Friday, 18 January 2013

Monstaville Book 1. Monstaville I

[Note: Each book in the trilogy commences with a Monstaville section which offers some background in the form of related history]


“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
- e.e. cummings.

I’ve changed. I guess I had to ‘grow up,’ finally needed to develop more strength. To learn to stand up for myself and face my fears. Grow wiser. Certainly, the past decade has been a learning curve. ‘Accelerated karma,’ perhaps, my soul no doubt having agreed to take on a spot of post-colonial national karma (if one can get away with speaking on a spiritually-mature level in Britain!). Since moving to my current home, my life has been eventful in purely negative ways, and it was not much less tragic since moving to London in 1993 either for that matter. It has been a cauldron of change and transformation for me. As I have explained, this book is not intended as a history of events. Its purpose is not to go into the details of all that has happened but to pass on the studies and contemplations that I included in my spiritual journals for a few years. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to offer a general overview of my situation as a backdrop against which to observe the journal entries included in these pages.

I observe that the discipline and respect, as well as the deeper sense of individual identity and self-expression, have given way to selfish individualism and rampant materialism in England during the past 15 to 20 years. Britain has become hostile place fuelled, as I see it, by the tension caused by economic inequality and the combination of fragmented communities (caused by greater geographic mobility) and an increased fear of standing up for oneself and others when the law inhibits such righteous action under provocation. In other words, both the economic system and the law protect the middle classes but abandon those sensitive people who are stuck in less civilised areas to their fate. This is a widespread phenomenon in Britain and America of course, and in other parts of the world too. Traditional codes of conduct and Christian ethics have given way to self-centeredness and anti-social behaviour in much greater proportion than when I was growing up. Young people today lack boundaries and respect and many use noisy gadgets as weapons (if not carrying knives) in an attempt to dominate ‘society.’ The unifying force of religious consciousness has all but died out and has yet to be replaced by the individual spiritual awakening that is the only hope for our society. It is time to move on. ‘Wakey wakey; rise and shine!’

“Let’s say the first person is living primarily through the first chakra, which is located in an area near the base of the spine. This individual will be most concerned with security and survival. Forget that it is a beautiful day. This person will be anxious. All those people roaming around are possible threats, and this person would be very guarded around strangers...The third person in our group is stuck on the solar plexus, which is located back behind the pit of the stomach. His or her only real concerns are status and power. If this person engages someone in a conversation, it will only be for what that person might offer...” - The Magdalen Manuscript. The Alchemies of Horus & The Sex Magic of Isis by Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion (Sounds True, Inc., Boulder, CO., U.S., 2002, p.122).

The guy who moved into the first floor flat after the architect had moved out was tall, lean and ugly! About the same age, too (and, although English, he had an Irish surname). I was very friendly and polite, as always. He seemed harmless at first, but it was superficial. I am certain that he had some hidden agenda and I now realise he was some kind of control freak - a bully. I base this judgement on both my experiences and the fact that he’d had a problem in the last flat he lived in. In addition, someone who worked for the landlord once said, ‘they know what he was like.’ Read into that statement what you will. I feel that he wanted to find out if I could be useful to him. He tried to get me to buy a ridiculously old, over-priced van thing for cabbing when I mentioned that a people-carrier was the best vehicle to use (I explained that the van was absolutely inappropriate but he didn’t listen and continued to try and persuade me to buy it, perhaps expecting to make something out of it himself). 

He also wanted me to help him refurbish his flat. He had worked for the landlord in the past and lived in their properties for a number of years, so they knew what he was like. His reason for wanting to leave the last flat in which they had housed him, he claimed, was that the other tenants kept stealing his mail. No doubt, a degree of antagonism had developed between them over time and perhaps they did, and probably his affect on them was worse. He was isolating one feature of an ongoing war in his previous residence which he probably started and perpetuated. He was paying the landlord half the usual rent in return for doing the place up. I believe they had probably asked him to lay a carpet down since wooden floorboards are anti-social in an upstairs flat and should not be left bare. He informed me early on that I needn’t worry about any noise from upstairs since he was about to cover the floorboards with carpet in his flat. I’m sure that was one reason why he didn’t actually lay a carpet down for a year-and-a-half. It is obvious that he knew he could use the floorboards as a weapon to disturb me.

This man was not friendly for long. He became condescending and disdainful as he started trying to push my buttons whenever we met in the hallway. I used to leave my front door open all the time but his aggressive demeanour made me increasingly nervous. He once asked where I was from originally and then said he hated people from Essex! On another occasion he said he was sure that the landlord (who has been selling off the houses they own in this area) would let him buy the house if he wanted it. It has occurred to me that the previous tenant might have vengefully given the landlord his account of the brick incident as his reason for moving out, even though it was obvious it had nothing to do with me. They want to sell up but know I’m too poor to buy the house myself. Who knows if there was some clandestine understanding somewhere. It may have been suggested that if I moved out at some point he would have a golden opportunity to get back what he lost; that is, to clear his debts and own a house.

J.W. Grant (Ralph Belamy): You bastard.
Rico (Lee Marvin): Yes, Sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made
- Last lines of The Professionals (written and directed by Richard Brooks, 1966).

My intimidator also made a point of asking if I had ever taken a cab home from a certain local pub which I found to be a strange question. Some months later, after seeing him greet the neighbours’ son keenly, evidently on familiar terms, I considered the possibility that they had approached him with their own version of events in our ongoing conflict. The neighbours had bought one of the cab firms down the road from that pub a few years before I had moved in. I mentioned the situation to him at the beginning assuming he would sympathise which was clearly a mistake. His ears pricked up, however, and now I understand that it was probably because, being trouble himself, the idea that I might stand up for myself if he was nasty was not welcome news. Rather, it may have provided someone very physical and devious (not to mention desperate to clear his debts, own a house and work for himself again, along with all the trappings, such as splashing out on ‘friends’) like him with a reason for challenging me so he could take over and feel free to behave in any way he wanted, especially when his girlfriend was around. Regardless of his motives, he was a bully and a show-off and the excuses are secondary. In any case, he was trying to pick a fight with me and see what I would react to, whether I would meet his insults with anger and contempt or shrink in find out how much I could take. I am a conspicuously non-physical type of man and it became clear to him that I was never going to be able to defend myself in a fight or even be interested in fighting. So, he must have judged that he was top dog, in a position of supremacy and that I was weak and a coward whom he could dominate by terrifying me one day.

Perhaps he had dreams of playing the hero, receiving praise from the next-door neighbours whilst figuring that if he could scare me off and the downstairs flat was vacated, the landlord might, indeed, sell the house to him. I didn’t know at that time that they were about to sell most of the houses they owned in this area owing to changes in council policy which was costing them more money and representing more hassle than they were prepared to tolerate. Perhaps he resented being told what to do, even. Who knows? The guy was a nutter! He told me one day that he intended to trash the flat if ever he moved out so that no one else could benefit from his work and boasted that he would also trash the landlord’s office because he hated them all.

“I had a lovely evening. Unfortunately, this wasn’t it.” - Groucho Marx.

On the evening before New Year’s Eve, a few months after he had moved in, he came home around eleven or something and rang on my doorbell. I answered the door and asked what he wanted. He said he couldn’t remember which was his doorbell (it was the one above mine naturally!). He was with his girlfriend. I laughed and made a joke that he couldn’t know if it was his bell if he wasn’t in the flat and he couldn’t be in the flat because he was at the door pressing the bell. He didn’t say much and I went back into my flat. I heard him go upstairs. In the meantime, I put some veggie sausages on. About ten minutes after he had rung the doorbell it rang again and I went and answered the door. It was the guy from upstairs again. He burst in and flew into a rage and started shouting at me, accusing me of having made numerous malicious statements when I had answered the door previously. Unfortunately, the only one I can remember is my telling him to ‘fuck off,’ but they were much more colourful and twisted. He just made all this crazy stuff up. There was something so deliberate about the whole thing. It did not come across as genuine rage but something much nastier and premeditated.

After ten minutes or so, he suddenly pulled a knife out of the back pocket in his jeans and held it at my throat in a flash. He would have cut my throat with it but for a skilful, tactical step back so he just missed. Looking back, it is clear that he must have learned this manoeuvre from someone and may even have used it on several occasions as a shock tactic over the years (I also find it interesting that he probably found my open throat chakra my most threatening quality; that is, he feared my truth and the danger of me speaking it freely). He had gone upstairs to get the knife ‘between bells.’ I remained calm and persevered with my attempt to calm him down as he went on and on, still holding the knife to my throat, periodically telling me he was going to kill me. At some point I said, ‘Don’t do this.’ He was running out of ways to try and shake me up. I was feeling only a mild sense of fear. All my energy was focussed on listening, gently disputing his wild claims and trying to persuade him to stop what he was doing. The door was open and his girlfriend was standing there somewhere up the path in the dark. He threw the knife outside and it hit the low wall, ensuring that it stayed in the garden somewhere convenient where he could easily retrieve it even at night. Then, he turned to face me again, broadening his shoulders, looming over me like a raging demon, and declared, ‘I don’t need a knife. I’ll kill you with my bare hands.’ At that point, I confess, I buckled. My stomach tightened and my spirit was shattered, crippling my energy and will. I became silent. After that, I sought an exit from the situation, realising that my efforts to restore harmony had been futile. Eventually, he said ‘I’ll kill you next time then.’ He paused and started looking outside, perhaps giving me a chance to get away. I scurried off back to my flat and closed the door.

I was holding a jar of tomato relish in my left hand, keeping it hidden, quite still, knowing, in the back of my mind, that I might need to use it as a weapon. I did not know how to stand or move like a martial artist at that time. Such a simple thing. I have often wondered if, had it happened more recently, I would have sprung into action when he threw the knife away and smashed the jar against his head. I would have needed to have accomplished this attack before he turned round and gave me the shock of my life of course. I do not believe my conscience would have allowed such a response. Indeed, I am now more likely to radiate spiritual power and love towards such an attacker. Providing I was successful in striking his head (he was much taller and stronger than me), I would have had to hit him repeatedly in order to prevent him from retaliating. Then I could have ended up in jail or had to live with the fear of a serious reprisal. I am not terribly worldly and dealing with vicious thugs is not something I know much about. I still don’t know my rights here but, then, as I have said, I very much doubt if I would be lured into such a fight anyway. I would have had to be brutal and ferocious and it’s just not me. Someone has pointed out, however, that it would probably have been judged as ‘self-defence’ and there would have been no jail sentence. ‘The cops would have uncovered his criminal past as well,’ adds my friend. My martial arts teacher has said that if an attacker does not actually use the knife at the beginning he probably has no intention of doing so and is just trying to scare the other person. Another piece of useful information I would prefer to have received before the incident took place! Anyway, the only thing that was murdered that night was my veggie sausages, which burned to a cinder in the frying pan!

“Even the bravest men are frightened by sudden terrors.” - Publius Cornelius Tacitus.

I sat paralysed for quite some time in a state of shock and panic. I considered locking the door but understood that he could simply break it in if he was determined enough so I thought it best to leave the door unlocked. I decided that I had to find somewhere else to live as soon as possible. I sat there for, I don’t know, at least an hour, maybe even two. I probably tried to meditate for at least part of that time but my state of extreme fear and anxiety may have prevented any available positive energy from reaching me and transforming my state of mind. Finally, I telephoned my best friend and he decided that the police should be called and so he called them on my behalf. They explained that they couldn’t do anything unless I spoke to them directly and I had already decided that was not the course of action I wished to take. Had they arrested him and even held him in a cell overnight, he would still have been living upstairs afterwards and then I would be extremely vulnerable.

“In our everyday lives, each of us faces frustrating or scary ‘lions,’ those intimidating, sometimes angry people whom we recognise as a threat to our well-being. Our reaction to these people can resemble our reaction to a wild animal: We may cower, unsure whether to make a move or keep still, to yell or keep silent. We don’t want to make the situation worse. This reaction is the fight or flight response, an automatic, physical and emotional response triggered by fear that lingers from our earliest days as a species when it literally helped our ancestors stay alive in a physically threatening environment. Many of us succumb to this instinctive response without questioning our reaction because we see the world as a place of unpleasant, unexpected, threatening events. Ironically, as we shrink back into the ever-smaller ‘safe’ space, we find that out fear is greater than it would have been if we had ventured out.” - Betty Perkins (Lion Taming. The courage to deal with difficult people including yourself, Tzedakah Publications, CA., U.S., 1995, p.39).

The following morning, he knocked on my door! I stood near the door very quietly for a long time, immobilised, before I could summon the courage to open it. He handed me a slice of Christmas cake hat his mother had made for him and said, quite rudely, ‘I’m sorry for what I done, but I didn’t like what you did.’ I called my father, who was living all the way up in Lincolnshire at the time, and arranged to stay with him for a week, just to get away. I couldn’t bear to remain in the house. After another painfully and ponderously length of time standing by the door, trying to choose my moment and trying to feel confident that he was not going to come down the stairs, or couldn’t reach me before I was out of the house, I made my way to the car and drove off. While I was away, I was still adamant about moving out. The curtains remained closed for that week and perhaps one more week afterwards. Back in my flat, however, it seemed more logical for me to remain living there. I couldn’t afford to move. I’d have had to found a room somewhere since I couldn’t afford another flat, my rent here being comparatively low. I weighed the pros and cons and realised that I would be making more sacrifices by moving out than staying there. I had debts and two jobs and there was nowhere to store all my belongings if I found a room somewhere. I would just have to deal with the situation. It was important for me not to give the flat up. At least I had a living space that was serving me well even if the people beyond the walls of my flat were insane! Very Eraserhead! Except that, like David Lynch, I had meditation and spiritual studies to steer me through the drama.

"We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

I did eventually decide to go to the police, having concluded it was necessary while I was away. At least then they would have a record of the incident so that, if anything should happen in future, they would know who they were dealing with. I gave a statement to the local police station two weeks after the incident and the officer at the reception was very sympathetic. He asked me if I wanted them to arrest the guy, telling me the choice was mine. I thought that would make matters worse. I was scared. Such a delicate, tricky situation when the person lives up one flight of stairs and shares the same front door. I’m surprised that I was not asked for Pigsy’s name in case he was a known thug they needed to keep an eye on. Actually, the officer also tried to persuade me to move out, and even get further away from Central London to a more civil area. The police told me that it is best to contact them at the time, or as soon as possible, so they can call round and speak to the attacker while he is still in that violent mode and is less likely to be able to blag his way through the interview. I was shaken up for some months really, partly, of course, because I was still living in the same house as the barbarian. I received a few follow-up calls from a caring police woman which provided some comfort. At least, I felt there was some support there. I was also offered counselling but declined the offer for some reason. Too independent, I suppose. Years ago, I used to do a Pools round in a neighbourhood that was mainly composed of pensioners. For some bizarre reason, a dangerous family was relocated to the area by the council, creating an atmosphere of fear and tension! I am dismayed by the selling off of council properties in Britain. If there was less immigration and more council housing, perhaps the Government would have been in a position to re-house me owing to the precarious living situation! Alas, we have moved way beyond any chance of that being even a remote possibility.

When I was finally obliged to go and see a therapist for my mysterious ‘condition,’ she asked, at some point, ‘What did you do with them?’ referring to my painful emotions. Er...what? She explained that they settle somewhere inside you if they are suppressed rather than channelled or accommodated. They need to be released, shared, felt. You need to feel. You cannot just deny your feelings or get rid of them because they will build up and cause problems somewhere. They will eventually overwhelm you. I had I learned to ‘dump’ rather than let go of anxiety by suppressing my emotions. I was not overcoming them, or ‘above’ them, as I believed. For, one really needs to go deeply into them in order to transform them and this requires sharing them with people much, much more than I did or than I am used to. It’s a male thing! I just don’t feel the need to have people around me with whom to share my feelings. I’ve got better things to do! Consequently, I have learned to value my feelings more.

“We are all being challenged to live with our Higher Self more fully in the world and not be dragged down by harmful thoughts and emotions. That doesn't mean we suppress them. We acknowledge them, work through them, and move on...If you invoke your Higher Self and ask your intentions to be correct and for your highest good, you are asking that things be worked into your own grand design. Your Higher Self is in partnership with the Great Spirit. It makes no mistakes for you...The more in alignment with your Higher Self you are, the easier things become. The world flows with you. The right doors open. You still have challenges and face difficult circumstances, but you know it's your path and have a great conscious power to change your path to your liking. You are doing your dharma; your life's work...” - Christopher Penczak.

I avoided the monster living upstairs for two years (yes, two years of monster-villainy!). I was scared something might happen again so I hid! I endured bullying, again, in the form of loud, intimidating noise. Often, he would stay at his girlfriend’s for two or three days. The rest of the time, he would storm down the stairs making as much noise as possible. I would arrive home from cabbing at around 3 or 4 a.m. only to be woken up at 5.30 when the beast went off to work (as a chippy or something). If I was in when he came home from somewhere, I would hear him take his shoes off as he would throw them on the floor which made a loud ‘thud’ (each). I was thankful, however, that, at least he did not walk around on the wooden floor all the time...just sometimes. On several occasions, when he was on his way out with his girlfriend, the deranged beast banged violently on my door angrily shouting something hateful. Either he was angry that I would not enter into a physical fight with him so he could justify beating the crap out of me or he was angry that I hadn’t moved out so he could buy the house. Both perhaps. He was scared, not of me, but that he would not get what he wanted, that he would not be able to retrieve that which he had lost. He had stated that he regretted having been so flashy and blowing all his money on houses, big cars and treating people he had known to lavish nights out when he ran his own business. He had evidently overextended himself in order to impress people and persuade them to like and need him.

ASometimes your dear friend, though still the same person, feels more like an enemy. Instead of love, you feel hostility. But with genuine love and compassion, another person's appearance or behaviour has no effect on your attitude.@ - The Dalai Lama.

Reading between the lines, I would say that he desperately craved love, respect and friendship and saw money as being the means to obtain these gifts from people. It is possible that he resented me and wanted to be more like me and that I was therefore a reminder of his unwillingness or inability to evolve so dramatically. Perhaps this is why he did me no actual physical harm although I am certain that he was constantly testing me, believing - on the ego level he customarily inhabited - that I was weak for not standing up for myself physically. I feel that he most certainly did want a fight in order to ‘decide’ who was top dog; he just wanted to be seen as the ‘hero’ who finished it rather than the one who threw the first punch. This, however, was not his main goal. He was, in my view, clearly relying on fear and despair to persuade me to move out. Whilst he was a menacing presence, he did not confront me directly after the knife incident. That is why it was imperative for me to learn the discipline of overcoming fear and to become stronger and wiser. From the moment I started reading Training the Mind, there was no way he was going to succeed in his dastardly plan. East met West with an efficient, if not outwardly resounding, ‘touché’! (And certainly worth every penny I had previously donated to the Free Tibet campaign come to think of it, although in a humorous way!). You’re going to see a lot of quotes from the 70s series Kung Fu throughout this book. It was my favourite TV programme during my childhood and it still is. It inspired me then and it inspires me now. There’s simply nothing else like it. The quality of television programmes has become so painful and dreary that I have now rewatched most of the episodes three times. The outlaw brings Eastern philosophy over to the West. Perfect. Isn’t that what I’m also about? This book certainly is in many ways. So…this is as good a place as any to start:

Caine (David Carradine): Fear brings anger to a man’s tongue. A friend speaks to the heart.
                - Kung Fu (Season 2, Episode 5, ‘The Squaw Man,’ 1973).

In actual fact, I observed a striking pattern: he would bang on my door or try to terrorise me only at the full moon for about five months and then occasionally would intensify his tactics and release his venom more on a full moon. I suppose that is to be expected of a depraved lunatic!

Master Kan (Philip Ahn): Training in the martial arts is for spiritual reinforcement, but it is based on self-defence. Disciple Caine, when you are attacked by more than one person, the enemy should be allowed to make the first move, and thus create the beginning of his downfall.
                - Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 14, ‘The Third Man,’ 1973).

Kwai Chang Caine is a half-Chinese Shaolin monk who has graduated to the status of priest but is then forced to leave China because he killed the emperor’s nephew to defend his old Master who was the subject of abuse from imperial soldiers escorting the young man and stood up to them. Caine is a man with a price on his head who finds himself in trouble wherever he goes in the Wild West. I fell totally in love with these two series as a young boy growing up in the early Seventies when they were made. I like to think of the flashbacks to the Shaolin monastery as links to training in a previous lifetime - and, perhaps, even the murder as somehow symbolic of the source of these karmic tests in another, distant life.

My other tormentors, or noisy neighbours, were quiet for several months but that was their way: months of quiet followed by periods of what I would call ‘terror campaigns.’ I carried on demonstrating my will to retaliate if they continued to keep me awake at night regardless of the ‘monster’ living in the flat upstairs, who had come to represent and even greater threat to my peace and quality of life. I had the advantage to being at home in the mornings when he was at work.

Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes.

‘Pigsy’s’ dilemma, I feel, was that he was both a violent psychopath and a mummy’s boy. As I recall, there was hardly an exchange between us that did not include some mention of his mother. He was obsessed with her. As lacking in self-control and compassion as he was, he evidently depended upon his mother’s praise to a high degree. It seems she could find no fault in him and he had learned the skill of concealing his selfish and savage nature from both her and people he met for the first time or whom he needed or wanted to get along with, or at least appear to. In other words, he had become an arch manipulator. The following Christmas, I was extremely wary, hardly going out at all for fear that the nightmare be repeated, or worse. All that happened at Christmas was that he knocked on my door to ritualistically give me half of the Christmas cake his mother had given him over Christmas (she lived in the North of England - and, yes, I jotted down her address for future reference when she sent him a package one day). Again, I threw it straight in the bin. The guy disgusted me. Prior to Christmas, he left a bottle of Babycham [1] and a children’s teddy bear Christmas card outside my door which I just found pathetic. The card simply went in the bin and I gave the drink to the radio controllers at work. He was evidently still hopeful of finding my buttons! On one of the occasions he banged loudly on my door, he made chicken sounds, implying that I was a coward for not playing his game (and losing in a fight)!

Caine (David Carradine): Then is there no evil for men? Each man tells himself that what he does is good - at least for himself.
Master Po (Keye Luke): Grasshopper - a man may tell himself many things, but is a man’s universe made only of himself?
Caine: If a man hurts me, and I punish him - perhaps he will not hurt another.
Master Po: And if you do nothing?
Caine: He will believe he may do as he wishes.
Master Po: Perhaps. Or perhaps, he will learn that some men receive injury, but return kindness.
- Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 9, ‘Chains,’ 1973).

During the following year, there was some progress. I popped out to the shops one day and found him lying on the floor near the front door holding a Stanley knife. He had painted over the wallpaper not long before and now he was pretending to be working on something else. He didn’t do anything with it and it was obvious what he was doing, just smiling up at me in a wet kind of way trying to look ‘vulnerable.’ God knows what was on his mind. I was my usual friendly self when he greeted me but, as he began talking about something, I looked at him and thought ‘Fuck, I’m talking to a psycho who held a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me and he’s holding a Stanley knife!’ Visions of Dinsdale Pirhana and his giant hedgehog which grew in size according to the degree of depression he felt (Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Series 2, Episode 2, 1970). Or Butch Long freshly escaped from prison and looking for Laurel and Hardy in LA so he can ‘wrap their legs around their necks’ for having him put away for life, although mainly because Stanley stood up in court protesting, ‘Aren’t you going to hang him?’ (Going Bye-Bye, 1934). Or 50s’ b-movies coming to life. Night of the Demon (1957)! With that thought, I just terminated the conversation and slipped down hurriedly into my rabbit hole (lacking Bugs Bunny’s nerve and verbal prowess - would that this were my own cartoon show and I could dictate the terms to the cartoonist though!).

I am looking for a ‘friend’ for my friend Norman and was wondering if maybe you might know of someone? He has many responsibilities and has little time to get to the disco, but he is clearly quite a catch!

  • I am a soft spoken, shy, single, white, male who believes that a boys' best friend is his mother.
  • I enjoy taxidermy, talking incessantly about my mother, voyeurism, and knifing motel guests to death.
  • I am a motel proprietor living with my mother - my mother who would NOT be better off in an institution as her madness is only a harm to herself. We all go a little mad sometimes.
  • I would be happy to meet anyone that would be easy to roll up in a shower curtain and toss into the trunk of a car.
·         If you are that person I would love to have you to the motel for dinner on a dirty fancy meals is not my speciality...but I can make a mean sandwich.”

                - Sophia the Utterly Wicked (a friend on MySpace).

Some months later, when I returned home from my xingyi class one evening, he had been waiting for me and quickly emerged from his flat and rushed halfway down the stairs to start another conversation. Knowing what my reaction had been previously, he was as gentle as he could possibly be (sickly’s possible that his psychopathic macho-man impulse serves to prop up his pride socially when, privately, he is a drip) in order to keep hold of my attention. He told me that he had given up alcohol two or three days earlier at his girlfriend’s behest (perhaps they’d had a fight) and was trying to sort himself out. I reckon he may have met her when he had money and felt more self-respect and that, afraid of losing her, he was now pinning his hopes on getting a good deal on the house once I was out of the way. He might just have been pretending to sort himself out in order to try and regain some trust. I’m not a psychotherapist specialising in sociopaths. I do, however, have a lot of insight and common sense, which are ‘important ingredients with which to size up such people,’ however, as someone pointed out. He mentioned that we had not seen much of each other and wondered why I discontinued the previous conversation so abruptly. So, I conveyed the clear thought that had entered my mind and my corresponding decision to avoid him. He tried to make out that he had no memory of using a knife or threatening to kill me (ha). I often feel strong, clear and confident after my martial arts class so I didn’t feel the slightest fear. Martial arts provide one with the strength and confidence to respond without fear and therefore more objectively. They allow us to be centred in our better qualities, not sink through weakness into those of the lower self.

Notice in a field:



‘Porky’ said that he had seen me doing tai chi outside and probably meant that he’d spied me practising Xingyi as well (not to mention hearing the punch-bag). I told him that, ‘now,’ of course, I was also learning Chinese boxing as well. He replied, ‘What, so you can beat me up?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m not that kind of person. So, I’ll know what to do if ever it happens again.’ This was an opportune moment that was certainly in my favour. I let rip. I told him, angrily, what I thought about the situation, concluding with the words, ‘You might have won the battle, but I will win the war.’ It is, indeed, unwise to start what you cannot finish. It is also pretty dumb to judge a book by its cover: meaning that I am not the pushover I might often appear to be. I explained that I had a police reference number for the incident. He hadn’t realised that I might have contacted the police and that he might therefore be in serious trouble if anything else happened. Once he knew this, I think he realised that his optimism about forcing me out was unfounded. It was all a sham. He said I was right to have a go at him and that was pretty much that; I went into my flat leaving him to do the same.

“Bullies respect those who stand up to them without adding to the conflict.” - Betty Perkins (Lion Taming. The courage to deal with difficult people including yourself, Tzedakah Publications, CA., U.S., 1995, p.153).

I was doing two jobs and had a car accident in which my car was written off. I threw money at it but it was never fixed properly. I went bankrupt on 27 January 2003. This chapter of my life finally came to a close when I read a channelled book on applying the power of intent and using positive affirmations. I started practising them and finally realised that I might have success in applying them to my predicament at home. Actually, I started jogging each day in the summer and, being such a productive soul, I figured I would put my mind to good use so this seemed the logical thing to do, channel my energy into this experiment. At first, I affirmed that he was moving out but I soon realised that this might be too aggressive and not in harmony with the universe. So, I affirmed something more positive, focussing on someone really wonderful moving into the flat upstairs. I therefore avoided directly interfering with his free will using the power of thought: ‘thoughts create.’ I started playing my guitar again and played and sang loudly for an hour when he was up in his flat one afternoon. I also started using the punch-bag again and I confess I unleashed some of my anger at him while he was upstairs, forced to listen. My previous silence must have pleased the guy but he must have recognised that he had deluded himself and that I was on top of the situation (even though I later found out that intent is only part of the equation). He was not in a position to take any further action, not of any serious import.

If we gravitate to what’s going on around us by responding emotionally to what we observe instead of offering thoughts deliberately, says Abraham-Hicks, we then feel powerless and conclude that we have no control over these responses.

I had to stop jogging after a few months because my ankles were sore all the time (my knees and ankles have always been a problem). Focussing my intent - and concentrating my will - so intensely for the duration of my runs paid off, however. The universe answered and I sometimes joke that ‘the powers that be’ looked at me and said, ‘OK, OK, OK. He’s going to explode if he goes on like that for much longer.’ Perhaps I was turning myself into a psychic bomb! And, perhaps that is why I had to put up with another monster living upstairs before the more civilised person I wanted to move in arrived. It was my will and awareness against his will and ignorance!

"It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed." - Ram Dass.

“The universe is energy that responds to expectations.” (The Fortune Cookie Book, Running Press, Pennsylvania, U.S., 2001).

A letter arrived from the Inland Revenue addressed to The Occupier at our shared address. I opened it and couldn’t believe my luck. They were trying to trace the guy upstairs and this was the last address they had for him. A possible solution had been presented to me at last. “When the solution is simple, God is answering,” said Albert Einstein. The letter requested that whoever read it should contact them in strictest confidence. I think it took me all of one minute (possibly even less!) to pick up the phone! I explained that he was dangerous and that confidentiality was, therefore, vital. Within a week, a few brown envelopes from the Inland Revenue arrived addressed to ‘Mr. Pig.’ By the end of the second week, there were several. He finally moved out Saturday 4 September 2004. I sensed that he was a frightened man on that afternoon. Another guy came to help him load his belongings into his transit van and made his excuses to leave once the heavy items had been shifted. Pigsy was still trying to befriend the guy and almost begged him to stay till the end but it was clear he was not a true friend, just a sympathetic acquaintance. I’m certain that Pigsy feared the possibility that I might take my revenge on him on that day, still believing that everyone thought like he did. He had recently stepped up his noise campaign, still challenging me to a fight, it appeared. He may have felt, however, that I might think it safe on his last day to invite others round to ‘get him.’ The mind of a madman, eh? Needless to say, it was a huge relief when he was no longer around, a real weight off my shoulders. The contrast enabled me to relax and, looking back, to feel more confident as well. I don’t mean in an extrovert way but in my natural introverted way. I was not about to take the world on: been there, done that and it was nothing but a dead end.

Welcome to Disturbia! (‘thank you. lol,’ says a friend).


1. A ‘light, sparkling perry’ - pear cider - which, back in the days when society expected a greater degree of female decorum, was considered a ‘girl’s drink’ and I guess it probably still is for ‘older’ generations.

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