Valentinus, valerian and the online vampires

It’s Valentine’s Day and I wish you could all see me now. Especially you teenage vampire wannabes. It would be enough to put you off those trashy novels for life.

I’ve been confined to bed since Sunday night feeling absolutely terrible and with the worst pains imaginable. My body is rejecting everything I put into it, I’m punch-drunk dizzy and the twitching in my limbs and stomach is making it impossible to sleep. And I look so ridiculous right now that I couldn’t possibly entertain leaving the house, even if I could manage it. So, dear vampire wannabe, is this how you want to live your life? If you indulge, you are ill. If you don’t indulge then you are also ill. And then once in a while your body will ‘freak out’ for no apparent reason and confine you to bed for days on end and you have no idea why or how to treat it. The reality of the condition isn’t strutting around in sharp suits and cool sunglasses on cloudy days picking up women, it’s messy, undignified and most often than not, involves incredible pain.

Rant over. As you’ve guessed I’m having a bad day. Luke isn’t helping, he’s just stomping around in his usual ‘concerned but trying not to look concerned’ way and making me pot after pot of valerian tea (a useful tip picked up from Leonard). It’s times like these I wish we could get help, for Luke’s sake more than mine. Sometimes I feel that Luke is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to meeting others like us. I can tell that he wants to make contact but he reacts so badly when I make suggestions about how this might be achieved. I suspect that deep down he resents what he is and he does not want to meet someone who reflects this (ah the whole vampire in the mirror metaphor!), but I also suspect he would feel that he is somehow dishonouring Leonard. Leonard taught Luke to be fiercely independent and Luke would see asking for help as letting Leonard down. Plus it’s the whole step-parent scenario and I agree that no-one could ever replace Leonard. I also think that Luke is hoping that one day Leonard will return.

We talked about meeting others last night and Luke agreed that we could be of mutual benefit to others who may be encountering the same problems, so I spent this morning looking into online vampire communities that I could convince him to join. I started with such high hopes but after only a few minutes of hunting online it became clear that many of these groups are an outlet for an outpouring of pubescent, emo whining on a monumental scale. And this is what bought on my initial rant. No, miserable adolescent, you are not a vampire. Telling me that you are a vampire is like telling me as a grade 8 concert pianist, for instance, that you have learned the notes of the C Major scale and therefore you are a pianist.

And the more I read on these forums the more I understood Luke’s anger. For every question asking ‘is it normal for a vampire to only have 10 friends?’ and ‘is it normal for a psychic vampire to cry?’ I wanted to fire back the real questions that vampires would ask each other: What medication are you taking to help with day-to-day life? Do you find the fact that you can hear every single noise around you at maximum volume disorientating? How do you filter it out? How do you explain sudden changes to your appearance (e.g. skin tone, hair colour) to those who see you regularly? How do you suppress desire and the rage when in public? This is the practical stuff that we need help with! So I can’t help but sympathise with Luke when he threatens to show these kids what it is *really* like. He would love to inflict the cruel reality of the condition on them. And y’know, the more I read on these forums, the more I’m inclined to feel the same. For all the humility and pain that it inflicts on me I am proud to be what I am. I am proud that I endure what I endure in times like these. And these kids haven’t earned one hundredth of the right to give themselves that name.

Perhaps Luke is right; the 21st century public would greatly benefit from a taste of the fear and terror that the 18th century public experienced. Maybe it’s about time Luke and I stopped living a life of miserable abstinence and interdependency and showed our faces in public a little more often. It would certainly cause a stir. And Luke is more than capable and willing to stun the world back into line…

But timing is everything and today is Valentine’s Day. Today the world is a heady intoxication of romantic love and hyperglycemia. And who am I, one of the most traditional and habitual of creatures, to miss out on an excuse to embarrass my ‘good friend’ Luke. I’m torn between the two below, which do you prefer?