Dear Mark Zuckerberg, You Meant Well, But…

As an aspiring academic, I shun social media. I’m sure you are now rolling on the floor laughing (aka ROFL) if you compared this statement against the awe-inspiring amount of social media buttons that link from my blog to my presence elsewhere on the internet. In my defence, this social media outrage has nothing to do with me, the actual me; it’s all the fault of the other me, the online me. Honestly.

The actual me however found herself recently in need to swallow the bitter blue pill (no, I don’t mean Viagra because I happen to be of the wrong sex to consume the blue pill literally) and set up a Facebook account so as to keep in touch with the subversive subterranean actions that my department is taking there. I can’t see why our department can’t just keep us posted via pigeon post. Whatever.

My Master’s degree apparently isn’t a qualification enough to start a Facebook account. The first step was already a problem: Facebook hated my name and insisted that I choose another one. The second step offended me: Facebook inquired my birthdate details to make sure that I’m not a minor. ROFL. Really. Raise your hand if you never lied about your age when you were a kid. No one?

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My first day on Facebook I experienced some glitches that proved to be temporary, but not knowing that at the time, I decided to report the issue. I compiled a very detailed report of the malfunction I was experiencing and sent my feedback, expecting someone to get in touch with me. Sadly, Facebook is no WordPress and I was informed that my request was noted and that I’m not getting any answer. WTH?

My second day on Facebook I discovered that writing html is much easier than using Facebook. My third day I opined that it’s not me, it’s Facebook; and since then I’ve been sticking to this opinion. Dear Mark Zuckerberg, I’m sure you meant well, but look what you’ve done! On no other social network did I feel so bullied by the requirements imposed on me and by the lack of individuality allowed.

Did you know that even if you are uncomfortable sharing details of your location, education and other personal information, Facebook will keep on demanding that you fill these in? Did you also know that in all the fields, you can only type predefined specific choices and cannot publish general locations (such as Eastern Europe), general jobs (such as just teacher) and such? Well, dear Mark, you messed up.


Whatyamacallit for Dinner

Whatyamacallit coffee
Whatyamacallit coffee

Hubby and me were presented with a white elephant. Not the big beast literally but a white elephant gift nonetheless. It was a gift coupon for a fancy degustation menu dinner in town. So we put aside our rubber boots and pitchforks, had a bath (though it was not yet Sunday aka Bath-Day), dressed up in our good church clothes and off we went.

As suspected, the restaurant proved above our usual social and economic standards, and I came totally unprepared. At a table for two, there were more pieces of cutlery and more glasses and plates laid out than in my entire cupboard collection. I was wondering if it’s worse to use the wrong fork and knife or to google stealthily on my phone which fork and knife you start from. (Now I know you start from the outside and I got it wrong. Of course.)

A waitress in an evening-gown-uniform inquired if we desired wine. I couldn’t figure out how to ask discreetly if it was or wasn’t covered by the gift coupon, so I remained silent. Hubby ventured an affirmative answer, on which the waitress offered a list of foreign-sounding brands. Hurrying to help my monolingual hubby out, I asked tentatively if they had perhaps something local. She regretted that they didn’t, and she surely thought we were Amish. Hubby chose the last option on the wine list by repeating the last cluster of sounds the waitress pronounced.

The wine was brought by a waiter in a tuxedo-uniform. He was probably sent by his female co-worker to get a share in the humorous spectacle of villagers in the city. The waiter inquired if we wished a vegetarian or a regular menu. Hubby was being humorous (or so he thought) and asked playfully if he looked like a vegetarian, patting lovingly his bulging belly. The waiter blushed, said nothing and started to bring in bizarrely tiny portions of fancifully arranged meals. Before serving each, he named it, and I understood none of it because I don’t speak Gourmetese.

The last course was a dessert brought in cups so incredibly small that I was doubting if it was worth the bother at all. When the waiter was out of earshot, I dryly observed that I drink vodka from a cup larger than this. A couple at a neighbouring table looked in my direction, mildly amused. The waiter returned to ask if we wanted coffee. I wanted coffee very much but I had all reasons to believe that I would have to order five to ten cups to satisfy my need. I said I didn’t want any. So we drove home, where I got my usual half-litre mug of coffee and hubby a buttered toast.

The Affection of Sweepers and Cleaners

Pebbles and polish
Pebbles and polish

I attract street sweepers and building cleaners. I wonder if it’s because I’m clean and neat or because I’m dirty and disordered. (My mirror says it’s the former. Hopefully.) I love that they love me but they scare me. Consider this.

The other day I was literally crawling in the street, busied with taking macro photos of cobblestones and minding my own business. Suddenly a voice behind my back said: “Whatyaupta?” I got a fright and dropped my camera on the cobble. “I’ll see when I see it,” I said tentatively in a tiny shivering voice. It was just a street sweeper. He smiled at me and said: “Ughuh.” (I think he meant “I see.”) His two front teeth were missing.

The next day I walked in a lift in a public building. There was someone inside already but all I saw was a vague silhouette because I don’t stare at people. The door shut. Suddenly my hand was firmly grabbed and there was a loud scream: “Aaww, what a cute colour!” I would have collapsed but I couldn’t because I was held. It was just a cleaning woman who really liked my nails. Still, I could hardly stir when she took the lift to the cellar, where she exited.

Something is fundamentally wrong. Is it me or is it the cleaning people? What’s your experience?

Our Car Communicates with Aliens

Your car has secrets.
Your car has secrets.

The following conversation took place about midnight, after hubby left the car parked on the driveway rather than in the garage and after curious granny couldn’t cope with this state of things any longer.

The door is thrown open. A voice from the darkness of the corridor.

Granny (alarmed): There’s a red light blinking in the car!
Hubby (grumpily): I know.
Granny (insistent): But there’s a red light blinking there!
Hubby (annoyed): It’s the security system.
Granny (suspicious): Is it?
Hubby (disgruntled): Huh.
Granny (disgruntled): Huh.

A snort is heard. The door is slammed closed.

I’ve been studying granny’s behaviour pattern for years and discovered that she uses evading techniques to ask for what she wants. In this case study, she required that the car be put in the garage, but utilised a substitute problem to achieve her aim. She didn’t achieve it, for hubby is male and hence doesn’t take orders unless bribed. I mean, motivated.

To provide some comfort for the poor disgruntled lady, I came up with a series of alternative solutions for the blinking red light case.

1. The car is communicating with aliens.
2. The car elves are having a disco.
3. The car battery is trying to commit suicide.
4. The car is winking at thieves to come in.
5. The car is having a nervous tick.

I’m sure it’s number five because the car hates to be parked on the driveway as much as granny does.

What about your car? Do you know the secret meaning of its blinking red light?

The Art of Avoiding People

I'm not even here.
I’m not even here.

People scare me to death. For multiple reasons. The gravest reason is that they typically require that I interact with them. This is too hard. I never know the right answer to their questions. Such as how are you. How am I supposed to know? I never give it a thought and I’m fine with it.

I have developed a series of advanced techniques for avoiding people. The keyword is invisibility. To go unnoticed, you must hone the art of becoming one with your surroundings. There must be no sound and no movement from you. You must appear as dead as a doorknob.

The other day I was in the garden spending quality time with my cat, the only person I tolerate. On hearing footsteps, I quickly jumped in a tool shed and froze. I neither moved nor breathed. I was sincerely hoping the footsteps would go away before I pass away from lack of oxygen.

My plan was perfect, aside from one window that I didn’t take into account. This window is connecting the shed to its other compartment, from where granny suddenly yells at me why on earth I’m standing there like Lot’s wife and won’t I at last call off my cat who’s  bothering her?

Now it’s your turn. Are you a hider like me or a seeker like my granny?

The Weather Is Playing Siberia

Death by Exposure
Death by Exposure

I live in what is erroneously termed the Temperate Climate Zone. This winter’s weather particularly lacks temperance. Perhaps it has been drinking? It probably has and it has mistakenly come to believe that this is Siberia. This winter I’m freezing so much that no amount of vodka can possibly keep me warm.

I cancelled all appointments requiring me to set my foot outdoors. I refuse to go to work and have set up a home office. I have installed at my desk a barricade made up from heating devices. I stopped feeling embarrassed for wearing fingerless knitted gloves indoors. If I won’t last till spring, let it be known that I told you so.

Is it me or are you freezing to death too?

My Cat Thinks I’m Mad

Her judging face.
Her judging face.

My cat has serious concerns regarding my recent behaviour. I stopped going out in the garden for her sake only and took on some activities there that do not involve her. No, not gardening, I’m not that mad.

I started to go out with a small flat red object and waving it quite pointlessly in the air. It is a compact camera, but my cat doesn’t acknowledge the notion of photography. She keeps on poking in the thing, which doesn’t really improve my focus. Repeated sniffings proved that the thing was not eatable and hence useless. Why do I keep on carrying it on me?

I spend much time squatting or lying flat on the ground holding the thing and doing nothing. My cat neither acknowledges macro photography nor does she approve of it. I must be insane to lie stretched out in the snow with the red thing in front of me. It would make sense if I rolled on my back and meowed while at it, but I don’t.

The only sensible explanation is that I lost sense. Did I? And did you?

My Husband the Exhibitionist

Summer splashing
Summer splashing

I made a discovery. My husband is an exhibitionist. If I were a voyeur, we would make a perfect couple.

I’m shy for both of us. Looking at nude people distracts me. The male nurse who was taking an x-ray of my chest the other day to see how my lungs are doing likewise thought it distracting. He dressed me in some belts and whatnots for the x-ray, then forgot all about it and let me walk away all bound up. I wonder what distracted him.

Another time, after arriving at my in-law’s garden pool, my husband proceeded to change into his trunks. The proximity of male relatives did not bother him while doing so. Shy on his behalf, I bolted to hide in a shed and crawled back only when sure that everyone was properly clothed. Nobody else stripped that day. Much to my relief.

Are you shy too or is it me? And should I be worried?