ANYONE who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m a relatively easy-going guy. It normally takes a lot to get me wound up or annoyed.

But recently, I’ve found myself becoming a lot more uptight. It’s like there’s something waiting around every corner that’s been designed to get me absolutely raging. Sometimes it’s things that anybody else would shrug off, sometimes it’s things that would get everyone angry.

Yesterday, for example, will give you a good idea of my current mental state. I awake, as ever, to the sound of the dug going berserk at some unknown threat. After pleading with him to be quiet he eventually relents, and it’s time to start my day. This is not how to start your morning if you want the day to be nice and calm. But alas I’ve gotten used to it. 

Unlike Dolly Parton, I then stumble to the toilet instead of the kitchen, where I stare at the mass of hair atop my head. Uncut since February, it’s like a nest made by a bird in a hurry. Some parts of it fall into waves, others tightly curl, some parts hang straight. It’s a mess.

Glasgow Times:

Chris McQueer: Playground patter could be torture... but I miss it

I hate it and yet I can’t bring myself to get it cut as a voice in my head tells me it’ll look fine once it’s a wee bit longer. It’s been saying this since April. I do my best to try and make it presentable as I’m going to have to take the dug for a walk and then head to the shops as I realise forgot to get milk yesterday. I curse myself for this oversight. My heart rate quickens. The stress is building already and I’ve only been out of bed for five minutes.

I check Twitter and Facebook before heading out the door. Coronavirus is of course dominating my feeds so I put my phone away in my pocket before I can think about the ongoing pandemic too much. Outside, I see the motor has a flat tyre. I sigh like I’m an exasperated character in a pantomime. I fix it with a can of stuff I’ve had rattling about in my boot for ages, prepared for such an eventuality, and head to the shops. 

I get to the entrance of Tesco and realise, like every time I go to the shops, that I’ve left my mask in the motor. I let out another sigh and a few under-my-breath expletives and go back and get it. Inside the shop I see a man wearing his mask under his nose so that it peeks out. It feels like such a shocking sight now, to see someone’s exposed nose in public. Noses have become very private things that must always be covered. I avert my eyes as if he’s exposed another, more private part of his anatomy. Wearing a mask like this is akin to walking around with your fly undone, I think.

Heading back to the motor, I see the tyre is flat again. My grip tightens around the shopping bag as my stress levels begin to creep up again. Adrenaline surges through my as I jack the motor up and change the tyre with the efficiency of a Formula 1 pit stop and get back on the road.

My mood lifts as I think how chuffed my granda would be seeing me change a tyre on my own. I feel like a proper man’s man for a fleeting moment. Then I flash my lights at someone to let them pull out and they don’t acknowledge this act of kindness. No wave, no flash of their hazard lights, nothing. I shake my head at them, furious at this minor indiscretion.

Back at the house and with my morning coffee now, I once again open up Twitter on my phone. A terrible move as I read about JK Rowling spouting some more transphobic bile again and feel like snapping my phone in two.

Glasgow Times: JK Rowling wound me up this week JK Rowling wound me up this week

I realise in this moment that this is what the problem is. It’s not things happening to me, things will always happen to me, it’s that I constantly beam bad news and bad opinions into my eyeballs, making me react more irrationally to the small inconveniences in life.

Chris McQueer: Did you hear the one about the talking dug?

In this moment, I calm down. I put my phone on charge in another room and get out my laptop and, for a wee change, try and do the thing I’m meant to do for a living. I tap away at a story without looking at the screen for a few minutes, just to see what I can come up with. I glance up eventually and see that the computer had froze after I typed the first word.

I turn it off and on again and get back to business. A few hours later, I go back to my phone for a wee break. The first thing I see is a tweet from a Scottish person that starts with the word “Y’all” and all the rage from earlier comes flooding right back into my body.

Truthfully, I need to get rid of my phone before I give myself a heart attack.