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.

IMG_20180609_164450-01.jpeg
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.

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How I Met My Father (and Nothing Happened)

My yesterday’s post concerning my anticipation anxiety (a fancy term for being preventively scared) about my father’s visit rose some questions. Such as, have I never met my father before? What’s wrong with my father? What’s wrong with me? What the fuck is it even all about?

Let’s start chronologically. I grew up with both my parents in what was then considered a perfectly normal family but would today be probably called dysfunctional (because today we have pretty terms for everything). I moved out when I was eighteen and then the whole of my family went crazy (that is, even crazier) and started suing each other for an assortment of reasons (also, I didn’t sue anyone because I couldn’t be bothered).

To skip the boring details, the result was that I lost touch with various family members for various lengths of time. The constellations are constantly changing and currently, no one talks with anyone else, except for me, who talks with everyone but tells no one that I talk with everyone. Totally straightforward.

I resumed contact with my father last year and we occasionally speak on the phone and rarely visit each other. His today’s visit was a social call and an opportunity to tell me in person that I piss him off, in case it was not clear. I can’t find a convenient label for my father, so let’s say that he’s difficult (to say the least). He is a rather offensive character too (either that, or I’m hypersensitive).

The father arrived while I was mid-way through my first morning cigarette and contemplating whether the situation is as extreme as to require administering Lexaurin or not. I didn’t get to either finish my cigarette or to come to a conclusion of my contemplation. Well, I let the old frail and ill person in (I have a fixed image in my mind of my parents when they were in their fifties and somehow can’t take it that they’re getting on their seventies these days).

I offered the usual soft beverages. Father replied I may just as well shove them up my ass unless I have rum. I unwisely admitted I had slivovitz, which he decided to have for breakfast. He consumed a considerable portion of my stock before his second wife arrived and put an end to it (he doesn’t have two wives, he remarried after divorcing my mother). There’s a reason why his liver is a goner. So, I was trying to maintain a conversation, which wasn’t too interesting, and I learned the following trivia:

  • I piss my father off. (Old news.)
  • I only cost my father money and nerves. (I guess so.)
  • I should start growing my hair back because he won’t have me attend his funeral with my head half-shaved. He didn’t appreciate that I put on a hairband to hide my hair and no-hair. (I’m not fucking getting my hair grown even if it should be father’s last wish. Full stop.)
  • I should avoid alcohol. (I agree.)
  • I should quit smoking because I’m an idiot to smoke. (I agree.)
  • I should pull myself and my life together. (Yes.)

Well, what an uneventful visit and waste of time, even. You asked for a picture of a sun if the visit goes alright, but I don’t remember what the sun is. I have a rough idea but I haven’t seen it for weeks. Instead, here’s a picture of fog. Close enough, no?

Finding Everyday Inspiration: If We Were Having Slivovitz

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

It’s challenging to take part in a challenge when you’ve already taken your challenged part in every challenge. In other words, I’ve already been challenged to everything. In other other words, I’ve already written about everything. This includes today’s stale prompt, which is,¬†If we were having coffee. To exterminate any potential bacteria and fungus in the stale coffee prompt, I’ll be having slivovitz instead.

If we were having slivovitz, I’d be more annoying than usual but that wouldn’t matter because we’d be having slivovitz.

If we were having slivovitz, I’d be complaining about my shitty life and punctuate my rant with the assertion that I’m not complaining. (I am aware of the irony.)

If we were continuing having slivovitz, I’d request that you compliment my hairdo, make-up, glasses, apparel and also my being a badass smartass.

If we were still having slivovitz, I’d produce fifty most recent pictures of my cat and demand that you praise her.

If we were having more slivovitz, I’d recite by heart several poems in several languages only because I can.

If we were having our last slivovitz, I’d reminisce about the communists and cry because a democratic revolution interfered before I could become a pioneer (the communist version of girl scouts).

If we were having slivovitz, we wouldn’t have slivovitz again for a very long time.

What I Hated the Least Today 220/365: Not-Date

Not-coffee
Not-coffee

I’ve been to a not-date with a fellow patient from the psychiatric ward. (An intriguing premise, right?) His diagnoses include¬†but are not limited to depression, alcoholism and asocial tendencies. (Getting interesting, huh?) I share the same diagnoses, minus alcoholism, plus anxiety. (Gotta have something extra, you know.) Nothing of note happened. (Anticlimactic, I know.)

On my not-date, I had not-coffee. That is, tea. The asocial alcoholic, let’s call him John Doe, had tiny coffee, in which he dipped his biscuit British-style. I ate my biscuit dry and was disappointed that John hasn’t given me his. I’m used to gifts of coffee biscuits from the mental ward because all the patients, on learning these are my faves, would bring me theirs in an attempt to fatten me up. (Didn’t work out.)

John is mildly scary and appreciates my morbid sense of humour. Hence, to start with, I observed that should he wish to drag me in a dark alley and kill me,¬†he can feel free to do so because, being depressed, I wouldn’t be particularly upset to be dead. John didn’t feel like it. So we proceeded to sit in a smokers cafe and discuss the delightful graphic images on cigarette packages, which are probably intended to discourage smokers but which cheer me up.

I neither loved nor hated my not-date. However, as I’m socially isolated, I welcomed the opportunity to socialise, be it with an asocial person or not. My therapeutic programme involves at least one face-to-face social interaction per week, so I was pleased to have fulfilled my duty for the week. That’s how I go about my therapy¬†‚Äď I duly do what I’m supposed to, and it does nothing for me, besides a rather weak and short-lasting satisfaction when I cross an item, like social interaction, off my to-do list.

What I Hated the Least Today 216/365: Brave

Brave coffee
Brave coffee

This is going to be another mental post. Sorry about that. It’s not every day that you’re freshly released from the madhouse though, so I’m naturally full of it.

I normally focus on what I failed to do rather than on what I managed to do. Because logic. When I did it, it requires no further attention. When I failed to do it, then something was wrong and the situation needs to be analysed to avoid recurrence.

Despite myself, I now keep a list of my daily achievements. “Achievements”, that is. Doctor’s advice. When I look at my lists, it’s supposed to encourage me, but I suspect it might be making me more depressed because of the nature of my “achievements”. It’s typically something along the following lines:

I was being brave today. Look at what I’ve managed:

  • ask for the Wi-Fi password in a cafe (though I was inclined not to because I hate to ask about/for anything)
  • call my father, whom I strongly dislike (I didn’t even want anything, it was a social call)
  • buy one chocolate instead of a dozen (though they were on offer)
  • generally survive the day (though I maintain being dead is easier)

Now will you please excuse me, I have to go and consider whether listing my pseudo-achievements cheered me up or made me suicidal. (If I’m not back, it’s the latter option. Kidding.)

What I Hated the Least Today 211/365: Hello World

Extraordinary times and extraordinary measures
Extraordinary times and extraordinary measures

Hello guys and thanks everyone for your concerned messages regarding my cowardly disappearance from the blog! Now it’s when I assure you that I’m fine, right? Well, I’m not exactly fine, but I’m not keen on elaborating too much. I’m a firm believer in it being a common decency to shut up and deal with it rather than bogging everyone around with whatever bogs you.

To satisfy anyone possibly curious though, my health has been failing these last few months and I’ve been working 12 to 14 hours a day, trying to pay the bills¬†‚Äď see, it’s boring shit and nothing to be curious about¬†‚Äď but it perfectly¬†explains my currently low blogging profile. If anything, I’d like to inspire not sympathy, but admiration of my badassness. That’s your hint ūüėČ

For comic relief, in the crappy featured¬†photo of this post (if you excuse my language, but given my self-proclaimed badass status, I reserve for myself the right to be offensive when I’m inclined so), I present, anticlimactically, a mug of tea. I hate tea and I never drink it unless I think I’m dying. Well, I drink it now. I thought it might help me to calm down, so I started taking a mug before bed. I can’t determine¬†if it helps, but it tastes awful, so it must be healthy.

What I Hated the Least Today 148/365: Eating Out

Eating out - literally
Eating out – literally

I never eat out‚ÄĒexcept when I do, of course. I did so when I had two hours to pass away before my return bus’s departure when I finished teaching/examining. I could have taken the more expensive, less comfortable and Wi-Fi-less train, but I’m loyal to my preferred bus service (less expensive, more comfortable and Wi-Fi-equipped). I thought I could have a lunch somewhere while waiting, as I’ve grown increasingly fed up with my low-calorie food diet (fed is probably not the best word choice in reference to my diet) and was craving actual food (I maintain that vegetables and tofu do not qualify as actual food).

I spent much time deciding if I’d go for lunch and even more time deciding where to go for lunch. I’m indecisive. I’m also scared of people and eating out requires dealing with them. I went through my agonisingly slow deciding process while sitting on a bench in the scorching heat and chain-smoking (two is already a chain), vaguely unhappy with myself. Perhaps I could just as well remain here, contemplating my incompetence, and making do with my crisp rice bread snack? But then the thought of food that is actually food was so tempting.

I consulted my mobile device for eating places nearby. All of them looked OK, none of them looked like a must-visit though. Round the corner there was what turned out to be a vegetarian diner‚ÄĒso as to prove to myself that I’m not biased, I checked out¬†the daily menu posted on their web and found that they offered sweet rice and a tofu meal. Now, that’s not much of an improvement when compared to the rice bread in my handbag and the tofu in my fridge. As I noticed I was already starting to draw attention (a nervous person sitting alone and fidgeting on a bench is bound to want¬†to¬†blow something up), I abandoned my post¬†and went in the nearest restaurant across the street.

Inside, I planned¬†to tuck myself into a corner somewhere, but seating options suitable for a single person were somewhat limited, so I climbed on a slightly raised platform strewn with¬†a bunch of small tables. That was a largely¬†counter-intuitive choice, but at least the platform lined the wall. I hate open spaces (which is another¬†way of saying I’m agoraphobic). The waiters (or, as one of my students termed¬†them during her oral exam, the¬†servants) were complaisant (which always makes me embarrassed for myself for no good reason), and the menu offered chicken wraps and a pasta salad (which I deemed acceptable).

I was so cheeky as to ask if I could¬†have the salad without dressing. I don’t like my food all sticky with a semi-fluid substance of dubious colour and texture. The waiter reported that the dressing was already mixed in the meal; so never mind, let’s try the wraps. The waiter double-checked, correcting my wraps¬†pronunciation (I czechified it, but the waiter was probably proud he knew how to pronounce it in English, so I naturally didn’t mention my PhD in English and tried not to let on the depth of my embarrassment). I asked for water then, possibly with a slice of lemon or something, because I reasoned it would be cheaper than mineral water.

The food was alright¬†but rather expensive, and the tap water turned out to be outright overpriced. Good to know that next time I should just have beer, which is the cheapest drink you can get (cheaper than water and cheaper than bread). I was quite proud of myself because I ventured to interact with people (I hated it) and I confirmed my initial suspicion that eating out was neither affordable nor too delightful when practised alone. I’m also pleased to report an entertaining incident: as I was leaving, I obviously forgot all about me being on a raised platform, and I nearly faceplanted, to the genuine concern of the nearby waiter. He advised me to mind the¬†step.

What I Hated the Least Today 146/365: Nostalgic Nonsense

On the bus, as per usual
On the bus, as per usual

It’s my last week on teaching duty and I’m getting somewhat nostalgic about it. Not about the teaching, which I find a thoroughly depressing experience, but about my¬†commute ritual.

I hope the people I’ve been commuting with will miss me as much as I’ll miss them. Poor stewardess Patricia, who serves my regular bus line, will find my seat no. 53 unoccupied (or, worse, occupied by a stranger¬†who picked the seat on a whim rather than because it’s their spot) and will have to abandon her own ritual of bringing me my usual medium sparkling water without me having to ask for it.

Also, my favourite underage waiter in the coffee shop¬†where I always wait for my return bus will have no one to ask what kind of latte I’m having today (my preferred choice¬†is the one with coconut syrup).

The doorwoman at the university building C3 will probably be relieved because she never remembered who I was and routinely insisted that I identify myself. It clearly makes perfect sense that a random person asks for a classroom key so that she could surreptitiously teach there a bunch of ignorant kids.

Who is bound to be most pleased with the end¬†of my teaching stint is my cat. The cat demands that I sit at home and keep her company. It’s a question what she gets out of it because while I’m home, she doesn’t pay me any attention. That’s a feature she shares with my students, whom I for this reason¬†won’t miss at all.

What I Hated the Least Today 126/365: Scotch and Pizza

Cheap (but still too expensive) whisky
Cheap (but still too expensive) whisky

It was Friday night and I got depressed‚ÄĒas do all people who don’t know what to do with themselves when they don’t have anything urgent to do at the moment. My solution to depression was classically self-destructive: I ordered pizza, poured Scotch and watched Game of Thrones. I found all of these but the Scotch deeply disappointing, so the solution didn’t really solve much, besides successfully dissolving some of the disappointment in the budget whisky.

What I hated the least was that my favourite (possibly the only) pizza delivery service in my location tentatively entered the twenty-first century and introduced the option of online ordering. Since they launched the online order feature, I’m sure the company has noticed a huge influx of new customers recruited from the ranks of sad, pathetic and socially inapt people like me, who are willing to do anything to avoid making a phone call. Even if it means starving to death because ordering by phone is too much of an embarrassment to go through. What needs to be done now is the deployment of drones for pizza delivery‚ÄĒI don’t want to talk to the pizza boy.

Though the pizza wasn’t worth the money (next time I’ll use the pizza money to buy more/better booze) and the latest episode of Game of Thrones¬†had sedative effects on me (unrelated to the alcohol consumed), I did my best to have some fun: I made a pizza unboxing video. This feat was inspired by a conversation with Cardinal Guzman and Rebekah (and others) below¬†the post on my new laptop, where iPhone unboxing videos were ridiculed¬†and the subversive idea of making a pizza unboxing video was suggested. Here you go.

What I Hated the Least Today 119/365: An Encounter

Contributions for beer
Contributions for beer

It’s the time of the year when secondary school students are getting ready¬†for their school leaving exams. The preparations involve them putting on¬†madcap costumes, walking in gangs around the town and pestering passers-by for contributions. It’s something like a¬†teenage version of Trick and Treat, except trick is not an option. The contributions are collected in cash solely and are intended towards the kids’¬†school leaving parties. While it is an established tradition, I think it curious that anyone should expect me to give them spending money just like that.

Sadly, I’m the annoying type of person who challenges things, asks nagging questions and blatantly refuses to do something for which there is no practical reason besides its being tradition. If there is one word for my condition, besides¬†smartass and¬†jerk, let me know so that I could stick it on my chest as a warning to anyone who would approach me. The student (dressed as a Michelin Man crossed with a sumo wrestler)¬†who incautiously asked me to contribute would certainly have welcomed an early warning. I have to owe him that he coped well though.

 

Student: Ma’m, contribute, please!

Smartass: Mm, don’t you think it’s a strange¬†tradition that people should give¬†money for booze to underage kids?

Student: It’s not for booze!

Smartass: *chuckling* Yeah, right. I took a school leaving exam too.

Student: You did?

Smartass: (Do I look like I didn’t go to¬†school? WTF?) Sure.

Student: You don’t have to contribute.

Smartass: *snort* Thanks, I know I don’t have to contribute.

Student: (goes away)

 

Now I see how¬†genuinely disgusting and universally¬†detestable¬†person I am. Not only did I contribute nothing but I was also nasty¬†to the poor kid. It somehow didn’t sound so mean as a real exchange, but stripped of tone and gestures, it is pure evil. Now I depressed myself. I still however maintain that I’m not contributing anyone for booze unless they contribute me for rent.