I’ve got plenty to be grateful for. Big things (food, shelter, freedom). Medium things (a lovely job, brilliant friends, a nice flat). And lots of little things (free Sky, small feet, housemates who don’t like Paul Weller).
So I don’t want to sound ungrateful when I admit that I’ve found myself feeling incredibly jealous of other people lately – specifically, those people who I assume are having more fun than me. Which, at the weekends, is everyone.
Since being single, life is suddenly the dull man at a party, and I’m constantly looking over its shoulder to see if anyone interesting is arriving. But all the cool kids have been distracted by a different, better party, and are doing stuff that you only see on the telly, like keg stands and being sick on people having sex.
Unless you’re Simon Cowell, there’s always someone out there having more fun than you. You could be shopping instead of at the park, down the pub instead of shopping, or on a plane instead of down the pub. When I had a boyfriend, that didn’t matter: the best place to be was with each other, so who cared what everyone else was doing?
But now, how much other people are enjoying themselves has become a constant reminder of my lack of imagination. And if you spend your weekends moping around your flat, sighing mournfully out of the window and trying to lure ants away from their path using sugar, you’re not just being paranoid – everyone else is having more fun than you.
I’d hoped Twitter might help with this. I reasoned that anyone tweeting through his or her Saturday must be pretty bored too – after all, it’s quite hard to tweet when you’re grappling with someone else’s buttocks, or playing the maracas. But unfortunately, Twitter manages to slick even the most mundane events with romantic gloss.
It’s the internet equivalent of the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs. Featuring a group of old, ugly men lumbering along in bad suits, add a bit of slow motion and suddenly we all want to sleep with Steve Buscemi. Now, imagine those ugly men are Twitter (tough, I know). With a 140-character limit, what’s left unsaid adds an element of mystery which makes even the very, very ordinary seem extraordinary.
If someone (probably @Biltawulf) tweets a simple, ‘I am in a lift,’ that lift is nothing like any of the lifts I’ve ever been in. In my head, that lift is twice the size of the lifts at work, and is filled with people who smell of expensive perfume and look like Christina Hendricks. It even has a man in a hat and suit working a lever. It’s an amazing lift.
If someone else (say, @SimonBishop) reveals that they’re outside a pub smoking, and it’s raining and they’re having a pint, there are inevitably details left unsaid. Those details are likely to be things like, ‘And I need a wee.’ Not in my head: here, the details include things like hats worn at dangerous angles, hairy knuckles and cowboy boots.
So it also goes without saying that other people’s bored isn’t anywhere near as boring as my bored. When I’m sat on my own watching repeats I can’t be bothered to switch off and eating the rest of yesterday’s Maltesers, it’s just a bit shit.
But when other people do it, they’re doing it because their yesterday and tomorrow are so exciting they need a day off to recuperate, or because their millionaire boyfriend’s away, or because they’re exactly like Bridget Jones, but not awful.
My only comfort is that maybe somewhere out there, there are people who regard my tweets in the same, glamorised light. Maybe when I say, ‘I am wearing a skirt,’ they’re imagining a really brilliant skirt, and not the ruffled denim one that goes wrinkly if you go to the loo, or sit down for longer than five seconds, or look at it funny.