Friday, June 11, 2004
(I wrote this in a slightly different form a couple of years ago. I'm running it again, because it sums up my mood at the moment, and is a sobering reminder that, for certain Strangers, some things just never change.)
Apparently, I'm a Really Good Listener. Everyone tells me so. Most of my friends and acquaintances have at one time or another revealed to me their juiciest secrets or triple-X-rated emotions, secure in the knowledge I'll never repeat them to anyone else. Button-lipped Bertie, that's me. Hear the evil, see the evil, but definitely never speaka da evil.
It's the same at work. Colleagues come to me with grievances that should be none of my concern, and when someone is having a real bummer of a day, then this good old bum-boy's always the first one to know. Why, it was only last week senior management came to me with a particularly detailed description of their haemorrhoid problem.
If I wanted to, I could tell you who's doing exactly what to whom behind whose back, what the shy one in the corner let on to me he really gets up to on Sunday afternoons, and why it wouldn't be the best idea in the world to hand the Metropolitan Police that woman's home address. Believe me, my dears, with all the truckloads of dirt I've got to dish, I could make a killing overnight on the old blackmail lark.
Yet, despite the fact I've now got a permanent damp patch on my right shoulder from the number of times it's been cried on, I mostly don't mind people off-loading their problems and insecurities onto me every now and again. And I suppose I should be chuffed so many people trust me.
But occasionally, I wish they'd all just put up or shut up. For, my dears, I've got my very own silver-plated set of traumas and tantrums, and a personal life far messier than anything you'll see down Leicester Square come chucking-out time: this blog isn't strap-lined Crisis on Old Compton Street for nothing, you know.
Sometimes I want to say: Look, just for today I do not want to hear about your problems with your boy-girlfriend/ creditors/ employer/ landlord/ self-image, and do I really need to know about that nasty little rash you acquired from last Friday's furtive fumble? Sometimes I 'd love to scream: Won't you listen to me for a f***ing change!
But I never do. Because I'm "nice". Apparently. And, anyway, if I didn't listen to them, then who else would?
But sometimes I think I should be a lot less nice.
(Thank you all for listening. I'll shut up now and let you carry on.)