I went into the office at Waterstones yesterday morning, with a view to hand in my notice. I remember sitting in my student living room with Joanne, prophesising that this bit of life, the bit where it actually starts, was going to terrible.
“It’s going to be terrible” – said Joanne, thinking it is going to be terrible.
“Yeah”- me, agreeing, but secretly thinking it maybe won’t be, because I’ll be famous by then.
What do I have to celebrate at the end of this month? Well, I’m not pregnant. I guess that’s something I can celebrate about. I think my pants had a party about it anyway, if you pretend that confetti looks quite a lot like blood. I bought a pregnancy test anyway, just to make extra sure I could celebrate.*
Grasping at straws like a hungry teenage mother in McDonalds, I have fallen into a depression that has left me crying every day.** Unlike the dog-eared pages of the books I am forcing back into random areas on shelves, I am dog eyed. Everything is grey. And like the books that undergo my shelving technique, I am equally as identity confused.
In the heavy rain yesterday morning, my mother and I decided in the car to make the final decision to hand in my notice at work. Actually I think it was raining, but it might have just been the fact that my eyeballs were clogged with tears.
I sprung it on the manager I like yesterday. Handing me a tissue, she said that I need to think long and hard about whether I want to quit. So let me explain to you a bit about why I want to quit Waterstones.
I’m not good at my job.
I’m just not. I’ll compare myself to my co-worker, and high school friend who got me the job in the first place; Bronwen. Bronwen is really good at customer service. Also, she is incredibly intelligent, and can suggest any book under the sun if someone asked, particularly something really hard, like a book on post war minimalism or something. I can’t seem to recommend anything more complicated than Flat Stanley. Which, by the way, is an excellent read if you’re into protagonists like you’re into coffee- flat and white.
Bronwen has a charm about her which means she can talk to anybody at the till, even the cunts. Believe me, there are some, pardon my French, cunts, who seem to come into Waterstones with a personal vendetta against literature, me, the shop, Wimbledon as a general area, growing old, waiting in a queue that they’ve joined at the moment that someone else has gotten in the queue, and the fact I am the only person on the till, struggling with a refund on a receipt that expired several months ago for an elderly woman with a face that harbours the arthritic verve of someone applying mascara on Nemesis Inferno.
Meanwhile, I’m writing poorly crafted jokes into my phone about how Donna Tartt sounds like the name of a slutty kebab. Bronwen knows she can rise through the ranks and become a manager one day. I’m hiding books behind each other and mixing Sardinia in with Sudan because I don’t know where the fuck Sardinia is on a map- because it’s an island, is it its own country? I don’t know, which is why I probably shouldn’t be working at Waterstones.
And all the while I’ve been left with one harrowing realisation:
Nobody wants to hear my jokes.
There was a spider in my bedroom about two weeks ago, and Mark asked me to go and find something heavy to kill it with, and I must have scrabbled around for about two minutes desperately trying to find Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, the flavour of a hilarious prop joke on the tip of my moistened tongue. He’s going to laugh at me being all witty, oh god it’s going to feel so good, and I then I’m going to laugh because he’s laughing but mostly because I’m so funny, and then we’ll both laugh so hard the spider will start laughing, laughing his little eight socks off. Except it won’t be an actual laugh, he’ll just sort of wiggle his pincers around, as is commonly accepted amongst spiders as a physical representation of the human act of laughter.
We’ll all laugh so hard tears will stream down our faces, well maybe just mine, because what am I like, honestly***, you couldn’t write it, and can you see the spider anymore no okay we’ll just sleep in the garden tonight
*Also, on that note, I’m beginning to assume hymens grow back, like that filmy layer you get on stale gravy. I’m not even sure if mine actually is still there or not anyway, or whether every time I have sex, it’s like someone poking their finger into one of those plastic packets with cling film used to cover raw chicken in tesco- like not actively piercing it but leaving a severe indentation?
**I realise this bit is quite sad, sorry about that. Perhaps some comedy might help you out here. I was mulling this over lunch and thought that you might like to hear some tweets that never made the cut for the twitter I don’t actually have:
-Do you like these buns? They’re like me; hot and cross.
-Brits aren’t really fans of ventriloquism, on account of being so tight lipped.
-Keep your cards close to your chest, unless its your community chest, and if so then place them back at the bottom of the pile.
-Donna Tartt? More like DONNA KEBAB (somewhere a spider excitedly flaps its pincers)
***Sad again, sorry. See above tweets for comedy relief.