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.

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Wait, That’s Not Even a Poem

In my past life
When I dropped myself on the bed
Overworked, exhausted & sleep-deprived
After studying English poetry all night
There were snippets of rhymed lines
Waging a war of verses in my mind

Warning me

I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

What a heap of shit
How did I think
Any of that matters

It doesn’t pay the bills

So, flashforward to now
When I drop myself on the bed
Still overworked, exhausted & sleep-deprived
After translating a company website all night
There’s a war of visions going on in my head

A clash of clichés making me wish for brain death
I laugh at the line The extrusion line strikes back
Though there’s nothing funny about that
It’s pathetic, really, just like me

I still don’t pay the bills

But, at least, I’m not buying this shit
Maybe I’m brain-dead already
As I wish
That would be—a happy ending
I think

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Not going gentle into that night

The Joys of Being the Janitor

I’ve complained earlier of having been unanimously by one out of one vote appointed the concierge. I’m still hating it, faithful to my principle of hating everything and everyone.

A more appropriate word for concierge is the janitor, which is an all-in-one function, rolling into a single person an administrator, an electrician, a plumber and a cleaner, among other things. No qualifications are required because other people don’t know what they’re doing either anyway.

On a Friday morning, I woke up to the sound of water gurgling more angrily than usual in the radiators. That means one thing. I gotta go down to the boiler room and pressurise the boiler. I duly did. The water stopped splashing and I was pleased with myself, thinking how nicely I fixed it.

An hour later I noticed the radiators stopped heating altogether. Also, there was no hot water. Oops. So back to the cellar I descend to examine. The meter shows the whopping pressure of zero. Hmm. I move a few handles tentatively, waiting for something to magically happen. After another hour I break and call the actual plumber.

He’s pretty displeased because it’s Friday and people don’t expect to work on a Friday, unless they’re freelancers, like me, who work 24/7 and rest only when they’re interned in the psych ward with acute overwork. The plumber came and scolded me for clearly not knowing how to pressurise the boiler properly. Dear plumber, I’m a fucking doctor of literature, of course I don’t know how to treat a boiler, but I did exactly what you showed me to do to it, okay?

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An irrelevant image enhancing the horror mood of the post

The plumber started repressurising. It was taking forever and the pressure refused to climb. I guess it was feeling lazy. See above for nobody works on a Friday. The plumber says, That’s weird, it’s like the water is disappearing. I scream internally. I don’t believe in magic disappearances. I say, What do you mean, disappearing, like leaking? The plumber confirms. I’m trying to wrap my mind around it as the plumber sends me out to check all the flats  in the building for radiator leaks.

I don’t get too far. There’s the sound of a waterfall in the cellar next to the boiler room. Properly freaked out, I throw the door open and step in a pool of water as I’m reaching for the light switch. There’s a hole in the ceiling and a thick stream is pouring down from it. I scream literally. The plumber rushes to see if I saw a ghost or what and whistles appreciatively, as he observes the make-shift waterfall. The building has just upgraded to a swimming pool.

What’s above here, the plumber gestures up, clearly delighted to have a little excitement to spice up his dull shift. That would be my flat, I say. Alright, let’s see your flat then, the plumber suggests. My flat is all clear, which is good news, the plumber offers, as he notices my white face. There’s no fucking good news when there’s a fucking hole in the fucking cellar ceiling!! It’s like comforting a dying guy with telling him that at least, when he’s dead, he won’t have to pay health insurance.

What’s next to you, the plumber inquires. An empty bar, I say. We pay a visit there and the plumber is insensitively cheerful to see it flooded. Here you go, he shouts enthusiastically, that’s your leak! I remain quiet and catatonic. The plumber sends me back to my flat to take a Lexaurin and sets off to fetch his mates, so they could have some fun too.

The leak turned out to have been caused by an exploded radiator, which some dumbass didn’t shut down properly and which burst with excitement when the outside temperature dropped too low. I was relieved that I didn’t break the boiler but spent the rest of the day trying to sweep the water from the flooded areas. It was like, uh, sweeping water. Being a janitor is a great job. Not.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved; or, My Precious

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved.

The other thing I love, besides my cat. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a Mac to love your computer. I have a Lenovo called Lena and she’s perfectly lovable as she is. Of course, Windows keep on trying to ruin her, but nothing’s perfectly perfect.

18-01-31-beloved2.jpeg

 

So I Got These Ikea Glasses…

Design IKEA
Made in CHINA
What the f*ck?

Well *shrug*
Glass is glass
You drop it
.
It breaks
.
.
Into millions
Of shards . . .

Except, I guess
In CHINA
There’re no unions

Sorry about the Silence

I haven’t been around for a while. (Stating the obvious.) I’ve been busy busting my ass working like my life depended on it (it sort of does). It’s not that I have a history of overwork and psych ward incarceration (I do). So, to make up for it, I’ve penned a terrible pseudo-poem.

I’ve been quiet
Catatonic
Vegetative
Pathetic
Not keen on
—anything

I’m not good
But better now
Thank you

 

I’ll Be a TV Star (No, Seriously)

Yesterday I was at a career fair. I didn’t go looking for a career, I’m currently looking for a will to live, and I don’t want to be looking for too many things at once. I was actually hired to help hopeful job hunters with their CVs. Everyone needs help with their CV because no one knows how to do this mysterious genre properly. Except me, obviously.

At the venue, I got a name tag and a booth of my own. I brought along a book and was hoping to spend the day pleasantly occupied reading my book, wandering around the premises and taking selfies. Unfortunately, people were so keen on having a CV consultation that I only had time for one bathroom break, one coffee break and several smoke breaks, which I masqueraded as pee breaks.

When I had a minute of peace, I couldn’t get my peace either because a camera person jumped on me and informed me that I was going to tell him on the camera what I was doing here and what it was good for. I meekly protested, saying I’d prefer not to discuss metaphysical questions. Also, I’m not even here, and if I am here, then it’s to crush people’s spirits and get paid for it.

The cameraman insisted. Serve him right. Because I still have some residual sense, I knew better than to express my private opinions publicly. So, accompanied with the man’s encouraging nodding, I weaved a tale on the spot on how exciting it is to participate at this unique occasion and get to lend young talented people a hand with getting the career they deserve. A load of shit. But I’ll be a TV star.

When You Don’t Feel like It, It’s the Worst

My late grandmother used to have a lot of sayings which I didn’t think particularly clever or relevant. As I’m getting old myself, surprise, surprise, I’m getting my grandmother more. A shame I can’t tell her. (Now I almost sniffed, which is ridiculous because I didn’t love my grandmother that much at all. Feel free to shoot me in my cold heart.)

The grandmother used to say, When you don’t feel like doing something, it’s worse than when you can’t do it. These days this resonates with me more than ever. To complete the picture, my favourite personal growth author writes to the effect that workaholics are the least efficient workers and that when you work too much, you can get yourself to the point when you’re too tired not only to work but also to relax. That’s all me. A shame I know it but do nothing much about it.

Irrelevant shit I haven’t posted yet

Speaking of grandmothers, I visited my late grand-grandmother’s grave today. She was my favourite family member ever. She was a fucking heroine. A shame I didn’t take after her. She was uneducated, simple but commonsensical and she was the bravest person I ever knew. She buried her husband, her grandson and her only daughter, yet she shut the fuck up, dealt with it and lived to 92. How could she do it? I’m only slightly over third her age and I can’t anymore.

Came Home from a Looong Trip and Am Orgiastic

I just arrived home after being the whole day on the go. That’s standard practice for most people, but for me, it’s an emergency situation. I fucking hate to go anywhere, the more so that it typically involves getting up at my usual bed time. I live in the middle of nowhere, so it takes a lot of manoeuvring to use the public transport to get somewhere.

Today I got up at the usual 4 AM and travelled to the other end of the country on a business trip. It was traumatising on so many levels. There was travel. There were people. There was social interaction. There was a very limited number of smoking breaks. I had to be constantly on the guard to appear competent and interested, or at least not asleep.

My mouth still hurts from my prolonged pretence of a forthcoming smile. I don’t usually smile. When I’m genuinely amused, I lift one corner of the mouth (it’s too much effort to lift both) and chuckle spasmodically. Also, my bum hurts because I’ve been sitting on my sitting bones the whole day. I guess that would be less of a problem if I had body fat, but I don’t have such a thing.

My hand isn’t jaundiced or spotted. Wrong choice of filter.

Based on the overwhelming impressions of today, I have come to several conclusions (which I suspected before, so it only confirms my darkest preconceptions):

  • People are so fucking exhausting.
  • Business meetings are perfectly useless.
  • People don’t respect me.

As to the last point, it may have several explanations. I’m nervous, unassertive, quiet and always have a guilty face like I just stole your kitten. Also, people seem to think I’m much younger than I am. This isn’t as flattering as rather frustrating because they tend to treat me condescendingly. Finally, when in more formal environments, people apparently have issues with my appearance, which is only very mildly extravagant. (I mean, sure, I have half my head shaved, but I was wearing a fucking blouse & blazer, all business like and shit.)

I was dealing with one middle-aged and one elderly lady today. The middle-aged lady kept on addressing the other woman politely as doctor. Both women addressed me in unison with my first name. I think I took offence. The doctor lady has a lesser degree than I do, she only has a PhDr (means she just reworked her MA thesis), while I have a greater degree, PhD (means I studied extra three years plus wrote a dissertation and took an exam). But I didn’t get to be addressed as doctor. What’s wrong with you people? Either let’s call everyone their first names or let’s address everyone with their titles. Makes sense, no?

Finally, fuck. I’m orgiastically happy to be back home.

I’ve Been Panicking over a Cat Toy (Seriously)

I’m overworked. No, really, I’m always overworked but now I’m acutely overworked. That’s why I thought that before resuming work, I could grab a blogging break. Not a break from blogging but a break to blog. You know, so I could feel guilty afterwards for not having been working.

Overwork is an awesome way to boost your existing mental issues and get yourself new issues you didn’t know you had. At this state of overwork, I don’t have normal response to stimuli because all my brain capacity is taken up by working and thinking of working. My reaction to ordinary situations is either of the following:

  1. none (blank stare and complete paralysis)
  2. inadequate (like responding with a poem to a question of what day it is; also, I have honestly no idea what day it is because all days are workdays)
  3. panicky (I just lose my shit and expect to die at the spot because the circumstances are too overwhelming to survive)

My favourite cat toy

I’ve been successfully excessively panicking today on multiple occasions. To an uninvolved observer, it would probably look extremely hilarious. Even I, a very involved actor in the fits of panic, could appreciate some of the humour in it.

I had the best meltdown when I couldn’t find my favourite cat toy. Not my cat’s favourite toy, she is indifferent to all toys, but my preferred toy out of the collection of cat toys I use as home decorations. I was looking for it everywhere. Repeatedly. I blamed the cat for losing it.

I have no idea how the cat does that but she sometimes does lose a toy. She must be eating them. When I was on the verge of hanging myself on a cat string toy, it occurred to me that I must have collected the missing toy accidentally from the floor with the bed sheets I was changing and must have put it in the laundry basket.

Yup. There it was. I thought I lost it forever. I’m unreasonably attached to cat toys and I probably only have a cat because of the toys. To immortalise said cat toy, I just snapped and Snapseeded it and it goes with this post. So much panic for such a little thing. Seriously.