I enjoy my own company yet don't do well on my own. Simple tasks become Herculean efforts when I have to fend for myself. For example, I can't cook so every time I venture into the kitchen it usually results in bitter resentment directed towards the inedible unidentifiable slop slowly sliding off my plate. Thankfully very few people see these hideous offerings so my mistakes go unnoticed. Its a different story however when I have to be on my own in public. Making mistakes in front of complete strangers is something that sets me on edge. I'm not sure why, maybe I shat myself in public when I was younger and have blanked it out but it always subconsciously enters my mind the minute I leave the front door.
Anyway, I recently went down to Edinburgh for a jaunt round the festival. I was meeting a chum in the afternoon and we were going to see another friends free fringe show. I decided to go down in the morning and spend the day wandering around in search of any shows that caught my eye. I quite like the fringe now that I don't live in Edinburgh. When I did I found it to be a massive pain in the hoop especially when walking home from work. There were always aggressive half naked nutters handing out flyers advertising their shows, most of which could barely be considered entertainment, more like painful exercises in seeing how long it would take before you had to shout out 'this is bollocks!' just to keep yourself from going mental at the sheer awfulness of coked up art students trying to do avant-garde comedy about the romantic coupling of Hitler and a horse.
So, arriving in Edinburgh it was nice to wander around taking in the familiar sights, the festival buzz, even the nutters weren't too bad. Slowly I began to realise that I wasn't really stopping anywhere, instead I was just walking past things, occasionally slowing down to peer in venue doorways and busy pubs. It was then that I remembered that I hate going into pubs and shows by myself. I never know what to do with myself, I hate just standing or sitting, staring into nothingness. Occasionally you get lucky and they have a TV but normally its showing football which I don't follow so I just stare at it pretending I'm enjoying it but instead hoping they'll change it to something else, anything else, even Loose Women.
Eventually I got so tired of aimless walking that I went to a pub called Lebowskis which had no festival shows. After ordering a pint I picked up a newspaper from the bar. It was between The Sun and The Times, I went for the latter just in case I came across a page of breasts and was branded a pervert loner by the sexy barmaid. She was sexy too and Spanish and a woman. Winner! I sat at a table nearest the bar which was a bad choice as the barmaid was also serving food and had to slide past me to get back to the bar. I felt like I was in the way, I probably wasn't but the thought of being a nuisance, an eyesore to people coming in and seeing my uncomfortable coupon made me rush my pint which made me look even more awkward.
Five minutes later I was out in the street again. I had a couple of hours to kill before meeting my friend so to avoid another traumatic solo pub experience I went to Princes St gardens and sat in the sun. I felt much more relaxed doing this since other people were doing the same. I felt like I was doing nothing wrong, making no mistakes, it was great. Apart from the dog that was watching me, and that seagull and the old couple and the pretty girl with the big busters and...I shat myself.