What Would You Have Done?

Besides my new Stumbleupon fad (which I shall nurture in your little souls and hearts at the end of this post by giving you a few links to my most recent fave-stumbles), I have decided on a “frequent visitor” post: What Would You Have Done? Why? I will tell you.

A few minutes ago, whilst washing up, my room-mate told me and my husband a story from her work earlier today:

A woman had come into the store and told my room-mate that “My husband just died, so I need to buy…” My room-mate was stumped about how to respond, and said something along the lines of “oops” (though this whole conversation was in Swedish, so she actually said “ojdå”, which isn’t quite as funny as “oops”, but almost. When my room-mate told me this, I got a sadly hilarious image of someone just telling you their husband died because he slipped on a banana-peel while climbing a ladder and fell into a big tub of whipped cream and drowned. That is the sort of image that saying “oops” to “my husband just died” evokes in me. Yes, there is something wrong with me). When the woman left, my room-mate simply said “bye”. Because…

What do you say? We do have an equivalent of “my condolences” in Swedish, but it is so out-dated and formal as to be almost cold. You could say “I’m sorry” but you can’t really apologise because, well, it’s not like you caused their deaths. (And in Swedish, “Jag är ledsen” sounds more like an apology). You could say “that’s sad” but that is a statement, which in fact sounds rather stupid, because of course the widow knows it’s SAD that her husband died.

Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of figuring out how to respond to “my husband just died, so…”, you get to the “what to say as a good-bye?” issue. Like my room-mate pointed out, you can’t really say “have a nice day” or “hope it gets better” or something to that effect, so you end up with a very awkward “bye”. Or…

What would you have done?

Do you get the theme of this now? So every once in a while, when something happens to me, or someone I know, or a friend of a friend… I shall write a post, because the question stumps me, and I would really like some advice in case I end up in a similar situation in the future.

So give us a comment below to let us know what you clever, sensitive people would have said in response, and here are the deliciously awesome Stumble-links for this post:

My husband found it quite hilarious and sweet how excited I got over the carrot-fact at the top of this page. You have to admit it has a certain wow-factor though. Or a no-way-factor. Some kind of factor.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/01/10-fascinating-food-facts/

Most of these adds are either “you clever boy” chuckley or simply genius

http://www.sortrature.com/24-clever-print-ads/

Kinda pretty, and probably something I’ll try someday when I am dying with boredom.

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/976091/latte-coffee-spoons/

These blow my mind, clean and simple. I could not believe some of these were actually drawings. Still can’t.

http://twentytwowords.com/2013/06/18/pencil-sketches-that-seem-to-stand-up-off-the-page-12-pictures/

Much of this made me go “he he he” or “woooow!” I have to admit I found the Spongebob one especially hilarious. Sadistic streak in me.

http://www.mrpilgrim.co.uk/inventive-urban-art-cool-street-art/#.UiuWfNLWUr8

Usually I go “euuuargh!” when I get a paper-cut. If I got one of these, I would be very happy.

http://www.picamemag.com/a4-pepercuts/

See you soon, me hearties!

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A Bug’s Strife

As a prelude and an explanation for this post, I recently got rid of a plant that had an anthill growing in the pot, which for months now has been in our bathroom. It took me a while to truly realise that the pot was the source of the problem, and I got rid of it last night. Over time, my interaction with the ants, unfriendly as it may have been, has lead me to some strange musings on what it must be like to be those ants. 

Day 1; The aliens have captured us from our earthen home among trees and plants and stuck us in some kind of massive basket lined with plastic. I believe they are keeping us here to observe our behaviour. The country outside the basket is barren, the only plant in sight the one growing in our new habitat, and I have sent some scouts out over the grey basin in search for food and a way back home.

Day 9; The aliens keep pouring water on us. None of the men have drowned yet, but I fear it might happen. Are they trying to torture us for information? We will tell them nothing, we stand united.

Day 45; The aliens appear to have servants, much smaller but still greater than a thousand of my fellow men. The plant, which has so far been the only friendly and familiar thing in this hostile environment, is now slowly getting torn to pieces and disassembled by these creatures. It has become clear to me that the alien is indeed trying to torture us with the water, since it does nothing for the plant in this state.

Day 56; Some of the troops managed to reach a distant land, across the boarders of the grey basin, where sustenance was abundant, but before they could bring any back to our new habitat they were killed by the alien. There was an ungodly rattle, these great lights flooded the world and a few hours later, one of the scouts returned with the sad news. Why then has the alien brought us here, if they intend not to observe us but to starve us to death?

Day 72; We have found sustenance, in the shape of a strong-tasting, sticky liquid high up above the basin floor. It is blue in colour and minty in taste and it makes the men rowdy but it keeps us alive. Did the aliens intend for us to find and drink this liquid? What is their plan?

Day 130; The aliens’ underlings are attempting to slaughter us, slowly but cruelly, one by one. They will lie in wait on the floor of the basin behind the great white metallic object that occasionally fills with a thunderous waterfall, and though I have sent out many men to defeat them, none of them have returned. Is this a game to them? Do they realise their cruelty? They do not seem to be as intelligent as the aliens, as they appear to be following their commands.

Day 202; My suspicions were correct. One of the underlings forcefully knocked our new home over, bringing the earth and now dead plant crashing all over the floor of the basin. I ordered the men to scatter but our attempts were futile, the alien that has been trying to drown us used a big device to bring us from the basin-floor and back into the woven prison. In here, we may starve to death, drown or get eaten by the underlings, but whatever fate befalls us, I know it is a dark one.

Day 204; The previous behaviour was repeated. Why the alien keeps returning us to this pot after it has its underlings knock our home over baffles me. Perhaps they expect us to rebuild our home, maybe they are seeing how we survive in an unfriendly, dangerous environment. Either way, there will not be much time left for us now. I know the end is near.

Day 216; I write this in the darkness. The alien has removed us from the confines of the basket-like structure and put us inside something that appears to be thin plastic. I could feel us moving a great distance, but there is no light, and since the rocky landing, no movement or sound has been made. I can tell from the surrounding smell that there is some kind of sustenance nearby.

Day 217; I sent the men out, but shortly after came a roaring of the skies and a rumbling never before felt. I have lost my men and am currently hiding under an orange-peel, in the vain hope that these words will someday reach another civilization and teach them of the horrors we have lived through. These are my last words. May they aid future generations.

Feathers to feathers, air to air

I’ve had a very strange morning. It didn’t start out very strange. Well, that’s not entirely true. For one, I slept less than my boyfriend, and got up BEFORE my room-mate! Both of these things are very uncommon for me. To explain why I got up so early, I need to back up a little.

Of late, I’ve started getting aches and pains and a bunch of disturbingly crackling and popping noises in my knees, hip, back, shoulders and neck. It got worse with time so I went to the doctor. The doctor sadly didn’t say that all I need is good love, instead she claimed that if I simply started exercising more all of these problems would go away. Apparently if you experience joint-problems, running, biking and swimming is going to help, because the more stress you put on them, the better. Oh the logic. Anyway, even though I’m not entirely convinced the exercise will solve all these problems, I figured it also wouldn’t really hurt. (I wasn’t entirely correct there either, since my knees feel a little worse for the wear now, but according to the good doctor I should be getting better so I’m going to keep doing this for a while.)

So I got a membership card that covers all of the public swimming-pools in the Stockholm area, a swimsuit that doesn’t look completely indecent and went on my merry way to become healthier. I signed up three days ago and I’ve swum every day since. I love swimming, the water is calming, the motion is tiring but also relaxing and there is just something so tranquil and euphoric about floating, half weightless, in those blue waters. All I really need now is to find a time when the pool isn’t teeming with people. I’d prefer a bit more privacy and a bit more space to swim around in.

That’s why I went this morning. Saturdays they have an hour and a half, women only. So I figured that a) there would be less people there (I was wrong) and b) at least someone wouldn’t be gawking at me as I was trying to fix my joint-problem. 7:30 sharp I dragged myself hastily out of bed, had a quick shower, a bowl of yoghurt with honey and a glass of orange-juice. I checked my mail, glanced over the facebook updates and headed out the door. I was a little behind schedule, and in my hurry I almost missed it.

One step ahead of me up the sets of stairs between our apartment buildings and the little pathway leading down to the subway there was a bird. A tiny bird, lying perfectly still on the step, almost invisible in its grey and brown against the stone of the steps. I froze. The bird didn’t move, but its eyes appeared to narrow just a little. I thought for a moment. What to do? The bird might already be dead, but if it wasn’t, could I save it? I was running late for my swim. I stuck the cigarette in my mouth and walked past the bird. I stopped five steps later, cursing under my breath. I have this problem where if there is someone in need, human or animal of other kind, or even a half-dying plant, I need to help them to the best of my abilities. I couldn’t just let the bird lie there if it could still be saved.

So back to the apartment I ran, found a plastic bottle-cap and filled it with liquid honey and lukewarm water, got some breadcrumbs from the cupboard above the fridge and then headed back out, carefully and slowly so as not to spill any of the honey-water. In my head the little bird first stared at the cap to determine whether I was trying to poison it or not, then drank from it, slowly regaining health and strength until it’d fly away. I reached the steps. My little feathered protegé was lying in an awkward position, head against the ground, and I just knew. In the three or so minutes it had taken me to get the water and bread from my place and return, the little fellow had died. I was devastated, and a little grossed out. In one last, futile attempt, I put the cap down next to its head and spread the crumbs around it. I knew the bird was dead but if there was any hope, I wasn’t going to take my chances.

I went swimming and on my return the little one was still lying there. Confused as to what to do I tried calling the sup, but it being a Saturday he was of course not in his office. I then called my boyfriend, despairing over what to do. I knew I should really put it in a plastic bag and just dispose of it in the trash but I really didn’t want the little guy to go that way. No-one should ever have to be put in the trash. So after some mental dialogue, I threaded some bags over my hand and dug out a big bird-feather that Selon had dragged home one day on one of his little adventures. Back at the steps for the fourth time today, I looked, and the bird wasn’t lying next to the cap anymore. For a second, I thought someone had moved it, maybe buried it as I intended to, but then I saw him lying to the side of the steps. Like someone had just kicked him out of the way.

I gingerly picked him up with my makeshift lab-gloves and carried him off to some secluded location. I was amazed at how very light he was. I grew up on a farm so on occasion I’ve had to move dead mice from the traps, and they are heavy buggers, but this little bird weighed next to nothing, and it made me even more sad somehow. After a few minutes of walking, I saw a rocky elevation in the forest next to the road. What better place to bury a bird than high up? I climbed it, drenching my flats in the process, and put the little one down on a tuft of grass in the middle of the rise. Then I placed the big bird-feather over him. “I hope you had a good life” I told him, looking at the tiny eye, still wondering if it was going to come back to life at any minute, and then walked off.

It’s strange how something so very random, something that should be of no concern to us, can move us so very deeply, and make such a strong impression. I felt horrible over that second where I almost walked away without even trying to save this little bird, and then I went out of my way to make sure it would have the best bird-funeral in history. If it wasn’t for my joints I’d never have gone to the doctor, and then in turn I would probably not have picked up swimming, and if I hadn’t I would not have stepped outside today, or if I had, maybe at a later time, when I would not have seen the little brown and grey feather-ball against the brown leaves and slush next to the steps where someone kicked it out of the way. So the little bird is gone, but his presence did not go unnoticed, for in his memory lie some breadcrumbs on the stone-steps, next to a bubble-gum pink bottle-cap filled with honey-water.

Let him without sin

So I was on the subway the other day, on my way into town to work a shift on a new job as a wardrobe girl at the house of Dance in Stockholm. I forgot to bring a book and my iPod was out of battery so I just sat staring out the window pretending to ignore people, as it is polite to do when you’re squished into a small space with complete strangers. A stop some 10 minutes from where I was getting off these two guys got on. I didn’t look up but they sat down next to me and continued their ongoing conversation. “I just can’t watch a movie with my girlfriend. She watches the crap on channel 5 and she can’t focus on anything. Now when you’re watching that mindless junk and zone out for a bit you can just come right back and not miss a thing, but when we’re watching movies and she does that she misses the entire plot and just doesn’t understand anything.” “Yeah man, I hear you, my girlfriend’s the same. She just doesn’t understand the plot.”

I felt like agreeing with them. I myself have a tendency to be so into a movie I watch that I oftentimes comment too often or make exclamations regarding this or that. It doesn’t have anything to do with too little engagement but rather too much, and it must be very annoying for people who like to watch a movie in silence. But then the guy who sat across from me said “Yeah, she watches crap like Mad Men. I’ve heard it’s some kind of 50ies show and it’s just popular because one of the actresses has big boobs.” I froze in my seat and took some deep breaths. I haven’t seen Mad Men myself but I have read and heard enough to know that it’s gotten several awards (checking imdb here it’s a total of 56 awards out of 116 nominations, 4 out of those Golden Globe awards, 4 Emmy’s, countless this-or-that-Guild award, need I go on?). Now. When the people who are qualified to nominate and award tv-shows do so and select them the best out of all the other nominees, that tends to count for something.

Basically this – now douche to me – man was saying that because he had heard – from an unspecified source, probably another douche friend – that Mad Men was not worth watching, he wasn’t going to watch it, but was going to inform other people of how bad the show was. I was flabbergasted. Because it struck me just how often people do this very thing. We judge before we have anything to go on, judge instantly and without hesitation, without even noticing we do, and then we go on to inform the world about this personal opinion as if it was some kind of general truth. What? WHAT? I wanted to punch the guy right then and there, and tell him that I felt bad for his girlfriend that she was dating a guy who was not only pretentious but amazingly biased and misinformed. For God’s sake people, if you’re going to be pretentious then at least be pretentious about something you actually know a lot about!!!!!

So there I was, fuming with rage over something that happens so very often. Instead of taking our time to think for ourselves, to asses the situation, to gather all the facts and look at something before we dismiss it as irrelevant, bad, wrong, cruel and so on, we just instantly jump to conclusions… and then stick with them! We’ll listen to other people’s values and opinions as if they were actual facts and truths, and as I think I’ve pointed out before, truth is relative! It is this kind of ignorance and split-second judgement that makes things such a discrimination based on ethnic or social background, age, sex, sexual preferences and religion possible. This is why we will never have peace and harmony, because we only say “we are different” and not “we are different and so what?” or “we are different, how great, imagine the possibilities!”

One of the main reasons people tend to jump to conclusions so very fast is because we hold our own intellect and intelligence in too high a regard. Even people who claim to think of themselves as stupid or of less than average intelligence do this. It’s inevitable, because if we constantly doubt our judgement and our system of values we can’t get out of bed in the morning, or breathe, for fear of there being something wrong with that. So of course, for the sake of survival, people must be able to make split-second decisions and judgement-calls. It makes sense. But when such a thing isn’t a necessity, why don’t we take some more time to actually look into something before we dismiss it? To have more than just a few facts about a person before we decide who they are? To learn some more about a situation before you judge the people who are in it?

I am as guilty of this as anyone. In most cases, we’ll only ever refrain from judging if we’ve been in a similar kind of situation as the one under scrutiny. But what if we stop for a few seconds before we go bad/good, wrong/right, pretty/ugly, true/false, just stop for a few more seconds, think “hey, do I know enough about this to make a proper judgement?” or “could I have done that had I been in that persons situation?” and then maybe, somewhere along the line, the world will just be a little bit brighter, a little bit smarter, and a little less judgemental. I don’t say this often but Jesus, if that was you in the Bible with the no-casting-of-stones scenario, then kudos, and nicely done.

Finding your way back to Neverland.

I’m reading yet another Bach book. This one so far appears to be about how he reconnected to his childhood from memories that he hadn’t as much suppressed as ignored, and what he learnt from them. It got me thinking about my memories. Because I realised in the hallway the other day just why I hated winter-clothes so much as a child. I always used to think it was because of the fuss of getting everything on and off, how wet it would be after coming inside, how you had to wear layer upon layer and get so overheated and drenched through despite its water-resistant qualities.

But as I struggled out of my thick jacket and practical boots yesterday morning, it struck me. It is because winter-clothes are so very restraining. A protective bubble of cloth and stuffing between you and the world, numbing your senses and perception. I was a summer-kid, running barefoot any place I could and often times places I shouldn’t, loving the feel of grass under my back as I gazed up into the endless blue. Or a fall-child, the wind tapering my clothes against me and ruffling my hair as I went in search for branches and pretty leaves in the crisp air. The heavy boots of winter, so very practical, shield your feet from the ground, making it impossible to quite grasp where you’re treading, and the thick coats, long scarves and downy jackets do their best to keep everything out, even sound.

Yet the memories of many a childhood winter are fond ones, where the snow was always thick on the ground and the cocoa warming in front of the fire-place. I find it strange, that so many of the few memories we have from childhood are extraordinary ones; traumatic ones, happy and exciting ones, dark and gloomy with a sense of forbearing. Why is it that we filter out all the regular, “unimportant” memories, as if there’s nothing to learn from a regular, everyday situation? Do we do this now too, though we’re not as aware of it? And what could we learn from our earliest errors, could we remember them?

Up to a certain age, life is like a flight of stairs. You can move up or down, side to side, pass people or fall behind, you can stop in the middle and ponder, always a rail nearby to hold on to should the going get tough. But very soon, we stop considering these choices, stop considering the wonder of just remaining in the moment and watching as everyone else zigzags by, and only take the escalators. Here the movement becomes much more restrained; you have to decide whether you want to go up or down, usually you just stick to the right-hand side, unless you’re in a hurry and walk past people on the left-hand side, and even then there might be someone blocking your way. Go further still and we just take the elevator. No choice here. Up or down, you can’t pass people if you want to, and moving side to side is not going to make any difference, except people might give you strange looks. Why do we limit ourselves so much, decide that there is only one path for us and then stick to that path, unable to move back to the good old manual stairway of choice?

The pressure to make a choice goes further and further down into the younger ages. Even at 20, if you haven’t decided what you want to do with your life yet and if you haven’t gotten some place, you consider yourself a failure and a disappointment. But the only person you are letting down is yourself, and why make a choice early on in life that you either stick with for the rest of it, unhappy that you made the wrong one, or ditch after a few years, starting from square one and considering those past years a waste of your time? How can we waste time when it’s an abstract concept, and why do we let ourselves be governed by it in just about everything?

Something that has occurred to me so very often is how we relate to our childhood years. We look at it as through cracked and smeared mirrors, far off, hazy, impossible to interpret. We look at it through grown-up eyes and judge the actions we took, the ones we didn’t and on top of it all, rewrite the way events happened to our own liking. But why judge the actions of a child, someone with far less experience than you, and so a much poorer judgement? Is it possible that the child you were would look at who you are today and judge what they see? This distorted view of events and reality distances us from our pasts to the point of detachment. We simply do not feel like that was us. How often do we not hear the phrase “I was a different person then” or “I was just a kid”? There’s nothing “just” about being a “kid”, that five-year-old or nine-year-old was just as much you as you are today. Yet we don’t even see ourselves as them, and all of a sudden our childhood becomes a movie, we ourselves the actors and our current, grown-up state the spectators.

So is it so wrong to look at that child through their own eyes, as we were, and say “that was me at ten years of age” or “that was me on my sixth birthday” instead of “back when I was a kid” as if the child you were and the person you are now are in no way the same? Are we scared that that inner child,  if we let it loose, will be judged by other “grown-ups” as immature, naive, strange, unintelligent, instead of what it truly is; someone who sees the world not as they ought to, but for what it is to them, and acts accordingly? I say take off the grown-up, practical, shielding winter-clothes of your soul, and let the summer-child have a romp across the lawn every once in a while. You might enjoy it.

It’s not the what, it’s the how

As I’m sure anyone following my blog for a while now has noticed I’m becoming worse and worse at posting regularly. I think it’s because I don’t realise how fast the days go by. It feels like I wrote my last post yesterday, and figuring out what your next post is going to be about can sometimes be impossible. Either because you want to write about so many things or none at all. But then I remembered a theme that has been recurring throughout conversations the last week or so.

I was doing an assignment for Swedish class where we were supposed to compare to different writing styles from the same eras. I realised after looking back and forth between the texts that even though they both played out in the same time and were both a peek into the darker side of society, with poverty, crime and oppression of the individual, they were extremely different as in regards to atmosphere and language.

“Why?” I asked myself. How can two authors, living during roughly the same time, writing about the same social class and somehow wanting to explain the hardship that these people went through, manage to get two such different outcomes?

There could be many answers. “The voice of the author”, geography, upbringing, religious or philosophical views or any number of things could play into the reason as for why two people writing about the same thing can write so differently. But to me the real difference lies in what a person sees, what a person chooses to tell and not to tell, the details that capture or upset.

For example, Stephenie Meyer could simply have started the Twilight books with “There once was a young, insecure, clumsy teenage girl, and then there was a sexy vampire boy, and it sort of just rained all the time and they fell in love…” but instead, she tells the story differently, holding suspense and mystery alive, letting young, insecure teenage girls – and many women far past their teens – feel like this could be them, and this is in fact about them, and they life they should have, and BAM, there you go, best-seller. Appeal to the audience and the audience will come. (Btw, I’m not saying I think Stephenie Meyer is an outstanding author, though I will admit I have seen a noticeable progress in her work from book 1 to 4 in the Twilight series. I am only saying that she knows what people want to read, and she writes it.)

Or to better explain, you could send two journalists to the same country. Let’s say Mexico. Now one journalist might send back an article about how lovely the weather and the scenery was, how great the food, how friendly the people etc. The other might instead send a tense piece of work about the drug lords, poverty and slums. Both these images would be true but if you had never been to Mexico, or don’t know much about it, it might well shape your entire view on what that country is like.

So is it with all authors then. If I tell you a firsthand account on how boring Swedes can be and all the negative things about the Swedish culture, and then one of your American friends go to visit and rave about how gorgeous the place is and how friendly and exciting the people, who are you going to believe? I say you always believe whomever is telling you what you want to hear. When we see someone express things the way we would or see things from our point of view, we are a lot more likely to believe them than the perhaps more qualified person who turns into a moron in our eyes because of his opposing views.

But no matter who writes something, what matters is not what they write about, but how.

 

Special Edition

I think we all know why this is a special edition. Because I haven’t written a blogpost in ages. And I feel horribly guilty about it. I know I know, life gets busy sometimes and that’s a great excuse, but when your blog is only words and ranting it’s not that much of a bloody effort to sit down for a half hour every once in a while and post something remotely interesting. But to make up for this cold-hearted lack of posts for the past two weeks almost, I shall write about a TON of stuff in this post. BE WARNED!!!!!

Why Life got Terribly Busy all of a Sudden

First off, I have no good explanation for why I capitalized that title so randomly. It just looked right. Anyway, for those of ye who do not knowe, I started studying three courses at high-school level the 8th of this month. I am doing this to make up for grades that I don’t have because I was home-schooled and I only have an American high-school diploma and not a Swedish one so there are certain things I need to complement my studies with in order to get into the university here. So I’m taking English B (which is like second degree English for high-school students), Swedish A (which is first degree Swedish for high-school students, you are getting this!) and International Relations (which most high-school students don’t take because that would be like an elective or something). On top of all these studies (of which Swedish and International Relations are both proving tricky and head-ache inspiring) I now also have a job. This is how that happened;

I went to Fotografiska (which is like a huge art-gallery for photographic art in Stockholm) with Daniel, Jessica, Tilda and one of Daniel and Jessica’s friends. On the way to meeting up with us at the subway Jessica noticed a sign in the window of this quaint sushi-place, announcing that they needed new staff-members immediately and to apply inside. It just so happened that I needed a job, and Jessica insisted I should apply there, to which I agreed heartily. The thing was, after the Fotografiska – which was really awesome, and if you come to Stockholm to visit and there’s a good exhibition on at the time we are so going! –  we met up with some more friends and went for a few beers at a nice pub a short walk away. Now, I hadn’t really eaten much that day. “Not much” means like one fruit and a small bowl of yoghurt. So understandably, drinking at the pace I do and the beer being 8%, I was mildly tipsy after two of them. So when we had happily waved good-bye – the “us” and “we” in this story being mostly me and Tilda – and I had promised Jessica I’d go apply for that job right away, I turned to Tilda. “I’m kinda tipsy. I don’t think it’s the best idea that I apply for a job in this state” I admitted sheepishly. “One really can’t notice that you are tipsy” Tilda responded, and this reassured I went on my merry way into the sushi-place and onto greater things. Greeting me was a short blonde girl, very Swedish-looking in appearance. “What can I do for you?”  she asked in a sloppy, disinterested manner. “I saw that you were looking to hire people” I reply, all of a sudden more humble and unsure of myself. “Wait a second, I’ll get brmrgl”. No, she didn’t say that, but I couldn’t catch the name. So out comes brmrgl, this short, adorable looking Japanese girl, who after taking my name and phone-number – and I ask her to write down her name, which is Mafune, not brmrgl –  instantly calls her boss and starts up a brief, lightning-fast conversation with him in Japanese. It was all “Hai! Hai! Hai! Wakarimasta!” and then she turns around and asks if I can start the following day. I said yes. I skip and jump for joy all the way home. Poor tired Tilda cannot create enough excitement to join in my celebration.

Now I’ve been working two shifts there and tomorrow is my third. It’s inconsistent there, slow for hours, fast-paced during some. The waitresses are nice but mostly bland and just talk crap about everything. One of them seems a little racist. I don’t like that. But well, because of this job and the courses I’m taking on top of just having moved into this place, life has gotten more busy than it used to be.

How to remove a spider from your home without hurting it;

You will need;

  1. something thin and stiff, like cardboard ripped from a milk-carton or cereal.
  2. a glass or jar, fairly big, just in case the spider is big, so you don’t squish any legs.
  3. a small amount of guts, in case the spider gets out.
  4. fairly quick reflexes to undertake the action required.
  5. preferably someone to open doors for you (this is optional).

What to do; first, notice the spider. The spider will have to be of a fairly considerable size for you to a) notice it and b) get so uncomfortable that you do not want it in your house. Then, if you do not have the required objects at hand, gather them quickly while keeping on eye on the above mentioned spider’s position. If you are not very brave and have a very strong dislike for spiders but hate hurting things, you might want to be standing on an elevated surface and carefully direct a friend or family-member as to how the disposal of the spider should proceed in a high-pitched and panicked tone of voice. Should it still be you carrying out this task, quickly place the glass upside down over the spider. It is now trapped but unharmed. (Unless you managed to put the rim of the glass down on the spider’s legs or body, in which case you did not have the reflexes necessary for carrying out this task. Proceed to page 124, “How to bury a spider that you killed accidentally while trying to save it”). If the spider however is still unharmed at this stage, carefully slip the piece of thin cardboard or other flat and hard paraphernalia under the glass. It should now look something like this;

The only thing remaining to do is to gingerly but swiftly move the entire spider-cage to a location outdoors and at a safe distance from your house. Then hastily remove the glass and retreat. (If the spider has clung to the glass you might just want to tip the glass over and then run). Once you can be sure that the spider is nowhere near the vicinity of the glass or carton-scrap, bring them inside and keep them in a safe and accessible place for your next spider-rescue mission.7

How not to take care of an ant-problem in the bathroom;

You will need;

  1. hour of day later than 10pm, preferably just as you get home and you are really tired
  2. bathroom-floor
  3. large pot with large plant that we can assume houses ant-hill
  4. wet dishcloth

What to do; first, enter your apartment. This will have to be at a late hour so that you are sure to be exhausted and ready to just fall into bed. Turn on the bathroom-light. Discover between 20-30 ants scattered over bathroom-floor, sometimes trickling out into hallway and further into kitchen. Curse loudly, in several languages if possible. Grab cloth from under bathroom-zink. Wet under tap in bathroom-zink. Apply the cloth to any ant that you are able to spot. The ant should now a) get stuck in the cloth and/or b) get squished by the cloth. Continually dab your way across the floors and lower walls, rinsing the cloth as it gets too full of ants and then continuing this process until no more ants can be spotted. Do not consider removing the plant from within the bathroom to an outdoor area where the ants will not be such a bother to you. Grumble about this and then go to bed to repeat this episode later when you get up to pee. Repeat 1-2 times as necessary during night.

Special Notes for Certain Readers

Sarahsmmmm; I am very sorry that I didn’t make you a guest-post. I have an honest and really stupid explanation. When I got your e-mail, I only read it down to where you signed it with your name. About a week later I wondered why you hadn’t invited me to write a guest-post. A few days later yet I went back to read your e-mail in an attempt to answer it, upon which I noticed the detailed instructions on how to help contribute with a guest-post to your blog, right after your name was signed in the e-mail. Yes, I felt like the embodiment of the r-word. But I love you. So in order to somehow make up for this, I am encouraging all other readers to click on this link and go read Sarah’s blog. She inspired me to do something like this. She is really f-ing awesome at blogging and will probably make you want to blog more, unless you already blog more, in which case she’ll make you want to blog the most. Srsly. Go read it.

Patches; I don’t know if you got my post-card yet but I hope you did. I’m sorry I didn’t send one earlier, and that I’ve been horrible at keeping in touch. I’m sorry that I haven’t checked your blog of late. Please send me a link so I can find it again because remember when we tried to google your blog and didn’t find it? Yeah. That’s right. Also, please say hi to my sausage-friend. I know what that looks like to some people, but I will let their minds remain in the gutter. *hugs*!!!!

Sierra-bean; I’m sorry I didn’t read your blog before you pointed out its existence the other day. In fact, I thought your only blog was the poetry-blog, I hadn’t noticed that you had a personal blog all of your own. I’ve read two posts so far now. I’m also sorry that I haven’t replied to your facebook-message yet. But I will, maybe this weekend. And I hope to get something in the mail soon, it isn’t here yet 🙂 *love*!

English-friend; I haven’t heard about your life in a while. How do the aliens fare? How’s Richard? And the little ones? I haven’t read your very latest post yet (I don’t think) because I like having some time on my hands to read them to make sure I can comment on anything of interest to me. Also, I don’t think there are Japanese vampires. Especially not ones that would use garlic as a decorative touch in their restaurant. So I think I’m fairly safe, for now, unless there are other super-natural beings there.

Everyone else; (Like Jessica, Tilda and any other awesome people who actually take the time to read my blog every once in a while) thank you. It makes me happy to know that someone reads this and thinks it’s sort of good 🙂

The Journey

It’s time for the story of how I spirited myself away from the people I love so much to the other people I love so much on this planet.

Leg 1

After tearful goodbyes for the last week, I was finally on the actual plane. I was sad yet excited. I can’t really explain the pain of tearing myself away from my life and the people I have been so close to for the past 3 years in order to join the other people whom I love and explore the world as a student. The first part of my flight was joined by Lorapope, we discussed the contents of the latest “Cosmo” magazine, it was fun ^^ It still hadn’t really hit me at that point, because you know I was still in Canada and the flight was only a little over an hour. I felt rather fine. Like I was taking the bus somewhere. I arrived in the sweltering heat at Halifax and me and Lora said our goodbye’s, she was heading on to go meet LENORE! YAAAAAY! Personally I stumbled out of the plane, retrieved my painfully heavy luggage (no, it wasn’t that heavy but it was heavy for me :p) and then proceeded to drag it around the airport in search for one of those modern smoking-booths with the fans in them you know? I didn’t find one so I went outside to a place that didn’t have non-smoking signs. Halfway through my cigarette a lady came out and said there was “no smoking on the upper level, you have to take the elevator down and turn right”. Of course I forgot the last part of directions, so I just went down and outside and sat down on the grass. I called Gerard with the last 10 dollars on my phone and then had to escape as angry wasps interrupted my second attempt at smoking. Well back inside I bought a 3 dollar ice-cream and sat down to play Mah-jong Titans on my computer. (My laptop is kind of big. It gets a lot of “that’s the biggest laptop I’ve ever seen” when I bring it out). Then I decided that 4 more hours of Mah-jong Titans on a dying battery wasn’t what I wanted to do in the Halifax airport so I went and bought “Paradise Lost” by John Milton and got through the first 50 pages. After much waiting and attempting to get the weird non-verse that is used in this book, I got on my second flight.

Leg 2

Halifax to Keflavik in Iceland. In the lineup outside the airplane while people were trying to get into their seats a little woman, who was probably from Thailand or those parts, commented on my sweater. She thought it looked really nice. I do too. My oldest brothers fiancée knitted it for me some years ago, I wore it when I got to Newfoundland and I wore it when I left 🙂 I sat next to a nice old couple and decided to watch Avatar since I’d never seen it before. I must say I really enjoyed it, even on the tiny shitty screen embedded in the seat in front of me I jumped and squirmed at the wonderful special effects. Foreseeable yes, bad no. Though I did mostly like flying with Iceland air I was unimpressed by how they missed our row while serving people and then took forever to bring us two glasses of juice. I started getting tired then but wasn’t nearly tired enough to sleep. When we landed it was raining. Gone was the streak of gorgeous weather that had followed me so far on this trip. They instantly security screened us upon exciting on the old French-Canadian woman who’d sat next to me mentioned how cold it was. I didn’t feel it. It was early morning and Iceland, what do you expect? On the flight the stewardess had announced through the speakers that “personnel on the ground will help you if you have a connecting flight”. The only help I got was this one guy who told me that arrivals and people with connecting flights had to go in the same direction. After that, I walked through the airport a bit paranoid, and decided that even though there was no one to ask all the signs pointed towards that the flight I thought I would be taking was the right one and that I didn’t have to check in and that my luggage would indeed go straight to Stockholm. But then…

Leg 3

Well all those things did happen. However, do you remember how I said I’d had a problem finding those smoking-booths in Halifax, and how there in fact where none there? Well, I started circling the airport with my 9 pound laptop over my shoulder (I told you it was big) and after walking around it 3 times I decided to my dismay that there were none here either. And I didn’t want to spend money on iffy food since I had gotten a Starbucks frappucino in Halifax. So I walked back towards the gate that would have my plane next to it in 2 hours, and broke down crying. It was very embarrassing because if anyone came up to me and asked what was wrong I’d just blubber out “is there a place to smoke anywhere?” But I guess it had finally occurred to me. I was no longer in Newfoundland. I wasn’t even in Canada. I was alone without help and with 2 hours and nothing to do and I hadn’t had a cigarette for a looong time by now and I missed all my friends and I missed Gerard and I was just so so sad. So after attempting to stop crying for a while I walked into the ladies and cried a bit there. Then I walked back and sat sadly in the same spot for a while. Then I walked to the ladies on the opposite side of the airport. And out of the corner of my eye I saw it. Gloriously double-doored and with an airflow from outside through barred walls. A smoking-area. A place where people with a stupid and self-inflicted addiction to making their health worse can go to do just that. And I was so happy. It was a little sign of acceptance in a big world of “you are alone”. I can’t even explain. So then I got on my flight after that and endured the American lady on my right talking to her husband across the aisle on my left while some young girl was doing her best to poke her feet through the seat-back of my chair, despite my best efforts at pushing her feet back. And then I finally landed in Sweden, and Daniel and Jessica and Anna were there, and they had flowers for me, and they brought me home and made me food, and Tilda came over, and we watched Sex and the City, and I finally got to sleep, and all was good.

What do you love about travelling? What are your pet peeves? Is there any place you’d like to go especially? What makes you feel alone and helpless?

Story-time I

As a followup to my latest blog-post, here is the short-story I wrote years ago related to the “side-walk” theme. Also, this gave me the idea to post other short-stories at random intervals, ones I have written and ones that I might write in the future! Henceforth they shall be referred to as “story-time”.

So here goes, from a rather old archive of mine – from a time when my first name was different and I wasn’t quite as good with English as I am now. So please excuse bad grammar or curious expressions that will turn up in parts of this story. Seriously, it’s not very good, looking back at it, but I was like 16 when I wrote it so I hope that’s a good enough excuse – a story that I really enjoyed writing and have thought of fondly ever since;

Kate

She emptied her orange-juice in one draught, put on her coat and hooked the bag over one shoulder. The train slowed down and jerked its brakes leisurely just as she got up, making her sway and looking around uncomfortably at her fellow passengers. Well, not fellow, she didn’t know them, and most of them were female. Blinking and screwing her eyes up, she moved forward and grabbed the cold handle just before the doors. They opened, and the hateful tune of “dzoo-poo” hit her ears. She’d always loathed that tone, never more than when she was exhausted and cold – the way you get when you sit in a train for 5 hours. She threw an uninterested look at the bar, noting how sloppy the salads looked, and stopped to rummage around in her bag for her energy bar. She didn’t find it.

The strangest sensation ever hit her; it was like a wave of lukewarm air, pressing from behind, streaming all over her. It hit her so suddenly she had to steady herself on the shining new Coke-machine standing beside her. It kept on streaming over her, that soothing and yet exiting wave. Slowly, she turned around. There wasn’t anything there, though just for a split second, a strange light seeped through the ceiling of the terminals roof, then disappeared. For a moment, she was frozen in time, then she started walking again, slightly hesitant, pushing of from the gleaming bottles air-brushed on the cold automate.

Thomas

He stepped through the swing door and embraced the night outside with depression. He drew a breath, feeling the air trickling down his throat in ice-cold silver drops, and almost throwing up at the mixed scents of the night; the boring woman to the right drenched in perfume, the little kid with the hot-dog and the always reeking stench of the gleaming cars crawling by. Stopping a cab, he gave the driver an address and slammed the door. The driver looked at him kind of weirdly,  but he just ignored him and leaned back on the dirty, cigarette oozing seat, listening absent-mindedly to the crap that went on the radio. He’d just missed the most beautiful girl ever. He’d stepped of the train, seen her for the flash of a second and then lost her instantly in the crowd. He’d actually ran over the whole station, (like the jerk he was), but of course, he hadn’t found her. The cab jerked to a stop, he got out and paid. He crossed the street. Ten minutes later, he died from a skull fracture in the back of an ambulance.

Jane

 

“It’s okay honey, take a break now, I’ll handle everything”, her husband said, giving her a fond kiss and stalking of down the corridors. They both worked as doctors on the Rutherford Clinic, and she’d just seen a sad case of road-kill. It was always so violent, she never got used to it. And she’d seen beneath the blood that covered his face that the man must’ve been very good-looking. She wondered why the good-looking always had to suffer. It was as if God thought he could do what he wanted with them, just cause he’d given them the favour of a pretty face. Now she was overreacting. She’d always been weak for the dark guys. The fact that she could find a dead body attractive at all just showed how exhausted she was. The sheep-faced nurse looked into the room where she sat.

“You’ve got a private call, your son Dr.” the nurse told her dispassionately and left. The nurse had an affair with her husband since three months back, but it didn’t really matter to her. He was more loving than ever, guilt mixed with romantic dinners and long walks in his world. She pushed herself of the bench and picked up the phone.

Spencer

 

 

“Mom, I’ve just…” the connection broke. “Shit”, he mumbled and shoved back the mobile into his pocket. It didn’t matter, he could talk to her later. He had so much time on his hands now. Life was still messy, but he’d straighten it out. All in time. He pulled his fingers through his hair and drew a deep breath, letting the night air trickle down his throat in small golden droplets like a blessing. The stars were paling in the east, you could see a vague light over the jagged silhouette of the city. The trees were soothing, crooning to him of the girl he’d met, the wonderful girl. He’d just been sitting there on a bench, considering to take his life, illuminated by a flickering lamp post, when she’d walked up, sat down beside him, as far away as she could get on the small bench. She’d opened her bag and picked out and energy-bar with a pleased smile. Then she’d turned to him.

“Hi”, she’d said.

The Sidewalk… a meeting-place and parting-point.

First off, I’d like to apologize for not writing in what has been a rather long time, considering my previous frequency of posting. I’ve just been ridiculously exhausted of late, and so, since writing requires a certain amount of brainpower, it’s been pushed aside for other more basic things like trying to sleep, trying to smile and trying to function at work. Despite still being chronically tired, I will make a real attempt to post more often. Now…

Throughout my life, sidewalks have held a lot more meaning to me than just a slab of concrete next to a road, created in order to ease the trials of people travelling by foot. Sidewalks are the highway of humanity, where people are paraded on display to each other and where the strangest little stories are created. So in this belated post, my sleep-deprived mind will be rambling about sidewalks. (And for anyone who read this post and enjoyed it and didn’t think it was really stupid, I have a short-story that I wrote a while back about sidewalks, and I’d be happy to share that with you upon request).

Follow the current.

Few things will increase your personal navigation-skills as the sidewalk. From watching out for little children and dogs hidden behind other people’s legs to darting out of the way of that large biker who seems unable to step aside for anyone, it tests our alertness and agility in an unexpected dance-pattern. I really enjoy this neat little dance, because even though it is just getting from one place to the next, there are so many tiny trials and tribulations along the way, all disguised in the form of singular humans, that it becomes a small adventure to me. And just being carried forward in that stream of people struggling in the same direction as you is like an out of this world experience. If you have ever been to a large city, you know what I mean. The beat of the feet on the sidewalk is the true city’s pulse.

Look and let your mind loose.

One of my favorite things in the world is sitting down outside a cafe in a strange city and just people-watch. Just sneakily take a quick peek at people and then in your head asses exactly who they are, where they are going, where they’ve been just now and what their immediate future holds in store. Oh yes, 95% of the time the stories that come to mind will be completely off the mark. But even so, it doesn’t matter in the least. These are all strangers that you will only see and hear for a few brief seconds, and they will never have to be informed of the twisted plot that your brain just created for them. It’s a wonderful way to pass an afternoon, and get yourself used to the multitude of mankind that flourishes on the big-city pavement.

The physical aspect.

I am rather accident-prone. *coughs*. Well pretty damn accident-prone. Not that I’ve broken anything. I just get minor cuts and bruises on average twice a day, and if I move, more. I still remember with some fondness the story of how I was walking next to my brother on the flat sidewalk and all of a sudden just disappeared. I had tripped. On nothing. It was like my knees just bent of their own will. But not all places have smooth and easy to traverse on sidewalks. St. John’s where I live right now is actually quite bad for it. The front of my shoes are all beat up because of the cracks and snags in the concrete. If you walk in the right parts of town you’ll find people’s hand-prints and names scribbled while it was still wet and fresh. Downtown there’s a guitar, immortalized by the perfect shape it left on the pavement. And if you don’t look down to study the bumps and slopes of the grey landscaped in front of your feet, how are you supposed to find all those lucky pennies that have fallen heads up?

The journey.

From when sidewalks were just a path trampled through the grass next to the dirt-road, till when someone decided they would manifest it with concreted or stone, it has been the friend and confidant of people like me who enjoy to experience the world they are in while travelling through it. It gives us a chance to set our own pace, to meet new faces, to have those few seconds of smiling at a strangers dog as they pass you and the stranger smiling back. It’s where someone will stop to ask you for the time or a cigarette or directions, and you might end up having the most exciting conversation of the week. It’s the place where you see someone so outrageous you will have to hold your breath for several paces before you can burst out laughing without them hearing. It’s the place where you can get from one point to the next but make sure that you experience every single step of the way. I know I do.