I Feel Good: Something’s Wrong

Today, as I was going anxiously about my business, as per usual, I was struck by a momentary epiphany. I found I wasn’t going about my business anxiously but peacefully, actually. Puzzled, I examined what the fuck. The fuck I felt good, I found.

I instantly knew that something was wrong. I don’t feel good. That’s just not what I do. I’m not even sure any more what it is like to feel good. Provisionally, I imagine feeling good is what it is when one lacks any pain, discomfort and anguish, physical and mental. Damn. That’s one hell of a definition.

Am I alive or what?

So, yeah, I noticed straight away that I wasn’t in any pain at all, which manifested as a significant lack of something. I wasn’t even feeling anxious, which is my default setting, and for a while, I was meditating on whether or not I’m still alive. How the fuck am I supposed to tell when I don’t feel anything?

My feeling good freaked me out something fierce. Fortunately, this suspended condition didn’t last. As I proceeded to go about my business peacefully, I soon noticed I was in fact going about my business anxiously. Whew. That was close. I have no clue what people who feel good on the regular do about it but if it’s you, my sympathies to you, because this shit is scary as fuck.

Yeah, I like my expletives. *shrug*

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Back in the UK

I think it’s a song. “Back in the UK”. Most likely a shitty one. That’s why the name popped in my head for the title of what’s most likely to be a shitty post. As per usual.

I do shitty, I don’t do pretty.

As this time last year, I had the displeasure of accompanying a client on a business trip to the UK. Ostensibly to interpret from/to English. Actually to waste my time. Plus to get me some new scars in the mind and ruin the remainders of my nerves.

You know Dante’s Inferno? The guy clearly never was in the UK.

Yep. I postulate that the UK is worse than hell. Sorry, guys, if you’re British. If you’re British, you must be a rare exception. If you were the kind of British that I observed in their natural habitat during my trip, you’d be above and beyond reading my blog. So, yay, consider yourself exceptional! In a good way. Not in the way the word is abused to denote dumb kids.

Sorry, if you’re a dumb kid.

Actually. No. Not sorry. I’m so tired of being politically correct. That’s ultimately my main issue with my UK trip. Let’s give you the exposition. The dirty details, that is. Where I was dragged was a would-be-fancy London hotel for a convention of employees of a HR corporation. The horror, the horror.

Insert white space. The horror is unspeakable.

Fine. Unspeakable clearly doesn’t work for a blog post. Let me throw in some descriptive words then to capture the environment, the mood and the people, British and otherwise (the otherwise presumably attempted to assimilate, successfully):

  • Pretentious
  • Ostentatious
  • Inauthentic
  • Meaningless
  • Substanceless
  • Personalityless

What’s a roomfull of HR people? Zombie apocalypse.

I used to be a teacher and I live above a pub, so you can imagine I’ve heard my share of crap. Alas, I never heard so much crap crammed into such a small space and short time as at the HR convention.

On day one, I swore that if I hear the phrase driving our business forward once again, I shall scream. (I was reduced to hearing it a gazillion times more and I screamed inwardly and flinched outwardly.)

On day two, I swore that if someone asks me one more time if I’m OK, I shall scream MURDER!!! (I was asked many more times but I refrained from answering to prevent myself from screaming.) When I caught a glimpse of my face in one of the many useless decorative mirrors in opulent frames lining the hotel corridors, I had to admit I did look very unokay. Outright sick. Of course I was sick, what else should one be at a sickening corporate event? Sick.

On day three, the eve of the gala dinner, I wore an eveningish gownish, as instructed, and I didn’t breathe for three hours straight. Because the iron maiden is a pleasure tool when compared to a bra, tights, heels and evening dress. A fellow attendee attempted small talk in the lift, complimenting my dress. She should’ve known better. I rolled my eyes, tried to take a breath (unsuccessfully) and hissed breathlessly, I can’t fucking move in this piece of crap.

Moving, breathing and thinking strictly disallowed.

That was pretty much the catchphrase of the whole trip. I couldn’t move or breathe. I did suspect before that corporate environment was not a particularly healthy one but I didn’t appreciate the extent of the crippling effect it would have on me. I’m still recuperating. Not doing too well. Also, I’m quitting the client. Sheer survival instinct.

I’m Typing This with My Tongue

You clicked this only to find out how to type with your tongue, right? As it goes in life, you’ll be disappointed. Tongue typing is only for experts and cripples. If you’re not one (or both/either/neither), I suggest you try typing with your toes first. But I’m no expert. I’m a cripple.

It started with the commendable resolution to do one housekeeping item each day. To kick off (and simultaneously terminate) my project, I began cleaning the bathroom tiles from glue.

You know these self-adhesive bathroom hooks? Those little shits that aren’t really adhesive at all? So when they peel off from your tiles under the weight of air again, I recommend you don’t scrape the bits of adhesive stuck on the tiles with your finger. I learned the hard way.

I cleaned the tiles pristine, that I got to owe to myself, except soon after the act, I discovered a huge blister on the top of my scraping finger. The blister I wouldn’t mind, but it turned out to be highly annoying when typing and mouse-clicking. Also, this irregular growth of a blister irks my OCD insanely.

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Serving suggestion

Cut to the next day. I added a crippled arm to my crippled finger. That escalated quickly, right? This time, however, I didn’t do it to myself but had it done to myself. That’s called delegating. I got a new tattoo on my upper arm, which resulted in a loss of function for a few hours.

You know, they plaster a fresh tattoo with some plastic film to protect it. My tattoo guy doesn’t fuck around, so he fixed the film with some duct tape. It was inopportune that he taped my arm to the position of the robot dance. You got the image. Well, I guess it could’ve been worse, I could’ve ended up sieg-heiling for all I know.

My arm is fine now, thanks for asking, except the healing process is in the itchy stage, so I’m jerking around and looking like I’m having an epileptic seizure. My blister isn’t better at all, and how long the actual fuck does it even take for a blister to go away? Sorry for the fucks, by the way. But I maintain that expletives are an essential part of the language.

I put these fancy plasters on the blister. I hate the thing popping out of my finger, and the plaster flattens it, so. Have you ever tried putting a plaster on the top of your finger though? Or rather, have you ever tried keeping a plaster on the top of your finger? Don’t try. It’s impossible. You need a special plaster for that.

It’s made of silicone (or something) and, unlike bathroom hooks, it’s super adhesive. It’s so adhesive that when you want to remove it, you have to cut it off. Which is, as you would expect, where my (so far) last injury comes in. I was cutting the plaster with my sharpest scissors and, naturally, I cut myself in the same finger. So I had something proper to put plaster on. And that’s how come I’m typing with my tongue now.

I’m a Hoarder

What’s the biggest fear in your life? That you become like your parents, right? Well, I’m unhappy to announce that it happened. I became my mother. Not literally as in literally, but literally as in figuratively.

My mother is an old unpleasant lady—truth to be told—and she’s a hoarder. She’s been like this ever since I can remember. On her defence, the huge ugly multilevel cubical structure where we lived—and which we called somewhat inaccurately a family home—was a hoarder’s wet dream and ultimate temptation.

We had two garages—for one car—several cellars and multiple fucking pantries. Or cold rooms? What do you call the cool closet which is a room without windows primarily not intended for the storage of dead bodies but for the storage of food, though the usage is up to the user’s discretion? The cold room would be accurate.

So we had these cold rooms like we lived in a primitive agrarian society, grew our own food and had to store whole smoked pigs if we wanted to eat in winter. Actually, we did store cut-up pigs, in all seasons, in one of our multiple freezers.

The pantries were stashed with expired long-keeping food—but not long-keeping enough—pickled veggies, conserved fruits and jams. No one ate that shit, so it got periodically thrown out and replaced by freshly home-made batches.

Also, my mother grew up in the post-WWII austerity years. So let’s say that her food hoarding is an understandable deviation. Tell me this, though. Why do I hoard food? For fuck’s sake? Huh?

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Irrelevant picture—I hoard these too

I realised I had a problem when I brought in groceries the other day and realised there were too much groceries in the cabinet—I downscaled and own no pantry, thanks god—for it to fit more groceries. Okay, what is happening here? Why hoard food?? Am I insane???

Well, I am insane, officially certified insane, but I never knew it was so bad. What am I stocking up for like it’s a cold war? Though it is cold and there’s always war somewhere, so by a certain logic—if flawed—this is indeed a cold war era.

Am I stashing food in case I die, or what? The last time I checked, dead people didn’t eat. Except when they were undead, in which case they would eat live people. An eventuality I’m pitifully unprepared for.

But seriously. It’s not like I live in the middle of nowhere—well, I do, but there is a Tesco even. It’s not like I don’t have a car—well, I don’t, but the Tesco is within a walking distance, you know, when you set out with sunrise and are lucky, you’re back by midnight. Kidding. Also, it’s not like I have kids to feed.

I assume that my food hoarding is a pathological personality trait which reflects my obsessive urge to be in control, be prepared for any scenario and always expect that an unspecified disaster and gloom and doom—and no food—are impending. What do you make out of it?

Suddenly, I Live in a Desert

I walked in a desert.
And I cried,
“Ah, God, take me from this place!”
A voice said, “It is no desert.”
I cried, “Well, But—
The sand, the heat, the vacant horizon.”
A voice said, “It is no desert.”
—Stephen Crane

The above-quoted something circulates in academic circles as a poem. It doesn’t much resemble a poem, but the word of the literary critic is the word of god. What follows from this purported poem, besides that judeo-christian god is mean, is that there is no consensus as to what a desert is. (On an irreligious note, I am aware that I’m supposed to capitalise Judeo-Christian God, except I prefer not to.)

What is this thing, the desert, then? First, what makes a desert desert-ish is its deserted quality. Duh. In other words, the desert is a non-entity in the middle of nowhere where there is no civilisation, vegetation, animation or Wi-Fi. (Again, I am aware that this doesn’t even make sense, but I like it.) I look around—and yep, there’s nothing of substance around here, so check. Furthermore, a quality desert is boiling at day and freezing at night. I feel around—and indeed, these features check, too.

The obvious conclusion is that I live in a fucking desert. (Insert a dramatic pause when I’m waiting for a voice to tell me that this is not a fucking desert. — Nothing. Nevermind.) About deserts, you would have noticed the recent heatwave. Unless you live in an underground nuclear shelter because no one told you that the cold war is over-ish. If that’s the case, stay put, you’re good and cool down there.

I’m mostly glad for global warming. A person has the right to be warm at least a few days in a year and, above all, global warming doesn’t give a shit whether I approve of it or not. So I might just as well approve and have one problem less. This year though, global warming broke its personal record. Before this year’s heatwave, I didn’t live in a desert. And then I woke up like dis and suddenly I did.

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Tesco has AC. I don’t

My accustomed and perfectly acceptable indoor temperature at the peak of an average summer heatwave is 86 F (30° C). My preferred indoor temp in any season is 78.8 F (26° C). Lower than that is not consistent with life. This year my room is at 87.8 F (31° C), which doesn’t seem like much difference, but it’s exactly the difference between yeah, okay and nah, too much. I got hot. Not sexy hot but sweaty-ish hot. (Maintaining that a) I’m always sexy hot, b) I don’t sweat, I perspire, and I don’t perspire.)

I got so super hot that I got to sleep on top of the blanket. Even more appalling, in the worst days, I had to sleep sans clothes. It was highly confusing. I hate to sleep uncovered and uncurled and I don’t particularly enjoy waking up and looking at my boob. All weird, creased and crinkled because boobs are affected by gravitation when their owner is lying flat, and it’s not a flattering perspective. Don’t look at your boobs when lying down.

Also, one day I got so hot hot that I went to hang out in Tesco. They have AC. I spent two hours and cooled down very thoroughly because the place was a fucking freezer. Next time I’ll know to bring a coat. Apart from minor frostbite that I incurred, it was a highly enjoyable stroll. I read all the labels on all the products. I bought a thing or two. And then they kicked me out in the oven outside because they were closing. Tomorrow I’m going again. I’m bringing my laptop to set up an office there. You’re not gonna get rid of me that easy.

WordPress Reinvents Gutenberg and I Can’t—

WordPress invented the printing press for the post-printing age. They called it Gutenberg, thus positively impacting people’s factual knowledge in the post-factual age, while adversely impacting search trends on Google. Every idiot is searching for keyword Gutenberg and the more enlightened ones for phrase whats the difference between gutenberg and hewlett packard. Apart from circa half a millennium, none.

As for me, who was brought up at the height of the trivia age (aka let’s-see-how-much-encyclopaedic-facts-we-can-input-in-a-schoolkid’s-head-before-it-implodes age), I have a more interesting question. What’s the difference between Gutenberg à la WordPress and Shakespeare? Apart from a few random centuries, none. Both are much ado about nothing. Also, I tend to disapprove of both of them, while everyone else seems to be shitting themselves with enthusiasm, and I’m thinking what the heck I’m missing.

What is this thing, then, this Gutenberg by WordPress? Well. Since we’re on the literary note, let me whip up a simile (worry not, that’s the shit that is easier than the metaphor, or even the oxymoron). Just as WordPress allows you to make a website without actually knowing how to code, so Gutenberg allows you to produce content without knowing how to write. Okay. I might be exaggerating, but not much. Gutenberg is a kind of an upgraded visual editor. Like Word is an upgraded Notepad.

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This may or may not be my make-up (see below for [ir]relevance)
I have literally (not to be confused with literary) no idea (I could just as well finish the sentence here, right?)—no idea what my problem with visual editors is. A childhood trauma, perhaps? Hardly, unless my traumatising encounters with MS Dos count. (To my schoolteacher of IT, who never graded me better than a B: Dude, wanna see my latest bit of JavaScript? Or my new CSS tricks? You know, I happen to be a coder now. So fuck you, in yer face. [Not literally, please.])

I love new stuff and shit that makes other shit easier. I’m not the fashionable weirdo who bakes her own bread though she can buy it courtesy of the supermarket. I suspect I’ve had too much experience with visual editors not doing their one job and me ending up just coding the job, which, as it happened, was more efficient on all fronts. Whenever I hear visual builder, I’m getting measles. I’m kidding. I’m not getting measles at any time because my mother wasn’t a militant bio-mother, so I’m fully vaccinated.

I’m not sure whether the vaccine is the reason I’m semi-autistic. Maybe I was born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. It could be Rimmel, too. But not Sephora. I’m not a Sephora person. I know a person who is a Sephora person, which is why I researched what the fuck. It appears that Sephora sells overpriced make-up to those dumb enough to buy it. Which didn’t really answer my what the fuck question. I wear make-up once a week at most (not coincidentally, it coincides with the equally rare occasions when I leave the flat), and so I’m still wearing the glossy red lip gloss I bought five years ago.

Glossy lip gloss is no more fashionable, I hear (and deem it irrelevant), but I no more like it. Trouble is, as is the case with all things you don’t like any more, that the product is bottomless. I assume it’s also past its expiry date; fortunately, I don’t believe in expiry dates. Nothing but propaganda. I shall keep on using and/or eating any expired thing until it manifests highly visible signs of mould which I evaluate as severe enough to justify throwing the shit out. Don’t even try to argue with me. See above for post-factual age. You’re welcome.

I Just Had a Hilarious Anxiety/Panic Attack

Hilarious is probably not the first word that comes in mind in connection with mental episodes. Especially if you’re the sufferer. But when you look at it with the eyes of the observer, it is really the best word to describe it. Hilarious.

I just had an acute mental episode over nothing. What happened? Like I say, nothing. All I did was walking over to sit at the computer and get some work done. And whoosh. Out of the blue I can’t breathe and feel a pressing urge to peel my skin off in one piece like a snake because there’s a weird sensation all over it.

I totally get that some of my fellow nutcases bang their heads against the wall or cut themselves. Clear-cut physical discomfort is a breeze. Weird mental discomfort is—weird. Also, maddening; though I’m not sure how it applies when you are already mad.

So, doing my best to perform the breathing exercise designed for panic/anxiety attacks, I hop (limp shakily) on the yoga mat and go for a classic guided breathing meditation that I have bookmarked on my phone. Now I not only want to peel my skin off but also want to rip the headphones off my head and toss the shit out of the window because it feels crazy weird against the ears too.

As the meditation progresses, so does my panic because the exercise isn’t working. However, successfully overcoming the temptation to grab the phone and toss it the same way as the headphones, I complete the meditation, put the stuff out of the reach of crazy people, remove my shorts because they feel weird and move on to administer a Lexaurin pill.

Ten minutes later, I can breathe normally. Well, not really, I could breathe normally but I can’t at the moment because I’m having a fit of hysterical laughter at myself. As I’m putting my shorts back on because they are perfectly legit, totally comfortable and don’t feel weird at all, I’m wondering what the fuck that was.

Apparently, I had a panic attack over absolutely nothing.

Well, okay, so maybe there is a workload I’m freaking about, which might have triggered the reaction. But come on, tell me something that’s new or, even better, tell me one rational reason why I should be entitled to panic over work. It’s not like my life depends on it.

Well, okay, so maybe my life does depend on my ability to work my workload. But, so what, let’s not try to reinvent the wheel here. Same old, same old: I’m a means of production owned by the capitalist society blah blah; also, exploitation, inequity, overwork, underpay blah blah, so everything is as it should be.

Well, okay, so maybe everything isn’t as it should be. However, who is to say what should be? Not me. Not anyone, as far as I’m concerned. (I wonder if that makes me an anarchist? And is that a bad thing? — I’m glad I don’t subscribe to the good/bad dichotomy, looks like it’s complicated as fuck.) My point is: what is there to panic about when there is no point anyway? I wish my panicky brain finally got it. Duh.

My First-Time Muffin

Do you remember the first time you ate a muffin? I do. I remember it like it was yesterday. Incidentally, it was yesterday. How come I’ve got so far and so old without ever chancing to eat a muffin? Dunno. I wish I had a profound explanation. I have no anti-muffin agenda though, it just never occurred to me to eat one.

I’m currently watching one of the most idiotic TV shows ever done, Scrubs, and leaving aside my poor judgement and taste, there is one character who is always eating muffins. We all know how persistent advertising works, so it’s no surprise that I soon became obsessed with muffins. My obsession culminated to the point when I actively desired to eat one and, the advertiser’s dream, I took action to procure it.

Please note that we’re not talking euphemisms here. By muffin, I mean muffin. I got myself one in Tesco. It was unreasonably expensive, for a muffin, though I wouldn’t know, having never noticed that they even sell this shit before. I carried my muffin home, asphyxiating it tightly wrapped in one of those anti-nature plastic bags.

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Not a muffin

There, I set my muffin on a plate and commenced examining it visually. It was labelled as a chocolate muffin, hence it was nicely dark brown, but you never know whether it’s brown because it’s chocolate or because it’s artificial colouring and flavouring. I was pretty puzzled by the muffin sitting with its bottom stuck in whatyoumaycallit, baking cup? Another of these anti-nature wrappings, but paper, not plastic.

I got so many questions. Why is it called muffin in the first place? Because it muffles whatever you’re saying when you have your mouth stuffed full of it? But then it would be mufflin, I guess. Also, is it soft or hard? Some things are indeed better hard, like Oreos, but I’d prefer this one soft. And is there something in the centre of this misshapen ball? Like, uhm, cream filling? And will it explode on my face? On this note of practical considerations, how the fuck are you supposed to eat this thing??

I dug an exploratory finger in the top of the muffin and behold, it’s soft and crumbly! It’s so soft and crumbly that I got crumbs in my keyboard. Damnit. It’s nice though. Very nice. Very chocolatey. Also, now that I’m observing the remains of a muffin which has just undergone a lobotomy, have you ever noticed that the muffin looks like a nuclear mushroom cloud? No? It totally does! Look at that shit properly the next time you eat a muffin. And for your information, the muffin was as empty inside as me.

What You Should(n’t) Do to Sleep

I’ve decided to explore a new blogging niche. That of writing anti-blogs. Is anyone even doing it yet or have I finally stumbled upon something original? What I have in mind are specifically anti-manuals, anti-instructions and anti-advice. Since I suck at pretty much everything, particularly life, I thought I’d share my wisdom for the benefit of those whom I might serve as a cautionary story.

I quite enjoy the irony of this idea: I can’t save myself, yet I’m proposing to save the world. Okay, not to save the world, I’m more modest than that, hence I only seek to make the world a better place. Do you believe me? You shouldn’t! For fuck’s sake, you’re reading an anti-blog! Also, do I give the impression that I give a shit? I hope not. Scratch that. I don’t have hopes.

I’ve been sleep-deprived for quite a while now. Which may explain the preceding and the following. A bar recently opened right under my flat and I think my sleeplessness might be related to this fact. It’s not just a bar. It’s a rock music bar. A non-stop music bar, to be absolutely precise. I have their fucking jukebox right under my bed. No kidding. Let’s just say that the constant noise of varying quality and quantity doesn’t exactly facilitate sleep.

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Screw this shit

Which is where I’m getting down to my anti-advice. Aka, what you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to sleep. All the methods detailed below have been tested on myself and have been found inefficient, cumbersome and likely unsafe. While not recommended for human use, these methods seem to be safe for cats. Mine is not only not insomniac but appears perfectly at peace, especially in contrast to yours truly. My truly. Me.

The first method I tried consisted in listening to a meditation for sleep on the phone. This trick was actually nice and is comparatively safe. At least so I thought, until I talked to a friend, who happens to be a firefighter and who is obsessed with the idea that unattended phones in beds may spontaneously combust. Even when they are not Samsung. Do Samsung phones still explode? Just asking. I have a low-end phone and what it does is to freeze, so I assume no fireworks are happening here, literally or figuratively.

The second method I tried was purchasing a set of earplugs. I was very pleased with them because they looked cute and came in a pretty pod. They didn’t come with a manual, which displeased me, since I’m obsessed with manuals. So I googled. I was terrified, applying earplugs is basically nuclear science. However, apply them I did. Semi-successfully. They even worked, sort of, except my ears are still hurting from that foam shit. I must’ve misread the manual or something.

The third method I tried was to block the noise with even more noise. I was hoping one noise would cancel the other noise. Well, it doesn’t work like this. I selected an ambient ocean sound and played it in endless loop on the laptop. The roaring ocean was terrifying rather than relaxing. Though it did balance the noise nicely: there were drum beats coming from below and ocean screams coming from the left, where my laptop was sitting on the table. I didn’t dare to put it in the bed in case my firefighter friend would disapprove.

That much to my anti-manual so far. Excuse typos and general shit, I haven’t slept well. Like forever. Also, I’m writing this with my headphones on, listening to the roaring ocean. It sounds apocalyptic. I think it goes well with my life.

I Went to a Party (No, Really!)

I’m like Thomas Pynchon. People know me by name but no one has really seen me. I’m also not like Thomas Pynchon because there’s no mystery to my invisibility: I hardly ever go out and I let no one in. So, duh. Probably also unlike Thomas Pynchon, I recognise that social isolation causes craziness in sane people and boosts craziness in already insane people. The latter being my case, I sensibly decided that I shall bravely go where I have never gone before and will attend a party to which my acquaintance inexplicably invited me, probably acting in a fit of crazies.

After double-checking that the invite wasn’t a drunk misclick (I’m sure it was, but the party person took pity and assured me of his undying friendship acquaintance and his being okay with me coming), I dressed up and ventured out. I assumed that my acquaintance, like me, had no friends and that the party wouldn’t be a big deal. Feel free to imagine in unflattering visuals my surprise (like eyes popping out and tongue lolling from the open mouth) when I arrived to find half the village at the spot. I knew next to no one there, so after presenting my strikingly original present of a bottle of wine to the party leader, I sat down next to the nearest random person.

I had asked for water to start with, so I set my plastic cup in front of me and proceeded to introduce myself to my neighbour. The neighbour probably told me his name, which I didn’t forget—because I didn’t even hear it to start with. I wonder whether it’s a sign of egoism that I never listen to people when they’re introducing themselves. If it is indeed the case, consider me sufficiently punished because the longer you’ve known a person, the more awkward it gets to ask their name. My conversation with the random unknown party goer was more than disastrous.

The stranger showed me a wound on his leg, which was bleeding through the bandage. I spontaneously attempted to summon a deity in which I don’t believe (“OMG!”) and inquired what had happened. “It was at work,” he says. “Oh,” I say, more or less successfully feigning interest in the bloody blotch, “what were you doing?” He says, “Working.” I see. I don’t see, of course, but I don’t want to pry. So I try something different: “And what do you do?” He looks at me and says, “Same as everyone else.” Oh. I’m puzzled but choose to assume that I’m doing it wrong.

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The party took place at the yellow river

After a while, the stranger bends over and unties my shoe lace. Somewhat taken aback, I’m waiting for what it’s gonna be. The stranger resumes his seat and does absolutely nothing. So I say, “Okay, that’s it?” He confirms. That explains everything. Not. I tentatively express my disappointment, “You know, I was waiting for a point to it…” He says nothing. After a bit, I go on, “That was a token of affection or an act of hostility?” The former, he says. Instead of yelling, What the fuck are you, four or what?, I practise the Buddhist teachings of acceptance, honour and respect, and say, if somewhat insincerely, “Oh, that’s nice.”

Because I didn’t have the balls to tell the stranger that I was worried that idiocy was infectious, I said, though quite frankly, that I needed a drink and moved on. I didn’t grab a drink until much later and went on carrying around my cup of water, causing many eyebrows to raise. The ultimate havoc I wreaked was however when I politely refused the pot that was being passed around, laughing that I was a bit too grown-up for that crap. I should’ve kept my trap shut. Though I’ve meanwhile become a village legend (the village equivalent of the urban legend) because I genuinely can’t speak the colloquial variant of my mother tongue, which raised major suspicions.

Against my better judgement, I eventually had a few shots, but managed to stay the most sober person around, second only to the dogs and kids present. I recently decided I was too grown-up to get stupid drunk. Shrug. I tried my hand (tongue) at some more conversations. I was the most successful with someone’s mother, who was twice my age and apparently found herself at the party by mistake, like me. I totally killed it (in the bad way) when someone was explaining that they sought to be awarded invalidity pension and I thought they were joking, so I joined in, “Haha, a good one, who’d want a pension, right?” Except they weren’t joking. They thought I was joking when I attempted to explain my view that it takes an exceptional person not to get uselessly wasted away once they’re on pension and don’t have to do anything.

When it got dark, cold and people started slurring beyond comprehension, I took the liberty to leave. I went depressed and despondent. How do I never fit anywhere? Like, it’s probably me, right? How do I literally and figuratively, on all planes, don’t speak the same language as everyone else? And, are there people who do speak my tongue? If so, where the fuck are the suckers hiding? I do wonder what the other party goers’ interpretation of my presence at the party would be. Provided they’d remember anything of it or bothered to care about it in the first place. I’m sure it’d be totally different from mine. I’m stumped.