Day One-Hundred-and-Forty-Eight: Don’t be afraid to reconnect

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Source: shoeboxblog.com
But maybe they’re not as inarticulate and annoying in person, right?

There’s a spot on my floor, about the width of two tiles, that is noticeably warmer than the rest of the floor. I only notice it in the evening, when the weather cools, and the tiles take on a (sometimes welcome) chill. On my journey from the kitchen to the bedroom–usually with some food item in my hand/mouth–it gives me pause.

My boyfriend and I have discussed it. We’re not sure of the cause. Probably some pipe or power source running under there. Or our downstairs neighbours have a small heater on their roof. I like to think it’s a posh floor-heating mechanism that was partially installed during building, then scrapped when the owners found out how much it would cost (and how ridiculous it is to have a heated floor in Brisbane).

And what, you may be yelling at your monitor, is the fucking point of this story?

Well, it’s been 28 days since my last drink…err, post. For reasons that are clear only to the monkey who drives my brain, I felt like it was time to reconnect.

And that’s all it takes, right? Just a small thing to start a conversation, and get things rolling again.

I was talking to someone the other day about whether it would be weird for them to reach out to old friends and suggest a catch up. Now, I’m no well of wisdom (actually, the only thing I can say with any certainty that I’m a well of is blood and urine), but it seems to me that in this new-fangled age of Facebook and Twitter and all that self-broadcasting shit, reconnecting with people is as easy as liking a post or getting involved in an in-status debate about Tony Abbott. (Well, that’s if you think making sense of a plethora of poorly-formed sentences hurling abuse at bloody Labor/LNP/Juliar/Clive “Dat’s a Huuuuge Bitch” Palmer is easy.) The point is that striking up a dialogue has never been so simple and non-stalkerish.

For example:

Your high-school buddy posts a status about how fucking good Meaty’s Steak Emporium and Barbeque Palooza is. You’ve been to Meaty’s and you can totally attest to its jizz-inducing deliciousness. (You have the stains to prove it.) Why not post a casual “OMG I KNOW RIGHT LOL” and see what happens? Maybe you guys can go to Meaty’s together some time and eat ribs until you’re more pig-meat than man. Trade “What I’ve Been Doing with My Life” stories over a stack of buffalo wings. I don’t fucking know; it’s not my job to plan your meat-ups (ha!).

(By the way, if I open a steakhouse, I will call it Meaty’s Steak Emporium and Barbeque Palooza, so if you open one before I do and steal this name–thanks for reading!– I will hunt you down.)

What I’ve realised, through the magic of self-examination, is that nobody is going to react in a negative way when you attempt reconnect with them. (Unless you were a total c**t in school. I can’t help you there.) If you’re worried about looking like a desperate weirdo contacting old friends, think about it this way: if you got a nice message from an old mate, wondering what you were up to, and suggesting a catch-up, how would you feel? Warm and fuzzy, probably. You’re very unlikely to laugh derisively and delete their message. (Unless you are the the aforementioned c**t. God, you truly are a dick.) In fact, provided that the message doesn’t begin with “I wish to have tell you about the joys of Islam” (an actual Facebook message I received–please know that I am prejudiced against all religions equally), you’re probably going to be pleasantly surprised and happy to hear from them. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. (I’m not saying that you wouldn’t also be interested in the joys of Islam.)

I have friends whom I can go months without seeing. When they pop up on my radar again, or I swing them an “it’s been too damn long”, there’s no recriminations for the lack of contact, no raised eyebrows and WTFs, just a genuine keenness to meet up and talk shit about life (and eat, usually).

And yes, I get that sometimes people from our past are best left there, and you’ll probably hear a lot of “we should totally catch up some time” bullshit before you actually end up doing the thing, but, like an old friend once chided me, you’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t get out there. (I appreciated the message, but it’s totally not true. They could come to my house. And what with home-delivered groceries and the wonders of the internet, I could conceivably never leave the confines of my apartment. Or wear pants.)

Sometimes *cue sad, reflective music* you’ll hang out with someone again only to realise that your lives have diverged so obviously that you no longer share any common ground. You’ll sit opposite them in a cafe, smiling awkwardly and trying to react in a casual and interested way to the idea of a competitive all-male knitting club, and you’ll know that your future interactions will be limited to a ‘like’ and maybe a “sick cardigan, bro” here and there. The awesome (and terrifying) thing about the world is that it’s full of people, a good proportion of whom are statistically likely to share your interests. Expand your circles (not an advertisement for Google+). Old friends have new friends, who can be your friends too if you reconnect with the old friends. Friend poaching!

So, reach out or don’t. Whatever. The door is never closed (unless you’re in prison)(especially if you’re in prison for stalking and murdering former friends).

 

Good to see you.

We should definitely catch up some time.

TB

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Day Eighty-One: A technology downgrade is like dealing with a toddler

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To my utter horror, I woke up a few mornings ago to discover that my phone had contracted some kind of phone herpes, which, over the course of several hours, slowly blotted out the entire screen. I don’t know why it happened, but it did.

Following this tragic development (and while my phone is spending three weeks at the warranty repairs place being looked at by obviously very slow technicians), I had two choices.

One: Go without a phone. Inconceivable. Ridiculous. I can’t even…

Two: Purchase another phone with all that disposible income that I have. Oh, wait…

Three: Use my and my boyfriend’s go-to “I’ve just broken my phone and need something for the interim” Motorola.

 

Of course, it’s got to be option three, and this is where the real fun begins.

It’s funny how you get by with outdated technology at the time and don’t think anything of it–case in point: I am writing this on a freaking brick of a Toshiba laptop that requires constant wall plug access, but it’s what I have so I’m dealing with it–but as soon as you’ve upgraded and experienced the joys of fast loading, awesome graphics, and the proper system to support all them cool apps, you can never go back.

Well, you can. But it sucks.

And thus, the Motorola. The Motorola is probably about three or four years old now. It has all that stuff a smart phone should have– touch screen, Android interface, the ability to surf the net and go on Facebook–but none of the power or speed required to adequately power these technologies. Using the Motorola is like carrying an unreasonable toddler around with you.

Here’s why:

 

1. The tantrums

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This is how I imagine my phone looks internally. (On a side note, I’m always fascinated by Jill Greenberg’s pics of crying, lollipop-deprived children http://kopeikingallery.com/exhibitions/view/end-times)

You know the feeling. You’re out and about just doing yo’ thang, and somewhere close by a child just loses their shit. Only this time, you’re out and about, trying to map your way to an appointment, and the screaming mess of tiny human is in your hand. I really believe that if this phone could wail and shriek like some kind of deranged possum, it would. (I’ll look into appropriate ringtones.) Directions? You want DIRECTIONS? SCREEEEEEEEE! Or, more accurately, *freeze*, *flicker*, *force close*. Then there’s the silent treatment, i.e. the “you put me on vibrate, but I’ll give you no indication but a single light flash when a message comes through; take that you stupid bitch” treatment. Why do our children hate us so?

 

2. The sudden and powerful urge to nap

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Too. Much. Breathing.

I get it. We’ve all fallen asleep in weird places before when we’re just so wrecked we can’t keep our eyes open. Little kids are notorious for it. I suspect, though, that this phone may be a toddler with narcolepsy. Never mind that I’ve given it a good rest (charge), and that I’ve only just picked it up and tried to use it to check my bank balance, it is most decidely nap time, mother fuckers. You want to call somebody? Well, that’s just too bad, because my internal clock says I need a reboot. Gosh, did you just try to move that app shortcut to your home screen? You know how that exhausts me.

 

3. The inability to handle simple tasks

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You want me to attach TWO things? *bzzzzt* ERROR

I’m not asking for complex games with lots of colour and fast movement (I learnt that the hard way already). I’m not asking for it to mine Bitcoin or act as the server for Twitter. I’m no longer even asking for web pages, since that has proven to be beyond this phone’s capacity. What I want is to scroll through a Facebook feed, to type and send a text message, to quickly google the net worth of Bill Murray. If these things sound like basic smart phone uses, then you haven’t met the Motorola. From offering to force close the (clearly taxing) application, to simply restarting itself, the Motorola really is the dumbest piece of technology I’ve come across in a while.

 

4. The shitting itself

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If only it were super cute Golden Lucky Poop…

Whenever. Wherever. Especially when you’re busy, rushing, or in desperate need of it to just behave.

 

Some people might tell me that this is a “first world problem” (and yes, I know, I agree) and that I should be grateful that technology has come so far since the humble Nokia 3310. Those people have never experienced this phone. Those people are probably reading this on their iPhones, while simultaneously watching a Youtube video, writing a text, and playing Candy Crush. I appreciate technology, and I am definitely glad that my back-up phone isn’t a brick with a black-and-white screen and monophonic ringtones, but you know what? I can’t handle the backtrack. I can’t handle the downgrade. I can’t handle this stupid, shrieking, gurgling mess of a phone for three weeks.

At least you can give a toddler a drop of whiskey to calm it down.

(Actually, liquid damage probably couldn’t make this phone any worse.)

(Or I’ll just have the whiskey…)

 

TB

Day Six: Why stress-performing is killing me

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As I type I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, checking my phone intermittently to respond to Facebook posts, and baking bread. I’m still considering yoga, painting my toenails, and maybe cleaning the bathroom mirror. You know what? I still feel like a lazy slob. I know that someone, somewhere is probably making my annual wage in a day, raising a menagerie of children, and saving lives through multiple charities in their spare time.

Most of the time I do feel like good old Inspector Gadget, albeit minus the trench coat (too much of a stripper vibe).

When I was in year 12, my mum told me that I was allowed one breakdown per term (so, four per year). If you’ve completed your final year of high school, you’ll understand that this was not a generous limit. In term two alone, I had three separate ‘crying on the floor’ incidents related to the non-appearance of my formal dress. When I finished that year, sick and exhausted, I was ready to sleep for a year.

Unfortunately for me, I’m a stress performer.

A day off sounds amazing, right?

Not so much when this is how it goes:

  • Sleep in until 9am. Feel like shit because you’ve already wasted like three good daylight hours.
  • Check phone secretly hoping something urgent has come up and you will have some deadline to work towards.
  • Drag self to kitchen and consider making a gourmet breakfast. Decide against it because it’ll take minutes that could be spent job-searching/cleaning/solving the world’s problems. Eat bowl of muesli while reading phone and/or junk mail. Stop eating when you realise that the bowl is empty.
  • Mentally schedule rest of day. Feel depressed when schedule reads shower, clothes, read stuff on internet.
  • Wander around house looking at things. Consider doing a mass clean-out for the second time in a month.
  • Scroll through list of phone contacts. Text one or two people casually asking what they’re up to. Try not to sound desperate.
  • End up baking something. Fail miserably. Feel worse.
  • Nap.

The fact is, friends, that I get my kicks from being stressed out of my freaking brain. Some days, I deliberately agree to ridiculously tight schedules, assuring myself I can handle it. I spend said day cursing myself and ‘looking forward to’ the weekend. Tomorrow, I’m rushing to an optometrist appointment, backing it up with a full day at work, followed by a mad drive straight to family dinner night. On Friday, I’m working 10-1, straight to a hair appointment at 1.30, and off to choir practice and concert at 4.45. Even that may not satisfy my stress-lust. There’s every chance I’ll decide to drive to the coast and back on Friday night just for shits and giggles.

I do this to myself. I even write blog posts at 11.30pm, just so I can feel the anxiety build as midnight approaches. Right now I’m thinking about making muesli and whether I’ll still get enough sleep before work tomorrow if I start reading Games of Thrones (yeah, I finally caught up to that bandwagon).

When I saw a natural health specialist at the beginning of this year, he listened to me describing my life for a few minutes, then nodded wisely. “You have what we call adrenal fatigue,” he said. “It means your body’s normal stress response is impaired due to overuse. Now, instead of releasing the adrenaline that you need to get through a stressful time, your body just spirals into overdrive.”

Adrenal fatigue affects everything: sleep, weight, general health. And do you know what the cure is? Eliminate stress.

If I remember correctly, I laughed. “I’m a uni student in her final year, working two jobs, and playing in a band,” I told him. “Stress is kind of inevitable.”

Inevitable, but not healthy. And not a good way to motivate yourself. Deadlines are there to ensure you do the work on time; they’re not a challenge to see how close you can come to complete catastrophy before you pull it off. Stress is my drug: I need more and more to get that sweet feeling of relief that follows an achievement. It’s getting to the point where the relief lasts all of five minutes before I’m searching for the next high. I don’t know all that much about the human body, but judging by the way my neck seizes up, my teeth clench, and my temples start to throb, this is probably not a good way to live.

It’s a habit that I’d like to break, though I’m not sure it’ll be easy. I’ll start with a deep breath. I’ll cut myself some slack. I’ll spend five minutes tomorrow staring into space and thinking about a holiday (jam-packed with activities–god please help me). I’ll read something that has absolutely no bearing on my job-searching, loan-sniffing, or blog-writing. There’s enough unavoidable stresses in life without intentially adding any on, right?

(I’m still going to go and make muesli now. But I’m going to take my sweet time. Namaste.)

TB

Day Three: Dear diary, wahhh

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(Thank god this is typed, right?)

I had a diary when I was about 12. I wrote in it maybe 10 times between then and the time that I was 15. Probably unsurprisingly, most of the entries are what I like to call ‘crisis cries’. The opening lines of a crisis cry begin something like this:

Dear Diary,

OMFG, I am so effing over this bullshit. I can’t believe that she would even say that! Why am I even alive? I’m gonna go eat like two litres of ice cream. Nobody cares if I get fat anyway. God, I’m ugly.

And continues on in that vein. I think I found one diary entry where I’m just giving a straight up rundown of my day.

Went to the beach today. That was fun. Might invite Ellen over tomorrow.

Pretty dry, really. Blogging is kind of the in-between. I certainly won’t post a crisis cry every day (unless, of course, every day is completely shit. I’m not ruling that out). At the same time, you might not always get to hear how I went to the bank yesterday, came home, put on a load of washing and wrote this post. (Yes, advance post-writing. Is that a thing? I like the idea of sleeping on a post and deciding the next day if it’s suitable for the wider world to read. What’s that? I’m still stuck in parentheses? Well, shit, get me out!)

OK. So, today’s post might read:

Dear Diary,

Once again, my attempts at obtaining finance and actually paying my parents for the vehicle they gave me have been thwarted by the evil forces of banking. “Declined,” hissed the bank manager, his tongue darting out to catch an unlucky fly. “We don’t trussssst you.” (OK, so perhaps I’m exaggerating, and the lady I dealt with was lovely, but it felt pretty much like this.)

My financial position is a Catch-22. I’ve never had to borrow money–due largely to my sterling savings record and steady employment–thus I don’t have a credit rating. No credit rating means credit is very difficult to obtain. Never mind that I’m an adult, soon to be a full-time employee (probably only making slightly more than I do with two casual jobs), with a neat packet of savings to my name. Everyone tells me that borrowing money is the smart way to make large purchases (right after they urge me to never get a credit card ever), and I have to agree. Paying the money out straight from my savings would leave me debt free, but it would also leave me with about $500 to my name and no buffer zone.

I stormed (politely) out of the bank today and walked aimlessly down the middle of the shopping centre, my eyes slightly unfocussed, my head in a swirl of negative thoughts.

You’re not financeable.
You’ll always be begging for money.
The system will always own you.

That last one is probably true, but the other two are just the product of the adult world giving me a little kick to see what I’ll do. The childish part of me wants to pull all my money out of the bank and hide it under my mattress. It also wants to egg the bank and maybe post on Facebook about how shit said institution is. But you know what? Fuck you, adult world. (Adults are allowed to say ‘fuck’.) There is always another way. I won’t be leaning on Mum and Dad for this one. You just watch me. I’ll sell my body if I have to. (Actually, probably not that.)

This is the adult world’s way of saying,

Welcome, Lucy. Won’t you sit down? Ohhhh, we pulled the chair out. You gonna cry?

Maybe a little. But then I’m gonna dust myself off and look for jobs. I’m gonna make so much money and save so well that you’ll be begging to give me loans and smoke cuban cigars with me.

After all, it’s only Day Three, right?

TB

Credit cards applied for: 2
Credit cards approved: 1
Credit limits that are unhelpfully small: 1
Household items remembered to buy without making a list: 1
Loads of washing done: 4
University assignments left: 0
Swear words uttered under breath (and aloud): 205280428452