Hello? Yes, this is Dog.

August 4, 2012

Oh hey, you there. Yes, you! Internet, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, I THOUGHT it was! You might not remember me. We used to see each other here a while back. Y’know, I was the one wearing mostly black? My clothing...full of holes… you remember? Hair…dishevelled?  Yes, the ADHDer PhDer – that’s right — that’s me! Wow, it’s been some time hasn’t it? So how’ve you been?

It’s been a fair old while. Let’s just get the excuses reasons for that out of the way dead quick shall we? Last time we chatted I’d just handed in the PhD thesis. It’s all good. I had my viva on the 15th June and am pleased to say I passed. Very relieved, delighted, over le moon etc etc. But the trauma that was “writing up” (a trauma resulting in neuroses that I treated you all to in (ir)regular instalments) has left me with an actual hatred/aversion/perhaps even full on phobia to being alone with my computer. I can just about handle a quick consultation with Professor Google in an attempt to work out what the odd little creepy beasties who are colonising my kitchen might be.* But only just. And only then if there’s somebody with me. I really need to sort this shit out a) because it’s sort of inconvenient and 2) because it’s a really lame kind of crazy.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what’s new with me Internet. I have passed the PhD and I have a newly acquired anxiety to add to my little collection. I may be a total fruit loop but at least I’ll soon be Dr Fruit Loop and you’ve got to admit that has a certain ring to it.
Here’s some other stuff I’ve done since then:

1) Went on a weekend away with 7 friends. Fun, frolics and hangovers were had by all. I also got some injuries from playing badminton in a bikini. Mostly injuries of the sunburn variety but one which I think is a hamstring injury (never located my hamstrings before – didn’t think I had any).

2) Grumbled incessantly about the Olympics. Again, another post for that one.

c) Noticed that the only people not banging on about the Olympics this summer are people getting married. People who are getting married don’t care about the Olympics. They care about tablecloths and other small details. But they do so with all the enthusiasm, energy and focus of Team GB. I find it all very tiring. But I am a bit of a bah-humbug about this kind of thing (y’know romance and that) and as I am more than happy to have sex out of wedlock I guess I am unlikely to ever be bitten by the wedding bug. Or is that not how it works?

4) Celebrated Yorkshire Day by skeptically raising one eyebrow and muttering, ‘Waste of bluddy time’ under my breath. Ah, my people, *sigh* I do miss you sometimes.

*more on that later. I am untidy but I am not unclean. I have no idea what these little fuckers are but I cannot eat in that kitchen until they’re gone. Every night I exterminate, every morning they’re back. It’s like that scene from that film with that guy and all the insects  – yeah, that one, Indiana Whatjamacallhim.

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Chorus:

Bloody hell, bloody hell, what a costly day, (HEY!)

Banking scam, what a sham, stole my cash away, (HEY!)

No win no fee. Apparently. What a load of poo…

Can’t believe I fell for that- too good to be true.

Verse:

Gullible that’s me; I’m a moron obviously,

Oh what fun it is to spend a whole day, practically,

On the phone to knobs, who are ‘just doing their jobs’

By lying through their fucking little vulture beaks to me.

(Oooh…)

Chorus:

“Litigate! Litigate: “claim back your PPI” (CRY)

WTF, no such luck, it’s all a big fat lie. (CRY)

Don’t be like me, don’t pay their fee, you’ll regret it if you do.

Christmas cheer? Not this year. “No Santa Claus? ….I’ll sue!”

Sniffle

December 12, 2011

Oh bloody hell, I have some form of man-flu.

I rarely get ill. I rarely get the colds and bug type things that go around. But when I do, I am a miserable wretch. No soldiering on for me. I feel extremely sorry for myself and just want someone to look after me, wrap me up in blankets and make it all better.

Fortunately, I have just such a person in the form of my friend Y, who came over at short notice last night to look after me. She’s a keeper.

Tonight I will be self-medicating with Lemsip, whiskey and cats. I will write a better post when I am feeling less like dog vomit, and after my office’s Christmas party tomorrow which (assuming I survive the man-flu) might well be the death of me.

Maybe it’s the cold, but I’m not feeling too positive anymore. Infact, everything all seems a bit shitty. Bleugh.

 

But she started it…

December 3, 2011

A number of years ago (nine, in fact, is the number in question), I lived in a shared house with four other girls. Take five girls who haven’t yet lost the adolescent appetite for drama, and put them in a house share. Shake vigorously, open lid with caution, contents may be explosive. It was a fucking nightmare.

I did actually like a couple of the girls and although we’ve drifted apart over the years, we got on well enough at the time. Had we not lived together, and so not associated each other with the horrendous house-share from hell, we might have stayed in touch. The other thing I’ll point out is that all of these girls were, in fact, drama students. I hate to generalise (but I’m going to anyway so I guess we’ll all have to live with that) but drama students do seem to have a higher than average collection of neuroses, and feel a compulsion to draw attention to these neuroses in a variety of ‘interesting’ ways. Of course we all have our issues but in my experience, there is certainly a correlation between obtaining a BA in Theatre Studies and a propensity to see the world as a play in which you are the fatally flawed heroine and other people are mere bit-part players, who wander in and out of your scenes. Every time the action flags and your lines aren’t showing off your talents, you rewrite a little and ramp up the melodrama. Either studying Brecht and Artaud is enough to put you in therapy, or UCAS recruits drama applicants directly from the books of therapists.  If this stereotype seems a little cruel that’s because it is. But a lesser-known fact about me is that for two years, I was one of these students of drama. For two years I ‘externalized the internal’ for dramatic effect, indulged in ‘invisible theatre (which meant standing in the middle of Covent Garden in a bra and sandwich board). I ran around with no shoes on, cultivated an image of a tortured soul, and cried late into the night, raking through every corner of my cushy middle-class life for more ‘material’. The thing is, I wasn’t very good at all that self-loathing combined with self-adoration and after two years I realised that a 2.2 in BA Exhibitionism  was not what I wanted out of my university career. So I switched to English where the pretensions were just as pronounced but of a slightly more tolerable flavour. But my point is, that I speak, if not with authority, then at least with some first-hand experience. I am sure there are lots and lots of talented and well-balanced students of drama the world over. Perhaps I’ll meet one of them one day.

Anyhow, in this shared house, we were all a bit like this – total emotional fuck-ups, mostly by design. But there was this one girl who was possibly the best example of all of these things that I have ever come across, and consequently the most irritating person in the world.  And maybe also a little bit evil. We’ll call her Tit. This wasn’t her name but it’s not wholly dissimilar to her name and is certainly apt. She was competitive, manipulative, and totally self-absorbed. Anyway, the point of this is that after two years of living together, a sort of vague generalised dislike intensified into white-hot burning anger. I think this is the only time I’ve ever hated anybody. Day after day was ruined by her very existence and any interaction we ever had became a tense, point-scoring dialogue of thinly veiled fury. My mum would tell me to avoid her and stay out of her way. The thing is, when you live with somebody, you can’t stay out of their way. It’s impossible. I remember sitting in my room, crying angry tears of frustration because I could hear her on the phone outside my room and every time she spoke it was like somebody stabbing me in the eye with a fork.

I despised Tit so much that it became almost an obsession. It was all I could think about and therefore all I talked about. Conversations with friends and family became a monologue  – me just listing the things she’d done or said, going over them from every angle: her audacity, my outrage, how she started it, how justified I was. People listened sympathetically at first but (understandably) began to get bored and even a little disturbed. What I wanted, I guess, was for them to feel what I felt, for me to somehow bypass words entirely and just plant the picture I saw in their heads, transplant the ball of rage and hatred in my stomach directly into theirs.

Eventually I moved out, took stock, and the anger faded and with it the hatred. From this vantage, I looked back at myself with more distance and was thoroughly ashamed of what I saw. I let her turn me into somebody I didn’t want to be, somebody who was fuelled by bitterness and anger, somebody who had no room for anything else in her life, somebody who was petty and childish and who had become every bit as despicable as Tit herself.  I resolved never to let that happen to me again.

The reason I’m writing all of this is because I need to remind myself just now that in the face of provocation, I can walk away. If somebody attacks me, then it doesn’t matter who starts it, who’s right or who’s wrong. It doesn’t matter who was to blame originally. If I react with anger and enmity, it will eat away at me, not the other person. It will damage me, not her. If she throws acid at me, it might burn me. If I throw it back, it will ricochet and still burn me, gradually corroding everything until I’m just the skeleton of the person I would have been.

So, Tit, and all those who come after you…do your worst. You can’t touch me.

P.S. Well done if you’ve read this far. I think we’ve all learned something here today. Mostly, that I am a little bit insane.

P.P.S. Just re-read this and can’t help thinking I might have belonged on that drama degree after all. As a wise man (my dad, I think) once said to me, you can take the student out of Drama, but you can’t take drama out of the student.

Solidarity

November 30, 2011

 

“A Banker, a School Teacher, a Tory MP and a Daily Mail reader are sat around a table. In front of them is a plate, on which there are ten biscuits. The Banker scoffs nine of the biscuits, then the Tory turns to the Daily Mail reader and whispers in his ear “watch out, that teacher is after your biscuit” -Source unknown.

“Unions: the people who brought you the weekend. And capped working hours. And employment rights and protections. And fair wages. And pensions. And ended child labour. What a bunch of greedy bastards.” – Priyamvada Gopal

You know those times when you feel you are just about coping? When you feel you’re trapped in a box which is slowly filling with water and you’re pressing your head against the top of that box, desperately trying to delay the moment when the water level passes your shoulders, then your chin, then your mouth, and you know within seconds it’s going to be lapping at your nostrils?

Right. Well that’s how I feel about now. Except the water, which I am using here as a metaphor for, y’know, stuff, life stuff (you got that, right?) is in actual fact currently the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back. I think I’ve mixed those metaphors beyond all recognition and, indeed, beyond all rhetorical use. In plain English then: Everything was all getting a bit much but I was kind of coping with it until my downstairs neighbour knocked on the door to tell me that my boiler was leaking so much that it had broken their boiler and was in the process of flooding the whole street. And sure enough, when I looked out of the window, it appeared that the Thames had made a small detour past my window. Fuuuuuk

So now I am spending my Sunday night trying to arrange for emergency plumbers to come and fix the flat downstairs, and trying to get the useless fuckers who fucked the fucking boiler in the first place to come and fucking fix the fuckwittery that was their attempt to fix the fucking thing in the first place. (I heard expletives lower stress levels. I’m giving it a go.) Meanwhile, although there is clearly a surplus of water in my opening metaphor, the flat downstairs, and the street below, there sure as fuck isn’t any in my flat. No. That had to be turned off to stem the deluge. So now I can’t wash up (ok, probs wouldn’t have done that for another few days anyway, but tis hardly the point), can’t have a shower, and more worryingly, can’t use the loo (on the bright side, I have no drinking water so that is a problem with its own built-in solution). Seriously though. On the toilet problem. I might have to consider using the cat-litter tray. Since one of my cats seems happy to use my bed as a loo, they can hardly complain if I share their tray (I have been forced to do this on one occasion in the past but that is a very different story and one which I fear would detract from the general tone of GAH which I am currently trying to express). Or maybe I should just cut out the middle-man and take a piss on the bed myself.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really a massive problem. It means sharing my flat with people who call me ‘love’ and ‘my dear’ for several days while they try to cover their ineptitude by patronising me with unsolicited life-advice, but it’s not really the end of the world. It’s just that I feel I am only ever just keeping the pressure of anxiety and panic at managable levels and this kind of needless, pointless, frustrating obstacle sends that pressure gauge shooting up into the red, and big read flashing letters reading PANIC, PANIC start blinking behind my eyes, and I cope with it in the only way I can release some of that pressure: I start to cry. And then I’m crying, not just because the boiler is fucked but because I have a PhD to write, and a new job to start, and because the water bill just came in and I don’t know how I’m going to pay it, and because I feel guilty because I don’t call my grandma enough, and because my grandma is 93 years old and all her friends died like twenty years ago, and because my brother feels low and there’s nothing I can do about it, and because I feel guilty and confused about some very confusing stuff at the moment, and because I owe about ten billion people emails…..everything just unravels. And then I feel so useless and pathetic because I really don’t have it that bad, and I know other people have ACTUAL problems to cope with and the truth is, I just don’t deal with normal day-to-day stresses very well. I need to work on that. Chamomile tea, yoga, breathing exercises, maybe some good drugs wouldn’t go amiss.  Whatever…I need to sort it the fuck out because you know what? Sometimes boilers break down. Sometimes things go wrong. And one day I’m going to have something really bad to deal with and then I’ll bloody wish it was only a case of ringing an emergency plumber.

Anyway, in an effort to convince myself that it’s not all bad and that the world is not an evil place populated only by cowboy plumbers, I am going to list some achievements/good things to come out of the last week:

1) I sent some work to my supervisor and she sent it back and apparently it’s not as crap as I thought.

2) I am planning to take my first proper holiday in almost eleven years. There will be sun, sea, endangered species, hopefully some vegan cuisine, but most of all there will be no PhD. Or any studing of any kind. Roll on April.

3) Last night, I went to watch the fireworks with people I love. It was beautiful and so were they.

Well, Internet. Thanks for reading. I feel a bit better now. That’s why I love blogging. I tell myself what’s what and give myself a bit of a talking to. I start writing in a frenzy of anger/panic/anxiety/frustration and then feel a whole lot better for getting everything off my chest (or small flat tits, as the case may be). Ok, signing off now. If you need me, I’ll be standing on the traffic island in the middle of my street, playing poo sticks with the body parts of chauvenist plumbers.

Till the morrow, fair Internet…