Welcome back to Awkward Situations! In this Episode: The Kid

Picture it: first snow in the city, you just bought your Christmas tree, schlepped the thing home, and now you’re popping back out to go to the pharmacy to be ready when the holiday cold hits…

And as I’m walking home from the pharmacy, going through my mental list, suddenly I hear, “Hello.”

I turn round, see no one, look down and see a kid.

It’s a girl child of about 8, 9, maybe 10… I’m shit with ages, anyway, this thing is underaged and it’s talking to me. No adult in sight. I awkwardly say Hi, and proceed walking. Kid walks along. And it starts walking in my direction. There’s some sort of daycare on this street and about a million schools all around, so I’m assuming she’s from there. Kid complains she forgot her gloves. I tell her to put her hands in her damn pockets.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Who are you? Why are you talking to me? Do I know you? Do you think I know you? Are you in trouble? Do you need help? You seem pretty unperturbed, I must say. Are you in need of social contact? Did your psychologist tell you to build up self-esteem by talking to random strangers? Are you even old enough to have a psychologist?

She asks me if I live around here, like, very detailed. I tell her the building and that’s it. I mean, what if she’s a spy? What if her parents are professional robbers and she’s spying potential ‘customers’?

Meanwhile, inside my head: Okay, now you’re just being silly.

I ask her if she lives around here somewhere. She goes yes (actually lives up the street from me) and proceeds to tell me about snow, and how she likes snow, and how she never writes anything on snowed-on cars like her friends do…

Meanwhile, inside my head: Bish, that’s fun, tho! I do that, and I’m pushing thirty!

… and how she hopes the snow will stay for a bit, and how we got snow for Easter, wasn’t that weird…

I ask her if her mother or father are home and she says not yet. I mean, not unusual, it’s barely 3 pm.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Okay, so what the hell do you want? Do you need a babysitter? A tutor? What? How do I ask a small human if they’re in some sort of trouble without sounding weird?

Kiddo tells me about snowboarding and how she’s getting a new snowboard for Christmas. We’re at my building now, so I try to stir the convo into goodbyes and hope she doesn’t want to come up to my place. Kiddo tells me her hands are so frozen she wonders if she will get her apartment door open. I tell her, atta girl, you can do it. Just kick the door in. (What? I don’t know what to do with that information!) I look around and no one’s followed us so far, street’s as empty as can be, so I guess she’s not going to get kidnapped as she ambles along the thirty or so metres to her building. I keep an eye on her until she’s out of sight anyway.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Strange kid. Should I make sure she’s okay? What was that about? Didn’t seem scared or worried. Just a weird whim what struck her? Oh god, what if she finds out where I live? Please don’t show up randomly!

Up in my apartment I lock all the doors and barricade the windows. Okay, not really, but somehow I feel shaken. Which I don’t get, because literally that was a kid, probably not a miniature ninja assassin who could kill me in my sleep. New level of awkward: can’t even talk to a fucking child. I have a hard enough time talking with adults, but kids are much more preceptive than adults. How do you handle someone with a working bullshit filter?

So I proceed to do boring household tasks at home when suddenly a string of thoughts strike me.

What if she somehow locates me and then I have to find her parents? What if she’s from the future? What if she’s my child from the future? What if she’s a ghost? I mean, it’s getting mighty close to Christmas, that’s a prime time for ghosts. What if she’s the ghost of my potential child from the future which I won’t have through some bizarre  turn of events in which I changed the future accidentally by not eating waffles the day before? Please don’t haunt me, small future ghost!

But seriously, should I call someone? Child protective services? Dog catchers? Anyone? I don’t know what to do, this wasn’t in any of my scripts! Do people these days no longer tell their children not to talk to strangers?

Well, that’s one way to get high, I guess.

Picture it: It is a grey, cold Tuesday morning. Your Boyfriend has gone to work at six in the fucking am because old people need caring at 7. You have gone back to sleep because your schedule will not see you out of the house before noon. And then this happens.

Boyfriend came back home at 9 am high as a kite, rendered unable to work. Why? Because he overdosed on nose drops.

You read that right. Boyfriend’s been having a bit of a cold or tonsillitis or both, so he, uncharacteristically, went to the doctor’s and got some meds. One of them were nose drops for his poor stuffy nose. He took them in the morning, then got a headache and took an aspirin. Then all hell broke loose.

So he comes in at 9, I stumble out of the bedroom to check what’s up, and he’s sitting at the dining table, taking his blood pressure and laughing his fucking ass off at everything. At this moment, I knew exactly what to do.

I got my phone and made a video. But that’s beside the point.

I was also trying to tell knock-knock jokes, because that’s a tried and true remedy for patients who are laughing at their own hands, but he was having none of that.

Then I checked the package leaflet and now I feel like living in Bizarro World. The side effects of a nose drops overdose may include psychosis, hallucinations, high blood pressure and accelerated pulse. There was no warning not to take them with aspirin. Yeah, this man needs a doctor.

I mean… just the fact that fucking nose drops can cause you to hallucinate… I… what?

His blood pressure was through the roof. So was his pulse. Then he got the idea to finally assemble his Lego Tardis I got him for Christmas. And he kept complaining he wanted to watch Doctor Who. And how stoked he was for K-9. When I said, Honey, go to the doctor, I did not mean this Doctor. Doe she even have a license? I don’t believe this man has ever been to medical school!

I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

So while he came down after a while (and one Doctor Who episode) the doctor’s office was finally open and so he went. And I’m sitting here, three hours later, mind boggling over the fact that nose drops can make you trip balls apparently if you try hard enough. Or even if you don’t.

You could sell this shit to high schoolers, make a fortune!

Hm…

Brb, coming up with a new business venture.

Kidding, those are prescription only. I’ll never be able to fake enough of a cold to keep the business going.

Clothes Make the Woman… Angry, That Is.

Clothing industry, are you and me gonna have a problem?

So as you may know I’m a human which means I have to wear clothes because otherwise small children will faint and I’ll get arrested. Also, frostbite. But how in the world am I going to avoid this quandary if you, clothing industry, keep giving me tissue paper to wear?

Seriously. I don’t have abundances of money, so I can’t buy like locally grown vegan clothing like all them rich ethical bitches. I don’t have any damned money. What do you need to get money? A job. What do you need to get a job? A job interview. What do you need for a job interview? Acceptable clothes. What am I not getting anywhere? You guessed it. I tried to buy a nice looking shirt on sale. Online, because y’know, grad school kicking my ass with some last exams and there’s no way I can just leave the house to do some shopping. Nice simple shirt, will go great with business casual or smart casual. Shirt arrives. Shirt is tried on.

Shirt is see-through.

What in the everloving hell?

Not sheer. That would have been too obvious. Just thin enough to be see-through.

Oh, I’m sorry, store, I guess I wasn’t aware of your stripper collection! You know, when they said everyone can be a star, this wasn’t what they meant, you know that, right? Andy Warhol was predicting YouTube and Twitter, not YouStrip and Titter. (Although…)

It wasn’t see-through on the store’s page. It just looked, y’know, shirty. But literally, you can see everything! I’m not sure I’m applying in the right kind of industry to wear see-through clothing to an interview. No, really, I don’t think my clearly visible bra is going to help me any. Especially not when apparently 90% of HR is female.

And even if I wasn’t too fat to be a stripper I’d refuse to wear almost transparent anything in public.

Seriously, I navigate across four pages of seventies style blouses with cut-outs so everyone can see your bra and flab just to arrive at the one decent looking shirt and then it’s fucking see-through?!

I mean, I know it’s going to be fucking summer in, hm, six months, but come on!

And don’t even get me started on pants. Pants would be the enemy if skirts were a feasible option. This is 2016! We all have giant mobile phones! How do we not have pockets on our pants?! What do you expect me to do, fashion industry, put my phone in my bag where I have to dig it out between my wallet, my keys, my asthma inhaler, writing pad, pens, assorted tampons, hand sanitiser, and my emergency snickers bar? Look, there’s a Greenpeace guy with a clipboard right there at the corner, I need to pretend I’m busy, I need my fucking phone! Now! Give me pockets on my damn trousers, dammit!

Also, I don’t know if you can see it under all the facial hair, but I’m a woman. I need pockets to sneak tampons into the bathroom at work because taking my entire bag is not fucking subtle, okay? You know what’s also not subtle? Walking around with a suspiciously clenched fist because I’m smuggling a tampon down the hallway. I might as well go around parading the tampon box over my head. No, I’m not angry because of my period. I’m angry because of the lack of proper pockets on my clothes! Forget penis envy! Ain’t no one want to deal with penis anyway! Pocket envy‘s where it’s at!

And Boyfriend wonders why I’m basically running around in drag. It’s no use. I’m going to wear men’s shirts until I die. And men’s pants, because they have pockets. Fucking pockets, man. Fucking pockets got me acting like a crack addict.

That Time My Dad Bought My Mum a 30 Pound Ham for Christmas

Merry Christmas! How you doin’? Me? It’s 10 p.m. on Christmas Day and I’m running a fever. Because obviously.

So because Mum had to take care of Aunt for a couple days we had the big family celebration not on Christmas Eve as usual but on Christmas Day. Which, in hindsight, was a clever ploy of fate because on Christmas Eve I felt all shipshape and Bristol fashion, but today was another story. All morning I’d felt sort of queasy. Hadn’t slept much, because I somehow woke up at 7 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. That’s never a good sign. Sometime after lunch my back started hurting so bad. Also not a good sign. And now I’m here chained to my bed, and not the sexy kind, heating pad on my back like an old lady and running temperature. Awesome. When I said I was going to take it easy for a few days I didn’t mean this. Anyway.

Maybe now I’ll have time to try this new battery powered manicure set my mum gave me. Are my nails finally gonna look fancy and like I have my shit together?

Anyway, Dad got whiskey, Mum got stuff for her phone (first smart phone, already addicted) and a giftcard for as many kindle books as her device can eat, Great Aunt got food and wine (she’s 91 and a hoarder, we can’t really give her stuff), Boyfriend got his 237th Doctor Who DVD. And after all this… Dad comes in with a big box.

The box stands about 1 metre tall. It has a note taped to it that details the adventure Santa had to go on to get this thing, whatever it is. Dad grins. It is the grin of a dad who is terribly pleased with himself. The grin that has a joke coming. Armies have fled in terror before the Dad Grin. Those who see it seldom live to tell the tale. So Boyfriend and me proceed to open the box because Mum apparently has a terrible premonition and doesn’t want to.

The box contains a smoked Serrano ham. A whole one. Weighing roughly 15 kg, or 30 pounds. The whole pig’s leg without the foot. Smoked. From Spain. With a cutting board.

Mum lets her head fall into her hands and seems to scream internally.

I have a terrible flashback. This is probably my fault.

Roughly twelve years ago, during the weekly grocery shopping when I was still living with my parents (being severely underaged tends to do that to a person), I saw a giant ham at the market. Very similar to this one. And I may or may not have joked that this would be something for the next barbecue. My father, bless his kidneys, may have remembered that remark. For over a decade. This decision probably started with the sentence “Hey, didn’t Kiddo say she wants something like that?”

Yes. Maybe. As a joke. Back before there were smart phones. Back before there was Youtube. Dad, why?

Back in the present, Mom seems trapped between laughing and yelling. Dad is grinning from ear to ear. I secretly dub the whole affair Hamgate 2015.

“But it’s Serrano ham You like Serrano ham. Everyone likes Serrano ham.” – “But what are we going to do with it?” – “Eat it.” – “This will go bad within days!” – “No, we’ll just eat it!” – “Alright, tomorrow you’ll cut this thing into nice thin slices and deliver it in portions to your aunt, the children, and the neighbours! Have fun cutting for two hours!”

Paraphrasing, of course. The half laughed and half despairing argument went on for half an hour. And that is why there is a 30 pound leg of ham on my parent’s balcony. I’m going to keep telling this story until I’m 90.

So… guess I’ll wait for a ham delivery tomorrow. Wonder if this works out or if mum makes herself a widow tonight by use of a 30 pound pig’s leg. If nothing else, this was a present to remember. It will probably be brought up as a stern warning for the next, oh, let’s say twenty years.

Maybe next year we’ll get a wheel of cheese to go with the ham, but I better not say anything out loud in front of Dad.

Raise Your Hand If You Got Stuff Done Today and Already Regret Not Staying in Bed

Sometimes I forget that other people do not always share my knowledge about stuff. Like, a language I speak but they don’t. Or a book I’ve read but they don’t. Or anthropology (what? It’s a hobby). And then they say something about anything and I look at them like they’ve grown another head. I’ve officially become that person. I mean, it’s not like I’m very into making friends, so I’ll just keep doing that, I guess? Or maybe I could make an effort. But then again, I spent the better part of my life nodding along and pretending other people just weren’t stupid, just misguided or uninformed, when they were being clearly stupid. I’m over that. I’m not taking any chances. Some people are misguided or uninformed. Most people are stupid. That’s the entirety of humanity explained in one sentence.

On an unrelated note, raise your hand if you got stuff done today! I have such a list today. I also have such a headache. Boyfriend told me recently “Man, you really love your lists” while looking over my shoulder at the colourful mess in my calendar. No. Not really. It’s just the only way for me to stay sane. How am I supposed to remember everything if I don’t write it down? Lists are just like aspirin. Who actually likes aspirin? I just need it so my head doesn’t explode. Same thing.

To do lists should be like express checkouts, if you have more than five items it’s too much. But sometimes you just got to cram everything into one single day because the only day you actually have time is Sunday, and if you’re trying to run errands that involve shops? No dice. So everything I have to do somehow accumulates on Monday. Because it needs doing as soon as possible. If only so I can sleep on the weekend.

Everything in my calender is colour coded. Makes you kinda sad seeing that the social event colour is the one that’s used least often. People have been flaking out on me recently at an exponentially growing rate. Everyone around me is always going out and doing stuff, but somehow they always cancel on me and if I want to do stuff by myself I’m suddenly ill. I don’t even feel like doing anything anymore. It’s like the universe is going “Romani ite domum” in my general direction. I’m not even Roman! Let me out of the house!

I mean, I went to the hardware store today. Does that count as a fun activity? No, not really. Every time I go to the hardware store by myself people look at me like I’ve grown another head. Despite all the Youtube tutorials, people still seem to think that women have fuck all business being in a hardware store. I never get these kind of looks when I’m there with Boyfriend, even though he can’t tell a nail from a screw or a drill bit for wood from one for metal. It’s bad enough I have to walk through the depressing industrial area that’s only been part of the city for forty years and still looks like outskirts. Those grey buildings are depressing. Those trees are depressing. Those people here are depressing. It’s like having to wade through a swamp of drizzly afternoons and cigarette smoke to get to the damned hardware store.

But where else am I going to get adhesive insulation strips for the bloody windows? [Tangent: It’s been raining so fucking much recently, and I’m really, really tired of all that water coming in, like isn’t that why windows were invented, to keep like water and wind and insects out? What is this shit? Why is there half an inch of water on the inside window sill every time it rains? Where my new windows at, house management, you said October, now it’s March?!] And some coat hooks would be nice, but of course they’re hidden somewhere in the far back, not, as any reasonable person, aka me, would assume with all the other coat hooks, the ones that need drilling, or even in the bath aisle. Nope. “Well, they’re not here in electronics,” thusly spake the only staff member I could locate, to which my mind went “Duh!” That’s the reason I don’t like asking retail workers for help, those damn snarky answers. “Maybe try it far back, to the right, where the car stuff is.”

Where the car stuff is that’s also where the coat hooks are. No, really. I mean…

No, I mean seriously, they were there. But who decides to stack the coat hooks with the motor oil? I mean…

And thus I was reminded why I hate the offline life, nothing in here makes sense! And the search function is being a snarky bastard!

Bah, humbug. I’m not leaving the house tomorrow. There, happy now, universe?

Rant Day! I’m Getting My Rant Game Back on Track!

Item 1: So I actually got a compliment the other day. In public, no less. And it weirded me out, because, hello, since when do we talk to strangers on public transport?! This is Autism Central, we don’t acknowledge people’s existence until we bump into them! So I’m on the subway, White Lies blaring in my ears, when I feel someone tapping my shoulder. Thinking it’s just a late tourist trying to get to the airport, because that’d be the right line for that purpose, I unplug my ears, turn and say, “Yeah?” And this hipster looking dude with round turquoise Harry Potter-esque glasses says, “Hey, I just wanted to say your glasses are real cool. That’s it, really.” And proceeds back to his corner as I say a slightly baffled, “Okay. Thanks. Yours are nice, too.” And spent the rest of the train ride stewing in my own awkwardness, suddenly questioning the entire universe. Who is this guy? What’s so special about my glasses? Is he doing a Random Act of Kindness kind of project to get more followers on his Twitter feed? Is he tweeting about this now? Is he snapchatting his bros about my glasses?! What just happened?! Does not compute!

Safe to say I’m bad with compliments. Probably because I never get any except from my mom.

Item 2: I got back into Pilates with the end of the heat wave and now I’m hurting in places I didn’t even know could hurt, or, for that matter, were located within my body.

Item 3: I recently found out that my dad and most of the people he knows of the 50+ generation never wrote a single letter of application in their entire life. Not one goddamn cover letter, and those guys ain’t exactly poor. They just knew people who were like, hey, you seem cool, wanna come hang in our brand new office? Like, the first job my dad ever had, he walked out on the second day all like, screw you dickwipes. And it’s like, why are you asking me why I don’t have a proper job when the real question should be, how do YOU even have a proper job?! You didn’t exactly work for it, no pun intended. Fellow millenials, it’s time we take to the barricades! As soon as we can afford any.

Item 4: Mom got her first smartphone and I’m so proud of the progress she made so far, even though she says it’s like having to learn to read all over again. And now dad’s all jealous of me because I’m a better teacher than he is. Right in the generation gap.

Item 5: I seem to be hanging out a lot with my parents, is that normal?

Item 6: I swear job interviews are getting weirder every year. Like, they make you do little tests now like maths and proofreading. What’s next, asking me what kind of animal I’d be if I was an animal? (BTW, the answer is either cat or koala. I excel at sleeping and I’m a picky eater.)

Item 7: The next heat wave is rolling around! Run for your lives! Meet me in Iceland!

P.s.: It’s been over a week and Boyfriend has not noticed the kitten attack.

Random Thought Tuesday, July 14

Y’know, I’ve been thinking…

Piece of advice: If you’re going to wear men’s boxer shorts or boxer briefs as a girl make sure you don’t wear them under skinny jeans, the legs on those fuckers ride up like hell. You gonna be fine with leggings, though.

Now, do you want to know how I know that? I give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Snooorrrrrrrre: Confessions of a Secret Frequent Sleeper*

*in Metropolis because obscure song references are kinda my thing.

Actually, sleep is the weirdest thing ever. I mean, you lie down in a darkened room for hours, near-comatose and wildly hallucinating. And we have an extra room just for being comatose and hallucination. And an extra piece of furniture. And special clothing.

If you had to explain to someone who’s from a species that doesn’t sleep what sleep is you’d sound completely mad. “So… you’re telling me humans put on their special sleep clothes and go into their special sleep room, lie on a sleep slab and then just… what?”

Yeah, what?

Scientifically, sleep is very interesting, mostly because you can’t explain it. No one actually knows why we sleep, but most species on this planet do it. It’s useful for a number of things, that’s true. Relaxation. Improved healing. Slowed metabolism so you don’t starve while putting in your eight hours of hallucinating. You also go crazy if you don’t sleep. But all evidence to date seems to point to one simple answer: you fall asleep because you are tired. And then what? You also wake up tired, wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep instead of slugging over to your work place in your special work clothes with the biggest cup of choice caffeine known to humankind in hand.

So no one knows why we do it. We don’t have sufficient data to say if other species on other planets do it. All we know is: sleep is fucking awesome! Why else would you spend a third of your day in your sleep slab? It’s like holidaying with your brain. Granted, your brain can be fucking terrifying at times (killer clown in the tool shelf level of terrifying), but nevertheless.

Sleep is so important a huge part of our culture revolves around it. There is an entire industry dedicated to making mattresses and pillows and bed sheets. Articles over articles that tell you in five easy steps how to sleep better. Get more sleep in less hours! Pulled an all-nighter? When you’re over 25? You’re so badass! How are you not dead? Sleep is the first thing that gets axed when there is a lot of stuff to do and it always involves this great personal sacrifice because everyone knows that insufficient sleep is unhealthy. You sacrifice sleep, then you sacrifice food, it’s like paying tribute to an ancient god. One in a suit who holds your paycheck hostage, but nevertheless.

Personally, I love sleep. Forget about sleeper agents, I’m a sleeping agent. But I’m really bad at it. I’m an insomniac, for one, I cannot fall asleep before midnight, for another. It takes me hours to fall asleep. But when I sleep, I sleep. No alarm clock? See you in ten… hours. Or twelve. Better make it twelve. Nap? Hah, good one. I can’t take 20-30 minute naps like normal people. Not even 90 minute ones. Nope. I nap 3 hours or not at all. Why? Dunno. If I lie down in the afternoon I know I won’t see anything but whatever my crazy brain is cooking up until evening. I can’t lie down for 20 minute because 20 minutes turn into two hours, then I check the time, think “Fuuuuuck” and fall back into the pillows because 1) I’m tired as all hell, 2) it’s so fucking late anyway, why bother getting up?

Then of course there’s the entire waking up part, which is gruesome, because 1) NOISE!, 2) my brain always wakes up first but the body is somehow lagging behind. Like, I’m already making a list in my head, or planning a short story, or just having very deep and meaningful thoughts that may or may not involve donuts, but my body is like… “Okay, inventory: left arm, check. Right arm, check. Head, check, because the fucker is babbling again. Breasts, two, check. Stomach, check, empty. Bladder, check, full. Spleen, check, still there. Liver, check, whatever happened there? Left leg, check. Right leg… wait a minute… oh, there you are. Check. You can open the eyes, Jim. Jim? Oi, Jim! Dammit, can’t get any decent help around here these days, now I have to open them manually *exit stage left while muttering expletives*”

Or that’s how I imagine it anyway because by the gods if it doesn’t take me forever to physically get up. If I do end up sleeping I’m gone. If someone put a do-not-resuscitate order on me, I could take a nap and wake up in a morgue, scare the crap out of some pathologist. Might as well send a rescue team with emergency caffeine. Or just keep me from sleeping.

Seriously though, I woke up once to my care assistant soon-to-be-nurse Boyfriend checking my pulse. That’s how I sleep, motherfuckers. You think this is a game?

On the Importance of Tubers, or Bring on the Potatoes, Ma!

Okay, first of all, anyone on a low-carb diet proceed with caution, this ain’t gonna be no cake walk. Also, never slice an apple with the same knife you used to slice lemons and garlic. Don’t ask questions, just trust me on this.

Anyway, on to the post. Once upon a time I was a lot smaller. I also was the picky eater from hell. My mom is still not fully recovered. Every family gathering the conversation somehow turns to me (Curse Of The Only Child) and mom launches in a long-winded report about my past self’s eating habits.

Yes, I didn’t like vegetables. There’s actually a proper evolutionary reason why many small children don’t like vegetables, especially not the leafy green ones. Once upon another time, when humans were roaming the planet without a fixed address and so did the bears, human children were basically free range, running around, head filled with nonsense, and you know how small children are, sticking absolutely everything into their mouths? Yeah, children’s aversion to bitter tastes, like vegetables and other plants, is because of that, so the little fuckers don’t accidentally inhale the poison ivy and the belladonna. This is Mother Nature’s way of making sure your kids ain’t poisoning themselves while you’re trying to fend off the cave bear, or really large stag, or disgruntled salmon.

So I didn’t like vegetables as a kid because evolution. I also didn’t like things with weird textures, like mushy stuff, probably also because evolution, and definitely because my gag reflex is the stuff of legends. I also didn’t like anything that smelled weird, or sounded weird, or plain looked weird. Basically, my food options were very limited and mom, mighty wielder of pan and wooden spoon, was about ready to throw me out the window at meal times. I mean, sometimes you just have to be older to like stuff, you know? Like I didn’t like Star Wars until my early twenties even though I’ve seen it as a kid, and it took me a long time to appreciate Star Trek. Hell, I didn’t get the point of Golden Girls until last December! And it’s the same with food. Did I eat strawberries as a kid? Nope, too sour. Did I like that weird melty French cheese? Nope, that’s weird. Did I eat my mom’s amazeballs Bolognese sauce? Hell to the no. Did all of that change? Yes ma’am, it sure did.

Aaaanyway, so traditional Austrian cuisine is a) ransacked, borrowed and stolen from neighbouring countries and b) extremely fatty. Mom was on a never-ending quest to lose weight, so we rarely had any of the fried stuff. Mom liked Italian and Greek food, so we had lots of that, while mom was stretching every food item with finely chopped zucchini or carrots, desperately trying to get some vitamins into my uncooperative body. There was only one thing she couldn’t ever go wrong with, and that was potatoes.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the humble potato? You can cook them, fry them, bake them, gratinate them, vodka-nate them. Get it together, every other vegetable!

Potatoes were a staple food in our family because it was the one thing everyone ate, and you’d think it’d be pretty easy to find something everyone likes in a household of three, Chrissakes. The way I liked them best was as Bratkartoffeln, for which I just found out that no English word exists. Mom always made them after mom’s godmother’s hundred year old recipe.

Story time! Way back in the day when people still had governesses, my mom’s godmother was a governess in Morocco to some French bigshot. Imagine it like Casablanca, only without the spy stuff. Anyway, the Godmother used to make the kids this kind of meal, real simple, just cook some potatoes, peel them, slice them about half a centimetre thick and fry them in a tablespoonful of olive oil until they’re nice and brown, then let them chill on paper towels to drain any excess oil. Glass of milk to go with it and BOOM, lunch! I don’t even know what’s so great about it, I mean it’s literally just potatoes, but it’s so good! This was also one of the first things I learned to cook when I was a little kid, seven I think, I remember how mom used to say you know they’re ready for eating when you hear them sing. It’s just the water evaporating that makes a tiny high-pitched noise, but yeah, it sounds maybe a bit like singing.

Or screams of agony, depending on your level of childhood morbidity.

It’s also no wonder that recipe survived fro a hundred years, any idiot could remember that. Exhibit A continues typing.

Still, we couldn’t have Bratkartoffeln every day, at least not without mom pulling her hair out, so every time we did have it, it was the Best Day Ever. Not surprisingly, when I moved out the first thing that happened was three weeks of potato anything. And today I just bought another three pounds. God damn. If you see me on a low carb diet you know the potato famine is back. Ain’t no other explanation.

I Am Not A Successful Adult

What’s so great about growing up anyway?

I made a plan early in life to not grow up. I wanted to be Peter Pan! Or at least like Peter Pan! But no dice. So I decided to make the best of it. There were many times when I felt oh so grown up (funnily enough, getting my period was not one of them). And then life happened and something else came around and I realised I was so not grown up. Not even a bit. In fact, I was probably shrinking again.

And I started out so well. I mean, I almost died from asthma attacks in regular intervals, but I read the dictionary and was generally regarded as ‘the smart kid’. But then there were the practical aspects of life. From about age seven, my mom would send me to the shop on my own to buy small things like bread or milk or beer. Of course that was back in the day when seven-year-olds could be trusted to buy beer for their parents instead of drinking it themselves. But carding has always been lax here. Anyway, I felt kinda grown up and hella scared. I mean, I had to walk down the street and up the road, get over two pedestrian crossings, uphill both ways with a dragon on my back and then make it back in one piece with my loot. I wasn’t exactly a people-friendly kid to begin with. I mean, I was polite ‘n shit but not because I liked people. And I learned one thing from those trips: being grown up means doing shit you don’t want to do. Forever. I felt grown up a lot of times.

Then when I entered secondary school, that was the next big moment. I had felt grown up, oh yes. But now I realised, nay! How wrong was I! To think some puny shopping expeditions could compete with what lay before me! I was all wrong! I wasn’t going to be grown up until I had had some schoolin’! Aha!, I thought triumphantly. Education! Knowledge! The world shall cower before my brain! I’ll do everything differently as of now! I’ll be even better at everything than before and never again shall someone bully me and get away with it!

Guess how that worked out.

I guess a lot of kids feel grown up when they can finally buy booze. After all, that’s the adult freedom you are always promised. Adulthood means making your own decisions and doing what you want, right? But when I, at the ripe old age of sixteen, bought my first legal drink that followed in the wake of many an illegal one (again with the carding, I don’t know, I guess it’s unfashionable?) it was more of a joke with my friends and drinking buddies. Lol, I can buy alcohol now, I can finally drink! It’s totally not like I have been drunk every weekend since I was fourteen! Barkeep, don’t you wanna see my ID?

One day I finally graduated High School and I thought, Aha! Now life begins! All the things I knew up until now were but grains of sand in a Sahara of experience! The university shall cower before me! I’ll ace everything, I’ll work part time, and I will have the time of my life!

Guess how that worked out!

I guess with all the illnesses and surgeries in my family and me always running here and there trying to take care of things while battling my own depression made me grown up because heeeeell did I not want to do things in those days. Any things. Things got on my nerves. So I made the very adult decision to have a drinking problem, a decent problem, mind, not just some teenage frustration drinking, then made the equally adult decision to stop drinking all together, then felt very grown up when I really wanted to drink but was too poor to afford booze. Now that’s adulthood! Welcome to the jungle of grown-uppiness, all the freedom in the world – if you’ve got the money, honey.

And then I moved into my own place (okay, Boyfriend and my own place, I mean, have you seen the price of rent around here?) and felt, yes, this is it. The highly coveted adulthood! Bills and loud, thieving neighbours and everything! Never any money for anything but that’s okay, it’s not like you have any time to do anything remotely enjoyable! Instead there’s an endless list of things to do! It’s like the things never end!

It’s like, yay, I’m doing stuff! I’m so grown up. And then, shit, I have no idea what I’m doing! What is this thing? Things aren’t working out! I’m so not grown up! (The latter especially when I wake up in the middle of the night absolutely convinced there’s a killer clown hiding in the tool shelf and zombie aliens lurking under my bed.)

And the same thing happened with every job I ever had. And with getting my degree. And with entering the master’s program. And I guess if I get another job, or move again, or gods forbid reproduce one day, it will happen again. A series of grown-uppiness until I’m hundred. Being grown up is like an orgasm: Everyone fakes it once in a while.

Adulthood is exactly how I always expected it to be: it sucks. And Peter Pan is a dick, like, what’s so great about Wendy, couldn’t it be me? I never wanted to grow up. Was it because she’s cute and has bouncy hair or something?

Oooohh, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, playing with my Barbies and my Lego guillotine.