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Tuesday 16th July, 2019

Bizarre Thought for the Week, w/c 14th August 2006
Tony Dobson

Hi all,
In my first year at University e-mail was a whole new way of communicating. It wasn't just limited to me either, as everyone seemed to like getting in touch that way. Even Chris (my best friend at University) and I would e-mail each other, in spite of the fact that we had rooms next door to each other.

One day I was over at the library checking my e-mails and found I'd got an e-mail from Gill, a girl who'd I'd become friends with in a very peculiar way. For some reason she'd become the person who looked out for my love life, kind of a go-between between myself and two girls I had really liked. This e-mail was largely newsy, but ended regarding a statement from the second girl I had really liked. "She says you're avoiding her - true?"

I replied that I wasn't avoiding her. Absolutely not, no chance. I couldn't do that anyway, we were on the same course and saw each other all the time.

What a rotten liar I was! Of course I was avoiding her. Here was a girl I really liked, really got along with. We shared laughs and we shared the down times. She was a friend, confidant, study partner and drinking partner, until I screwed it up. What I didn't need was a reminder of what I'd done. And so I avoided her, as best as I could do anyway.

Of course it didn't have to be post-heartache awkwardness that caused me to avoid someone. The girl I liked before that I managed to avoid in the process of asking her out. As there never seemed to be a right moment to talk to her I had some flowers sent to her. I arranged for them to arrive while I was back home for four days.

Goodness only knows where she thought I went to. Send someone flowers and disappear, smart move. It wasn't like I rushed round to see her when I got back either. Fact of the matter is that I was terrified to see her again, and only bumped into her by accident after I'd paid a visit to see the artist formerly known as Snoop Nikky-Nik (they were on the same floor in our Hall of Residence).

At least I got to see the flowers (beautiful, although the smell was overwhelming) and to be fair at least she waited 24 hours before crushing that particular dream. Looking back perhaps I should have followed Snoop's lead and asked this girl out the way he did, i.e. get hideously drunk, ask her out while drunk and then deal with the rejection by throwing up on a pub bouncer (some style that guy had).

(Incidentally I've got no idea where the girl in question is now, or what she's doing. I've googled her but without success. All joking aside she was a lovely girl, and she's also responsible for the greatest quote ever from anyone I've ever been interested in. Sadly I can't share it because it is probably libellous. What was I talking about again?)

To be honest though avoiding someone doesn't have to have anything to do with romance. Back in the early days of my having some Scottish friends one of them came down to Portsmouth to work for a couple of months. Obviously it was good to see her, but when she replied to my welcome by saying, "I want a word with you," I decided I needed to give her a swerve. A big swervvvvvvve. We didn't speak to each other for two weeks. To this day I've got no idea what she wanted to talk to me about.

And it hasn't always been me doing the swerving. One night at a group get-together the same person and I were talking when she suddenly said, "Can I ask you a personal question?" I wasn't keen on the idea, but said, "Sure," anyway, and wondered what on earth was coming next. "How much did this camera cost?" Yep, that's really personal. On this occasion it seemed that I was the one being swerved.

At least I've got better about things as I've got older. I've learned that some things can't be avoided, and while they're not always favourable things aren't always that bad. For example when I used to hate having one-to-one meetings with my boss. They were situations where I felt uncomfortable and nervous. Now they're a pretty useful time for us to chat about things we need to do in our department.

Even better than that, there have been people and situations which I have willingly tried to avoid but was unable to. And you know what? Some of those have worked out fantastically well for me and I've made a lot of really good friends where I didn't expect to.

Of course old habits sometimes die hard, and there will probably be people, places and occasions I would sooner avoid in my life in the future. If you happen to be on the receiving end don't take it personally, because in the words of Jimmy Nail, "it's not you, it's me".

(Bad example. Forget I mentioned it. See you, um, later...)

Have a good week!

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