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.

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My Perfectly Average Silhouette

WordPress’s Daily Post is being clairvoyant today. The prompt of the day is silhouette, which I noticed just after posting a snap of my own meagre silhouette on Instagram.

Relating to this photo and at other occasions, I’ve had curious discussions with people about my height. It’s no huge surprise that different parts of the world are populated with people of different heights, but I was a bit surprised that North Americans tend to regard me as tall. What the heck? It must be my slight built that’s misleading.

I checked some rough stats and confirmed that my height is perfectly average for my part of the world. And by perfectly, I mean perfectly, I’m right at the average (okay, so almost right there, I’m 0.78 mm/0.03 in off). You can check out the stats on Wikipedia, if you’re interested, but what I’m trying to point out is that an average US woman is 161.8 cm (5 ft 3 1⁄2 in), while an average Czech female, me, is 167.22 cm (5 ft 6 in).

I’m right where I’m supposed to be, height-wise, and I’m not only not tall, but even sufficiently short to be perceived by the average Czech male (180.31 cm / 5 ft 11 in) as tiny.  That much to statistics.

Getting Tattoo Number Three

The other day I saw a wonderfully fitting comics, which I can’t be bothered locating again, so I’ll retell it without pictures:

Getting the first tattoo: Oh, it must be something deep and meaningful!
Next tattoos: A unicorn? Sure, I like unicorns!

(I don’t personally like unicorns, as you might remember from my old blog tagline, which said that I’d feed any unicorn in my proximity to my cat or, even better, sell it on eBay.)

Currently on tattoo number three, I didn’t attempt to invent anything deeply meaningful and entirely new because, duh, you can’t do that, everything’s been here already. Also, we’re all going to die anyway (that’s my deep personal motto) and a permanent tattoo is about as permanent as life. Which is, not much. So I just ripped a prefabricated design I liked off the internet. Shrug.

Since I’m a self-declared Buddhist, I picked what’s called the ensō, a hand-drawn circle achieved by a single stroke of the brush. It’s symbolic of Zen or anything you want, really. The image that I brought to the tattoo artist was computer-made, but the guy turned out to be less incompetent than I’d feared and suggested he’d do it for me with an actual brush. Hey, so I ended up with a unique pattern after all!

My appointment for the deed was at 8 AM. What the actual fuck. I don’t normally get up until noon, so this was an act of torture. I walked in the studio zombie-like and proceeded to undress with machine-like movements (not to undress completely, just partially, because I’d freeze to death, duh). As the man prepped his junk (no innuendo intended) and switched on the tattoo machine, the device started to make sounds like the dentist’s drill and I freaked out. (I’m terrified of the dentist.) I may or may have not yelled:

Aw, fuck, I should’ve taken Lexaurin before THIS!

The man made me promise I won’t swear at him dirty, which I did (promise), and I also promised that I’d just cry quietly and that he needn’t mind me. Besides dentists, I’m terrified of pain, which, it turns out, is entirely idiotic and superstitious because during the one-hour tattooing session, I didn’t experience worse than gentle discomfort (only as the needle hit the collar bone—I’m having this circle shit circling my shoulder cap) and it was just nice, wholesome physical pain, which is laughable when compared to the stuff I deal with courtesy of my depression slash anxiety.

I had a lovely chat with the tattoo guy though. What a social occasion for me who doesn’t have a life! The man turned out, surprisingly, to be able to digest my very black and mean humour, which I rarely encounter in people (or in animals, I suppose). So, I seated myself in a comfortable cross-legged meditation seat, ready to go:

He asks: Uh, how long do you think you can sit like this?
Me: Uh, hours on end, I guess?

Please note that I’m a girl and a yogi girl, and hence it’s totally normal for me to sit cross-legged. It’s the best because I don’t topple when I have the extra support of the crossed legs.

On this note, the tattoo man was quite trusting and didn’t seem to mind that I had my knee in his crotch half of the time. No one got hurt though, I mean, except my shoulder, apparently, which didn’t even hurt. Some way into it, I started to doze off. Yawn. I really should be sleeping:

You okay? asks the tattoo guy.
Yeah. Just bored. I retort.

On which he offers me the tattoo machine:

Wanna try it?

I’m considering it. But:

Nah, I’m good. Wake me up when you’re done

In case you’re dozing off reading this, yawn, let me conclude that all seemed to go well, I love the result, and since I had such a good time, I’ll be coming again. As to a picture of the result, I didn’t take a good one when the tattoo was fresh, and now it’s not a good time, since it’s healing and peeling and whatnot. But I assume you can imagine a circle around the shoulder, right? Also, an afterthought: the priceless response of my friend, whom I bragged and who isn’t into tattoos:

But won’t that show too much in summer? 

Hmm. That’s sort of the idea, no?

Finding Everyday Inspiration: I Hate My Body

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

When I plagued my readers with the inquiry what I should write about, Michael from Morpethroad came up with a topic I never considered before: “Your body – how you see it, have used it, have cared for it, how it’s regarded by others.” That’s an appropriate occasion to list some of the complaints I’ve been receiving from my body, which I apparently hate, considering how I mistreat it (I’d say outright that I abuse myself, but I suspect it might come out wrong).


I was born with an unsightly brown patch on my face. Since we don’t live in Sparta, my parents didn’t resort to tossing me off the cliff (though if they would have, they’d save everyone a lot of trouble). Whatever the patch was (probably a witch mark), it disappeared before I got old enough to be disposed of in pre-school and exposed to mean kids laughing at me. The kids laughed at me anyway because my father was regularly forgetting to pick me up as he got easily distracted by the pubs he was passing on the way.

I was also born bald. My baldness persisted for several years. My mother made me wear a headscarf to hide it (back then a headscarf didn’t have religious connotations because we were tucked behind the Iron Curtain and knew nothing). She also treated my hairless head with green water in which nettle plants were boiled. It probably worked because I grew hair, lots of hair, and my mother is never going to forgive me that I wear it half-shaved these days. I mean, she put so much effort into growing it.

Some body parts

When I was a kid, I apparently attempted to kill myself. Don’t get scared, it qualified more as incomplete manslaughter rather than as attempted murder. I was warned not to go sledging down the steep hill in the woods behind the house, so I naturally went to sledge there. The sledge gained unexpected speed and since I was too clueless to remember that the sledge had brakes, I hit a tree in full speed. I was unconscious for a bit and had a wonderful dream about the Hansel and Gretel fairy-tale. I spent two weeks in hospital with concussion but was most worried about my parents yelling at me.

Now I think my body is trying to communicate with me but I mostly ignore it. I mean, I’m trying to defeat its demands through sheer willpower. I’m not particularly excited with how the body is working, but since it’s past its expiry date, I can’t return it, so I guess I’d better just get used to it. I could have ended up with a worse one. For example, I could have had crooked teeth. Wait. I got crooked teeth. Anyway. Let’s look at the bright side: it will be so awesome when my teeth fall out and I’ll have perfectly white and perfectly straight dentures to replace them. No?