You're currently sitting in a home that's a mere 2 meter away from the motorway. Cars whiz pass on London's stupid M25, and it seems an Alfa Romeo crashing; killing the inhabitants of the home will be sent by a slip of the steering wheel someday soon by a careless texter. You're there to check in on someone. A girl named Annabel. She yells that the motorway has been constructed too close to her home, taking her front lawn and a rose bush with it--you find that the tiny blades of dead grass left behind to show it's way too close to live by. She acknowledges that she might be the next exciting perspective from the edge of her mattress.
Do you awaken from this dream? (Visit Timeline B.)
Or do you continue this conversation and remain in this house? (Go to Timeline C.)
You wake up from the dream. Inform yourself that it signifies nothing to you. You head to work to your new Westminster office. As you're working, you jump on the internet to find out the symbolic significance of automobiles in dreams. You get the anticipated "vehicles symbolize the journey of life" replies from your google break, and, clearly, reckless driving in fantasies can symbolize a life out of control; however, there's one interpretation that disturbs you in its own authoritarian clarity. It states: It depends on who's driving in the fantasy. Have you been driving or is somebody else? This info could point to a component of your waking life you want to be present. How are you permitting others to treat you? You understand that this is a condemnation of your own life recently. Every one of these shitty cloudy days has left you empty, alone and dreaming of bloody motorways too close a beautiful woman's bedroom.
You finally decide you've had enough of this head time. Time to begin pursuing a hobby, get your mind on something besides your wild social life and perhaps create a new experience for yourself in the process. I believe its a very sensible thing to do at this point.
Piano? (Go to Timeline J)
Or Cooking? (Go to Timeline K)
You tell Annabel that you're feeling unsafe in her south London residence, particularly in this bedroom of hers. You say "Maybe we should go grab a drink? How's your local, love?"
She lets you know that it feels safer in the kitchen; the room farthest from London's motoring hell. You walk in, and you see what she means. It's quieter back there without the crashing waterfall of cars rushing past her vibrating window, but Annabel has not followed you into the kitchen. No, she remains in the bedroom, sitting on her bed, looking out the window at what you're sure is her doom. There's a coffee can sitting in the center of the table, with the lid off. You research the contents and realize there's not any coffee, only greeting cards, and notes. You start to pull them out in handfuls. Instead, they're sympathy cards. They say things like 'Sorry for your loss' and 'God is with you at this challenging moment.'
She is now standing beside you in the kitchen. She interprets your actions as a come on, puts her arms around your neck, and starts to kiss you. She's not messing around. It's soft but insistent. You imagine she's grieving, lonely and desperate, having recently lost a loved one to some mysterious unknown, spending her days alternately watching cars come within an inch of her head and reading sympathy cards over and over again. You sense that she's desperate for comfort. It's a thing that you have done well for other women in your past and yourself. Comfort. Why not today? She grabs you and pushes you back toward the room, which feels somewhat aggressive on her part, doesn't it? You go with it.
It is possible to observe the driver yelling at you from behind his windshield as your back hits her bed and your eye makes a beeline for that vibrating window. The only thing parting you from him are the two pieces of smooth glass, his and Annabel's, is only air between and her lavender scented candle. You can't hear him, but you know what he's yelling. He's saying, "Do not do this, mate. You will regret this decision for the remainder of your life. God, Save the Queen"... Ok, He didn't say the last bit. I made it up.
Do you run from the house, as far away from that coffee can of misery because it is impossible for you to overcome a Groundhog Day hell in your own life? (Go to Timeline D)
Or do you stay with Annabel? (Go to Timeline G.)
That was an excellent option to leave! It was like a nightmare house which exists only in London Bridge horror show these days and on the telly. Well played. So now you end up walking along the same motorway you were hoping to stay clear from, but somehow, in this setting, it isn't quite as menacing. You continue walking. However, you discover that the sun is beginning to set and you aren't correctly dressed for a stroll along the M25 at this hour on a cold London evening. You are surprised it's not rained today. A car pulls over, and the passengers offer you a ride. They're a man and a woman. An exciting couple at first glance. He looks about thirty, is shirtless with a tattoo on his stomach that says 'SAVAGE'. He hasn't shaved in a few of days, and she looks about fifty; smoking two cigarettes taped together and seems like she's been smoking non-stop for the past thirty years or so. Terrible habit! (Please stop if this is you.)
Do you say, “Thanks, but I need the walk, mate.” and keep walking? (Go to Timeline E.)
Or do you jump in, even though they haven’t asked you where you were heading before offering you the ride? (Go to Timeline F.)
I knew you were the product of all your right decisions! I am aware this M25 scene seems somewhat odd, but you don't know the M25 (pit of hell most hours), or maybe was the consequence of a terrible choice otherwise known as "agreeing to check on Annabel." That happened before you actually got into "the cesspool of modern mingling and a favor to check-in on a mate's sister," but we're on the ideal path now. You may feel it. So you continue walking down the M25, and you pull out your mobile phone. You've got a smartphone with ample battery power! This is an excellent comfort to you. A few taps on a new minicab app, and you're sorted. Even if the minicab doesn't have the most stringent, rigorous checks in place, the driver more than likely will have on a shirt without a horrid smoker in the car. That's probably also a great sign that London still has her manners.
You breathe a small sigh of relief as you slide into a red Prius and tell 25-year-old Chloé about your bizarre encounter. She laughs once finished and tells you to notch this up to experience. She reminds you that you look handsome, she digs the old lapel pin on your blazer and beard. The pin being a 60-year-old painting of a woman in a fancy hat found in the Netherlands. One of your favorite in your small collection. You take the compliment and thank her as she offers a tiny bottle of water and sweets (I guess they're all bloody doing it now) causing you to remember a Allen Ginsberg poem you used to love when younger. Something about water raising up steady from a well at the base of the world. Or were you high in Colorado, U.S.A when reading it? You trust Chloé with this Proustian memory. Mostly due to her French accent and she reminded you of someone you knew on holiday. Even though you don't recall it word for word, you quote best from your mind. She'll appreciate it (it's a fantastic poem to remember), and she'll sweetly recite you a poem in return about the importance of water in one's life told to her by her grandma before passing away. She'll say: the only men and women who recognize the importance of water seem to be dreamers, writers, and lunatics (She isn't quoting the poem correctly, but that's okay because she's crying her heart out and it is in the right place). We like her because she doesn't mind a man poorly reciting poetry in the back of her Prius. She'll ask 'which one are you, monsieur? Dreamer, writer, or a lunatic?' You'll answer 'Apparently, all of the Above, love.'
All this creative talk with Chloé has made you realize that maybe you're not ready for casual dating in the modern world after all. There have been so many ups and downs in this particular branch of your life tree. Best not to shake the branch any more than needed. Chloé says, "Why don't you take up traveling, monsieur? I know lots of men who have started traveling, and they love it. You should go to Asia. It's a good place for dreamers, writers, and lunatics. I am going to Thailand this year!" You've got an immediate vision of the busy airports and crying babies on flights, jet lag that you can't shake. You doubt that traveling will be your next move, but you wouldn't mind taking it up one day. That may be just what you need to keep you busy and do something productive at precisely the same time daily (and you never know who you might meet on the way. Another reason to avoid traveling, by the way.). You're not much of a travel person or into travel romances. Younger years have taught you to avoid them. Your experiences seldom work outside the M25. You consider both hobbies you've always wanted to pursue instead. Which will it be?
You get back to Kennington and ponder playing the Piano; that of the most beautiful of instruments in the world? (Go to Timeline J.)
Or perhaps a cooking class? (Go to Timeline K.)
You're on a thin, metal, horizontal plank stretched out much higher than the treetops. You are being forced to do yoga on this unstable plane by a tubby monk high in the Himalayas who claims to know George Harrison in the sixties. You can't move; fear has paralyzed you. The instructor says 'you need to move what moves. You must do now. Focus.' But you can't do these poses or understand the tubby guy very well. You are not focused on your breathing and violent gas from goat vindaloo for lunch isn't helping while standing on your head.
Rather stay and focus, you make a move to get off the plank, but it's the wrong move. The tubby monk shakes his head in disapproval. It sends the plank downward. The tubby monk disappears, and this troubles you almost as much as the plank plunging downward towards the trees. You awaken. In the beginning, you're relieved to be free from that falling dream and the curry gas. But then there's the metallic taste of blood in your mouth, and you can't move your arms or your legs. You're surrounded by darkness, and you hear a loud humming sound. It requires a moment for your eyes to acclimate to the surroundings before you understand you're in the boot of a mid-size vehicle. Let's think back to what happened. Sympathy cards, M25, blisters, cars whizzing, squandered opportunities with a grieving woman, booze. You've made the ultimate wrong choice in this game, it seems. Or could it be a penultimate lousy option? Can we save you? You were supposed to have forty-five or so great years left to live. Panic sets in when you realize you are moving again. You jerk your legs out in an attempt to free yourself, but you just wind up kicking a big plastic bottle of water. You hear it moving around. It sounds like beach waves you once enjoyed on a short trip to Mexico in this cramped locked space. Your mouth is dry as sandpaper. Your breathing gets heavy, and yellow fuzzy static closes in on your vision. You feel the air running out on you in this awful cramped space. We're very limited in our options at this point.
Do you scream and squirm in the hopes that someone, anyone, can hear you and possibly help save you? (Go to Timeline N.)
Or do you relax yourself to the end and attempt to consider the great things you had in your life? (Go to Timeline N.)
The Fact is you have made poor decisions. You had the opportunity to wake up from the dream already; to leave before the encounter became sexually out of hand, and yet you chose each opportunity to stay. Why? Nowadays you must drag yourself through life carrying the mantle of a modern dating victim or predator. This is not any fun. It feels like a burden. It's heavy, and it makes people uncomfortable to learn about it. They say things like 'so that explains the tattoos and a closed heart.' That isn't why you got the tattoos, is it? It felt like an act of bravery and defiance at the moment to remember something completely different. The Mayan symbol of a victim in a circle with a line through it. One more bucket list item checked. You like that the ideal symbol stands for sacrifice because you like that word. Sacrifice. It sounds noble and meaningful. You've sacrificed much to be where you are. Specifically, referencing your selections on Timeline A and C, but more generally it seems you have sacrificed happiness. How is everyone else doing these things you seem to fumble with? Can you still choose that now?
We should try.
You're in a restaurant. You're on a date. This girl, let's call her Amber, is funny, tall, and she did not ask you about any of your tattoos. There's promise. Dinner has ended, and you have asked for the check.
Do you sit back and let her take care of her share in the name of modernity? (Go to Timeline H.)
Or do you offer to pay it all? (Go to Section I.)
I see you've become a Rules guy. Fine. Reel her in. I understand how this works--easy to be with, hard to get. So here is what happens. You play the whole dating thing correctly as you remember from your google research hours before meeting her at the tube station ON TIME. Always on time. You don't call her and rarely return her calls(texting is what people do, right?), you don't call for a Saturday date after Wednesday, you don't open up too fast about your past, and you don't wear thoughts of her wandering around the head days later(It causes odd dreaming experiences). The bloggers must know what they're on about, right? In summary, you're honest but mysterious, and you're probably likely to be happy for a couple of years or so. Maybe, even get to take her on the weekend to Lake district for no reason whatsoever, but to sit on a bench with her overlooking Whinlatter Pass after a long trek thru the mountains.
Yes, you read that right. Although I'm not supposed to make any wild judgments, this selection is as close to "bullseye" as you can get, my darling dreamer. And it is a long one, so let's get settled into your chair with a pint or some vino because here we go! I'll provide you the highlights first: It was a beautiful ceremony at Highclere Castle in Newbury. You own a home in Kennington with keys to a private courtyard. A humble family flat, but a home with a colourful garden. I don't need to inform you the local school's recognized for its excellent academics and positive school culture for gifted teens. You've got a beautiful daughter. We had some difficulties with fertility, but there are always obstacles in a hero's journey, and yours is no exception. The most important thing is how you manage the obstacles along the way. That's if we don't count the night you took the full box of her glass tubes of hormone stimulant and chucked them down the stairs in a minute of pure sexual exhaustion and wine-induced vexation that both hilariously refer to now as 'The Incident.' I'd say you leaped over this specific obstacle like a superhero and found yourself with an unpredictable daughter and satisfying life within the M25. And, regardless of the routinization of life grinding you down like sheep caught in a Scottish thunderstorm, it's only really left you balder than you started and streaks of gray in a heavier beard. You, now cruise a Range Rover that has cute little zombie approximations of yourself, Amber, and Thea in the rear window, it's still possible to refer to yourself as "happy." That's just what you say to her as you're driving to that great school to get yet another conversation with the headmaster about Thea's new habit of kicking boys in their recently developed nutsacks. You say: "I don't understand what's happening with her. We're a strong team, right? We're happy, aren't we? Brexit isn't going to happen. It's all smoke, darling." And here is her response: "I think that it's finally time for me to be selfish. I want to begin thinking about me for a change."
Did she really say "finally"? Yes, she did. You're coming up on 20 years of what you would have called (if someone had asked you to name it) "The Decades of Amber," but it turns out she's been cheating on you with her twenty-six-year-old pilates instructor who thinks George Micheal's Careless Whisper is 'weak' rock music. You should have knocked his head off just for saying it when she'd invited him for Sunday tea months back. The 20th wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with gifts of tin/aluminum or something to do with gems and metals. But there's nothing wrong with breaking old British traditions with a present that ironically commemorates almost two decades of togetherness balanced with a dash of nothing. She's leaving you. And he's a tinhead named Albert.
Do you accept the news stoically and attempt to make this as painless as possible for your daughter and bring her to family therapy; doing your very best to plod forward? (Visit Timeline L.)
Or you lose your head, park where you are, run into traffic, accepting the first ride you may find to get you to The Angel and Crown pub; get quickly sloshed on whiskey. So drunk that you see yourself going home with cute Latvian shot girl who doesn't speak English? At least you believe that is why she has said absolutely nothing all evening wanting her mouth used for other pleasurable exchanges. Do people even talk anymore? (Go to Timeline F.)
Yep. Those are the only two choices in this Timeline.
You go with your bad self! You're nobody's victim of modernity, despite your tattoos, which proclaim the opposite with the rise of hipsters. You set down your bank card, and you say, "Please let me take care of this." Now, this appears to be a minor thing, doesn't it? A man in the 21st century paying for a date is not just a thing of the past. Nonetheless, it is not minor. At least to her. Oh, she acts like she's cool with it. In reality, she quotes a Beyoncé lyric and makes a joke about it. But she never calls you again, even after you call her using your new smartphone you slightly regret buying. You're better off without her insecurities (see Timeline H, above). It seems we are at a dead end here and none of this appears to be worth the time. But we're not done. It's time to select some hobbies to keep you busy. You're very good at singing. You used to love singing in the choir when you were younger. And music moves you. You could play the piano! You took a few lessons, and your teacher said you had musical promise. In primary school, maybe. But also, you've always wanted to try creating dishes from exotic lands without leaving the signs of the M25. There are a few classes nearby taught by overly joyful millennials. The Smiths, next door had also recommended them. Which one should it be, lad?
Piano? (Go to Timeline J.)
Or Cooking? (Visit Timeline K.)
Ah! So happy with this. I've always wanted to play again but can barely manage the first two bars of "Chopsticks" before everybody's rolling their eyes at the wrong notes.
You find a teacher nearby, only a few blocks from your flat near the tube station. It is like it has been right there, waiting for you all along. You go for your first lesson with your piano instructor. She strikes you over the head with a hammer and ruins your new Gieves & Hawkes signature wool sportcoat. Just messing with you! That was the result of another dreamer's poor decision (see Section F), but not yours.
Her name is Kathrine, and she offers recommended lessons in her windowless basement adorned with the irony of the 1970s. Replete with a shag rug and an old husband knocking around upstairs typically cooking Brussels sprouts or some equally noxious-smelling vegetable that appears to negatively affect your ability to pick up the five-finger scale play necessary for "Für Elise." It's all very dull, but you're moving right along in level of your technique and artistry, and you're trying to remain awake as she explains another glory story about her solo at Royal Albert Hall in the 1970s.
One day, right after a successful lesson in which you feel like you've mastered the sostenuto pedal, you gather your things, preparing to ascend the steps into the broccoli-scented kitchen and eventually back to your own silent and empty home, when a new student arrives for the half-past six-time slot. He's an adorable five-year-old boy named Richard Jules who jumps right onto the raised stool like nothing and starts hammering out "The Scientist." by Coldplay. A song that took you three months to master. It's probably quicker to pick up these skills when your brain has the plasticity of youth. Lil Dickie Jules is a good lad. It isn't really that remarkable. What's remarkable, however, is that Dick Jules is accompanied by an even more adorable mother named Diana. Diana is a nurse who, it turns out, just moved into the neighborhood with her son because she got divorced from her mister. He just finished a tour in Asia with the Royal Army. As well as orders home, he was slapped with divorce papers before getting his first pint down at his local. She tells you it was over long before he left for war. You believe her. She's funny, naturally beautiful and damaged (let's say complicated) and, you find out, an exceptional cook of exotic dishes. You fall in love instantly--you can save her you tell yourself; you know you can, and moving in with her in what is probably, on the grand scale of the universe, considered a matter of moments. Some would say quicker than a nip to the pub. I don't even have a chance to stick a different possibility in here if I wanted to, which I don't. Who could resist Diana? Mother of Dickie Jules.
Years go by following this particular choice. Many Years. And some of them are good ones. Brilliant ones. Well, a year and a half were terrific. You and Diana together having picnics (two of them, actually, with gourmet food. For the first one exquisitely prepared by her in Hyde Park to watch the fireworks for the fifth of November. The next was a chippy at Wembley Park Station by me for England beating Germany 4-0). You enjoy going to field hockey (go Britain's field hockey! Whoever you are.), but you actually start to follow the sport. Even though before Diana, you thought women's field hockey was the most boring game created for a bloody Sunday, but now you're standing at the bookies once a week cheering on your favored odds.
Sometimes sharing custody of Lil Dick Jules was a delight as he graduated to playing Mozart, Beethoven, lingering jazz and rock hits from the 1950s. The demanding Enchiladas de Camaron Estilo Sinaloa for every single meal as he zoned away on his iPad was a bit odd. Which seemed wrong to you as well, but Diana said 'it doesn't appear like a battle worth fighting with Dickie, darling.'
Diana tried hard to find a career that first year and found one working at a real estate brokerage out in Dubai before "forced" to quit a year later because she'd managed to piss off clients with her hunger for power and 2 bottles of wine daily. There was that visit to the sober farm in Cornwall, and you had to bring Dickie to Kensington for 3 weeks. He didn't cry for his mum any night those weeks or call you 'new guy.' And that first winter holiday where you bought the hand-blown glass piano ornament that said "Our First Christmas." But then came the not-so-really-good times, which were immensely abused by wine, pills, and cocaine. With her mental vacancy that of a pop tart ready for a Pimm's cocktail and her losing anything that could even be called a working wage and savings, you take over Dickie's piano fees and be the musical genius's mate as he continues to weep into sounds ahead of his years. And then the terrible years, Diana in and out (mostly out in Soho's social lounges) of country rehabs paid for by you, followed by the abysmal year that ended it all. At this point, Dickie's permanently with his father in Liverpool in council housing estate eating beans on toast till he was 16. Diana, having lost all parenting rights by the local magistrate's court and also her desire to not fight for visits, you devote more of your personal time at work or home alone on your piano.
Your future is pretty much a no-brainer, mate but, hey, she wasn't ever pissy or Nancy Vicious's psycho ghost towards you. Except for the horrible year, David Cameron won the election for Prime Minister; a rough year for Queen and country that day. Which is also what her ex-Mister had complained about in his Royal Army uniform one afternoon in Hammersmith. Most notably to her Majesty's legally appointed magistrates judge. I say let's skip the Tom foolery and get out of this with some dignity intact. You're a London lad. Hold it together, son. So, what's it going to be, Gov'nor?
Will you remain in this relationship? (Go to Timeline J.)
Or will you leave her in an addiction program run by Satan's gatekeepers and skip to a different beat? (Go to Timeline L)
Really? Cooking? I will be honest with you. I was hoping for piano. I find the cooking shows very dull these days and the most complicated dish I have ever made was Chicken tikka masala spread around a top of a Waitrose naan, dump gouda on it and in the microwave oven for two minutes. Dinner done.
But anyway, that doesn't matter now because today, you are not going to believe your lucky stars, mate. You are not going to believe who is taking the cooking class with you today? Jesus Christ? No, It's Annabel. 'You have to be bloody kidding me' you say to yourself when you see her sitting over by the cutting boards and knives. You only wanted to flip a couple of eggs or sprinkle some paprika on toast, and now you have to deal with Madam Antsy-pants. Don't stay. I almost don't want to provide you the alternative timeline at this point. I'm lobbying heavily in favor of you to leave this minute. She has not seen you yet, so there is not even the risk of discomfort with this situation. Just slip back out the way you came in thru the restaurant, wrap your scarf around your neck, and think of a good Beatles song to accompany your walk back down to Kensington.
Do you stay? (Go to Timeline A.)
Or do you go? (Go to Timeline L.)
Proud of you, lad. You're an agent of independence. You walk down Kensington High Street to Holland Park, which is really not a very long walk but feels like a pulsing street bursting with a Brazilian carnival today. The song playing in your head is 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' by Prince, Tom Petty, and company from a trip to America a few years ago. One of greatest solo guitar performances of your life was played that night. The giddy feeling that accompanies having made a good choice floods you with a rare sense of well being and curious. Whatever did happen to Prince's guitar after the performance? It just disappeared into thin air once he threw it up!
You walk by a shop or two on the high street. Gieves & Hawkes are open. You deserve it! You've somehow managed to find the most reputable British men's tailors this side of the Thames and the jackets in here are gorgeous, fashionable, and perfectly outrageous for every day.
Thus, do you realize the last thing you need is to use the acquisition of goods in ever-increasing amounts to fill a possible void in your chest? (Go to section M.)
Or do you purchase the blazer made for a rich African dictator in a single-breasted royal navy with pink stripes and matching cuffs? (Go to Timeline N)
Wait, what? You didn't opt for the blazer? I must admit this confuses me a little bit. You've caught me unprepared. I was sort of counting on that gorgeous, single-breasted bespoke coat. You could just walk back to the Kensington and try the sportscoat on one more time with the white shirt to be sure; admire the quality of cut and perfect hand stitches before you start feeling entirely shitty about the whole decision. This will probably take a while, but okay. You're making some stubborn decisions lately. It's only a jacket.
So you keep walking down Kensington towards Mayfair. There's an old pub coming up on the right. You have never seen it and have walked these corners your whole life. You get that strange feeling you know this place well. It's dark and cold inside, and they have this antique picture frame with Queen Mother pouring a pint back in the 80s on the back wall. An acoustic sound of Eric Clapton's Layla draws your attention, and I bet it will be ideal to have a seat after that walk. You go inside. It's nearly empty. A girl is sitting at the bar with a fancy cocktail with a pineapple slice hanging off the edge, naturally, and a table with a middle-aged couple talking to each other using their foreheads nearly pushed together to overcome some terrible news. They are still dressed from work. He may have cried before entering the place. The tears don't look genuine. It's difficult to tell, and you can't stare at them. You know they're having an affair from a look for the bartender. This is the perfect location for that sort of escapade.
The bartender has asked you 'what will you have to wet your whistle, this evening, sir?' You order a four horsemen: A glass of Jack, Beam, Johnny, and Jose. Lined up; ready for the apocalypse.
You drink it the following way: You take out the cherries the newbie thought you might enjoy and put them on the bar. You take out the tiny straws and place it on the bar as well. You down the drink in four large swallows with the ice block crashing into your face at the end.
The bartender looks at you with a bit of awe, but mostly shock and worry. You ask her for another, but mention you'd like more Johnny and less Jose. She hands you something she calls a water-back, telling you to think about your life at 8 am. "It's all about the water," she goes on about. Nevertheless, you don't need to drink this second round with the same ferocity; the initial one is working warm, and you suddenly feel a wee bit better, lighter, and a little dizzier for the walk back to Kensington.
You know what? I can tell your whiskey heart's not into this anymore as mine is at this moment. You don't need a strong whiskey buzz in the early evening in the middle of a week. The headaches aren't worth it as they were at Uni. I am not sure what to do with you now. Are you certain you don't want that new Gieves & Hawkes blazer? It is not too late; the shop is still open. Do you wish to go back and get the blazer? You don't need to pick the one, by the way.
You have 4 you never wear hanging in a closet. (Go directly to Section N.)
Or do you want to head off by yourself? Because I think you're not really into the game anymore and my counsel is turning into more of a hindrance than a helping hand. So I'm going to send you off to wander the pages for yourself. If you would like, you can come back at a later date and go to Timeline N. That's your last timeline in this adventure. Make sure you stop at N.
So much disappointment, sadness, and isolation. How much effort did you misdirect attempting to fill up space? How much time did you waste sitting at home listening to old David Bowie songs, wondering where it all went wrong? Living on Mars is my guess. There are so many places where it did. You see that now, don't you? So many places.
Let me give you a bit of advice - Go in the kitchen right now (even if it's only in your mind) and fill your glass up with refreshing cool aqua. Water is so perfect for you. You can never go wrong with it. It's the stuff of life, right? Take a nice deep drink of it, but leave only half the water in the glass. There. Now that's an excellent way to wake up.
It's also the perfect way to introduce you to the life of my mate and rock pianist - Dickie Jules. You'll need the rest of that water and possibly more for his journey.
This is an excerpt of An Untitled Journey with Dickie Jules, a new novel by Chazzy Patel available November 2018.