Oh how lonely a February trip to the seaside. The snow flurries in the twinkling extravagance of the outdated pier. The sea is calm, cold, inviting, yet inhospitable. Not comforting, like the jug of ale in my hand, reclining aside the fire in the cosy over-priced inn on the front.
I sit here in the wrong generation, waiting. Waiting for life to happen, for my mobile phone dating app to buzz and inform me someone wants to share my evening of depressed hedonism and, with any luck, my king size bed at the ever-increasingly redundant promenade hotel I have procured on credit for the night.
The lank fish & chip supper sits languidly in my lower intestines, recently cold stodgy, preventing the drink from doing its job effectively…I should be here in the 60s, wet-fit Levi’s and a Harrington done to the top. My Vespa parked up on Ship Street alongside my peer’s Lambrettas. I’m 50 years late and the only piers are the two that jut into the icy grey waste of the English Channel – the twinkly one smelling of cotton candy, fried donuts and broken dreams. The other rusting and rotting into the sea, ravaged years ago by fire and neglect, a monument to the weather, nature and a temple for visiting seagulls on pilgrimage.
I should’ve been here with my generation out on the lash, off my face on speed, taking the birds down the dancehall, raving until dawn and a Full English, driving back over the South Downs to the big smoke after hair of the dog and a quick dip.
But no, now I have to put up with a 21st century generational obsession of self. Trying to start up conversations with girls seems intimidating and hard work, the glow of smart phones accentuating the face make-up, the cocktails and red wine, the rouge of the cheek. I have transgressed 15 years, in a way becoming invisible, one of them, waiting for my phone to buzz, judging people instantly with a rueful glance, weary of the constant omnipotent flux of status anxiety that permeates the walls. The people I have texted for Brighton tips have universally ignored me, which is indicative of this – everyone’s shit is more important than yours, probably smells better too. Maybe I should start living this way too, a total narcissistic disregard for anyone but myself. Yet I know I would fail and that would make me unhappy and drink on my tod more often who, let me tell you, needs no further encouragement. He has a decently paid part-time role at present, a role I can not afford to increase, thank you very much.
My heart-strings tighten at the thought of the mounting debts acquired in the last 12 months, resulting in good memories but finally, unrequited love – the smell of her hair, the arch of her back, high on drugs and life. Love is blind, and hearts changed but the bitterness about sheer cliffs of human disrespect and the torturous silent treatment awaken and sadden me in equal measure. I temporarily wash away the degradation of love’s bittersweet pill with a shot of single malt and my eyes roll back in my head with the familiarity of the situation. The smoke form the fire chokes me from my reverie. Fuck ’em! I feel lonely sure, but lonely is only one letter from lovely!
I finish my ale, get up from the burgundy leather armchair and stumble into the snowy promenade, myopically searching for The Thistle, so I can crawl up in my over-sized bed and masturbate over a fantasy life that so clearly doesn’t resemble hell.