because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Darby and Joan: October 2012


Darby & Joan are the quintessential middle-aged British couple, characterised by knitwear, hours of scrabble, and a penchant for staying in on Saturday nights. Darby and Joan are, in fact, @calummcswiggan and me. 
My gorgeous baby boy Darby,

Well roger me sideways with a cardboard cut-out of Gaga, YOU’RE COMING TO STAY WITH ME! This is, of course, the most exciting news I’ve had since, well. Since the last time I knew I’d be meeting you at a random train station not in the East Midlands. And we all know how that turned out- I got so excited I vomited and it stained my jeans.

I know. You’re so proud you picked me as your bestie.

I’ve come to realise recently- and when I tell you this, you’ll be all RECENTLY?- that my infatuation with you should most probably be cause for self-consciously large amounts of embarrassment that would encourage a less mental person to STOP IT. Well, lucky for you, NOT THIS GIRL.

I’m pretty much at the point where I’m the Alexa Chung to your Nick Grimshaw, except that you aren’t a Primrose Hill morning radio DJ and I’m not a size double zero. But, I mean, their love and mutual respect makes me think of you every time I read the Mail Online.

I just admitted to reading the Mail Online and I bet you’re not even judging me for it. That’s why you’re the bestest of the best.

The last time I wrote to you I was living on my parents’ sofa. Well, now I live in London. WHERE YOU WILL BE VISITING ME. Thing is, a life from scratch by default means meeting lots of new people to put into that life. And I enjoy that, very much. Figuring out who might like Zadie Smith as much as I do; establishing who recognises singing show-tunes as a legitimate pastime; ascertaining who is geek enough to pick up on the constant stream of Dame Maggie Downton references I seem hell-bent of dropping into 97% of all interactions with human beings. That’s all kinds of awesome, that game. Genuinely, I love it. I’m having the time of my life.

But, in meeting all of these people, inevitably my barrage of questions about them, and why they are here, in London, and what their dreams are (which is essentially less of a conversation and more of a military style investigation which led to one potential-friend asking me, with no trace of irony, is this a friendship test?) I talk about you ALL THE TIME. And normally, when eventually I realise I’m not so much making a new friend as writing down the name of your blog for strangers to GO HOME AND READ RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND YOU’LL LOVE IT TELL HIM I SENT YOU GO! GO! GO! It’s too late. I’ve already marked myself out as a hopeless basket case.

One boy pointed out to me that essentially you’re not a want in my life but a need, and I was all like, yup, and? and he was all, well, that’s a little intimidating for anyone trying to actually date you as a heterosexual man and not a gay best friend, and I was like, what are you trying to say, that I can’t be infatuated to the point of obsession? That it makes you feel inferior that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never match up to is place in my heart? That by comparison, you’re failing at even existing? And this guy was all like, urm. Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m saying, actually.

I wish I were more sorry about that.

I’ve been spending most of my free time doing thinking about All The Things we must do when you arrive IN NOT VERY MANY DAYS AT ALL, and I hope you are on board because it goes like this:

- Doing Saturday Night Bollocks with pizza, and pic n mix, and score sheets that involving a complex X-Factor rating system based on what the judges are wearing, how much we want sit on the faces of the boy bands, and how many times Louis Walsh says you look like a pop star, you sound like a pop star, and I just want everyone at home to pick up their phone to vote for you!

- Sitting in a library next to each other, where we do writing and red-penning of each other’s work, scribing things like buy a fucking thesaurus and has the full-stop button on your mac broken? as way of friendly encouragement.

- Scrabble. Obviously.

- Attending a writerly-shaped network event where we can take our homemade business cards and get drunk on free wine, inevitably ending up sat in the corner of said event, on the floor, loudly bitching about what people are wearing even if they are famous or might otherwise buy our unwritten books.

I know, I know, I bet you can’t wait to get here. This much friend fun shouldn’t be allowed under like, FRIEND LAW or something. I’ve got one hell of a schedule lined up for you, lover. Strap in, you’re in for a sickly-obsessed, overly-enthusiastic ride! YAY FOR YOU!

Lots of love, oh awesome one, and see you soon,

Your Joan x
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