The entire business with the Christmas parties makes me look again to a thing I wrote (and am still writing) in slow bursts, between 2016 and mid 2018. A story for one voice, titled ‘Understand Me’. It’s a three part, first-person record of, as I’ve tried to couch it, ‘vague intimacies’… or is it ‘intimate vagueness’? A diarising narrative at the speed and the beat of social posts, of one girl’s making-do and getting-by. To a backdrop of Depeche Mode fandom. And Martin Gore’s voice on ‘Shake The Disease.’
Specifically though, this matter – very personal to me – of being decisively distanced (though not necessarily alone) from – well… the entire business with the Christmas parties.
Happy Christmas, readers! x
(illustration by INKY CONDITIONS)
Excerpt from ‘Understand Me’, by Mitch Crowley
All of the online rummaging has made me super aware of how much I used to go out. First two years in London, and before that with the college crowd back here. Thousands of nights, it seems like. Proper FOMO. Matthew had a funny take on this. Actually I thought it was a strange take at first, but I grew to get it eventually, I think. He said he had FONMO, which stands for Fear Of NOT Missing Out, which is the fantasy, I suppose, he had about being what he called Actively Absent – like intentionally in non-attendance at occasions and parties and whanot. I used to process this as in the likelihood of there being some majorly catastrophic happening, but really it wasn’t much at all about anything necessarily murdery or shooty-explosive. Just your general messy chaos or bother. Party chaos. Ridiculously bad behaviour. The kind that takes up space in your brain dedicated to the allocation of goosebumps. So that the next day he could be all like, no, I wasn’t there: I was at home on the sofa eating Minstrels, or maybe Quavers. It wasn’t even about the smugness of, say, being distanced from some daft stuff kicking off. Just to know you’ve kind of parallel-universed yourself, or time-machined one episode of your life; one possible series of events. I don’t know. Whenever he explained it, I got it, but I’m not doing a very good job of it now. I don’t actually think it was to do with any avoidance of risk at all. Just rather the preferred alternative of… an alternative. Maybe a better example is how he used to be able to fall asleep very happily to the sounds of a band playing late at the pub at the end of our road; only that very slight bom-bom noise that was enough to keep me starey-eyed awake, and to give him all the sleepy positivities of not actually being there. All of which of course must be another whole load of somethings to do with his childhood.
Thanks for reading and supporting so much of my stuff here on Fisher Lane in 2018. Apologies for the absolute state of the click-baity and ugly adverts appearing below this and other posts. I understand I can pay to have these ads switched off. But, y’know, who has that kind of cash these days?