Less than a week into 2016, I’m in bed with some kind of godforsaken lurgy I’ve caught off my petri dish niece and/or nephew. My limbs feel like giant sausages. I watch some porn on my laptop. Nothing. My eyes glaze over. I read another chapter of Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. Although entertaining, it’s only serving to fill me with hate and dread. I try to go to sleep, but I keep on choking on my own phlegm.
It’s an inauspicious start to a year that almost definitely isn’t going to be better than the last – the one in which I had three nervous breakdowns and, at my lowest point, started Googling people who specialise in lifting curses. I really hope my therapist isn’t reading this. While my Facebook timeline fills with friends’ long statuses about how this is going to be the year shitty things magically stop happening to them, I mentally conjure up every single shitty thing that I’m exactly 97 per cent sure is going to happen to me and the world in 2016. So here are my predictions for the next twelve months:
Whatever lurgy I have turns out to be Bubonic plague. I’m confined to a giant plastic bubble and manhandled by people in biohazard suits. It’s like ET, but boring. I become nationally famous as “Plague Girl”. I get a visit from Bono. He says something about a charity single. I wilfully fall into a coma. When I wake up, Bono is still there. Sweating.
Bootcut jeans make a comeback. They’ve been threatening to do so for a while and very nearly did in 2015. But this year it’s for real. The government gets involved after a Daily Mail story about how skinny jeans cause Islam. Jeremy Hunt forces us to make skinny jean funeral pyres all over the country. I have to burn my jeans extra hard because, “they might still have plague on them”.
Oh and I spend Valentine’s Day sitting on my kitchen floor, eating a jar of pickles.
Well of course Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination. What were you expecting, something non-apocalyptic? The entirety of liberal America applies for Canadian citizenship. I’m no economist, but I’m pretty certain this causes some kind of financial crisis, the trans-Atlantic knock-on effect of which is that London is, finally, completely privatised and I’m forced to go and live in a hedge in Wales with everyone else who isn’t on £250K.
Not a single fucker gets me an Easter egg.
A mysterious elderly relative, who I never knew I had, dies and bequeaths me a strange wooden box. It has something written on it in Hebrew. I open it. It contains human hair and a signed picture of Neil Diamond. A shiver runs down my spine. My cat starts hissing at nothing. WHAT HAVE I DONE? I do some research in an actual library (because in horror film-type situations Google is considered too anticlimactic). I open an enormous leather-bound tome and blow the dust off its yellowing pages. It turns out my great-great aunt twice removed left me a dybbuk box. A dybbuk is an evil spirit from Jewish folklore. In the olden days, people used to put them in boxes for some reason. I’ve only gone and unleashed a dybbuk, thereby placing myself under an indefinite, Neil Diamond-themed curse. “Sweet Caroline” starts playing everywhere I go. Every time I hear it, I scream obscenities in Aramaic and claw at my own face.
It’s my birthday. No one turns up to my drinks thing. My friends, it turns out, can no longer deal with being associated with Plague Girl.
“Sweet Caroline” starts playing in the pub.
The EU referendum is scheduled for the end of the month. For weeks, Twitter becomes a boringness wasteland.
I get even worse sunburn than usual because of global warming. Yes, I can and will make even the most humanity-dooming issues about me.
I go on holiday to Lisbon, because everyone’s been going on about how cool it is for ages. I find it to be overrated. I drink too much port and end up getting gout. The internet finds out. “Remember Plague Girl?” someone tweets, “apparently she has gout now.” #GoutGirl trends on Twitter.
I manage to get a date with the one woman left in the country who doesn’t know I’m Plague/Gout Girl. I have my “make the most of this because it only happens once a year” sexual encounter. I thought fucking in a hedge (remember, that’s where I live now) would be edgy and exciting. It isn’t. I’ll be finding twigs in my crack for many months to come.
The hedge has started to gentrify. At first I secretly thought this was great, as I no longer had to travel 200 miles for a flat white. But, inevitably, I’ve been priced out of the area. I’m relocated to the ocean floor. My new address is “1 The Sea”. In the rare event of my post actually arriving, it turns up wet.
All hail President Trump.
Oh and it turns out Bonfire Night under the sea consists of watching a local halibut fart interesting bubble formations.
Sea bonfire night is bad, Fishmas is worse. Plus, at the dinner table, I get sat next to this Yank prawn hell bent on explaining to me why Trump is, somehow, the best thing to happen to his community since the Crustacean Rights movement of the 1970s. I learn a lot about crustacean separatism.
The perfectly well meaning crab I was allocated in sea-cret Santa gets me Neil Diamond tickets.