Friday 16 September 2011

On being a fraidy cat

The other day I did a blog about worrying. This isn't about that. This is about being afraid of stuff. Being afraid of stuff is an active process, whereas worry is pre-emptive. There you are, if you didn't know that, you have already learnt something.

On Tuesday night I went to my friends' house. I'd never had steak tartare before and my friend had promised to not cook it for me. Afterwards, her housemate joined she and I to watch the concluding part of ITV's Appropriate Adult and eat salty chocolate treats.

At about 11 I went off home. To my fake house in Hove, where I've been staying this week on a catsitting gig. I always like to walk around town. It's good exercise and I am still in possession of all my body parts and am young, so why not? I was full of raw meat, thinking about serial killers (we'd also been discussing Bundy) and listening to The Velvet Underground. My sense of sado-masochistic darkness was probably at the peak of its graph, which I'd plotted in my own blood. The walk takes 40 minutes.

I know Brighton - where I am from - and Hove - where I went to school - pretty well. So I can dart through all the back streets and stuff and not get lost much. However, these back streets are spookier than main streets. The irony is you're more likely to get in trouble on Brighton's main highways, where all the drunks are staggering about. Plus the criminal classes favour them for their sweet lighting. The other reason I like to avoid the main streets is sometimes you see the delivery lorries for the supermarkets and takeaways there. I don't like my illusions of the magical food fairies spoilt.

So, I was thinking about serial killers and raw meat and listening to Heroin and noticing all the places someone could quite easily be quietly doing a murder in the shadows where you'd never see it. There's one just to the south of Brighton station. There's another cracking one in a churchyard on Upper North Street. The best of all is in a square just off Clifton Road. Please do not misinterpret these as being tips. Murder is wrong.

I became increasingly aware that I was a bit afraid, frankly. Afraid of the dark and my imagination, mainly. After the station I cut through towards St. Nicholas' church, which has a big graveyard. Now there was a fully-fledged risk of zombies. Oh cripes.

It was a relief to get back onto a slightly bigger road after that, but as soon as I did my friend Kev spotted me walking past The Florist pub and tootled out to say hello. I'm not at my best with the old bump-into at the best of times. On Tuesday night, however, I think I successfully conveyed that my social awkwardness was now shot through with absurdist and made-up terror, by recourse to barely being able to speak. Another proud moment.

The most surprising thing in all of this is that I am single.

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