Hampstead HO!

I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy about a decision I’ve made as the one I made to move to Hampstead for the rest of June.

My erstwhile flatmate suddenly appeared this evening, causing much consternation with my neighbour. I’m the baddie now, with the evil bad snake bad bad evil danger bad bad evil, so logic and rational behaviour went out with fidget-spinners as far as my neighbour is concerned. We’re left with volatility and reaction.

I’m none too pleased about the reason for my flatmate showing up either as it seems she’s experienced domestic violence where she’s been. My instinct at first is to try and help her out…

I didn’t think we’d overlap – I hoped I’d be gone when she arrived – but it seems that her situation in Oxford has gone south. It’s totally legal to move home in the case of domestic violence, and I think that’s what she’s done.

Everybody is so fucking damaged right now. God even knows what has happened to her –  she’s bruised and shellshocked and has a hospital tag but swears she can’t remember anything after she got downstairs in the morning.

I figure it’s the same guy that had me taking a crowbar into my bedroom for protection the first time I met him. Apparently she’s been staying with him. He’s 3 inches tall, 180 years old, and literally hates everything but himself and his chest hair.

Hampstead HO!! The uncomplicated heathland of north London, where a man can be free and people in ancient patterns of circular neurosis and self harm can slowly spin into themselves and glom onto dangerous sociopaths while I look at pretty pretty trees and remove myself from the endless cycle of bollocks.

“My fear of snakes is left over from when I was a child in Africa,” says my neighbour who has had at least 20 more years than me to find perspective and has clearly fallen at the first hurdle and lain there flinching ever since. She’s attempting to rationalise a disgracefully unexamined phobia of snakes that has caused her to catalyse me out of my flat – mostly, frankly, as part of my quest for an easy life.

It was that same catalyst that caused me to send the message that allowed my flatmate to feel ok about returning. “Hi, I’ll be moving to Hampstead on Saturday in case you need to get back and you’re worried about isolation?”

Now snake-neighbour is even more angry about my flatmate coming back, which probably wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t kicked off about the snake. You reap what you fucking sew. She’s just gonna be angry. Haters gonna hate, players gonna play, neurotics gonna rot rot rot rot rot rot.

I’m glad my flatmate knew she felt comfortable to return, in the sense that it’s good to be able to provide a safe haven. Someone almost certainly beat her, and he’s a lucky fucker because she insists she can’t remember and I literally haven’t got the headspace to tease it out of her. It gives me pause though because if it’s who I think it is he knows this address and the last thing in the world I want is to go away to Hampstead and come back to find he’s broken in, trashed the place and killed her. But I’m … You know what? I’m over it. Fuck it. I don’t have the headspace. I’m out. I’m done. Sorry. I’m gone.

You wanna freak out about a totally harmless snake? Fine.

You wanna invite poisonous people into your life and then wonder why they hurt you? Fine.

I can’t fix everybody. Sort your own shit out. I’ve worked hard enough on mine and I’ve spent years prioritising everybody else’s shit over my own. Fuck that. I’m not getting swept up.

The very fact I’m going to Hampstead in the first place shows that I have let this shit affect me a bit, but Hampstead will be good for me no matter what, even if it’s a bit more faff than using the sentence “It’s a fucking snake in a fucking box and if you can’t cope with that then look at yourself not me.”

It’ll be a holiday – a change of scene. A detox too.

My immediate environment has suddenly become a seething mess of other people’s neurosis and, apart from wanting them to be happy and all the rest of my pathological shit, I literally can’t be fucked with it. Any of you who have read this regularly will appreciate how unusual that conclusion is to me. But comes the time, comes the set of circumstances, comes the avalanche of people who are just bringing it on themselves, comes the lovely delightful numbness when you just say “Fuck it.”

I’m happy. If you want to put stuff in the way of your own happiness, do so, fine, but don’t try and make it affect mine. I’m over that.

I’m off to Hampstead on Saturday. I’ll be happy there.

I wish you all the best in whatever world you want to make for yourselves.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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