Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Carpe Fructus

just eat the bloody banana

I will eat the banana now.

Already it has faded: too yellow, a day overdue. I should've eaten it when it was firm and fragrant, tinged with green. But I cherished its perfection. I couldn't destroy it.

Now bruising appears on its flanks and it is overripe. A day away from age spots. Shall I eat the banana now? It is ugly and undesirable. I know I won't enjoy it.

I should've eaten it yesterday.

Speaking of procrastinating monkeys, I received this text today from Flatmate:

"Exciting news me and Strattie having an end of 2008 two-game thriller 5hrs per game what bliss! I'm white playing an unorthodox queen's gambit, he's pondering... tell me all about your denier in the meantime".

So much for the whoring. How better for a chess-obsessed commitmentphobic lingerie fetishist with a lot of phone credit to spend his time?

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Buses Make You Fat

neat ambulation devices

Greetings.

Guest blogger ĦЭш00‡ here. I am visiting Earth for observational purposes. Regular correspondent One Fine Weasel states she is too busy watching America’s Next Top Model and consuming Belgian chocolates to facilitate communication with other homo sapiens. She has allowed me to file my daily report from her laptop computer. The machine is primitive, but it will suffice.

Daily Report: #000057197365
Subject: Walking

Humans are designed to propel themselves over the surface of the planet by a method known as ‘walking’. It is achieved by a rhythmical swinging of the legs. [Note: most humans are bipeds]. To aid movement, they cover their ‘feet’ in foot-shaped sheathes. These sheathes are mostly black, white, red, grey, or brown, and some may be decorated. Some sheathes appear to hinder movement rather than aid it [NB: this requires further investigation, primarily as it fails to make ‘sense’].

Humans walk less when a hydrogen-oxygen compound falls from the troposphere. They appear fearful of this liquid, but it does not make them dissolve or otherwise harm them.

Walking appears to be generally unpopular amongst humans. Time [that is, the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future] is cited as a reason for this.

I have observed some humans walking for distances of between 1 and 15 miles a day. Some humans also speed their walking into what is known as ‘a run’. But the majority of humans walk only from their shelters to their individual metal propulsion boxes, into which they seal themselves. This is called 'short-duration, low-velocity ambulation'.

Other humans walk a short distance from their shelters to a pole bearing a crude depiction of a large multi-occupier metal propulsion box. Around these poles, crowds of humans gather. From time to time, a large multi-occupier metal propulsion box arrives at the pole. It will halt, and the humans enter. These containers carry between 1 and 85 humans, plus one 'driver'.

Once inside metal propulsion boxes of any description, the humans are no longer required to walk as the propulsion box provides movement for them.

Every propulsion box must follow a set route. Often, due to the amount of containers propelling themselves in the same direction (resulting in the routes becoming overly crowded), there is no discernable 'time' advantage to this form of transit. Walkers may go any route they please, apart from those routes reserved for solely for metal propulsion boxes. I believe it is possible to walk anywhere (geographical features permitting) if one allows oneself enough 'time'.

In an interesting footnote, many of the humans I have observed using metal propulsion boxes appear to have a greater body mass than the humans who use walking to transport themselves to the same destination.

Experimenting with walking while disguised as a human, I passed an age-advanced human specimen who was himself walking with the aid of a wooden rod and a wide-brimmed head covering. It is unusual for humans to greet each other in the open unless they are previously acquainted, but even though I had never observed this particular specimen before, as I walked by he drew his eating aperture into a curve, set his optical apparatus to ‘twinkle’, and stated the following:

“Only the slim ones walk!”

This field data supports my observation.

I conclude that metal propulsion boxes increase body mass in humans, perhaps due to the electromotive forces inside.


Thursday, 25 December 2008

Let Nothing Ewe Dismay

"ipod? i only wanted some hay."


At this time of year, what self-respecting New Zealander doesn't take a few moments to reflect upon our woolly compatriots on this sultry island nation, our friends the sheep?

I for one am very excited about this upcoming event, as described in Wellington's Dominion Post newspaper recently:

"Running of the bulls? Leave encierro to the Spaniards and their drunk Australian mates. A more civilised local event is the Running of the Sheep in Te Kuiti, planned for April 4 as part of the town’s Great New Zealand Muster. A mob of about 2000 romneys (there’s a prize for the correct count) will charge down Te Kuiti’s main drag, headed only by locals holding a ‘fence’ of flexible weed mat. A bridge halfway down slows the flow “so folk can count them,” says organiser Debbie Glover. Other events include the national shearing champs, dog barking, chainsaw sculpture, music and performance. More at waitomo.govt.nz."

Oh yes.

Happy Christmas!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Overbite

feel the squeeze


1. Open bathroom cabinet. Immediately notice my tube of toothpaste, lying flat on the shelf, is facing the wrong way. I usually put it down with the lid facing left.

2. Feel betrayal like a punch in the guts. Some bastard has used my toothpaste!

3. Clean teeth, brooding about property rights, respect, and fairness.

4. Deplore unknown plunderer's lack of discretion. If the person who robbed my toothpaste were more astute, they would've put it back the same way they found it and I would never have noticed. This is what I'd have done if stealing toothpaste. Commend self on innate toothpaste-stealing superiority.

5. Notice mine is the only toothpaste tube in bathroom with any toothpaste in it. Tut at housemates' lack of foresight for not purchasing replacement toothpaste in good time.

6. Realise I am secretly jealous that housemates, being couples, are used to blithely sharing toothpaste whereas I, being single, am not. I want to share toothpaste with a beloved too.

7. Ponder whether to leave my toothpaste in bathroom or remove it to my bedroom for security purposes. Distantly acknowledge I am being absurd.

8. Remove toothpaste from bathroom, to show them a lesson. Vow never to go flatting again. Bastards!

9. Hate myself for being ridiculously pathetic. It's only toothpaste. If they'd have asked I'd have said yes.

10. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. It's MY toothpaste. I paid for it! Grrrr. How dare they? Go get your own, pikeys.

11. Walking to work, become deeply embarrassed in case unknown plunderer goes to use my toothpaste again and sees it has gone.

12. Feel shame all morning, and wonder if I do usually put the toothpaste down with the lid facing left.

Sigh.


Thursday, 18 December 2008

So Now What?

take the bloody hint


It's OK!

I have "enough" money!

I have just got home from seeing the Benefit People, and they told me so, so everything's just fine and dandy.

I arrived on time for my 8.30am appointment. At ten to nine, me and a few other lost souls were ushered from the reception area into a side room where a harrassed-looking man checked we'd filled out our forms correctly.

Then we were abandoned there with no explanation for fucking ages.

(It is good to know my time is Not Valuable).

At ten past ten, an ostensibly teenaged Case Officer finally appeared. "Sorry for the wait," he mumbled as he led me to his desk. My normal knee-jerk response to this statement is 'That's ok', but because I was really pissed off I thought it better not to say anything.

He sat there, looking nervous. "What do you need to see first?" I prompted.

"Er, your unemployment benefit application form." I handed it to him, and sat there grinding my teeth while he went through it with excruiating slowness, putting ticks against things.

"So, are you working at the moment?" he asked when he reached the 'are you working at the moment?' section.

"I've registered with four temping agencies," I said, "Like it says here." I pointed helpfully at the place where I'd written exactly that. "So far I've had one two day assignment, one four day assignment, and one one day assignment. That's all, in the four or five weeks since I registered." Just like it says underneath that other bit, in fact.

"So you are working."

"No. It's temporary work. They just call you up when they need you. And so far they've only needed me for one two day assignment, one four day assignment, and one one day assignment."

His tender brow furrowed into a crease of puzzlement. "So, what, it's just temporary?"

"Yes. Admin, office, data entry. You know, temping."

"Temping," he repeated blankly.

The New Zealand benefit service is called Work & Income; while they had managed to make this boy understand the concept of 'income' (most of his appeared to be spent on hair gel), the 'work' bit was clearly beyond his experience.

"So have you had any work?"

"Yes. I have had one two day assignment, one four day assignment, and one one day assignment." Was I starting to shout?

"OK," he said, largo.

"And there is no guarantee I will get any more work anytime soon. In fact, with it being Christmas next week it is unlikely I'll get any more work until the new year."

"But you've had work from them before?"

This was shaping up to be Brendon v2.0.

"Yes. I have. One two day assignment, one four day assignment, and one one day assignment. Would you like me to write it down for you?"

"No thank you," he sniffed. We were definitely not hitting it off. When he went off to photocopy my documents, I wrote it down for him.

"We will need proof of your income," he said when he returned.

"I've brought what I've got: two payslips so far. Please feel free to contact the recruitment agencies to confirm what I've told you."

"I can do that, but we cannot progress your application until your income is verified."

"The last assignment I had - the one day one - was yesterday. So I won't get that payslip until after Christmas. Two more rent payments will have gone out by then. I'll be very close to overdrawn. The bank won't approve an overdraft because I don't have a regular income. What if you don't hear back from the agencies before Christmas? What do I do then?"

"You said you worked yesterday. You'll have that money, won't you?"

"It'll be less than a hundred bucks! Not even one rent payment! I'm already only eating proper meals every couple of days to try and save money: bread and avocados the rest of the time. I'm paying for food and everything else on my credit card and my credit card is close to the limit." I shrugged. "I originally contacted you guys for an appointment on 24 November. I'm only now sitting here today. I can't carry on like this. I need some help."

"I guess you could apply for a Special Needs Grant for food?"

"Yes please." He handed me the form and a pen. "You have no idea how humiliating this is."

He drummed his fingers on the desk while I completed it, then I watched as he filled out the 'Official Use Only' part.

Approved: tick. Amount: $100. Reason: Food. "Can you go and get a mini-statement out of the ATM?" he said. "We need to see how much money is in your account right now."

I went to the cashpoint.

"Oh," he said. "You do have money."

"Three hundred and fifty two bucks?" I said. "A hundred and five is going out today for rent. A hundred and five is going out next week. And every week for the next five weeks. A direct debit for the credit card goes out on Christmas Eve. And I have no income."

"You have enough money, I can't give you a grant."

"$352 is three rent payments. How do I eat?"

"I can't give you a grant."

"Would you be able to support yourself on that until January with no other money coming in?"

"That's different: I have a family."

My inner taipan threatened to strike. I reached across the desk and picked up the Special Needs Grant form. My intention was to rip it into several bits and grind it into his face. Sadly, commonsense took over. I merely put it back down and stood up to go.

"You might as well chuck that away then," I said.

"Um, yeah. Is this your pen?"

"No," I said. "Can I have my mini-statement back please?"

"Ok."

"So you will process my application as soon as you hear from the agencies?"

"That's right. Uh, I don't suppose you have their fax number?"

"It's on the payslips."

"Oh, right. Is this your pen?"

"NO."

"Sorry I can't help you. Merry Christmas."

I attempted a reply, gave up, and walked out before he saw the tears.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A sorry tale, but regardless of my current woes I am still filled with gratitude that I have so much in a world where so many have so little. Please visit The Hunger Site and help those for whom avocados and bread and credit cards would be a dream come true. No matter how bad it gets here, it's never that bad.

(And here, if you like spelling, want to waste a lot of time, AND support a similar cause).

When I am not worrying about it all, I am curious to observe how the Universe appears to be closing doors in my face. I have been desperate for a change of 'career' for a few years now (if you can call the random, half-arsed selection of jobs I've had since leaving school a career), and have taken some tentative steps away from office work only to fall back on it when things get tough. Going temping was in itself an attempt to 'break free': but after that I ran out of ideas.

I know I have a lot more to offer than being convincing in menial jobs, and I also know it's high time I got out there and put myself to the test. Having tried to ignore this knowledge for a few years, it feels like I am no longer being given a choice about it. Which, ultimately, can only be good.

Walking home from the benefit office, I found another piece of magnetic poetry, in the same place I found the other pieces when I walked home from seeing the not-so-colossal squid.

Just one word this time.

The word was 'Listen'.








UPDATE: One of the agencies just called. I start work on Monday. I work through Christmas and New Year until the end of January 'doing' reception and admin. I receive $17 an hour before tax for my 'efforts'. I breathe a sigh of relief. I chastise myself for being such a worrywart. I thank the Universe for the beautiful opportunities it repeatedly slips my way. I pay rent. I eat food. I investigate further education opportunities. I draw up a new CV, with a different focus. I find previously hidden reserves of energy and courage. I throw myself to the gods of The Unknown. I get a life.




Tuesday, 16 December 2008

It's The Meaning of Life

happy birthday to ME!

Men. I pity you.

You will never know how euphoric it feels to emerge from a spell of PMT.

The Weasel is back in positive mode! Bliss!

One of my stranger symptoms of hormonal imbalance is that, when I'm in the grip of The Gloom, I am terrified of spending money. I will starve myself rather than buy food; I will walk for hours to save a $3 bus fare; I think the world will end if I spend so much as a cent.

One twitch of the ovaries later I will be skipping around thinking 'Oh what the hell it's only money, more always comes along'.

(Ah. Seeing that in writing, I notice I may have a tendency to mania).

Today, I celebrated my last ever day of being forty one.

Phase One - my life to date - has felt like that endless slog up to the apex of a rollercoaster.

Phase Two starts tomorrow.

Wish me luck! In every way, it's downhill from here!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Neat Eats

CM does not approve of tinned mackerel

The Weasel has discovered something rather amazing!

A mood uplifter - and it's legal!

It's called eating.

Will somebody please alert the scientists?

Having survived since Thursday on little more than an avocado, white bread (with and without jam), crispbreads and the occasional handful of blueberries, I came to be aware I was Not In A Happy Place.

But tonight, prompted by starting to see little black and white spots in front of my eyes, I overcame my fear of the dirty kitchen and of recklessly eating my way through what meagre supplies I have, and gamely produced a meal which instantly lead to the natural high of having a full belly for the first time in days.

As I'm sure you are wondering, here is the recipe:

Weasel's UberBudget Happy Zapper

you'll need:
a tin of whatever unpleasant tinned fish in tomato sauce was on special last time you went to the supermarket
a tin of sweetcorn (optional)
whatever is lying around in the kitchen that you can get away with 'borrowing', eg a clove of garlic, herbs, a dash of soy sauce
flour
water
batteries in your smoke alarm

method:
Mix the flour and water until they are kind of, like, not too runny. Throw in some herbs if you can, or Chinese five-spice powder, otherwise it will just taste like flour and water. Heat a non-stick frying pan without oil. Gloop a dollop of the flour stuff in and flatten with a spoon, or your finger for extra fun. When it starts burning, flip it over pancake style. If it doesn't start burning, turn the heat up. Keep going until there aren't any soggy bits. This is called Weasel's Indian Flat Bread and it is categorically NOT heated-up wallpaper paste.

Meanwhile, scoop out grisly fish carcass into another pan remembering that it's good for you. Chuck in the corn and/or whatever else you have lying around that's vaguely edible, heat.

Serve one with t'other; nick some green beans from neighbours' garden to garnish, otherwise harvest some delicious dandelion leaves from the lawn, first checking carefully for dog shit, insects etc.

Et voilà! Cheap, and nutritious! And after eating, the black and white spots will disappear, your hands will stop shaking, your stomach will feel pleasantly full and suddenly life will seem much less daunting.

Proven.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

House of Fun

oh. my. God.

Then it got worse.

"Hey Weasel," said one of my new housemates that evening, "We were just a bit worried that you're not settling in here. Is everything, ah, you know, all right? Is the whare* too busy for you?"

I blinked.

Yes, the whare is too busy for me. Way too busy. I am an introvert, used to living on my own and with a very real need to be left to do my own thing. But you, you and the five other people who live here, are a bunch of sodding extroverts who think you are being kind and helpful and inclusive when you walk into my room without knocking and suggest I join in with your sodding extrovert activities.

'Home' for me is a place to withdraw from the outside world, somewhere to recoup the energy I expend Out There. I'm not being deliberately unfriendly; I just don't feel able to mix with you just yet. It takes me a long time to feel comfortable around new people. That's why I don't want a toke on your joint, I don't want to watch a crap movie with you, I don't want to sit around talking bollocks about environmental issues and gay rights. Sorry, but it's Not Me. I have this face I present to the outside world: wearing it, I am able to do many un-Me extrovert-like things, but wearing it drains me. When I come home I need to take this face off and not have to consider for a single moment the demands of strangers. This is why I stay in my room. I just don't have anything to give you guys.

I find this impossible to explain to extroverts without coming across as a psychopath, which is why I am naturally drawn to other introverts, other HSPs, people who 'get it' and expect nothing from me in a social sense. Please don't patronise me for not wanting to do the things you consider normal. I just want to live my life how I want without a bunch of twentysomethings making me feel even more like a freak than I already do. You would see the real Me - the happy, silly me - if you allowed me to emerge in my own time.

And please, please don't look so surprised when I tell you I have friends in Wellington. I have plenty of friends; not many by your standards perhaps, but enough for me. They are all people like me, who don't need to live in somebody else's pocket, who understand what it is like to be a loner. I see them from time to time, and the friendships are meaningful. I cherish them. Just because I don't feel the need to flock there is no need to look at me like that, ok?

Oh, I'd also like to mention I do not expect anybody else in the whole world to clean up after me, and those rare times I have strayed into the kitchen here I have washed up, dried and put away my things as soon as I've finished with them. But you lot, you leave piles of dirty plates, washing up bowls full of fetid water, festering saucepans, lying around for days and then you suggest we have a 'cleaning rota'? I don't think so mate.

I'm stressed out about a thousand other things too. And no, I don't want to 'talk to you about it'.

Now go away.

"Er, yes, I mean no; fine thanks," I said. "I'm just a bit of a quiet person, takes me a while to come out of my shell and all that."

(And when I say 'quiet' I do of course mean passive-aggressive avoidant).

Lying in bed this morning wondering how on earth I am going to be able to move out in January when I don't have any money for a bond, my phone rang.

"Hello, it's New Zealand Post recruitment here. Thank you for coming in for the interview last week. You did really well, but unfortunately the manager needs a Bike Postie at the moment - all the walking roles are filled - and she thought there were more suitable candidates as it's a very physical role."

"Right," I said. I'd been the only person sans testes at the assessment, and the only person not in their twenties.

"But because you interviewed so well and because you've got a lot of relevant experience I flicked out an email to the other branches but all the Christmas vacanices have been filled. So what I'd like to do is keep your details on file and give you a ring again probably around mid January?"

"Ok," I said, contemplating the prospect of The Worst Christmas Ever.

"Sorry," she said.

"No worries," I said. "Thanks."

Then it started raining.





*whare: Maori word for house, pronounced 'far-ray'


Squid Pro Quo

from bad to worse

Last night I caught up with a few of the folk I used to work with in my life BF (Before Flatmate).

As the money situation is bad, I should've stayed at home drinking tap water but as the money situation is bad I spent $10 on a six-pack of beer and made my way to my ex-colleague's flat in town. Sometimes you just gotta cut loose.

Stumbling home later, I texted Flatmate.

'hello badgerballs a bit pissed hav just had my first saturday nite out' I slurred. 'no fun wivout u it just makes me miss u, cardiff, europe even more. kisssses xxx'.

I have never missed a whole continent before! This is what drinking beer with New Zealanders can do to you.

Incredibly, Flatmate replied straight away.

'Hello monkey miss you x have a guinness for me x'.

My eyes filled with tears. In my maudlin state this was just too much.

Squinting hard to focus on my phone, an impassioned response thumbed its way out in between trying to walk on the pavement without falling off.

'NZ is great but all this is meaningless if im not holding your hand i love u so much xxx'.

The phone buzzed. Another instant reply! Maybe this is the one asking me to come home, the one confessing life is miserable without me, the one saying he doesn't want a year or so to 'sort himself out' before he settles down, he wants...

'Sorry, you have insufficient credit to send this message. To top up, please...'

Fuck.

Sober this morning, I reflected it is not the first time the mobile phone angels have saved me from myself. Flatmate does not enjoy overwrought, and the Weasel is very overwrought at present.

To take my mind off the overwrought thing, and for something to do that wouldn't cost any money, this afternoon I walked into town (fifty five minutes in flip flops) solely to enter a supermarket's 'It's Our Fifteenth Birthday' competition and hopefully win $1500-worth of shopping vouchers. Think of all the sardines and bananas that would buy! After I'd posted my entry coupon into the box in the entrance of the supermarket and gazed a while at the filthy capitalists leaving with their bags of consumerist folly, I decided to head over to Te Papa (the national museum, situated right next door to the supermarket, but New Zealand is practical like that).

Te Papa is very excited to have landed the world's largest and most complete colossal squid specimen, and as of yesterday it went on display there.

The Weasel can report that the word 'colossal' is likely to create disappointment in those viewers expecting to see a squid the size of a house or perhaps one of those really big trucks like they use in mining. The squid is a mere 4.2 metres long, but, Te Papa claims, it probably shrunk a bit in storage. In its watery display case, surrounded by gawpers, its skin peeling off in gruesome brown flakes and with one eyeball missing, I felt quite sorry for it. Watching the information video, I felt even more glum when I realised the poor bastard had been caught alive.

A sad end indeed. But my misery got worse when I contemplated the size of the calamari it would've produced: I was starving. If only I'd used that $10 for something useful, like food.

Walking home (one hour ten in flip flops), the universe conspired to increase my anguish. Strewn upon the pavement all the way back to Island Bay were items linked to my time with Flatmate: a gold star; a few words of magnetic poetry; a coin; a butterfly-shaped piece of confetti; a pin identical to the one he found on the train in France; a 'diamond'; a discarded tube of lip gloss.

Only seven pints of Guinness, a chess board and a Rammstein DVD could've increased The Significance.

I got home an emotional wreck.


Friday, 12 December 2008

Keep Smiling

definitely fake

I daren't leave my room; it's too expensive out there.

Thank goodness for tinternet! I am finding all sorts of interesting things to help while away time I should be spending being resourceful, proactive and dynamic.

Like this. I only managed to get 12 out of 20 correct.

I was flummoxed by all those people smiling at me.


Thursday, 11 December 2008

On Being Poor








gone but not forgotten: my velcro-fronted top


My four day contract at the place with the annoying notices is over. I now have NO INCOME!

I am finding having NO INCOME 'interesting and informative'.

The Weasel, while slightly flustered about having NO INCOME, is staying positive. Something good is bound to come of it. I will be forced into new and engrossing career paths and my Weasel resourcefulness will be tested to the limit.

Browsing through the classified section of the newspaper, I notice there are plenty of jobs available for 'Ladies Who Are Over 18'. I am over eighteen! In fact, next Wednesday I will be forty two therefore I should be more than twice as good at whatever it is these Ladies are needed for (the adverts never really specify). What a pity I have insufficient credit on my mobile phone to call and find out. I could do with earning 'over $1000 a day'!

Meanwhile my 'emergency' appointment at the dole office is a week Friday. Being on the dole when I don't have a choice about it is a new experience, thus it is bound to be spiritually rewarding.

My application to be a postie is progressing. I had an assessment on Tuesday. The good news is I can read, I can ride a bike without falling off. Onwards and upwards.

I have moved out of Brendon's. I am back in Island Bay! This is where I lived before I went back to the UK last year. It is nice: sand, seagulls, boats and so forth. I am sub-letting a room from a girl who has gone away for Christmas. She was so desperate to get someone into the room in her absence she dropped the already very cheap rent by $10 a week and didn't ask for a bond. She will be back at the end of January, meaning I will be homeless again soon, and poorer, but at least I am not at Brendon's.

I had to move out of Brendon's. For everybody's sake. It was getting tortuous. The Weasel is not comfortable being thrust into the position of Clever Pom: the Weasel is used to being The Goofy One. The Weasel also expects that any native English speaker - even foreign ones - should be able to follow her north Kent accent with ease but sadly, unlike everyone else I have ever met in the whole world, Brendon seemed not only to struggle with what I said, but how I said it.

Once, for example, I was attempting to explain the word 'moobies' and despite it not being a difficult concept to grasp, after ten minutes of wrangling ("What, man boobs on a woman?" "Noooo! Man boobs on a man!") I ended up shouting at him out of sheer frustration, and the Weasel hates to shout.

His failure to understand me or my sense of humour robbed me of my sarcasm, and without that, the Weasel is nothing.

Disturbingly, he'd also started acting a bit too used to having me around - cooking dinners unannounced then sending me sniffy texts saying 'I've cooked dinner, where are you?'; leaving me in charge of his horrible four year old (about whom I had the wicked thought 'a condom could've prevented that'); asking me to wash his pants, and so on.

While I am grateful for the many kindnesses he showed me, it was definitely time to go.

A room of my own means I am now reunited with my Stuff. Having gone through it, I realise my plan to raise funds by selling off what I don't want is compromised by the fact it is mostly a load of crap. And my plan to be unencumbered by possessions, a free spirit living serenely on what I can fit into my backpack, is hampered by the feeling I can't bear to be parted ever again from any of the stuff I do want, despite having existed happily without it for the year and a half I was away.

"The wise man carries his possessions within him". Fine, but what about his shoes, clothes, books, CDs, bedding, amusing gewgaws, Scrabble, magnetic poetry sets, folders filled with interesting things ripped from newspapers and magazines over the years, yoghurt maker plus other vital kitchen equipment (just in case he ever has a kitchen of his own again), really cute coffee table and matching cabinet, sewing things, photo albums, a lifetime's accumulated 'artwork', and the snowman knitted by his Lovely Sister in the 1980s?

Not even a very talented 'Lady Who Is Over 18' could carry all that within.

Sadly, the item I was most looking forward to being reunited with (my sweatshirt with the velcro panel and corresponding stick-on alphabet/numbers/punctuation marks - see picture above) I appear to have donated to charity during my panic-purging prior to departure for the UK last year.

But I digress. Having NO INCOME means I am paying for vital everyday things like bread and bananas and soy milk on my credit card. I am not a person who likes using a credit card! I get palpitations if my balance goes over $60. At present it is over $1200 and climbing daily, and I have no way of paying it back any time soon.

Having NO INCOME is so 'invigorating'!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Weasel Finds Work, And Immediately Regrets It

careful, idiot

There are five handmade notices in the staff kitchen.

They have been placed there by an anonymous staff member who feels the rigorous recruitment process his or her colleagues underwent when joining the organisation was not sufficient to weed out those too stupid to operate a sandwich toaster.

This notice is next to what is clearly a hot water dispenser:

Using the URN

> This machine contains hot water and staff need to take care while operating it.

> Develop an awareness that the water coming out of the machine is boiling.

> Place the container as close as possible to the hot water.

> Do not overfill the container.

> Avoid splashing.


It is useful to note the hot water dispenser in question already displays a large yellow sticker attached by the manufacturer stating ‘BEWARE HOT WATER’ and its logo is the word ‘Superheat’, flanked by two lightning bolts.

On this alone, I contest it would be hard not to develop an awareness of the temperature of its contents.

The notice about microwave safety is particularly useful. Apparently you must not place metal into a microwave, or run it empty! Who’da thought?

Another notice is addressed to ‘Ladies And Gentlemen’ and addresses the problem of teaspoons. It mentions not only the Kitchen Fairy, who does NOT recognise dirty teaspoons left on benches, but also the Kitchen Elf, who puts dirty teaspoons in the dishwasher with a cavalier ‘out of sight out of mind’ attitude, ensuring there are no clean teaspoons left by the end of the day. Our Kitchen Clever Clogs suggests we all wash our teaspoons after using them to dispense our sugar or our coffee granules, or stir our drinks, then return them clean and dry to the teaspoon drawer.

Frankly, the Fairy and the Elf sound like they need their slovenly pixie arses kicking, but I would still rather be trapped in a lift with them than the twat who wrote the notices.

The kind of person who produces this stuff will always include a neat little clip-art picture to illustrate their wisdom. They will always encase their notice in a clear plastic pocket before attaching it to the wall. To prevent soiling.

The kind of person who spends time typing up notices like these will also make sure everyone else in the office knows how hard they work and how clever they are. They do this by creating notices for the staff kitchen and by patronising their colleagues. On matters of work, they speak in jargon, and secretly feel they are Very Important.

Oh look, there they are over by the water cooler, touching base on information pathways. Then they'll go forward with strategic developments. Often they will develop algorithims to support decision-making principles. They won't have a meeting, they’ll facilitate one. They'll implement milestones, assess targets in 2/52, and process-map ongoing needs re the user-interface. With their vision.

I myself will not apply for any job with the word ‘dynamic’ in the advert. But then again I cannot be trusted not to scald myself while making a cup of tea.

I am 'developing an awareness' I may be a low-flier.

Maybe this is why I find working in offices intolerable.



Wait

aaaah

I love these moments when, just for a minute or two, the day is placed on hold.

I am curled up on Brendon’s black leather sofa holding a mug of coffee. I watch the steam spiral lazily into the air. The heat from the mug scorches my palms. It feels good. It is a comforting part of the morning ritual. I take a careful sip.

I study my reflection in the TV’s blank face. I have my ‘office clothes’ on. I hate the way I look when I am wearing them, hate the way I feel. In them, I am not me. I am uncomfortable, gawky. I decide to stop thinking about it. I do not want to let thoughts of the day ahead spoil the moment.

Against my bare legs the leather cushions feel cold and sticky. I shift slightly, and turn my attention to the view out of the window. There is a maroon car parked on the grass, and Brendon’s courier van on the drive. Soon he and I will be sitting in this on our way into town. He will drop me at the bus station, from where I will make my way to the place I am temping for a few days. The job is dull. But the boredom is seventy eight minutes away. This is now.

Now, there is only this luxurious halting of time.

I hear Brendon in the bathroom, cleaning his teeth, hawking into the sink. Water gurgles through the pipes, a liquid symphony. There are no other sounds. Outside, the hateful wind is just a murmur in the trees. A sheet of newspaper stirs listlessly in the gutter. The sun breaks through a cloud.

I have nothing else to do except drink my coffee and wait for Brendon.

And so, I wait.

It is 6.42am. I look around the room. I am entirely in the present moment.

I savour it.

Monday, 1 December 2008

A Post In Which Weasel Reviews A Movie

very relaxing

I went to see a film on Friday.

It was in an old movie house, with creaky floorboards.

All the people creeping out kept waking me up.

That is all.