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?

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The Thursday of the Year

It’s November, and nothing good ever happens in November. Even the dead have come and gone, and the rest of the year sits outside your window like a dull grey shadow, waiting.

November is like the Thursday of the year, the day you can already feel the weekend, but you still have to get through a bit more.

The last months before the year ends always do terrible things to us. They definitely do to me, as they gave me some of the worst depressed weeks I’ve had in a while. It was the kind of depressive that makes you do crazy things like throwing all your cutlery and knives into the sink and all your shopping bags and dish rags on the floor and you have to fight not to break your dishes against the next wall. Why? No idea. But at that moment, the destructive force is all that’s keeping you alive. Needless to say, I had a bad week. And I could get on meds again but I can’t find the strength to go sit in a doctor’s office for five hours just to get a referral. I need all my energy to work and I really want to keep this job. In two months I’m eligible for vacation time. Maybe then.

I’m also thinking of shelving my whole master thesis thing and just getting a second job. I feel like financial security is going to be more important in the future than some fancy degree that’s not good for anything anyway. Also, the future scares me.

The most powerful nation in the world has just elected a man who has a trial for fraud this month, a trial for child sexual abuse next month, and about 50 other ones pending. Has said the worst things to come out of a human’s mouth since, well you know. And somehow this month has proven that you can be a lying, tax evading, racist, sexist asshole with no knowledge of politics or diplomacy, and you can still become president of the USA is you’re only white and rich enough. The turn to the right is almost completed in Europe, too. Science fiction was wrong, totalitarian governments are not our future. In the future, we choose our own destruction freely.

And you might say, if you’re not in the US, why doe sit matter to you? I dunno, why shouldn’t it? I’m on the same planet as those people. And now we here halfway across the globe have an election set for Dec 4, if it happens. And then what? Aye, and then what?

I feel like I’m living in the back story of a SF novel. “This was when it all changed”. Politicians rob you, corporations own you. I feel like I should learn how to hack and move to an underground sort of life, but I can barely get my virus scanner to work. I don’t have any skills for a hard world. I’m not smart enough. I wonder if this is remotely how people felt back in 1933, if anyone had a bad feeling about this. I’m wondering if anyone is seeing a pattern now. Makes you want to say, have fun, I’m out.

If the Canadian immigration website crashed, you know how bad it is. What about the people who didn’t vote for that guy? Why don’t they count for anything?

And it’s not the end of the world. That’s the terrible thing, it’s never the end of the world. It keeps right on keeping on, endlessly marching, and we’re just dragging along with no way out.

My Life as a Colour TV Stuck Forever in Fast Forward (Long Ass Post Ahead)

It’s been pretty quiet on here for, what, a month? How did that happen? And in my defense… I was busy. Yes, I know, everyone always says that, but… I’ve really been busy and when I wasn’t busy I was depressed. So there. Let me count the ways!

The following things happened (not necessarily in that order): The Abominable Blatherer got his ass fired and is now threatening to sue everything that moves. I got the green light from my supervisor to start the theory part of my thesis. I went to a requiem mass. I had a lot of meetings. I planned an event. I took care of my aunt. I had a presentation. I spent unimaginably little time in the library because now my thesis topic is registered I can just take books home with me for weeks on end. I’m also starting a new job.

Okay, move the camera, rewind.

This is me, a month ago, bitching about my co-worker who in actuality is a volunteer, I just call everyone a co-worker who works with me. Now fast forward juuust a little. It became completely impossible to work with him, for reasons I’m not at liberty to disclose (I mean… any more than what I already disclosed) so it was decided he had to leave.

I thought Nero had no chill when he burned down Rome. It’s generally agreed that Hannibal was fairly un-chill when he dragged elephants up the mountains and dissolved boulders with vinegar. Attila the Hun, my possible ancestor, possessed exactly zero chill, as is established by historians across the globe. Davros, creator of the Daleks, was at his un-chillest when his creation turned against him.

And then there’s this guy. The Grand Poobah of No Chill What-So-Fucking-Ever.

First he lets one of his weird friends send us a letter to tell us to take him back again or else…! Yah, or else what, you and what army? Then he writes long-ass rants to the office e-mail account. Then he threatens to sue everyone in the team for… lies and slander unless we take him back? Huh? Then he writes e-mails to individual people. Then he calls people under different numbers. Then he refuses to hand back the office key. Then he finds some higher-up and says we’re bullying him. Then…

Do I really need to go on? So because of this nonsense we’re busy for close to a month with damage control and emotional breakdowns. We check in twice with an actual lawyer to confirm he can’t actually do anything in terms of suing or pressing charges or whatever. And all this on top of the usual office stuff. Needless to say, we’re a team of nervous wrecks. Talks are to be had. Talks with mediators and moderators and god knows what else. While there is a barrage of e-mails coming in every second day about how he’s going to sue us. To which I would just love to reply, “Bring it, you useless paperclip”, but I’m not allowed to do that. So now I just have to sit and wait alongside the rest of the office for things to cool down, quietly singing DMX songs to myself, because as the great poet used to say: “Suck my dick.”

Forward a bit. The mediator talk was had and even the mediators were at their wit’s end with this guy. He’s just unable to listen to what people are saying without automatically hearing what he wants to hear. Seriously. Says it’s out of the goodness of his heart he won’t sue us. Whoop-di-fucking-do, jerkface, sue for what? I could tell a joke about your mom, you gon’ sue me for that? No, please do, I’d love to see a judge try to keep a straight face. “You said what to the plaintiff?” – “His momma so hairy only language she speaks is Wookiee!” – “*pffffffrrr* Yes, uh, you shouldn’t *pffffrrr* you shouldn’t say things like that, but that’s not actually a crime.”

I’d just love to fast forward twenty years to see him lose job after job after job for the same bullshit and hear him say how it’s all the employer’s/colleagues’/country’s/aliens’/disgruntled Ewoks’ fault.

ANYWAY. Halt the camera, close up of my annoyed face, change scene. I finally developed a theoretical concept that more or less makes sense for my thesis. Lotsa working definitions. Definitely lotsa working definitions needed. In writing this, I have misspelled definitions twice because by now it no longer looks like a proper word. Why do some words have so many i’s in them anyway?

Fast forward to three months from now and my inevitable nervous breakdown.

Rewind to my presentation when a colleague actually tells me they’re angry they did not come up with my topic idea themself. Cut to me doing a winning gesture in front of my entire class. The entire presentation went really well, actually. I really nailed the self-depreciating humour presentation style that’s informative and academic as well as light-hearted. Go me!

Rewind to last week when an acquaintance tells me about this friend of hers who’s working for a place who’re looking for someone to proofread, part-time like. My time at sort-of job is coming to an end anyway so this looks very much like destiny. Close-up of my brain, jumping in the air and clicking its heels together. One quick communication later I hold some contact details in my hand. I’m so going to write them, like, right now!

Stop camera, enter crushing self-doubt. But what do I write? Do I just jot down a quick note? Do I go with a full-blown cover letter? But those are always so over the top and fake because I can’t write to save my life! Do I attach my CV and credentials or is that too forward? What do I do?

I could sleep on it, I guess. But it’s like 10:30 in the morning and if I don’t act now maybe my acquaintance will have given that contact to twenty other people! I can’t wait! But what if I don’t have the skills? I mean, I have a certificate, but still. What if I don’t have enough work experience? I mean, I basically don’t have any. In this field. I mean, none that counts. You know how it is when you’re a student and your friends’ friends start paying you to read their papers, that hardly counts as experience, right? What do I do?

Write!

No.

Write now!

No!

Wriiiiiiiiiteeeee…

Oh, fucking alright!

Fast forward to literally ten minutes later and I close my eyes as I hit send on a very short e-mail that is expressing my interest and is also offering to send my CV if the interest is mutual.

Fast forward even more to me finding out this is not the right person and they’re forwarding my mail to someone who’s the actual right person. Fuck!

Fast forward a day. Actual Right Person has written back with some details about the position and asks me to call them.

Fuck! Phone! I hate phones! I hate people! I hate communication! And telecommunication in particular!

Okay, forward one last time. I have stalked this person’s linkedin profile, I have prepared my lines, I’m making a phone call. Elevator music greets my ears. I prepare myself for a five minute wait. The five minute wait is actually only 30 seconds, which was enough time for me to forget everything I wanted to say. I sort of stumble to the call, sounding probably like the escaped village idiot trying to make a living in the big city.

Fast forward to three days later when I’m having the probably shortest job interview of my life and get the job.

First I’m like, yes! Job! Money! I am employed and therefore special!

But it’s part-time. Still not bad, I can join the ranks of the walking underemployed!

Gee, that was pretty fast of them to decide to take me on. They must be really desperate for someone to fill in.

Shit, they would have just taken anyone, wouldn’t they? I thought I was special!

Then I remember that in a capitalist free market economy a few years after a recession no one is special. And I feel even worse, because society.

Rewind to beginning of June and it’s funeral time. Only there’s nothing to bury because grandmother decided to do the nice thing and leave her body to science. Considering the rare spinal deformation she had that’s actually pretty sensible of her. So all we have is a mass somewhere in a village at the ass end of nowhere, which is closes to where she lived, which was the other cheek of the ass end of nowhere. Priest is wearing Nike’s. I’m having an allergic reaction to frankincense. The family and me are in the first rows. The crowd isn’t huge. Actually, it’s only us, some of grandma’s neighbours, and the evening regulars.

The awkwardness hits hard. We’re all heathens and haven’t got a clue of what to do, because apparently you don’t just sit in church, you do things. We’re nervously watching the old lady three rows back because she’s an absolute church pro. Standing up, sitting down, kneeling, standing up, she’s doing great! Such vigour and she’s at least 80! Total champ at this Catholic cardio the priest is making us do! And singing along! I don’t know what you want me to say! What’s going on? Can’t you have one of those statues hold an electronic sign, or a prompter, that tells you what to do and when, and your lines? Do it for Jesus! I’m sure he’s shaking his head at my incompetence!

And I can’t stop laughing! I’m trying to keep it in, but it’s just so funny! And I can tell my aunt’s trying hard not to laugh as well! Did this guy even know my grandmother? He’s being much too nice. And what’s this anecdote? You know the one. The one about a young boy with a terminal illness and he’s dying and the doctors get him back to life for like two days, and he’s waking up like “Hey, why’d you bring me back, it was so nice there”? I read that story about a hundred times on the internet, with varying names and places. I don’t buy that you, priesty boy, have witnessed this first hand and it inspired you to become a man of the cloth.

And then he goes on a tangent. Yes, if you have no faith you have no hope for a life after death, which means you have to do everything in this life, you have to have every bit of fun and indulgence while in this life because after that you’ll be gone forever… I look over at my dad and my boyfriend and we all exchange a glance of “Sounds like a pretty sweet deal”.

And then there’s this weird food ritual. Any christians out there who can tell me if it’s normal for the priest to mix water into the wine? Or are they just on a budget out there in the sticks? I mean, I get the waffle part. But sweeping the leftover crumbs in the cup and washing that down? That seems weird. Can anyone confirm that this is how it’s done?

So we leave the service somewhat elated and no one wants to join us for dinner, so we set out to go eat, just the family. And we have a blast. Does any other country have the concept of “schöne Leich”? Because we do. It basically means a very good funeral. This was a very funny funeral. A true funeral feast. One might assume we put the fun in funeral. Both my mother and my aunt had a very good time discussing shapely men and looking at pictures of Brock O’Hurn and Lasse Matberg on my phone. Why I have pictures of those people on my phone is of course entirely beside the point. It’s much more important that you know how my father put his head in his hands in defeat and the Boyfriend asked, with his brows so high they vanished in his ample hair, if I’m going to be like that when I’m older.

Spoiler alert: Yes.

Also, yah, we’re heathens. Really easily amused heathens.

Fast forward to tomorrow when I have my first day at work. Cut to a close up of my terrified face.

Halt camera. Cut to ‘To be continued’ sign.

Abominable Blatherer Strikes Again! Who will save the city? Not me, I’m on break.

I’m going to name my first stomach ulcer after this guy.

Remember this guy? No? How ’bout now?

I don’t even know where to fucking start. He’s no longer satisfied with talking us to death, now he has upgraded to utter nonsense that, if this were a job in the so-called real world, would get him fired and thrown out on the street so fast his ass would leave cracks in the pavement.

Does he show up to any meetings? No, he cancels five minutes before. Does he show up for his assigned hours? No, he cancels without informing anyone. The work related thing that he absolutely wanted to do and whined about for weeks, does he do that? Nope, never shows up. Does he do any kind of work assigned to him? No, he’s got so much academic commitment, he’s busy, he just didn’t get around, and anyway, that’s your job! He’d much rather do this and this and this because that’s more important, that’s what’s really going to get this team working!

He’s acting completely on his own “authority” now. Going so far as to offer internships to high schoolers without so much as a by your leave, team! We do not offer internships. We have neither the authority, permission nor competence to employ interns. The higher-ups would be most displeased. We can’t issue certificates. Also, the Blatherer (who offered the kid an internship with him, not with anyone else, no, just him) does not work nearly enough for the kid to learn anything substantial. So I wrote the high schooler sorry, mistake, can’t do it, but maybe you can become a full-on team member once you graduate, and if you’re looking for internships herehavesomelinkstoplacesthatactuallyofferinternships! I was nice! I was personable!

In comes the Blatherer and e-mails the kid to disregard everything I said.

No, you don’t understand, he literally said ‘disregard’.

So then other people get on him and tell him not to pull shit like this. Definitely not without asking if it’s okay. Definitely not without asking if that’s even legally possible, Mister We-need-to-propose-motions-and-act-on-democratic-principles!

And what’s his argument? “Well, we never said we didn’t do internships!”

This is why common sense stipulations should be a thing. Like, a thing you have to sign once you turn 18, otherwise you won’t be recognised as a legal adult. ‘I hearby declare that I will use my brain before I do anything‘. Something like that.

And then he goes, weeeell, such and such official department said I could do that!

I e-mailed them today. Let’s see. I have the sneaking suspicion the truth content of this statement is comparable to “Yes, I read the terms and conditions”.

I just don’t get this guy. What does he want? Control? Power? Does that get him off? First he contacts a photographer without anyone agreeing; then blows up in the face of the computer department because they were trying to double check some data we sent them; now this. Also, he decided we should have a new team member! And he’s coming by tomorrow! Because!

No one of the other ones knows this guy. There’s no e-mail contact, nor phone call, nor nothing. Just because the Blatherer invited him without telling anyone. We have no way of telling the guy we can’t meet him on such short notice and without even knowing his name. The only thing we know is that the Blatherer apparently promised this young man to help him get his father from Syria (!) to come to this country. Which… how? We could pay the young man even nowhere near the amount he’d need for travel expenses for his dad. Civic participation and all… but we can’t do it. We don’t have the means! We don’t have the budget! We just don’t!

So now everyone’s pissed and the chairpersons are tearing at their hair and trying to come up with a solution. I already talked to the Blatherer a month ago about how he can’t pull shit like this. What did I tell him about unauthorized and unilateral decision? I told him not to do it! This should be easy enough to understand for someone who’s in his twenties! So now I say, let him crash and burn. Let him have his bloody intern, if the highers get his ass, that ain’t my problem. I tried being nice. I don’t give second chances.

Uuuuuuuggghhh. I’m so fed up. I’m so done. I was having fun, and then along came this guy. What am I being punished for, was my life too easy again? Someone please hit him with a rubber chicken, that’ll show him!

Standing in the kitchen at 1 a.m. like a confused velociraptor looking for food

I wish I would post more often. But then life happens. Why? Did I get a new squeeze? No. Did I get a new job? No. Do I have classes? Actually, no. Did someone die? Actually, yes.

Somehow between trying to get an ounce of sense out of my library books and procrastinating on contacting my supervisor, I’ve managed to paint the walls, write a guide, writing job applications, going to lectures about writing applications and assembling a modern CV, check out the Overwatch Beta, nurse Boyfriend through his nose drop high (I am being entirely serious), and… other things. Like becoming uncharacteristically depressed because I’m 106% sure my mother started drinking again which unearthed a whole host of repressed anxiety about our relationship. So I turned my phone on silent for a few days to get some thesis work done without thinking about the implications that I still feel like my mother’s keeper.

And then her mother died. This week is not looking good.

So my other grandmother died just two months shy of her 95th birthday, which seems to become a trend in this family because other grandma did the same. And they all die suddenly, is this supposed to give me hope or not? Like, the one time I turn off my phone someone dies, is this a sort of super power and if yes, does it only work with immediate family members or…? Because I have a list, so, y’know. But now mom and aunt are depressed because while their mom mistreated them their entire lives her absence still somehow hits them like an eighteen-wheeler. Probably because of all the missed opportunities to actually have a functioning healthy relationship with her. So basically, fantasy.

When all I wanted to do was level my next Diablo III season char. Guess what I’m not going to get around to for a while.

Also, everyone’s going crazy over the presidential elections. Two candidates and they’re both at roughly the same percentage. Best joke I heard all week: 100% of Austrians agree that 50% of Austrians are idiots. What am I doing about it? Well, I voted. What else can I do, sacrifice something to Satan? Or Cthulhu? Who’s more into politics d’you reckon?

Blagh. I’m getting a whiff of the human existential angst that makes you say “Everything was better in the good old days!” Yeah, damn right everything was better twenty years ago when I was a small kid and didn’t have to worry about politics and voting and which old white man gets to lord it over me.

So what am I doing? I’m in the kitchen where 50% of politicians would have me, and I’m eating everything in sight. Because if we go down, we’re going down with a stomach full of dessert. Kinda like my grandmother.

Act V, Scene II: In Which I am Really, Really Depressed and Vent mine Angst and Frustration

This post is not going to be funny because I’m at my lowest mood-wise since a long, long time. I’m having a bad week. Actually, the bad week started back in March. It’s the bad week of the year.

Nothing bad has happened. No one died. Well, no one I know. I’m sure someone died somewhere. Shit, now I feel guilty. Anyway. Nothing bad has happened but I’m miserable as hell.

Somehow I got roped into having a friendly talk with the Blatherer, and I think I got some points across, but who knows how long this will last. And all because no one else will open their damn mouth. Why does the not-people-person always get tasked with the someone-might-shoot-the-messenger quests? In other words, I’m no good with people, usually I just yell and threaten physical violence, so why do I have to go and talk calmly and reasonably to someone I really just want to throw a brick at? Read my lips: I. Am. Not. Friendly. I’m the worst at being nice. I wish I was nicer. I wish I still had it in me. But then people take advantage of my niceness. So I’m rather a really evil bitch. I’m really good at being a really evil bitch. Somehow I can deal better with people not liking me than people liking me for what they can get out of me. I dunno. I could just cry, but my tear ducts haven’t been working right for months now.

I’m good and ready to quit this sodden job thing, but I keep telling myself, two more months. And plenty of uni work to distract myself, what with a thesis, the theoretical base of which will just not shape itself. Okay, so I’m trying something new. I could have gone with an established theory like marxism, throw three novels together and I’d be fine. But I have to go and make life complicated. Also, that workshop thing didn’t work out so well, because even after all these years, speaking in public makes me nervous. Yes, yes, practice makes perfect and all. No! The inner perfectionist will not be satisfied with a less-than stellar performance! That’s the problem with me, I have to be perfect on the first go or I lose all faith in myself. Can I at least blame that one on my mom?

I don’t think I could hate myself more if I suddenly and inexplicably slept with any ex of mine, is what I’m trying to say. I’m at a point where the Camelot song from Holy Grail can’t cheer me up. I would jump off a bridge if it wasn’t so damned cold outside. Few things are worse than having your suicide go wrong in April, you end up having to drag your drenched ass out of an icy river and you come home cold, wet, and even more miserable. So not worth the effort of getting out of bed.

I just don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone for a week or five.

Also, those bitches from my side hustle won’t pay me until May. Christ, I worked for you in early March, gimme! I need a substance abuse problem badly and I can’t afford one if you fuckers won’t pony up my cash!

The Return of the Abominable Blatherer!

So I’ve been keepin’ busy. Our apartment building’s been getting new windows in and Tuesday it was our turn, and I can still feel the dust in the air. I can feel it because I’m allergic. I haven’t stopped sneezing in days. And no amount of airing and vacuuming will get it out.

I’m also preparing a workshop. I’ve never lead a workshop before. Safe to say I’m a nervous wreck. Never been more nervous in my life, in fact. I want this to be good, you know? I want to distribute knowledge amongst my students-for-the-day. I want them to walk out of that room at the end of the day going, “Jup, that helped.”

Somehow this master’s thesis is also not writing itself and I need to go see my supervisor sometime soon.

And the last thing I need in between all of this… is this guy.

I feel like Jack Nicholson in that old Batman movie: I’ve given a name to my pain, and it is Batman the Abominable Blatherer. Now, if my problem was Michael Keaton, I’d be overwrought with joy. Because it’s Michael Keaton. Instead, I’m settled with… this guy.

So last year, before he was here, the team decided against putting pictures of our faces on the website. Because seriously, the team is rotating so much you’d have to switch out pictures ever year. Like, I’ll be gone come summer. Also, some of us are very concerned with control of our images on the web because by damn did we learn from American examples. Then internet is no longer our own private hidey-hole like it was in the early 2000s, now it’s a public place. No, we don’t even put pictures of us partying on facebook. No, not even if our bosses can’t force us to facebook friend them. No, not even if it’s illegal for our bosses to even ask us for our facebook name (we don’t even use our real names! And all our profiles are set to private! Because!). European millenials know how the damn internet works, so we like to keep our faces to ourselves until we get a real job, thank you very much.

I mean, look, it’s one thing to ask a question if you don’t know there was already a decision on this. It’s one thing to ask again because after all, we do have some newbies as well who may or may not want some pictures of themselves. That’s all fine.

But the Blatherer went ahead and contacted a professional photographer and got an estimate for group and single pictures. Mind, he did that literally five minutes after he said “Hey, we should have photos!” and literally three days before he thought to ask the twelve other people on the team about this. And now he keeps going on about it via e-mail. “I don’t understand why we can’t have pics!” Because the rest of us said no last year. Just because you are here now doesn’t change the minds of everyone else. Also, money. Why should our collective fund go to something only one of us wants and which is no use to our target audience? Hell, I even offered to lend out my old reflex camera if he absolutely wants a damn picture of himself so badly. But nope, it needs to be professional!

Now there are about 30+ e-mails in my inbox of people going back and forth and trying to get him to accept a solution that does not cost more than a hundred bucks. Does anyone beside me realise how much this guy is trying to run the show? Is anyone else tired? Is anyone else losing their motivation?

Also, we need an emergency meeting to discuss the new statutes he’s drawn up.

Someone should talk to this young man. But why me? Don’t we have people to deal with this? Like psychologists? Or HR? Or hitmen? Anyone?

Forget What They Told You in Kindergarten, Whining DOES Solve Things

Breaking news from the Grad School front.

Okay, I got this shit in the bag! I got my supervisor, I did get into this stupid course, now I just need to write my thesis and…

And the record screeches to a halt.

Now all I have to do is write an 80+ page academic work.

If you’re frozen with fear, raise your hand. Oh, wait, you can’t. Try blinking. Yes, you blinked. I blinked, too. Because I’m scared. Very scared. Zombie apocalypse ain’t got nothing on this. With zombies, you know where you’re at. They either wanna eat you or you don’t register on their radar because you are also a zombie.

But with academics… they need to like you and your work.

Fuckity fuck.

Okay, stay cool, Self, you got this far. And we did it all by whining in the right place at the right time. We just need to keep doing that.

No, seriously, a bit of whining and a half-breakdown in front of people solves a lot. I mean, you won’t get your dignity back, but otherwise, a lot. I was venting my frustration to a colleague at the department. You know, I was trying to get into this final seminar? And then I didn’t get a grad in time for registration? And someone told me her friend had just done the seminar from the other degree programme instead and it worked out fine? And then someone else told me the same? And so I was all hopeful? And then the office told me that’s not even possible? Because who woulda thunk, I either imagined all this, or those other students found a loophole that had been closed for renovations the minute I turned up. Because of fucking course.

So I expose my vulnerable self to my colleague, finally admitting that I’m not an android programmed in sarcasm but a real human being with like feelings ‘n shit who has had a bad frustrating month. Colleague is like, don’t worry. Five minutes later I’m talking to a professor who then talks to the lecturer and two weeks later I’m in. Magic!

No, seriously. Seems a lot like magic. Maybe the whining sent out energy waves all across the department and threw off everyone’s vibe and they all subconsciously decided to get rid of the source.

And now I just need to write a monster of a paper. And then present this in front of an audience of bored academics who don’t care about anything but their own subjects. I’m so screwed, aren’t I? Couldn’t be more screwed if I was a cabinet.

I’m trying to sign up for an additional writing workshop. Therefore, I need to whine about this on the internet so they’ll let me in. Trust me, this works. I hope.

In other news, I was researching trap remixes of Frank Sinatra and suddenly got an idea for a zombie novel so I guess I have an alternative career path if the whole thesis doesn’t work out.

Yeah, that would be a nice thing for them to cut on my tombstone.

And now, the weather.

Rant Day! Things Never Stopped Pissing Me Off, But I Forgot to Write Them Down!

Item 1: Welcome to grad school, where the rules are made up and deadlines don’t count. This whole MA thing might just take an entire year longer because they maybe won’t let me in the write-your-thesis seminar because I didn’t get a grade on one stupid other seminar in time. So fucking inflexible. But then I keep hearing stories that many girls just got in anyway, never mind that they were only halfway done with all their prerequisites. Look, I got everything done, I registered my topic, and I have a supervisor. Why can you never make an exception for me, huh?

Item 2: Had a very bad bout of depression about the state of women and the state of the world in general, and Boyfriend thinks I can’t read his thoughts. I know that he thinks its ridiculous, that’s why I don’t talk to him about it, even if he insists I talk to him about it. It’s not like he could solve the world for me. It’s not like he can even listen without an uncomfortable sigh or an interjection of “Well, men have it bad too, you know”. Yeah, well, that’s your own problem, isn’t it? Who’s creating problems for everyone?

Item 3: Boyfriend and my clothes. First it’s, “Are you wearing sweatpants?!” Yes. Yes, I am. We’re going to the grocery store, I’m not dressing up for that. It’s aisle 4 at the corner store, not the New York fashion week or some shit. Then later he said to me, “You could wear something like this sometimes” after seeing a woman presenter on TV in a dress. Okay, one: A guy who spent every day of the last thirty-odd years in jeans and t-shirts does not get to tell me how to dress. Two: Right, where? Am I going on TV? Am I getting paid? Do I get my own stylist? Are we going out? No, we never go out. So now I’m sitting here in my best red dress with all my jewellery on, and I’m playing Diablo III, and I’mma get my season char to level 70 before him. In style. Suck it, motherfucker.

Item 4: Overwatch is taking forever to get here, the alpha’s been out forever, come on, Blizz, I need something new to waste my life with!

Item 5: I’m so done with losing weight, I’m just going to pretend this is the fault of the Neanderthal DNA I no doubt carry in large quantities, they got a new study coming out in Bonn that Neanderthal DNA can influence your weight, maybe I should just send them a blood sample?

Item 6: I think I’m going to write a lengthy exposé about why school dress codes are fucking disgusting, because literally the only thing you’re teaching kids is that girls’ bodies are free to be policed by so-called ‘authorities’ at any and all points in their lives. So glad we don’t have this shit here, but who knows, stupidity is known to spread across the globe real fast.

Item 7: I’m not half as creative as I think I am, as evidenced by the fact that all porn parody titles I come up with already exist. Bet you didn’t know that “Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls” was a thing, eh? Apparently that one won an award.

Item 8: There’s an influx of graffiti in the ‘hood, so now I have to go out in the cold with my red pen and correct their spelling and grammar mistakes. Assholes. Everyone has a smart phone, but gods forbid they download a dictionary.

Item 9: So I looked at some what the facebook friends-of-friends promised me to be amusing pictures titled “Why my kid is crying”. Like the Queen, I was not amused. Most of the time I was thinking, Why are you snapping a picture when you should be slapping some sense into your dumb fucking kid? And that’s how I realised I’m still not ready for parenthood.

Introvert Truths

There is no such thing as too much alone time.

Dim lights are comforting, get over it. No, I don’t need more light in here.

Noise is the enemy. Not even necessarily loud ones, but quieter, persistent ones. Like people’s voices.

People are not evil. They don’t actually mean to hurt me or encroach on my boundaries deliberately (most of the time). They just can’t take a goddamn hint.

Introvert hints are so subtle, to other people they sometimes just look like blinking or breathing. This is a problem.

Social gatherings are not evil, but they’re overwhelming.

A minimum mental preparation time of no less than 12 hours is to be given before any form of social contact. This does not include sleep time.

Okay, 1,2,3,4, smile, say “Hello”, hand over card, pay, walk away calmly, heart rate is up, keep panic at bay, regulate breathing, don’t think about how you sounded when you just said “Hello”, just keep walking. Another successful interaction with a cashier!

Time to go to bed, or rather, time to replay every conversation of the day and agonize over how they could have gone better if I had just said something else/been funnier/been more confident/had not been in the middle of fleeing the building.

When used sparingly, Christmas lights will cheer you up.

Commenting on YouTube videos in your head counts as conversation.

Saturday night and we’re in the spot… on the sofa.

That moment when going into space and making contact with alien civilisations seems easier than leaving the house to buy milk.

More books than friends. More books than family members. More books than Facebook friend suggestions.

That moment when you buy something at a fancy, intimidating place and the guy at the counter was nice and you didn’t say anything stupid and inside you’re like: “I’M SO HAPPY, I CAN DO ANYTHING, I COULD PUNCH A BEAR, I COULD TALK TO A STRANGER ON THE BUS, GO ME, WOOOO!”