Perhaps emboldened by having lived here for six weeks, I decided to go exploring in my local area, last Friday afternoon. What follows is a tale of intrigue and self-deprecation.
I was looking for a hairdresser's - "Kutz & Kurlz" [sic], on Southway - and I thought that I could check out the place on my way home from work, with the intention of returning the next day. (Those who know me will know I don't pay much attention to matters tonsorial, and the price-to-scumminess ratio happily favours the latter).
Unfortunately, when I came upon the "salon", I found myself in a land where the area code will forever be
0483. Reluctant to make a sudden about-turn, I ducked into a newsagent's and bought a drink.
Here we come to the self-deprecation. When walking in an unfamiliar area, especially when there are other people around, I can't bring myself to stop dead in the middle of the street, turn round, and go back whence I just came. I guess you can look up synonyms at stubborn, or make predictable jokes about men and asking for directions (and, let's face it, I knew the directions), but it seems different from those - as if an overt display of indecision would attract someone who might take advantage of the situation: a mugger, for example.
Somewhat disheartened by my detour, I headed for home, and I thought nothing of taking a hypotenusical shortcut. I headed inland and uphill, and promptly realised that I couldn't remember the turning I had to make. I guessed wrong, and ended up in this cul-de-sac. By this point, I was really out of the way, feeling the utter tourist, and just wanting to get home. I had two options: either walk past the people (whom, for the sake of example, we shall characterise as "burly") I had just passed, or walk up a tree-canopied lane of indeterminate length and destination. Since I have already shown myself willing to incur expense in order to maintain pride, it was time to incur danger as well, and I chose the latter. Fortunately, I didn't encounter anyone, and, using esteemed navigational skills, I was but five minutes away from home, where I promptly crashed on my bed.
The story ends here, but will continue in postscripts.
PS. Any potential employers reading this should not read into it any negative characteristics, whatsoever.
PPS. So, on re-reading that piece, it seems somewhat paranoid, even pathetic (not to mention self-indulgent, but then it is a blog post). Perhaps it is worth the time to look into the background.
This is where I live. The South-East is wealthy, Surrey is wealthy, Guildford is wealthy, Park Barn is not. To the people with whom I work, Park Barn is an unimaginable Castlemilk or Drumchapel. I should first state that it isn't.
It bears more similarity to Merrylee scheme, which is close to where I live in Glasgow.
The disparity is striking then. When I told my colleagues of my temporary residence, their reactions were universally exophthalmic, and, coupled with the police orders, this does not inspire one's confidence. I'm not going to get political and start harping on about the North-South divide.
As a pleasing coda, I should say that I enjoy living in my house - it's a fifteen minute walk from work, a ten minute walk to the 24/24 Tesco, and probably as well-connected as any part of Guildford to the town centre (and hence beyond). And now I've seen it, I'm never going to forget the route....