelgrippe, the Russian and I were lying, in an unsexy kind of way, in bed last night and chatting. We do our best chatting there. (Is this too much information?)

My latest vagina-and-bum-wiping translation needed to be checked by a real Russian, and as my Russian was too busy, and in the spirit of keeping-it-in-the-family, I sent the texts off to my (almost) mother-in-law for her to cast a knowing eye over them.

As far as I know, she coped admirably with all the vaginal rings and the like, but did say to the Russian something along the lines of, “Oj, everysing so tserrible. Soon everyone be dead from AIDS or bird flu.” The Russian barely had it out of his mouth before we chortled galore. In fact, I don’t think we’ve laughed more since the day all the new countries joined the EU and there was a concert from Warsaw televised here and an insane woman in a black tent sang and danced in quite the most hilariously bonkers way I’ve ever seen.

But, darlings, thank you all for the invaluable advice. If the Russian would go, I’d happily go, as that would dilute the social effort, but he just simply can’t because of his funny new student-job at the university and having things to do for them. Paul, I ADORED your idea. It’s the one I’m most likely to go with.

It isn’t Stuttgart, by the way, though it ought to be, in an essy kind of way. Stuttgart is about the only place in Germany I’ve been. Not TOO loathsome a place. But Swabian German. Yikes!

Thank you all. Bloggers in need…

5. Bowleserised - April 11, 2006

“As far as I know, she coped admirably with all the vaginal rings and the like, but did say to the Russian something along the lines of, “Oj, everysing so tserrible. Soon everyone be dead from AIDS or bird flu.” ”

Ahahahaha! She sounds exactly like my friend’s Russian mama. Friend took Mama to Tate Modern where they watched a baffling video of two naked men jumping up and down. It was art.
Mama turned to my friend and said,
“You know, Ninotchka, I theenk thees is what gay men are doing all the time.”

6. Wyndham - April 11, 2006

Alan Bennett once overheard the conversation two old women studying a painting of an Indian Goddess who was being penetrated in every orifice, including some more we never even knew existed. One of the women turned to the other and said: “My, what a busy lady.

7. Anonymous - April 11, 2006

One of the beauties of becoming older is that you can do what you want, rather than what you feel you ought to do.

BiB you are a Pom. The honour of your race is at stake and depends on not letting German pushiness outwit English reserve and politeness.

A polite excuse is called for, preferably highly ironic, perhaps whimsical.


8. Amy - April 12, 2006

Feign illness AND poverty. In fact, feign illness BECAUSE of poverty. Not that I am suggesting you lie, of course… bit if it makes you less stressy…

9. BerlinBear - April 12, 2006

Sooo, this guy is in a Verbindung? And a “schlagende” one at that? In that case, you should not go to S_ at any cost, and you need option 10, despite its drama-queenishness:

Write an incredibly fraught and gut-wrenching SMS to pGf saying that, for various reasons, I find our friendship too difficult and I can never see you again.

Trust me on this. I learned the hard way. Worst wedding I’ve ever been to, bar none.

10. daggi - April 12, 2006

It was your wedding though, wasn’t it?

11. BiB - April 13, 2006

BB, yes, a Verbindung. I’ve always been suspicious, and never believed him when he says it’s all a major jape, their verbundenes life, down there. So I bow to your authority on the matter, and will dispatch the SMS forthwith. (Actually, I’m being the strong, silent type at the moment, which is giving me BSE, but at least I’m not going to S_.)

Amy, I’m a great believer in lying. Not wicked lying. But a nicely convenient little lie to get one out of a scrape every now and then is awfully apposite. Just can’t be beaten.

Jon, yes, this was war. I must say the spirit of 1940 has been whirling round my head, and I don’t normally do jingoism. But I’ve stood up to the Jerries (by hiding and shuddering with horror every time the phone rings or – imagine – the DOORBELL goes) and shown them what’s what. And you’re just so right. What is the joy of getting older if not being allowed to not do what you don’t want to any more? I repeat, I have nothing against hijinks, but not with people in very early adulthood. Là, non!

Daggi, give BB a chance. They’ve only just gone shopping for the rings. (At least I hope your own wedding, BB, wasn’t the worst of your life.)

B., Russian mama was spot on, just as Russian mamas always are. We do ONLY EVER jump up and down. No wonder we can’t produce children!

Wynders, were the observed ladies from Leeds? Please say yes. (You can lie, if necessary.)

12. Wyndham - April 13, 2006

I believe they were, yes, Bib.

13. pleite - December 30, 2006

Thank you Wynders. Excellent, diplomatic response.

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