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.



Risky Business, Also Known as Daily Life

As a slowly recovering sociophobe (ignore your spell check, it’s a word), I take chances every damn day.

I mean, I guess the biggest chance ever to take was to get actual psychological help, which did not work out at all. But that’s a sad story and I’m not feeling it today.

So instead let me regale you with the fact that sometimes I get up, get ready, get my stuff, open the door…

… go “Nope” and head back inside.

Some days leaving the house is just not happening. I mean… people. Construction workers. Children. Parents with children. Dogs. Birds. Social interaction with cashiers and ticket inspectors and random weirdos and those elusive beings called acquaintances. Hundreds of thousands of people being carried through the public transport system like so much cholesterol in an American’s bloodstream. The noise of a million grunting voices, crying, yapping, tapping on their phones, the irregular tick-tock of two million shoes going in every direction and at every pace, all while you are trapped in the enormous body heat of a stuffed subway car like you were travelling through the bowels of some huge alien creature. Smells like it, too. And you want me to partake in all this? Nah.

So some days, I step outside, decide that ‘literally, I can’t even’, and go hide in my bedroom.

I’m absolutely convinced this is where this dreaded phrase comes from. You’re so paralysed with fear you can’t even finish the sentence. Your brain just shuts down from sensory overload.

But sometimes, you do have to go out. Yes, even me with my thorough calculations of how long I can put off buying toilet paper. There’s university, and grocery shopping, and going to the drug store for tampons, and visiting relatives, and a billion other things you just can’t avoid. And then you just have to brace yourself, give yourself a good mirror pep talk about how you are a kind and loveable and entirely normal not-at-all-weird-or-awkward person, and go.

And then your brain puts on the next horror show. Did I lock the door? better go check again. Did I close the windows? There’s scaffolding all over the place, anyone could climb in, better go check again. Did I lock the door again after I checked on the windows? Better go check. Wait, did I check the kitchen window? Wait, did I turn off the stove? Should I really leave the dryer running, I heard that can cause a fire. What if someone starts a fire in the basement again? What if I lose my keys? What if I lose my phone? Wait, where’s my pepper spray even? Wait, where’s my list? What if it rains, should I take an umbrella? What if it gets cold, should I take a jacket? Wait, what if someone breaks the windows and steals all my stuff?! Maybe I should hide everything I own real quick…

And all this just to take a ten minute walk to the post office.

I took a huge chance today by going to a job interview. Do you want my inner monologue?

Oh my god, they answered so quickly! Wait, does that mean they’re desperate? Does that mean their last assistant quit suddenly? Did someone die? That’s why you can’t ask why the position’s free, no matter what they tell you in those get-ready-for-your-job-interview articles, because it’d be super awkward. Wait, how many other candidates are there? Oh my god, I really don’t have much experience, what if they hire me and then I can’t do it? Oh my god, what do I say when they ask why I want this job, I can’t say “Because I’d be getting paid”! But literally, that’s the reason. What if they ask me what my dream job is, I can’t say ‘billionaire heiress’! But literally, that’s the truth. Oh my god, what if they don’t like me? What if they’re mean? What if they make a joke they think is funny but is actually really hurtful and/or offensive? It’s going to be 90 degrees out, what am I going to wear? What if they don’t have AC? Ahhhh… blouse. Okay. Should I do pants? I can’t do my suit pants, too hot. Should I do a skirt? Great, now I look like I’m going to boarding school. What are they wearing on their website? Is this more business casual or business professional? What if that’s just for the photos and they’re really like super relaxed? What if I look odd? What if they don’t like my nose? Or my voice? Or my accent? Oh my god, I can’t do this. You need a job, though. I can’t do this! You need a job, though! I’m not half as good as I don’t even think I am! You need a job, though. Okay, so I’m here, and they are super relaxed about clothes. And it’s a group interview. Aww, all the other girls are so much prettier than I am! And they’re younger, too! Argh, Jesus, there’s no way they’re going to take me, not with that girl over there, she’s probably perfect. Argh, why can’t I pretend I’m a smiley, happy person, why is my strict organiser showing?! They want an organiser, though. Who cares, no one ever cares how efficient I am because I’m not a pretty smiling-at-all-hours sort of person! I’ve resting bitch face! It’s my natural condition! My masticatory muscle is cramping from all the smiling, this is the worst thing ever! Actually, this interview wasn’t so bad. Yes, it was. Wasn’t. Was. They seemed to like you. Didn’t! I said a stupid thing. I said a lot of stupid things, actually. Argh, why did I even go? Because you need a job. What I need is being a normal person!

So, yes, I’m definitely taking chances. Chances of going absolutely insane. Thank you and goodnight, I’ll see myself in.

The Bloody Chamber and the Bloody Ridiculousness of It All

So we discussed the Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber in a class I had. For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s basically a turn-of-the-century (from 19th to 20th in case that wasn’t clear) retelling of the Perrault’s Bluebeard fairy tale (Charles Perrault, 1697, the story itself is a lot older and the older versions have a lot more female agency) only from the perspective of the wife, who is a seventeen year old girl trying to escape the poverty she lives in with her widowed mother by marrying an insanely rich and perverted Marquis who plans to kill her like his other wives. Go look it up, but only read it if you have a strong stomach.

Anyway, I really just need to vent, because I also have to write a paper on this and I keep coming back to the class discussion. This is going to be about gender studies, so if you don’t like gender studies a) screw you, b) bye.

The discussion was interesting, albeit not from a literary point of view but from a psychological one. I mean… people were going on and on about how the seventeen year old working class narrator didn’t marry the Marquis for love and called her a gold-digger and an adulteress because the young piano tuner was nice to her and she noticed he was pretty. But no-one, absolutely nobody, lost a single word about how the middle-aged serial killer Marquis didn’t marry her for love either, but to make her his next murder victim. I mean, perspective, please! And that got me thinking. I mean, I get the criticism that this is a first person narrator and first person narration is always unreliable, even if nothing points to the narrator lying, but let me get this straight: A very young girl living in poverty, trying to earn a meagre living as a pianist, wants to escape poverty by way of marriage – not that she actively pursues that because she doesn’t, it just so happens – so she and her mother will be taken care of financially, and everyone calls her names and goes on about how “weeeeell she didn’t marry for luuurrrve”; but a guy about fifty who wants to marry a teenager so he can fuck her and then behead her, we go “Welp!”

I mean, come the hell on! Are we really this desensitised to male violence that we basically shrug and call it Tuesday? Is this just something we expect now? Are we really not going to talk about a guy who marries one woman after the other just so he can torture and kill them in horrible ways, and who sets his latest wife a trap just so he has a reason to kill her too because she ‘disobeyed’ him by discovering his murderous little secret? Are we just going to ignore all this in favour of calling a teenage girl a gold-digger and worse? Oh, we are? Well, fuck all y’all, that’s what’s wrong with the world!

And then there was that special case of a dude in the back who was like, well, if the Marquis had only found the perfect wife he would have stopped killing, basically he was torturing himself, to which, thankfully, the entire class decided this was taking things a step too far. I think sometimes the most scandalous thing a man today can do is to respect a woman’s choices. Like, seriously, no one cares if a man murders women, but I’m sure everyone would be writing paper upon paper about a male fictional character who is just a decent human being. But then they’d probably call him effeminate or emasculated (like the narrator’s second husband, the nice music-loving but blind piano tuner) or just plain boring.

It’s bad enough that in the story the entire castle staff and the village know what’s going on, because killing wives and women is sort of a family tradition apparently, and everyone’s just sort of okay with that. Takes the narrator’s mother to put a stop to this. And you know how? She got a phone call. One single phone call from her daughter that wasn’t even about “Hey, I just found hubby’s former wives”. Actually, that phone call was before all that. And mom rushes in like a maternal avenger and just shoots the bastard without a single word. One woman, one bullet, all it took to end a few centuries worth of murderous terror. I’d actually be interested in hearing the mother’s side of the story. Now that’s the kind of motherhood I could get behind.

Yeah, yeah, I know there are a lot of other different aspects to this story but I can’t be arsed to discuss them here, I already have a full formal analysis to write, so don’t come in here with “Oh, but you’re missing the point of the story”, because I’m not, I’m just standing on one of them and I’ll move on to the others when I’m good and ready. Just really, really needed to get that off my chest before I can go back to working. Peace.