Friday, 30 July 2010

Love To Love You Baby



I am trying hard to love Marvin.

It is only a matter of re-educating my thoughts.

So every time he lets his door bang in the wind ALL DAY I merely remind myself that some people simply don't notice irritating noise the way I do, and find a rubber doorstop to push under it.

Every time he spends hours in the shower, singing along to a portable radio and splashing water all over the floor, I remember he has never lived away from his parents before so it would be an act of kindness to show him in an assertive way how to share living space with strangers.

Every time he knocks on my door at 1am, offering me a cheese and onion pasty in case I feel hungry in the night, I thank my lucky stars I have such a thoughtful housemate.

Every time I am in the kitchen and I turn round to see him standing there pondering his next gormless announcement, I try and transmute my irritation into "aw, bless, his naivety is endearing".

Fate has thrown us together and it is looking increasingly likely we will be sharing space for at least another six months. Closely linked to this, I sincerely believe it is in my best interests to make my own life as serene as possible.

And so on Tuesday night, when I looked round to find Marvin silently observing my meal preparations (steak, salad) I merely smiled and said hello, how you doing?

And when he suddenly blurted out "I want you to teach me how to make a sandwich, how do you make a sandwich?" I barely batted an eyelid.

After a sharp intake of breath, I was even able to outline the rudiments of sandwich making without churlishness, deceit, sarcasm or violence.

Just because Marvin is an idiot it does not mean I cannot be charitable.


Friday, 23 July 2010

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

First Rule Of Porridge Club: Do Not Talk About Porridge Club



One Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying the splendid sunlit solitude of the living room with a cup of coffee and a good book when a huge Chinese guy came lumbering up the stairs carrying a suitcase.

"Hello," I said to this bear of a man, "Are you moving in?"

"Hello, yes," he said, "Just for short time. I go back to China after half a month. I am friend of landlord."

"Ah," I said. "Pleased to meet you. My name's Weasel."

"Weasel? Weasel. My name Phone. Phone. Like mobile phone."

If you say so.

We shook hands, he disappeared up to his room and I didn't see him again that day. But there are a trio of cacti lined up on a windowsill in the stairwell and I knew Phone was going to be awesome when I saw he'd moved the one bursting with bright pink flowers into the centre.

When I next saw him I produced a map of China and asked him to show me where he was from. That was when I discovered he was a talker. He not only told me about his city but described his whole country with eloquence and fondness. I probed his political views as tactfully as I could. Chairman Mao? Rubbish. The Party? Not important. The new capitalism? Good, good, everybody more rich. Tibet, Falun Gong? No good, cause trouble. History buildings, terracotta warriors? Just for tourists.

He thought it was hilarious that I'd been to China once - for three days. He scolded me, said I must go back, said I must see Shanghai, Haikou. He punctuated his speech with great bursts of laughter and comedy eye-rolls. It was impossible not to like him.

Over the next couple of weeks, every time he went to the supermarket he would bring me back something: a mango, a sandwich, a fruit salad, a pastry. He would knock at my door and when I opened it he would be standing there with his gift in an outstretched hand, beaming. He'd wave away my protests with a dismissive gesture and explain he'd got two for the price of one, or somesuch. I never believed him.

Such a nice guy. I liked how he never locked his bedroom door when he went out, and only ever closed it when he went to bed at night - an act of trust. And I liked the cheeky 'apology' for leaving the toilet seat up; washing rescued from the clothes line when it rained; eagerly shared websites of interest; outrageous gossip about the landlord; the surprise Tescos goodies; and always that great big smile.

But nicest of all, he left me alone. He was always around, but never in my face: the perfect housemate.

Two nights ago, I got home late. As I came up the stairs, a greasy-haired Indian guy was standing on the landing. He looked like he was waiting for me. He shifted nervously as I approached.

"Hello," I said, "Have you just moved in?"

"Yes," he said.

"I'm Weasel," I said, and went to shake his hand, and his handshake was like a sheet of wet clingfilm.

"I'm Marvin," he said, and then just stood there staring at me.

"Well, er, nice to meet you Marvin."

Uncomfortable pause.

"Excuse me, I'm on my way to the kitchen," I said.

"Oh, sorry," he said, moved aside, then followed me.

I put the kettle on, thought about making something to eat, glanced at Marvin who was standing in the doorway watching my every move, decided against it.

"So, what are the rules and regulations here?" he blurted suddenly with forced gaiety.

Eh?

"Er, no rules and regulations mate. Just if you make a mess clean it up, buy toilet roll from time to time, that sort of thing."

"Okay, okay." He nodded earnestly as if I'd just imparted the meaning of life. "This is my first time away from living with my family so I don't know what to do."

Oh god.

"Yes I am alone and homesick but I am sure we will be great friends and it will be fine. I am here for six months while I study engineering at the university. We can watch movies together, and play games - I have a Playstation - and my friends and me go salsa dancing and you must come too and dance with us."

I blinked. My worst nightmare was standing in front of me wearing a pink T-shirt.

"Sorry, I don't really like dancing, or watching movies, or computer games," I said. "I like reading, and, er, knitting and things you do on your own." I smiled what I hoped was an apologetic smile, grabbed my tea and tried to escape.

"I am from India," he said, apropos absolutely nothing, blocking the doorway.

"No shit," I said.

"No, really I am," he assured me.

"I was joking," I said. "I kinda guessed."

"Oh," he said. "Can you please teach me how to use the shower? I tried to use the shower this morning and could not understand it."


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


Today I am making porridge in the kitchen. Marvin appears.

"Morning," I say.

He stares.

"You will teach me how to make warts?"

"What?"

"Warts." He gestures at the microwave. "I want to know how to make warts."

"Wh-? Warts? Sorry?"

"I have a packet of..." He walks across to my food cupboard and points at my packet of porridge. "I want to know how to make."

"Ah, I thought you said... never mind. Oats. OATS. Um..."

Various porridge-making techniques flit through my mind, the main one being 'read the fucking label'.

"Just microwave it," I say unkindly. "Milk, water, you know. Or heat it up in a pan."

I retire to my room. On the way I see that Phone has padlocked his door.


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Just Ask



I met Flatmate for a coffee.

I said, "Dude, BK told me you'd had an accident on your bike, what happened, why didn't you tell me about it?"

He said, "Right, long story, it was just after you went away, January last year I think..."

He then gave me a minutely detailed explanation of the event, its aftermath, and a re-enactment at the spot it happened while we were walking home later.

"I didn't want to worry you at the time," he said, "then I forgot all about it really. I mentioned to Ma the other day on the phone I'm still waiting for the compensation money to come through and I don't know how much it's going to be. That's how BK must've found out."

Just goes to show you, the direct approach works wonders (unless you are a Big Issue seller).

I shall kick BK's gossipy arse next time I'm passing through Auckland.


Direct Selling



A new Big Issue seller in Queen Street.

"Big Issue, Big Issue," he calls.

He sees me approaching.

"Big Issue, Big Issue my lovely? Come and get your new Issue. Wouldn't you like a big 'un?"

Oo-er.



Thursday, 15 July 2010

Style, Substance



Everybody's doing it.

Great She Elephant's done it, the BBC's done it.

(Is Newsarse going to have to do it too?)

Tarted up websites are the order of the day and there is no reason the Weasel should be left behind.

While there are other things I ought to be doing - housework, laundry, emailing friends (especially YOU - you know who you are), going to the Post Office, weeding the garden, crocheting a cactus, tidying my room, returning library books, doing exercise, attending to peekaboo grey roots in my otherwise luscious auburn locks, cooking something healthy for dinner, sorting out the mess that is My Documents, fixing broken things, creating a great work of art, writing that novel, oh, and looking for a job - I intend to devote the day to fiddling around with Blogger's new designy templatey thing.

Procrastination: u iz doin it rite.


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Bottom Dollar

pass me the champers, darling, I'm a blogger

Well I have been having ever so much fun tonight with the Blogger 'next blog' button.

Gone are the Christians! In their place, the gardeners.

But amongst the gardeners, some absolute gems.

I particularly liked Oasis - there's a whole heap of good stuff over there and even the gardening bits were interesting. I just hope that Tamara doesn't mind me linking to her blog without even leaving a comment after a whole evening's engrossed reading (I'm shy).

I also found out, by following some of Tamara's links and then their links, what my blog is worth.

It is worth $564.54!

So say the nice people over at How Much Is Your Blog Worth.

$564.54 is riches beyond my wildest dreams.

I will write to them to tell them where to send the cash and then I will book that cruise.



Monday, 5 July 2010

Satan's Arsehole

porno chickens spank sexy killer robots at Fifa World Cup

Okay, the Blogger 'next blog' link is really starting to freak me out.

That's it there, up at the top of the page, next to 'FollowShareReportAbuse' you unobservant person you (yes YOU, My Lovely Sister).

GSE wrote about this last year. She noted the 'next blogs' she got appeared to be themed, whereas back in the good old days they were intriguingly random.

I agree. Once I could happily spend a whole evening clicking on 'next blog', but not now.

Last time I tried it I got a run of blogs by arty types. I was flattered at first (oh Blogger! You have spotted I am a cultivated sort!) but quickly got bored.

And what did I get when I clicked through tonight?

Firstly, two blogs from New Zealand.

(Fine, yup, makes sense, well done Blogger you clever thing you)

But then...

(Excuse me I've gone a little shaky)

...page after page after page after page after page of blogs by PEOPLE WHO LOVE JESUS.

(*swallows hard*)

Without wishing to offend those of a Godly persuasion, it is safe to say that religion - any religion - and I do not share a close relationship.

In geographical terms, if I was a three-shack settlement in Patagonia, religion would be Shanghai. In literature terms, if religion was the complete works of William Shakespeare, I would be The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In mathematical terms, religion would be a Venn diagram here on this page and I would be a tiny circle three hundred miles away running very fast in the opposite direction.

Me and religion, we are Marilyn Manson and Cliff Richard; Graham Norton and Hitler; Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards and Pele; terrine of foie gras and supremes of pigeon flavoured with pickled cherries and Sarawak black pepper, and a packet of Hula Hoops - we do not belong together.

It has been this way since I got old enough to make up my own mind about things and it will always be thus. Like the Tooth Fairy, Daleks and Father Christmas, God is a nice idea but wanting it to be true does not make it so. I believe that lump of meat in our skulls is all we have to fall back on and when we die we die just like trees and flowers and monkeys and sea urchins and we probably invented the whole God shebang just to fulfil some subconscious need for the Perfect Parent.

(Please do not pity me for having these views, or try to persuade me otherwise, because that just makes me very cross* - although you are very welcome to pray for me: that's metaphysics.)

Anyway, so I don't know what I've done to deserve this parade of Christianity. Divine punishment perhaps, or maybe the Big Man Upstairs is having a pop at persuading me Himself. But if it is just Blogger peering into the murky depths of my blogging life and making a judgement call, maybe I need to pay more attention to my keywords (and a splendid start made with the title of post and caption, I think). Or maybe Blogger needs to work on the difference between blasphemy and devotion.

But that aside, what has happened to my freedom to browse? Variety is the spice of life, innit.

Boo, Blogger. Bad.



*no pun intended

Friday, 2 July 2010

Armless Fun

the truth is out there

Writing the previous post made me realise I hadn't heard from Flatmate for over a week. So I fired off a text: u still alive?

Instantly, a reply: Miaow!! x

Well, that's ok then.

An hour or so later, my phone beeped. Flatmate again. R U watching Murray? x

I was. A text conversation ensued. He said he was alone in his house now because all the other tenants - students - had left. He said they'd left loads of stuff behind. He said the store room downstairs was chock full of rich pickings for an ardent recycler* such as I. There were even five spare microwaves I could have. But, builders were there doing the place up while it was empty and they were going to start on the store room on Monday so I should get round there asap if I wanted any stuff.

I said ok, when?

He said, how about tomorrow night?

Oo-er.

As he opened the door my eyes were busy looking out for a bandage, a scar, a bruise - anything.

"Hello Weasel, it's good to see you," he said, eyes shining, giving me a hug.

Both arms looked fine. In fact he looked fine. I squeezed him hard: not even a wince.

"I thought there was no real reason why we shouldn't see each other a bit more. It's a bit daft, isn't it, not seeing each other, don't you think?" he said, looking at me bashfully through Bambi lashes.

I agreed, and harangued him a bit for being an evasive idiot, but he's used to me by now.

As we settled down for a chat and a cuppa, and I told him he was looking well which was good because he'd looked like shit last time I'd seen him.

"Are you well?" I asked.

He was, he said. But hang on a minute - as we talked he began massaging the muscle above his right collar bone, and grimacing as he did so.

"What's the matter with your shoulder?" I said.

"I've just got a bit of qi caught in it," he said.

Righto.

"I've been doing a lot of outer tai chi recently, instead of inner tai chi," he explained.

Uh-huh. Okaaaaay. I pushed on.

"So what you been up to? I haven't seen you for ages."

"Oh, just playing a lot of chess, getting all these chess books out the library, you know, getting lots of chess study done...". And off he went onto one of his chess monologues.

I waited patiently until another opportunity presented itself.

"So how's the plan going? You know, the debt relief thing so you can shoot off and live in France for a year?"

"Yep, yep, it's all coming along. Ma's coming to get me at the end of September. What about you, how's the job hunting going?"

Waffle waffle waffle. I eased the conversation back on track with the subtlety for which I am famous.

"So what's been happening then? What's the goss?"

"Nothing! Nothing at all. It's been very quiet."

"Something must've happened, I haven't seen you in a month," I said.

"No, no, just going to the coffee shop, you know, the usual."

But then he started rubbing his shoulder again.

"You're rubbing your shoulder again. Did you hurt it?"

"No, no, there's qi stuck in it, that's all."

Well fuck-a-doodle doo. He really was determined not to tell me about his accident.

"Have you been working out? Your ARMS are looking nice and toned."

Nada.

"Gosh this weather's lovely! I really need to buy a BIKE," I say.

Nope.

"Is that a new bracelet... on your WRIST?"

Little fishy no bitey. One last attempt then before I give up.

"Been wanking much?"

FAIL.



*ie, pikey