Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chez Gérard - Day Four

I got into work tired as hell; all this dating was catching up with me. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so eager to ram so many dates into one week. All I wanted to do was to go home and sleep. Ok so I’d make up some excuse and suggest we rebook. No big deal. Ok great… Then I get a text from Ray. ‘We still on for tonight, can’t wait x’ Dammit! Now I feel guilty. So instead of replying ‘No, go away, I need sleep.’ I end up confirming. Typical to my life the day dragged. I was missing my bed and was also angry at myself that I would not being seeing it straight after work. But I had only myself to blame and I was fading, fast.

Now, there’s no point turning up to a date worn-out and fed up before it’s already started. If you’re going, give them a fair shot. So I told myself to get a grip and got some red bull on my lunch break. The plan was to drink it an hour or so before I left work and then it would kick in when I met Ray. However, I was getting drowsier by the second, so I drank it right after my lunch. About an hour later I seemed to have a headache so I took some Nurofen. By the time I left work, I still felt tired, so decided to get another Red Bull. I didn’t think anything of it the time, I mean I’m not really one to drink energy drinks anyway. But trust me when I say that taking Nurofen mixed with Red bull is NOT a good idea. I know that now…

Waiting at Holborn I couldn’t have been more excited or anxious or... buzzed and when I saw Ray I ran towards him. What started out as a hug ended up as me nearly mounting him, true story. I had somehow managed to wrap my right leg around his knee, my left around his ankle and my arms around his neck! To say he was startled would be an understatement. To this day, I’m still not even sure how I got into that position so quickly. He unpeeled me off his body and asked if I was alright. I’m not sure I even knew I wasn’t at that point.

Ray wanted to eat at a restaurant that his work colleagues had recommended, Chez Gérard. But when he said the name, he all of a sudden developed this accent (obviously it was meant to be French) so it sounded like he said Share Jeer-rad-de… GREAT news for me! I’d never heard of this place before. I was too busy worrying about if I was going to make it to the end of the date in one piece to realise where we were going. 

As we got to Convent Garden, I felt like I was about to have a heart attack. Anyone that’s walked from Holborn to Covent Garden will know it’s not far at all. Though I seemed to be shaking ever so slightly and every step I took seem to send my heart into palpitations. I’m not sure Ray even noticed and if he did, he didn’t show it at all. By now I was feeling sick, like I was literally about to spew everywhere.  He kept talking and no way was I listening to what he was saying, but on reflection he seemed quite content talking without me actually responding. I desperately needed to stop walking.

‘Helene, why are you speaking so loudly?’
I wasn’t. Loud doesn’t even come close. I was literally shouting, like a mad woman. By this time I was off my face! I was shaking, randomly scratching myself; my left eye seemed to be twitching involuntarily and I won’t even go into detail about the amount of times I’d farted. Ray was now staring at me and all I could do was stare back, I didn’t even know what to say and was scared what would come out of my mouth if I dared to speak. He smiled and got out his phone and said we were less than 5 minutes away. Chez Gérard wasn’t far…. HANG ON A MINUTE. With no silly accent I realised where we were going. I stopped and shook my head (Not really sure if this was part of the crazy body spasms I was having)
‘Why are you shaking your head?’
‘You didn’t say that we were going to Chez Gérard’
‘Yes I did’
‘No, you said Share jeer-rad-de’
‘Yes.’ And then he said the two names with and without the stupid accent. Why do people try and put on an accent when they can’t do it properly? It’s dumb! Don’t do it! It confuses people!
‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’ (Now this was my way out. I would answer yes and then we would go to another place. Simple! Right)
‘Yes I do.’
‘Ok sure, ladies choice of course’. Good man. I was saved, so I thought…‘I hear it’s a really good place, just out of curiosity why don’t you want to go?’ So this is the perfect example of why you should think before you speak. I should have told him the truth, or rather a version of the truth (I didn’t want him knowing I’d been on a date every day that week) So, I could have told him I’d already been earlier in the week. But instead I said…

Again with the shouting and I don’t even know where this statement came from. I have nothing against anything French! So, I actually confused myself by saying this. 
‘Do you hate French people and their food?'
Beads of sweat now forming as I try and think of an answer, but it’s hard as I’m still confused by the last answer I gave!
'I have nothing against any person or persons of any race and or religion of any kind and or shape or form and race or the French’ (No this sentence doesn't make sense but that’s what I said!) 

Ray told me I needed to broaden my horizons and try new things blah blah blah BLAH. So I’m standing at the bar waiting for my drink (yes I was going to add alcohol into the mix) and all I could keep repeating to myself was Share Jeer-rad-de, Share Jeer-rad-de, Share Jeer-rad-de…

‘That’s the worst French accent I've heard yet’ Ah but of course, my barman was back. Actually, he was quite cute and I’d never noticed before. He winked and was gone as quick as that. Ray reappeared and started his blabbering about goodness only knows what. For some reason he was slowly turning French! I couldn’t understand half of what he was saying; I was too drained to decipher his rubbish accentI’d had enough, the alcohol wasn’t helping and my farting situation was getting worse(To fart outside in a crowd of people is one thing, but when eating in a restaurant, it’s completely another level let me tell you!) I endured dinner as Ray seemed so eager to show me how amazing French food could be, even though I had eaten it every single day so far I tried to play along.  But it was still sweet, I mean he hadn’t done anything wrong; it was me acting like the crazy person. 

By the end of the evening I was already half asleep. All crazy side effects aside, I just felt no excitement about Ray.  He was handsome enough, he was chivalrous, he put up with my crack addict behaviour but there was just no part of me that wanted to see him again. I guess sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

He called us two cabs because he ‘ doesn't do public transport’ I found this hilarious but wasn’t going to complain about getting a ride home as I was exhausted. His cab came first and I convinced him it was ok to go. After all I had put him through I wasn't going to make him wait around any longer. My cab arrived soon after and I couldn’t get in fast enough. As I’m telling the driver where to go, I see barman leaning against the wall smoking. Gad dam he looks so sexy! He sees me and walks up to the window...
‘This guy was better than the last one strawberry’
‘That’s what you always order, a strawberry daiquiri’ I smile and tell him it’s my favourite drink. And he tells me I should call him! Was I dreaming or was this for real?! It didn't matter, I was enjoying the moment. He writes down his number on a piece of paper and hands it to me.

Before he leaves he says ‘Strawberries are gorgeous’

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

I thought I’d break from my Chez Gerard story and pay tribute to the greatness that was Amy Winehouse. 

There is no need to praise her music as it literally speaks for itself. Every lyric, every note, every melody, every song, a testament to how talented she was…

As much as there was an emotion of sadness, the feeling of shock was at a minimum. Still awaiting the results of the autopsy, many have already arrived at the conclusion that drink was partly to blame, but that it was a drugs overdose that killed her. Hmmm… maybe those both did play their part, but I'm sure her broken heart had an even bigger effect in all of it.

Admittedly, I don’t know what it’s like to be addicted to any type of drug (bar flirting with the occasional hangover from hell… never underestimate the power of alcohol.) But I do know what it’s like to be addicted to a person, unhealthy addicted, believing that I was madly in love. And Amy was madly, hopelessly, relentlessly in love with her now ex-husband. No matter how incoherent she was during an interview or performance, she was always able to articulate the phrase ‘I love my Blake.’

I believe she was in love with him, no matter what people say, I think they were both in love and deep in it, deeper than they probably realised. Sometimes two people just aren’t meant to be together and this is when love becomes something dangerous. If you let it, it’ll take over the whole relationship and surround you in a bottomless thick mist. You won’t be able to think or see clearly at all. It turns into this desperate infatuation, where you feel like you can’t even breathe without the other person.

"We loved each other intensely and probably in a really unhealthy co-dependent way Blake Fielder - Civil

This is when love stops being that and becomes a version of self-harming. To immerse yourself in someone else in never ever a good thing, you’ll start to lose your mind and become a shadow of your former being. This in itself is like a drug. You no longer want, but you feel like you need that person to survive and exist. This is exactly why love can be treacherous.

Dealing with a broken heart is agonizing enough, but when you’ve made that person your absolute everything, it’s excruciating. Every single heartbeat reminds you, every single breath is painful, every thought is about that person, you lose your appetite and the will to want to do anything, you become exhausted but you can’t sleep which makes you even more exhausted… your body soon switches into survival mode, everything just shuts down eventually…

Amy’s mother was quoted as saying “I just think she put her body through too much and it just gave up. If you continue to neglect yourself, there is only so much it can take.”

For me, survival mode is finally being able to sleep, my body is too exhausted to fight anymore and I just sleep for ages and that’s all I want to do. Cry and sleep and cry and sleep and cry myself to sleep. Once I've achieved some rest, I start to eat and slowly (sometimes what feels like too slowly) everything starts to fall back into place. These are desperate, sad times where your body is trying to fix you and you need to let it. Turning to alcohol and or drugs at times like this would make it even harder for your body to cope…. Like Amy’s mother said, there is only so much your body can take…

'There are days when I feel like I know what love is and days where I’m not even sure it exists. But I do know that no one is going to save you, they simply can’t. You have to save yourself first…' Helene  Enahoro

Why do I wish I never played?
Oh what a mess we made
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game

Over futile odds
And laughed at by the Gods
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game  - Amy Winehouse

RIP Amy Winehouse 
1983 – 2011