Nothing in my life ever works the way I want it to because I’m a dingus, man…

Welcome to the newest episode in my eternal crusade against the delivery services of the world! Today: it’s kinda my fault.

I’m planning a party-sort-of-thing to celebrate some academic achievement or another, not important, anyway I thought it’d be funny to print invitation cards and send them through the actual mail, real old-school, befitting an aging lady such as myself. I order them online and have them shipped and while I wait, I purchase some envelopes to send them with. Easy, right? Well.

The day the cards arrive I unpack them, rejoice, grab my envelopes to begin addressing… and am stopped dead in my tracks, for the envelopes I acquired are… not envelopes, but blank cards. That looked exactly like envelopes, probably because they were right next to the envelopes in the store. Incidentally, they also have “envelopes” printed on them. Stupid factory errors. Anyway. I now have to go out and get actual envelopes. The problem is, my city is in the middle of an arctic cold spell, and I don’t want to venture out in -15 C weather (Canadian laughter in the background). So, what do I do because I learn nothing from my mistakes?

I order envelopes online.

Do they arrive? Somewhere, yes, they’re definitely on the same continent.

I realised too late they were being shipped with DPD instead of regular mail. Why? Why does amazon no longer send things through the mail? Oh, DPD is cheaper? I don’t believe you, and also, I’m going to charge you a self-pickup fee. Because that’s basically DPD delivery, self-pickup at a store somewhere close-ish near you. Strong emphasis on the ish. Turns out DPD drivers don’t want to venture out of their heated cars in this kind of weather either.

Of course I get the customary mail of “We haven’t been able to reach you” at 16:00. I read it at 16:17. Home the entire day. Most of my day spent in the hallway lurking by the front door. But nope. I’m going to start laying Scooby Doo style traps around the building and the street. Nets! Trip wires! Bear traps! One day I’m going to catch one of them and in the ensuing hostage situation we might finally reach some agreeable terms of delivery.

Now I have the choice of going out to retrieve the fucking things, or I can get creative and make my own envelopes. No one is gonna notice, right? And there isn’t a law that says you have to use actual purchased envelopes, right? Guess which one I go with?

And then, just as I’m about to get paper out of my stash in the bureau to start some major epistolary folding action, a box falls right the fuck on my head (because I’m shit at keeping things in order and then avalanches happen). It’s a box full of stationary. Coincidentally, it contains some old envelopes.

Now my question is, will I be awarded the World’s Greatest Dingus hat for the third consecutive year, and if yes, should I plan a party for that? I could print invitations.


Things We Don’t Talk about Enough: Infections in Your Special Place

Few things will make a man go pale in the face like a woman coming back from the gynecologist with the word “Surprise!”

In my case that complete sentence was “Surprise, we have a vaginal infection.”

Now, Boyfriend works in the medical field, so he isn’t easily shocked. Hell, he’s probably the reason I have one in the first place. He picks shit up from patients and I pick shit up from him. It’s an endless circle of bacteria because humans are gross and disinfectants can only do so much.

So all he does is say, “Again?”

I know, I know. I get an infection every winter. Other people get the flu, I get… well, vaginal flu. At least the thing doesn’t sneeze. Can you imagine how weird it would be if your vagina would suddenly sneeze? Anyway.

This, kids, is why you should go to your gynecologist twice a year. Because without check-ups I wouldn’t even know what’s going on in there. In case you didn’t know this, vaginal infections can be entirely symptom free. The only symptom I had was dryness, and I thought that was just because I’m stressed and I’m getting old. Bunch of bacteria and/or yeast particles partying it up in your personal fun zone and you won’t even know until your gynecologist looks at you from between your legs and goes, “Ah, again.”

The good news is this is entirely normal and easily treatable. It’s just your regular candida. For the uninitiated, candida, besides sounding like a nice name for a girl, is a type of yeast that, according to a German insitute, can be found in 75 % of people. For the rest, it’s probably just a matter of time. It’s plenty harmless and unless you’re immune-compromised it doesn’t really do anything except exist. Sometimes it gets a little bold and gives you a vaginal infection, sometimes a gut infection. A week of microbiozidal agents sends it right back to its cave like a tiny grumpy yeast bear.

Apparently, according to my doc, some women get infections like they get a cold. Some even get an infection every time they get a cold. And it gets even more common after age 70. Which makes me wonder why there’s such a stigma attached to something so comparatively harmless. On the other hand, it makes me wonder how humanity ever survived without modern medicine. I mean, every year! A thousand years ago I would probably be dead! Some demented priest-type would probably make up some lark about my vagina being possessed by a dark matter demon, and I’d go along with it for the fun, up to and including making my vagina do voices, and then they’d throw me off a cliff. Anyway.

It’s not that big a deal, all it means is a week of vaginal suppositories that leak worse than a stress period. This time, my doc decided that we’re going hardcore, so it’s more like three weeks. I started treatment right after my period ended. Basically, there will not be a single day this month where there is nothing shoved way up my vagina. This is a lot less fun than it sounds. Anything for the little queen.

So if you’re in the same situation right now, get your behind to the doctor’s and get your meds. The pharmacy people won’t judge you, they hand out suppositories and hemorrhoids cream to old men like Halloween candy. Go forth and treat your happy place.

Trying to get my reading mojo back after grad school + What I’m reading right now

As some of you know, I have an English degree. No one ever told me about the side effects of an English degree. I just hope they wear off one day. Seriously, academia should come with a warning: “May cause uncontrollable analysing of every piece of media, immediate recognition of the tiniest bit of symbolism, smartassery, and saying ‘actually’ a lot”.

For the first few months after completing my degree I was unable to read. Anything. Books had become so much a part of uni I couldn’t relax with them. Books = work. Why aren’t you taking notes on this? This is a vital plot point, illustrating the effect of capitalism on the common person. This is also a vital plot point, drawing directly on outdated concepts of psychoanalysis. This sentence echoes Foucault’s Discipline and Punish almost to the letter.

And it just went on and on and on. It’s bad enough that I can’t watch any TV show in German without my brain translating everything to English immediately and without my explicit order. On a more positive note, I think I finally got rid of the Thereforeitis. It’s when every sentence you say starts with therefore because after the fifteenth academic paper it’s just become a habit.

So for the last few weeks I have made an effort to read leisurely. It’s hard. It’s like training a muscle I haven’t used since the accident. Books can be fun, I tell myself. Reading is good for your mental health. Escapism is the goal here. Don’t think about how it might have fit in with your thesis.

Reading doesn’t exactly relax me. For one, I read a lot of sci-fi, which means action. And if it’s well-written, I can’t put it down. I have this terrible habit of devouring reading material like chocolate cake during a particularly bad period. And just like with cake, once it’s gone I feel empty. So I got to read more. And it begins to stress me because omg, can’t read fast enough, must know plot, arrgh!

Reading before bed is especially dangerous, no matter if fiction or something academical, and yes, I do still read scientific articles. Either I sit up until 4 am reading through someone’s adventure, or my brain is up until 4 am thinking about the topic at hand, composing my own paper in my head. You might think, well, there’s an easy solution: just write down everything you think. I can’t write that fast. I can’t even type half as fast as I think. I’ll be up until 6 am because I keep forgetting something. I tried, okay?

If I have to sleep, the number one priority is not to wake up the brain again. It loves thinking way too much. It’s not fucking healthy.

And if you’re now curious about what I could possibly read that is so interesting, here, have a list of books I read (or am still reading, because one book at a time is sooo preschool) so far this year for fun:

Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice:

I’m about halfway through with this one. The story… well, if I told you this is about the mind of a 2000 year old space ship trapped in a human body trying to get revenge on the multi-bodied demigod emperor of the galaxy you’d think you know what it’s about, but you really, really wouldn’t. This one has world-building and flashbacks galore, but that also makes the main story move very slowly. I’m smack in the middle and the protagonist is still on the same planet. And also in the same house. 2000 year old ships are patient, I guess?


Naomi Alderman – The Power:

Funny tidbit about this book: Way back at uni I once wrote a short story with an almost identical premise, just a different ending. Feeling kinda stupid now that I never did anything with it after that, but at least this proves my hypothesis that people across continents can have the same idea at almost the same time without ever interacting. What’s it about? Well, three points: Women get power that makes them stronger, men get scared, paradigm shifts occur. Do youself a favour and read it. Like, right now. I liked it, overall. I had kinda wished for a different conclusion, but you can’t have everything. Most of the plot twists are kinda forseeable (it is a kind of dark comedy satire that way), but there was one that hit me out of nowhere, so good job, Naomi. The narrative is told through the lens of multiple characters, the plot is interspersed with drawings of archeological finds that already hint at where the story is going. It was something different, which I liked a lot.

Ann Aguirre – Grimspace:

This is the exact opposite of Ancillary Justice. I’m one fifth in and already there have been three fights, one flight on a spaceship, an attack by alien wild life, and at least five deaths. It’s a riot! The book is sectioned into many small chapters, which is good as you need a breather between all the action. What I particularly like is that protagonist Sirantha Jax (yes, that’s her real name) is not a teenager or twenty-something, as sci-fi space operas are wont to include, but a woman in her thirties who swears like a pirate. Woo for old women in space! I feel so understood! The motley crew seems diverse in terms of race and sexual orientation, too, that’s a plus for me. I don’t think I’ll be getting any hot lesbian space action any time soon, but hey, you take what you can get.

Mary Beard – Women and Power:

In these two reproduced lectures originally held in 2014, classicist Mary Beard takes on the relationship between power and gender, focusing mainly on ancient Greek and Roman times. But you don’t need to be an expert on antique history to get into this. Got it at the same time as The Power because my academia-addled brain thought it would make for some nice secondary literature. I heard people complain about the book being too short, but hey, it’s two lectures, and it is very concise. Not every academic pulls a Foucault and rambles on for 500 pages.

Arthur Machen – The Great God Pan:

I came across this little late Victorian horror gem on this post. I mean, I had told myself no more books that months, but as the great poet Macklemore once said, shit, it was 49 cents (Kindle edition). It’s more of a novella, so I finished it within a few hours. The story is simple: A scientist who insists he’s not mad does experiments on a young woman, everything goes horribly wrong, twenty years later a mysterious woman is terrorizing London and people die, two men decide to play detective. Like most Victorian horror, you couldn’t scare a fly with this thing, it’s super foreseeable, but it was interesting, always alluding to something, but never being precise about what exactly is so horrible about the god Pan or the woman everyone’s afraid of. But if you’re looking for an easy read and like seeing Victorian men scared out of their wits, this is one for you.

Right now, that’s it! Since I’ve declared No Fun February I can’t get any books until next month. Until then, I’m taking suggestions.

Random Thought Tuesday, Feb 6

Without a doubt the best superpower: manipulating probability. Think about it! What’s the probability that I can fly? Pretty much zero. Okay, let’s up this to 100 %. Woo! What’s the probability of someone giving me a million euros? About 0.5 %. Let’s up that to 100. What’s the probability of me being able to kill someone with a tray? This has super villain possibilities, I like it!

They’re doing what with the tide pods now?

As per usual, I’m a bit behind the times on internet trends, so there is a 66 % change that this will be last year’s joke by the time this post uploads. But anyway…

We’re doing what with tide pods now?

And apparently this is not a fucking joke. I live in a world where I get told people eat laundry detergent and it’s not a fucking joke.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t get teens. I mean, I know all the research of enhanced risk taking and chance of lack of self-control due to a developing brain and possibly a bevy of hormones. I know teens are into stupid shit. When I was young we stole traffic signs. Or the odd park bench. We terrorized the local hangouts with drunk guitar playing and more than one of us sustained an injury during headbanging sessions. It was an innocent time in the early days of the internet.

Now the internet’s in full swing. There are cameras everywhere. Everyone you know has a camera on hand. You’d think in this Big Brother-esque scenario that we have always dreaded people would think twice about the kind of pictures they leave for their progenitors and the fucking world in general. You’d think.

You’d think that people would think.

I think we all keep learning important things about human nature here. And also that stupidity is contagious.

I guess the hypothesis is that if everyone does the same stupid thing it will be viewed as less stupid overall. The stupidity will just be evenly spread between all participants like so much Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s the “In” thing, like shoulder pads and JNCO jeans and whatever happened to your dad’s hair in the sixties. I regret to inform you that this is not how it works!

This is how it works: To find out how stupid a group of people is, simply take the IQ of the dumbest and divide it by the number of people in the group. Add not-fully-developed brains to the mix and tell me why you haven’t shot your modem yet.

Also in theory, I get it. Tide pods feel denser than water but not entirely firm, kind of like a nutritionally rich fruit. They also smell fruity or flowery. So of course your monkey brain goes, “Eat it! Eat the fruit! It’s good for us!” But your job as a homo sapiens is to shut that monkey down. Stupid monkey! Do not eat the poison pod! What next? Your lizard brain goes, “The washing machine is vibrating, it wants to mate!” and there goes another challenge?

It’s detergent! You wouldn’t drink detergent out of the fucking bottle! Oh, what the hell, you probably would.

Now the company is trying to recall the fucking pods and issue warnings like that was even necessary. No! Don’t do that. Let natural selection take its course. This is nature’s way to tell us it’s time to cull the herd again. Have the fucking kids recalled. These teenagers are clearly defective, call the parents and tell them to produce new ones. Back in the day when your stupid kid ate the poison ivy you had to make another one, too, it was good enough for grandma and it’s good enough for you!

I just want to GET my fucking parcel, man…

One day I’mma throw a nail bomb into the DHL main office.

I had a lot to do last week but all my light bulbs blew and my headphones too, so I thought, you know, as a citizen of this wonderful century, surely I can just restock my supplies by ordering online and having everything delivered to my door. Delightful!

Except I fucking can’t.

Seriously, what’s even the point of Amazon Prime if they ship with DHL, the nidus of the single most incompetent shitfuckers on the planet (next to DPD)? The entire premise of online shopping is to NOT having to leave the house. DHL defeats this fucking point. I’m home the entire day because I work from home, and Friday night at 18:52 Amazon hits me in the mouth with “Oh oops, guess you weren’t home when we rang right the fuck now, guess where your parcel is?”

Again, home the entire day. Definitely between 6 and 7 pm. I have the sneaking suspicion that DHL only employs the kind of people who used to play ding-dong-ditch as kids, and now they’ve advanced the fucking game to nope-nope-ditch-get-it-the-fuck-yourself.

So where the ever-loving hell is my parcel, you may ask? Did they put the order in the DHL parcel shop up the street from me? No. Did they put it in the parcel shop down the street from me? No. Random pizza place way at the other end of the district? Yes.

In that moment I just think, fuck it. I’ll leave it there to rot. I’m not going there. Everything in my body is trying to move itself into the general direction of the other side of the solar system, that’s how much I don’t want to go. I will eat your children! You fuckers gonna bring the fucking thing here! But of course they don’t. And I already paid for that shit, so… urrrrrrrrggggghhh.

So the following Monday I gather all my strength and go. But not so fast, dear reader! First the transport needs to be sorted out, which drives another nail into my coffin. This isn’t exactly the largest European city. It’s actually one of the smaller ones. So why do I need 36 minutes on public transport just to get to the other side of my really small district? At this point I’m like fuck it, half an hour on the train, half an hour on foot, to-may-to, to-mah-to, I’ll just walk.

By the honour of Google Maps, I have to power… to get lost regardless because I have as much sense of direction as a dyslexic beached blue whale. Finally get there. I see the random pizza place that doubles as a DHL shop. It’s right in front of me… only problem is that the shop is on the other side of a six lane semi-motorway that someone thought was a bright idea to build in the middle of the fucking town. That’s the kind of street you can’t cross without injury unless you’re literally the Flash. It reminds me of every fantasy novel when the hero’s party gets to a mighty river and have trouble finding their way across. Only with a river all you need to do is throw a rope to a tree at the other side and then move hand over hand along said rope. You can’t do that in an urban setting. So I, the stranded hobbit, look desperately for a crossing. There are two, one 2km in one direction, and the other one 2km in the other direction. While Google is panicking and telling me to “proceed to Arghlblrargl street 15” like a wizard who overdid it with the pipeweed.

After what feels like two hours I’m finally on the other side of the street and proceed. The pizza place seems to be doing more business hoarding parcels than with pizza. Probably because it looks like really doughy pizza and they make burgers with tomato sauce. Who in the hell does that? Old lady at the counter checks my ID and goes on the hunt for my package. There are a lot of packages in the shop. Like, a lot. So it takes a while. Maybe she’s taking so long hoping I’ll get hungry and get a pizza, too. I’m not hungry, I’m angry at the world. The only thing I’m feeling peckish for is a lightly fried DHL delivery man, preferably with teriyaki sauce. Anyway.

Get package. Get out. Get to decide which pedestrian crossing I want and decide on the one on the other side, because I naively assumed it would be a wee bit shorter because the mess of wiring above the street looked like it might lead to a traffic light. It doesn’t. It’s not shorter. It’s right down at the train station, in fact. Google is panicking again and I yell “Shut up!” Get weird looks from people around me. “No, that wasn’t to you, I was talking to… Google.” Time to shut the fucking app, I guess. And since I’m at the station, I decide, fuck it, which at this point should be my life’s motto. Might as well take the underground for two stations and walk the rest.

One thing of interest at my stop is that there is exactly one elevator and approximately 376 people who want to get on it. So, again, fuck it. Might as well take the stairs instead of waiting for the third elevator. I still got some serviceable legs. You know that one underground station in London with the like 1000 steps? This one is similar. Nothing tells your asthmatic ass to start working out like going up those flights of stairs.

Now fast forward. I finally get home. Struggle with my keys. Tear into my parcel like a hungry tiger and hug my lightbulbs to my chest. My pretties! My pretty pretties! Now if only one you doesn’t work I’ll destroy the fucking Earth.

And this is why next time I’ll just go to the fucking store myself. And why I declare open season on DHL delivery men.

I just want to send a fucking parcel, man…

Seriously though, is there something in the local post office’s canteen food that makes everyone rude? I mean..

All my life I have sent and received packages with the sender’s address copied on a piece of paper with “Abs.” (German for sender) in front of it, and the receiver’s address below that with a little “An” (German for “to”). All my goddamn life. Today, Grumpy McPigsnout at the post office decides this is not good enough for him. “You can’t write it like this! Never write it like this!” And crosses out the sender with a thick black marker. Okay. This package is for a friend, she’s gonna know it’s from me, so not that big a deal. But because I’m already in that age category where I am Too Old For This Shit, I say, “Sender and receiver are clearly marked.”

McPigsnout’s old wrinkled face turns red. “The system can’t read it, the machines won’t recognise it.”

And I’m just there like, bitch, I literally received a parcel yesterday that was marked exactly like that, is it only the machines in our city that have this problem, because I’d like to know.

I don’t say any of this out loud, of course. I’m a fucking lady. The problem is, I’m an 80 year old lady trapped in the body of a much younger smartass, so what I say out loud is: “Get smarter machines, then.”

“It’s not about getting smart machines.”

I bite my tongue so I won’t say the words that are now brewing in my brain, and those words are, “Okay, get smarter staff, then”, because seriously, if you can’t read, maybe working a job that depends on reading addresses and understanding abbreviations that have been in use for the past fifty years is just not your destined career path.

Also, BULLSHIT! You haven’t changed the computer system in ten years, and this has never been an issue, so just fucking deliver this fucking package before I rip out your intestines and turn them into sock suspenders for someone’s grandpa. Which I will then send via your post office.

Ohhh… well, my mother always says that fate delivers three idiots to you each day, at 3:15 in the afternoon at the latest. I check my watch.


Thirty: The New Awkward Age

And I thought my teenage years were weird.

So I finally passed the threshold. The big 3. The age of reason, the age of unrest. And honestly? It’s completely the same? What?

Maybe I’m too influenced by television, but I was always under the impression that you hit thirty and you’re old, fucking old, no one will love you ’cause you’re old. Supposedly your twenties are for finding yourself. Personally I’ve given that up at 21, I’ve no idea where that bitch got to. Finding myself? How about myself finds me for a change? I feel like I’m always doing the heavy lifting in this relationship! But at thirty, you’re officially an old woman.

But why? In reality, it just means back pain. The rest is exactly the same as it was at 29. The world will piss on your birthday cake and tell you it’s raining.

I never had a clear picture of being thirty. Mostly because I never thought I’d get this far. I’ve procrastinated on my suicide so much, by the time I’ll finally get around to it I’m probably gonna be in my 300s. Anyway, when I was a kid I thought (or feared) I’d be like my mother, married, nice flat, one bratty child. I had some vague idea of working somewhere where I’d wear a suit. I didn’t get the thirties. I had all these questions! Do I do anything different? Do I have to lie about my age? Do I need to go to a hairdresser? I haven’t been there since I was twelve! Do I do different make-up? Do I have to buy a car? Do I have to like wine? Or coffee? Do I have to get a stock portfolio? Then in my twenties I just thought, eh, thirty’s the new twenty, and the twenties suck anyway, no way to go but up!

I don’t mind being thirty, except for the soul-crushing despair at having achieved basically nothing in the first third of my life. But hey, I can still be a great bad example. I can be the woman who parents point out to their highschool aged spawn to say, “Study economics and apply for all unpaid internships or you’ll end up like her!” No, what really bothers me is that people react all weird to this innocent number. Like I’ve just revealed I’m a human-shaped ticking time bomb, about to explode into a frenzy of home decor, pregnancy stories, rosé and The Bachelor. Now kids, remember that time is an illusion, invented by humans to press our lives into neat little segments so we know how long we have to wait for the blissful embrace of death. Other than that, it doesn’t mean anything.

And I’ve always been a late bloomer. So the big 3 actually feels okay. I haven’t had a nervous breakdown all year! Okay, the year’s barely a month old, but that counts! I think I’m even growing into my face. I’ve looked at pictures of me at twenty recently and, as the kids say, the cringe was real. I always had an odd moon-face, all round and pale and weird looking, but somehow my lips were the exact same shape as my face. My lips have changed so much it’s like I’ve had work done, only I’ve always been too poor. It’s like someone broke in while I was sleeping and got me new lips, over a period of ten years, a cosmetic fairy godmother. And I have a jaw line now. I thought I’d never see the day.

So, I’m thirty, I’m unmarried, I’m unchildren-ed, I live in the same tiny apartment, I’m starting a new career. Somewhere in the distance, someone’s going “Aw, poor thing”. No, you guys, this is good!

Certainly doesn’t mean I’m old. As long as I’m not at an age where it is socially acceptable to wear a bathrobe all day, call loud annoying kids half-monkeys, mutter obscenities under my breath, and beat people with my walking cane I won’t consider myself old. I’m in for a looong time, baby!

In time, you will call me master

So this might be my last post on Still Life with Grad Student. Not because I haven’t posted in a year. Just because it’s no longer accurate.

I passed my thesis defense. So I’m no longer a grad student, aight?

I almost can’t believe I’m finally done. Like, I’m a free person again! I can read books for leisure! I can play video games! I can watch Netflix! I can bake an entire cake and eat it! I can overthrow the government of a small town! I’m freeeeeee!

cave meme

And you might think, hey, a master’s degree, that’s not bad. Not me. All I could think of on the way out was my mediocre performance and the fact that I just don’t understand questions when they come to me in the form of human speech. So I was on the train, tying my gloves in knots and reliving every awkward pause, every not-quite-detailed answer, and every time I just didn’t understand what you want from me, phrase your questions better, damn you! If you want to know what anxiety and depression look like when they’re together, this is it.

On the bright side, in the near future I might earn some money, which means I can finally get out and get some decent therapy again.

But first… money. And because it’s impossible to get a job with my skills and I don’t feel like moving halfway across Europe, I made the decision some months ago that I’m going to become self-employed. Why not? Not like I like routine and a fixed income, I mean, psshhh, who does? That’s so boring! Why not have to market yourself to strangers! That sounds like a plan!

So for the past four months I’ve taken training and classes and I’m pretty much well-prepared to start out in January. Maybe I’ll rename this blog. Still Life with Freelancer, or something. Because boiiiiii, do I have things to complain about.

Ice Cream at the End of the Universe

You know that feeling when you’re working two jobs and you start seeing the numbers on your bank account climb? That’s a great feeling, yeah? Right before you realise you gotta pay rent. Again. Why do you have to pay rent every month? Who came up with that system?

In other news, I’ve had my period anniversary and I celebrated… by having my period. But I mean, how often do you get your period on the same day you got your first period? I think it’s significant. I also can’t believe I’ve been bleeding every month for years. Years as in decades. Okay… one decade and a bit. Still. That’s a lot of blood. I think someone on tumblr once worked out that over your lifetime you spend seven years bleeding. Seven years of blood! That’s a lot of blood. I wonder if you could forge a sword from the iron of seven years’ worth of blood.

Also, it was long museum night again here in our lovely little town and what better way to blow my hard earned cash than by gaining even more useless knowledge with some trusty smarty-pants friends.

Everyone flaked out on me. Okay, so they didn’t flake… Boyfriend’s sick (got the sniffles), friend one is sick (got a worse case of the sniffles), friend two is not sick but otherwise engaged (presents at a motherfucking conference, go friend, that’s my friend!), friend three does not live here… So what’s an ‘ardworking independent modern woman to do but go on her fucking own. Which I did.

It’s glorious and I don’t understand why I don’t do things alone more often.

I mean… for one I could pick the museums I wanted to visit without any regard whatsoever for someone else. Then I could go at my own pace. Get absolutely lost and be in no hurry. Talk to literally no one except the customary “Hello, one ticket please.” Hang out longer in one section and breeze past another one that didn’t interest me. Wonderful, elating selfishness!

This year’s museums were Technological, Film, and observatory. Bit disappointed about the observatory because the waiting time for the telescope was over an hour and I was already too tired to sit it out, but oh well. Just have to come here some other time when there’s not the entire supply of the city’s school-age children on the loose. Also, the guy doing the usual astrophysics presentation was getting on my nerves. I mean… you’re watching the ocean from the point of view of a grain of sand. You have no more but a snapshot of the universe and you try to stuff it into a corset of numbers. Don’t tell me the universe will just end in 22 billion years, according to everything you know right now, and then that’s it because entropy. We’ve had thermodynamics for less than two hundred years, you don’t know jack! I’d be surprised if you guys even got the age of the universe right. And you didn’t even go over multiverse theory!

“According to the laws of…” Well, have you ever considered changing the definitions of these laws, because the universe doesn’t seem to give two shits. Look, science is good, science is great, but when it comes to the cosmos I’ll always pick the theory that makes the best story. So neener-neener-neener to your eternal end. Just wait what your successors will discover in the next only thousand years, and I’ll come back from the grave and laugh. If I’m still sitting here in 22 billion years and listen to how people believed it was the end of the world, I will absolutely point and laugh.

Technological was great, though little did I know that they had renovated the entire thing and I got a bit lost somewhere between an 1851 summer train carriage and the last surviving WW1 fighter jet. Big topic this year: urban studies. Yes, that’s a thing. Everything about the city, and let’s be real, city life is fascinating. I’m a big fan of the everyday section because… this is how people lived! Actual people! Who are now dead! Who used incredibly big and unwieldy vacuum cleaners and giant toothbrushes! And flat irons with coals in them! What I like the most about museums is the sense of epiphany they give me, the feeling of connectedness to entire generations of humans I never knew and who never knew me, and we’re all just trying to make a living and make life comfortable, and we’ll never know if someday the things we used every day without a second thought will be displayed so someone else can take their child to see it like “Look, little human, this is your history.” Hell, in fifty years I’ll probably see the make and model of the laptop I’m typing on right now in one of those glass cases, and all the future wide-eyed whippersnappers laughing at our way of life back then. Wait until you see our ergonomic chairs.

Exit through the gift shop.

I’m a grown adult, I tell myself slowly and mercilessly as I make my way to the exit. I’m an adult, I tell myself through clenched teeth as I force myself to put down the grow-your-own-crystal set and the archaeological kit for kids. I’m a motherfucking adult, I tell myself as I put the mini planetarium back on the shelf and return the plasma globe to its place, and I don’t need to overcompensate now for my lack of scientific toys in childhood. I realise I’ll be one of those parents one day who buys unholy amounts of stuff ‘for the kids’ and uses it all herself. Because I’m an adult. And I want to dig out my own dinosaur bone and look at it through the microscope!

So to console myself I bought an ice cream cone somewhere in the inner city. Yes, it is October. Yes, it’s a tad chilly. Yes, it was roughly 10 pm. And I still wanted nougat and coconut flavoured ice cream. Have I mentioned I’m an adult? Well, fucking adults can buy fucking ice cream in fucking autumn if they fucking want to! There must be some upside to this whole paying bills and cooking your own meals thing.

Anyway, this whole night had me thinking… why don’t I do things alone anymore? I did all the time when I was a teenager, I went to the movies alone because no one had told me it was weird, and I took walks alone and bike rides alone… granted I had no friends and now I do. Somewhere and somehow everything I did became a couple’s thing. Why is that? Why this push towards sociality? Why is being alone seen as something to be pitied? I think it does a body good to be away from people for a bit. Like, fuckers, how can I miss you if you’re never away from me? Seems like a healthy thing to do.

At least this way no one stops you from buying ice cream in October in the middle of the night. Apparently that’s frowned upon by most people. As if there was a bad time for ice cream. Hell, I’d eat ice cream while the universe was ending. According to thermodynamics, it’s going to be cold anyway.