I’m an avatar, Steve: the Covid months, pt. 5

You know how, like, everyone has been starting a side hustle or a business or redecorated or got a new hobby or, like, whatever? Well, I’ve decided to learn how to play poker. #smugface #lifeskills

I’ve been threatening to do it since Victoria Coren Mitchell won a major prize a few years back and then my good friend sent me her memoir, For Richer, For Poorer and I thought, ‘I mean, when better than in the middle of a global pandemic, in which I nearly lost every penny and my job, to take up a sharky game of risk?’

I’ll tell you one thing I have learnt these last couple of weeks in the fake casino – hetero men will literally have a crack at anything. I’m an avatar. I’m an average looking avatar at that. Can you believe I actually policed my fake appearance to deter unwanted attention?

It’s a free app with free chips, which you can earn by watching promo videos and accumulating ‘friends’ etc. as well as winning. But apparently that means immediate sex chat or attempts thereof. Marc Maron said it best in his last Netflix special End Times Fun – just take it back a notch, chaps. Push vagina to between number three and five after, ‘hey, how you doing?’ ‘Man alive, what a year!’ or, ‘I’m reading this great book at the moment.’……… ‘VAGINA’. Dudes, you’re horny for a cartoon character in a *funny money fake casino. ‘Ave a word, will ya.

In other news, I met my never-would-sext-an-avatar-in-an-app **ex last week in order to sign my apartment lease for the next few years. Having been vehemently opposed to Crocs, Birkenstock’s and trainers-as-not-gym-shoes for as long as I can remember, I took a teeny bit of pleasure in the fact that I was wearing my scabby trainers with a cute jumpsuit. He happened to very much like me in heels, as I recall, and I definitely saw his gaze drift to my feet a couple times – was it mild disgust or horror I detected? It wasn’t an act of protest, honest guv, I’ve quite simply forgotten how to wear real shoes on my actual feet. It is my honest intention to never wear them ever again if I can help it. How have I survived this long without realising that comfort trumps style every time? My ex and I parted ways with the now customary Covid times, two-metre air kisses; he with a bottle of wine I gifted him by way of a thank you for co-signing, me with a little spring in my step.

The contract was a big deal. It means that I will actually be in the same place for a whole ten years by the end of the current contract (because let’s face it, nothing radical will change in my personal life any time soon. See recent blog posts), and that seems bloody incredible to me. It actually feels like a home and not simply somewhere I’ll exist until the next big pack up.

After signing the contract, I wrote a list. I wrote a list of all the addresses I’d inhabited since I was nineteen years old. They numbered fourteen. That’s a change of address approximately every 2.142 years. I was supposed to be doing work admin, which will account for my enthusiasm for the list, and honestly – certain other aspects of my life started to very much add up on the back of it.

Enjoying the thought of actually having a home rather than simply four walls couldn’t come at a better time as the Spanish and Catalan governments impose new measures including curfews and potential full-on lockdowns again. Making my ‘new’ home cosy is at the top of my priority list. Hunker down folks, me thinks it’s going to be a long winter.

What is it they say, ‘be careful what you wish for’…?

*I might actually give the real thing a go – current winnings total 1.9million on the 20,000 initial chips.

**My ex’s signature was necessary at the start of the first contract (and for the renewal) I had in this flat, as apparently a freelance woman who presents a six-year work history, two references and offers to pay six months of deposit isn’t quite trustworthy enough.


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