Character Map – Dave Roberts

His name is Dave Roberts, nickname Davey. He was born on the 30th of July 1964 and so is now 52. At a shade under 6ft and an umph above 11 stone he carries his grey hair and baby blue eyes with a lightness that belies his years. He needs no lenses for his eyes even though he can feel his focus fading around the edges, and he has no piercings, tattoos or major scars. His sharp nose speaks of a possible lineage back to Julius Caesar, which in turn reveals a fondness for wishful thinking.

Typically seen in blue jeans (Levis) and a tight-fitting t-shirt (M&S) until well into late autumn, when he finally makes a concession to the weather by wearing a heavy sweater (Weird Fish) and a heavy coat (Jack Wolfskin).

His blood can be counted on a few fingers – Dad (73), Mum (70), Auntie Lorraine (late seventies) Uncle Russell (67), Sister Tracy (shh), Sister Catherine (39), Nephew Francis (about 25), Nephew Louis (about 21) and Nephew Sebastian (17 months). He has a wife and has had her for more than 18 years. Her name is she. What? Her age? Uh-uh – no way!

He lives in England in a pretty little place called York – in the suburbs. It’s hard to call anything around York the suburbs really – the place is so very small. He was born in Sheffield – a city of seven hills. He misses the view.

He currently works in a British-based telecommunications company as a software designer and developer and has a first degree in Computing with Psychological Studies. Previous to this, he has worked in Marketing and holds a Marketing Post Graduate Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Next, he wants to be a World Famous Writer to go with the Masters in Creative Writing he is now studying for.

Hobbies currently revolve around writing, walking, meditating, keeping himself to himself as much as possible and keeping up with the latest pop music. Favourite foods are all Italian based and if pushed, his favourite music would probably be something he could tune out easily. No pets, no car, no bike – he likes to walk (but not to walk dogs).

He has several problems – most of which are of his own making. He dithers between the two states of loving the world unconditionally and staying away from as much of the world as possible. It’s a constant battle as to which state wins at any particular time. Physically, he has tiny red spots on his upper belly, lower ribcage that he worries are cancerous, but being as they have been there for a few years now, it’s unlikly. What really bothers him is that he still has no idea why they itch, although going without a mobile for 3 weeks led to them abating somewhat. Gah – what a choice – constant internet access or cancer-free skin.

Memories from childhood – where to begin. How about the time he was reaching for the biggest, juiciest apple at the very top of the tree, when the branch he was holding onto snapped, causing him to impale himself on the next branch below. Yes, it hurt. Yes, he screamed like the little child he was. Yes, he went back for more apples at a later date.

Teenage memories revolve around constant erections and embarrassment around girls due to warts on his hands – what a combination already! There was this one time when he was sat on a bus and a young, extremely curvy and attractive blonde girl got on. It was standing room only at that point and so she stood next to him, but in a rather beguiling fashion – she faced him and fitted her crotch snuggly against his shoulder. He did not dare look at her for the entire journey, and yet his erection was saying … well, you get the idea.

He went to his Uncle Alan’s funeral. It was just him (his wife was away, as was his mother – Uncle Alan’s sister), his own sister, her husband and the priest; a great time was had by all. He was a jolly character was Uncle Alan, but he had that one fatal flaw that put most members of his family off.

Dave’s greatest ally is his wife, but it’s sad that he doesn’t recognise this. He could have a lot of fun with her if only he’d let her in. She is bubbly, fearful, curious and has an endless appetite for new things. She is also the most annoying person in the world (according to Dave); but what does he know!

Secrets. Hmm – one of them would definitely be the itchy spots on his upper belly and lower chest. Another is a predilection for having ‘inappropriate conversations’ with women in (what he thinks is (thought was)) the privacy of the DM – but that’s not been a secret for at least a month now. And that’s about it. Oh, wait – another secret he has is the reason he stopped going to Madhuban. It’s because Froggy Baby went missing there, and it hurts too much to go back. There, that should just about cover it – please don’t tell anyone.

Three things he believes in are – the right of people to do what they want with their own time; that thinking young keeps one young (but that’s going out of the window rapidly recently); and that at least one famous person who is reported to be dead is, in fact, still alive. Aw c’mon, it’s late and I’m struggling a bit here!

His greatest ability is to be able to express what he feels, but only on his own terms. That might sound mysterious and vague, but how many people could do this, late at night, whilst feeling Poorly, Sick and Dying? Not so many, I think.

His greatest flaw is that he thinks. That’s it. If he could give up thinking then the world would open right up for him. Life would be so easy, natural and free. Yeah, I know it sounds unlikely, but think how many times you hold yourself back from doing something great because you think that someone might laugh, or that you might fail or just because you don’t think you’re good enough. Sigh.

He would love to have more self-belief, would Dave. Oh, and also … damn, it’s gone. (note to self – don’t get up and brush your teeth half way through writing such an important document – it doesn’t help).

Four words that describe Dave’s personality are – secretive, hopeful, creative and delusional – make of that what you will.

A couple things that make Dave afraid. His father, or at least the version of his father he knew when he was a child. Irrational, I know – but that’s the way these things go. He is also afraid of revealing his secrets. Not for the secrets themselves – they are often trivial things, but for the fear that people would mock the fact that someone could be so afraid of trivial things.

Things that have made him laugh. Firstly – that episode of George and Mildred he watched as a kid. It had him laughing so much that he literally couldn’t breathe! There have been a few shows like that, but they get rarer and rarer as the years go by. Even Friends – a show he has watched from cover to cover, twice, doesn’t raise much more than a happy grin. Life!

Anger. Being told he is wrong by someone who is wrong themselves is a sure-fire way to get his blood boiling. He thinks that that’s something to do with ego unless he’s greatly mistaken, and he’s most certainly not. What else. Hmm. Oh – got it. Cars driving across pavements. It’s trivial – right? But it really gets his back up.

Ashamed. Oh, this is easy. Ashamed is when he’s found out to be performing acts that are rooted in weakness and desire. Yeah – we’re talking about sex here, folks. And also – not being able to stop coughing. Perhaps he really wants to cough. What is shame all about anyway? It doesn’t seem to perform much of a useful function. Things still get done – they just get hidden deeper and deeper. Oh, if you could see the cess-pit that is his mind. But hey, it’s a lot better than it was. Deep joy.

Tender. Nice one. Certain pieces of music that resonate at a certain level bring forth the facsimile of tenderness in Dave. Something low and mellow with a certain key-change or that’s in a minor key. And babies.

Three settings he has spent time in. That’s not easy – there are so many. York, Bradford and Sheffield on one level. The office, home and the route between the two, on another level. In his dreams, his imagination and in ‘reality’ on a third level. But here’s something more specific. Mark and Spencer vegetable section. Big, fat Navel oranges, juicy grapes, bananas with just the right amount of curve. Oh, I know they’re just chocolate substitutes – but they’ll do for now. Then there’s this spot by the river where the sun shines just so and the birds conduct their merry symphonies and the people smile as they pass and the cheese tastes good on the bread and life is just easy and natural. And finally – anywhere that’s in front of a keyboard, screen and internet connection. I’m not sure that these words will change anyone’s life, but they are done and almost out there in the world. And that’s enough for me, for now.