Drunk

Why is it easier to create when drunk?

It’s a genuine question, although possibly not one I’m expecting anyone to answer. I was originally going to write “easier to write”, but ‘create’ is more accurate. A more wanky version would ‘easier to be free’ or some such shit, but if I wrote something like that without some self-examination and censor, even while drunk, I’d probably punch myself for being a twat. Whether it’s actually twatty is a whole nother matter, but I perceive it as such.

Decoding this is probably a fairly serious task. But since I have little inclination to be serious or fair right now, I’ll make do.

  1. Part of it is the simple-not-simple element of how people self-censor. I say ‘people’, I really mean ‘me’, but it does apply on a wider scale. It will not be news to you that people filter their actions dependent on who will observe those actions. You will, in all probability, act differently when you are at a family dinner than when you are at home with your beau. Less swearing. Less genital-scratching. And so on. You monitor yourself. This was bought into focus for me recently when I came across Foucault and his Panopticon theory (and lest you think I’m a studious academic or somesuch, I came across it on a great sex toy review site called ohjoysextoy.com (which reviews sex toys, but frequently goes off to explain/explore a lot of sex-related things in very understandable ways. It’s pretty rad.)) Essentially, way back in the 50’s or so, this dude had a theory which was eerily prescient. Everyone, ever, who has has access to the internet on a regular basis (e.g. social media, motherfuckers) will monitor themselves based on who they believe will see them. But in our case, it’s not only who will see you, but who will see what you do. But not just what you do, but also what you’ve done. Your entire social-media history is there. Every new contact you meet can, potentially, see not only who you are now, but who you were a week ago, a month ago, five years ago. Your history is made solid, for all to see. Over time, this could well become ingrained, automatic. From conscious monitoring, to unconscious monitoring, to unconscious alteration. How long before you’re not just unconsciously monitoring yourself, but unconsciously changing yourself. Blocking or diverting certain parts of yourself, before they even have a chance to be a thing-you-can-not-announce. From building a dam, to blocking the source. It’s the difference between a reservoir of potential whatever that you are choosing to not let loose, to having no reservoir at all.
  2. Part of it is concentration. Seriously. I can’t concentrate for shit. Thing no 1 has a serious part here. The idea of concentration, without immediately second guessing/pre-emptively stopping whatever you’re doing, is a reasonably foreign one to me. It happens, but usually only if I’m being told to do it. Either by a job, or an authority or some kind, or whatever. Left to my own devices, my own pre-emptive protections will usually step in long before anything can actually happen. Alcohol is apparently a good way around this, to an extent. Even now I can feel myself self-awarely (awarly?) critiquing this, editing this, changing this. But the influence is muted, easier to manage. And while I’m internally distracted, I can (apparently), externally write (e.g. do something in the real world, as opposed to just sitting still, looking into middle-distance).
  3. Part of it is effort. Yeah, this is the weak-sauce of the bunch. Like, of course effort takes effort, it’s effort. If it was effortless, it’d be pretty badly named. But somehow, effort seems less effort when drunk. At least where writing/externally creating seems to be. Right now, as I type, I can feel the last 3-4 shots of gin hitting my system. As I started writing this, I was drunk (but not too drunk), in the time between then and now (which is probably between 5-10 mins) the next pint of gin and lemonade (classy I know) is starting to hit my system. I can tell because my vision just got a whole lot driftier, and it started to take a much greater effort to actually pay attention to what I’m writing. I feel like I was  in the sweet spot for alcohol-induced-writing, and now I’m shimmying past it. Although frankly, I just said ‘shimmying past it’ as a phrase, which feels pretty fucking good, so who knows, maybe this is the next plateau of writing goodness. We’ll find out in about 6-8 hours when I’m sober, I guess.

Oh shit. Yeah I think I’ve surfed passed the hotspot. As I write, I have one eye closed so I can see what I’m writing. I will revisit this, and edit it (so you never notice this, the joy of the internet). But in the meantime: fuck you alcohol, and your apparent ability to allow me to write. There’s a fun letter I could write: Letters To My Drunk Self. (Written While Most Likely Drunk).

Peace out.

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[Hmm. This one is a touch different. The others I have tried to pull out because they have some kind of progressive value inside. This one is a touch different. For a start, it’s miserable as fuck. But I think it’s worth posting here for one main reason: in the hope that I actually remember it. A consistent, repeated peculiarity (or thing-I-imagine-is-a-peculiarity) is that I don’t remember emotive states other than the one I am in. Or I do, but only to a very limited extent. This is a fairly influential thing on my day-to-day being, but one that you (and I) wouldn’t even notice, unless we are having a specific kind of conversation – and that kind of conversation does not happen all that often. So it floats by as something that is rarely drawn attention to. Which, obviously, is part of the issue. Not only do I forget that I don’t remember past emotional states/events/anything at all, but I also forget that I forget. It’s pretty much half the shit that Orwell writes about in 1984.  One thing that has proved (more) effective is, essentially, having an external memory bank to draw on. In my case it’s a person, who I frequently use as a touchstone. If I’m unsure how reasonable I’m being, or if I suspect I might have forgotten an emotive event, I will check in to ask. In a similar manner, writing forms a part of that too. If I can read something I wrote at a certain time, I can get an element of my state at that time. It’s not very reliable, at all. But it feels like something that should be reinforced.

This entry then, is from 01/03/2016. Relevantly, that’s less than a month after I started my new job (which is now my previous) job. This becomes very important, because while I technically know that the last year has been fairly shit on a job level, I have very little insight as to why, without really really really thinking about it. Because I have forgotten. In fact, the main reason I know this year has been horrendously sucky (on a personal level) is that I have memories of getting annoyed that I was spending a lot of time being frustrated, in conversation with my touchstone. Let that sink in for a second. I have less of a memory for the bad-time itself, that I do for the fact that I have been annoyed by me spending/wasting a lot of someone’s time about that bad-time.

So it came as a genuine surprise to me to find this bit of writing. Because I have no recollection of writing it. And had I not come across it, I would have no personal recollection that this happened, and felt that bad. On reading it, I unarguably did.

It gives me some important context, because I know (in main thanks to the other people I have told, who have repeatedly reminded me) that I have felt in a similar state with regard my work for…almost 8 months? And self-pity aside, that feels important.]

Beat up beat down. It’s stunningly, overwhelmingly easy to lose your adventure, to lose your excitement. Fuck knows what it’s like if you have dependants. I mean, sleep, work, rest. I technically have about 5-6 hours of a day ‘free’. Which is quite a lot. Except shopping. Except chasing housing repairs. Except laundry. Except I need to rest, to just stop, because I am not nearly as solid as people who don’t know me think I am. This last step is also where I go wrong, because lethargy is addictive. Laying about for an hour will always mean you want to do it for another hour. And that’s bullshit.

On the switch, maybe I need to get over the idea of having ‘me time’, or alternatively, I need to change what ‘me time’ means. Currently, ‘me time’ means, basically, doing not a lot. Watching tv, or playing a game, or surfing the net. Maybe that needs to change to ‘me time’ still being something I do alone, but something productive. Like, for instance, writing.

Or quite possibly, I need to drastically loosen my grip on quantifying things. I honestly don’t know. But I do know I haven’t done much/any ‘real’ writing or singing or scripting or…anything, in the last month, since moving here. I have legitimate reasons for much of that (Caro being here for almost 3 weeks, no space, no quiet, things going wrong, no internet) but still.

Hmm. Something I do need to do is capitalise on my weekends a lot more. Last weekend was, pretty much in it’s entirety, a veg-out. I need to use that time better.

Sketchpad ideas:

  • set in sci-fi future (maybe 100 years in future) from the viewpoint of a writer, trying to write a book of alternate history set in the now (e.g. 2015). Full of small mistakes (as would be expected when a foreigner tries to inhabit another culture).

*

It’s hard to describe emotional tiredness, let alone emotional exhaustion. It’s closely tied to mental exhaustion as a whole, and in all probability to physical exhaustion to a reasonable extent. It’s possible that, really, I am just saying the same thing three times. But how do you describe [edit: clearly I meant to come back to something there here, but a new point grabbed my attention. This happens a lot.]

How do I? I am not, I don’t think, clinically depressed any more. It took around four years to get here, from admission (and subsequent diagnosis) to ‘cure’. But I still don’t feel…that different? This is unhelpful, because right now I’m feeling exhausted and a bit aimless and a bit lost, and quite trapped. In the last month I’ve gotten a lot better with mentally coping with the noise around here. For a week it drove me to serious anxiety. In the last two weeks it’s been frequently kind of annoying, but not really a problem. But, as has been well observed by Caroline, how much certain noises upset me is very closely linked to my mental state. A sound might go unnoticed on a good day, but if I am already feeling anxious and vulnerable, that same sound might drive me to crying and panic-behaviours.

So yes. It’s hard to describe feeling emotionally drained, without just listing exactly what is happening and what triggered it – which is a very different thing. Telling you that a sound is upsetting me doesn’t tell you how it makes me feel. And of course, if I’m anxious, I’m probably not totally exhausted.

I still have vague, piecemeal memories of the week I had about three years ago, where through (we think) a combination of illness (like a bug), longstanding suicidal depression/anxiety, and the fact that I’d desperately been trying to work in a job that pushed pretty much every stressor-button I have, there was a week that still makes me tremble when I think about it. There was a week (or at least several days, again I don’t remember very well) when I was so ill that I couldn’t speak. I literally couldn’t make sentences. I had the physical ability to do so – the parts were all still working, but by my brain was so, so exhausted that I quite truly didn’t have the resources to figure out how to translate base-trigger desires into words, translate those words into a sentence that would makes sense to someone else, and then operate all the machinery that would make that mental shape into a physically articulated sentence. I have a lot of fears. I have some that still make me recoil, or shake, or feel like I have to run. I don’t know if I have many fears that are greater than “be like that again”.

I hate this house. My room is attached to the main hall, and next to the kitchen. The walls are thin and made of plasterboard. So is the ceiling. There are no carpets in most of the house. I hear every door opening or closing, I hear every footstep, I hear it every time the fridge opens. The fridge is in the hall. And these sounds are loud. They are not at the edge of hearing. They are not faint. They are clear and defined. The person could well be in the room, it would sound the same.

I hate this house. I just want to have somewhere quiet. There are days where I quite seriously begin to consider just running away. Take a backpack, take my passport (which expires soon, don’t forget), and leaving.

But I can’t do it. For the same reason I couldn’t kill myself, and still can’t.

I can’t hurt the people I love. I can’t do that to them. I am trapped here. Held on the end of invisible ropes that are made only by me.

I get scared when I get like this. I don’t want to be depressed again. If this doesn’t pass in about a week, I might have to talk to someone about it.

I don’t even have the energy to be angry about this house. I want to rage and swear and be entertainingly dramatic. But I don’t have it in me.

Untitled #2

[Holy shit. Here’s an example of something I had totally forgotten about. From what I can re-remember, I was toying with the whole prophecies/tales in books. Specifically fantasy books (and to a less widespread extend, scifi). These kinds of things are either worldbuilding, in that they are there to give age and culture to the world being conjured (fairy tales and the like), or they are there as an omen to us the reader. A lot of standard chosen-one fantasy does this. There is a prophecy, which the characters know. At some point (it can be before, during, or after the adventure)  the characters realize that this prophecy is referring to them. Interestingly, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a chosen-one prophecy in a book where the character (specifically the chosen-one character) never becomes aware of this. I’m sure it’s been done, I’ve just never come across it. Anyway. This was me toying with that kind of fairy-tale feel, and also mucking about with dialect. Because I live in England, which is adjacent to Ireland, Scotland and Wales – three of the coolest accents that I know of. Although I have a thing for pretty much all accents.

Thematically, from what I can remember/decode, this bit of fairy-song/country folk-song. I am entirely certain that at time of writing, I had either just finished, or was re-reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a novel which makes excellent use of the worldbuilding I mean.

Plus, saying anything in a weird tone of voice/accent/dialect/whatever instantly makes it sound a lot cooler than it otherwise would.]

 

Comm fayre aur wyld awae wy us

ty graeclend kypt aur kype

Comm yung aur auld breng chyl wyt yeu

ty hartlend undyr hill

Comm lost aur last aur bludyd hart

bryn weu end peyn en beuryd dead

ty dance en fyne draped bravery

en dine aur dustd fayre

Dren deep aur love en wollen cayr

eat alln aur ceurful ton

Leav nau but sylen kypt aur kype

en skyp tau wae aun huem.

Mutation

[So, this kind of thing happens a lot. If I ever talk about how much of what I write is sporadic, or unfocused, or erratic, or other-word-that-means-drifty, then this bit of writing is a good example. This is from early August. It starts off, and I remember my intention on this one, as an attempt to write something about games (this has been a recurrent theme of the last 4-5 months. Ever since I got a real live article published by Ars Technica, a real live news/review site, I’ve been bludgeoning myself semi-daily to try and write something further. And I’ve come up stone cold dead and dry every single time). But the writing quickly changes it’s direction. The fundamental thought is still there “why do games bore me?” but it becomes wrapped up in something else, a possible solution, which in turn, becomes a tirade against a certain style of click-bait junkpage that I see all the goddamn time (and if you even dare to call that kind of thing ‘news’ then we will have what is politely called A Bit Of A Problem). 

I’m showing this because it’s a useful insight into my own brain. And the distance allows me to view it from a more critical angle (which is to say, at all).

Re-reading this, I notice that I refer to myself as being 27. At the time I was, in fact, 26. But I forget my own age semi-regularly. For about 4-5 months of this year, I genuinely thought I was 27.|

Lastly, “***********” is my own shorthand for “put more content here and/or come back to this later”]

What Happened To The Joy Of Repetition (or Did I Lose The Joy Of Repetition)

In the last year or so, I’ve noticed something: a lot of games bore me. Now, I’m a fairly skeptical person to start with. I know full well that I’m hard to please. And I try to actively not be taken in by hype for a lot of things. But even then, even then, I look back at a number of games I’ve played and bought in the last few years, and I just think…why did I play this?

Top of my list lies Titanfall. Now I was skeptical as fuck about that game. A multiplayer only game being sold at the same price as a higher-end triple A game? That alone raised my Skepticism Defcon to 2. And the massive campaign of advertising for it kind of cemented that opinion. But even after all of that, it had enough that looked interesting about it to attract my wallet.

You know what? I had a lot of fun with Titanfall. I really did. The smooth parkour elements, the interplay of massive-death machine and tiny-people was a fun challenge. The rapidity of movement (and the lack of chest-high cover) meant that things like the homing-pistol weren’t broken, they were a legitimately challenging and rewarding style of gameplay.

So what let Titanfall down? If I liked its mechanics and I liked its interplay, what’s the problem? Well, for a start, it had a pitiful excuse for a campaign mode. No, it had an offensive excuse for a campaign mode. The way the campaign mode works is this: You play through each multiplayer map in the game in a specific order, in a normal multiplayer match, with lots of other players who are also playing the campaign. And while you’re equipping your weapons and loadout for the coming match, there is a voiceover. No matter the outcome, win or lose, you move onto the next match, and the next slice of voiceover.

And then, once you’ve played through all the maps, you can play one the other team (who are functionally identical). So you play through the maps again, with different slices of voiceover. That’s it. That is literally it.

In effect, the above means that your first hour of Titanfall is spent totally ignoring half of what the game is giving you, because it’s badly written and utterly ignorable.*************

Part of me has wondered, writing this, whether I’m ‘becoming old’. But even as I think it, I know it’s complete bullshit. With the rise of the Buzzfeed nation, there has come a tidal wave of this kind of self-deprecating, self-hating, self-apologising wankery. You know the type. It’s wallowy one liners about how you’re so old and past it, and no one ‘gets’ your jokes any more because they’re old. All of this draped in gifs of 90s sitcom characters, all caught in endless one second loops of cometragic wailing.

And all of those posts seem to be made be people my age. If you’ve ever made one of these: I hate you. I do. I hate you because you are directly responsible for that sneaky little thought of ‘I’m just becoming old’. And it’s shit.

First up, I’m not old. And no, I’m not just in denial fnar fnar fnar. I’m 27. Living in a 1st world country. By the self-cannibalising standards of general society, I’m barely even an adult. I mean, I don’t own a car. I don’t have a career. I don’t have a mortgage, child, or wife. As far as society is concerned I’m a teenager, ten years on.

Secondly, fuck you. We live in a world that is psychologically drowning in everyone appearing perfect. All your friends are doing better than you. They all have better jobs, look happier, have stable partners – or alternatively great party lives. Everyone is better than you. Except of course, they’re not. Chances are, most of the people you know (certainly on social media) are exactly like you. Similar age. Similar background. Similar values. Similar obstacles. And yeah, there might genuinely be that one person who is living a gold plated dream of a life. And you know what? Gazing at their Facebook posts twenty times a day isn’t going to help you is it?

Thirdly FUCK YOU. I didn’t fight for both my sanity and survival for goddamn years just so you could passively put yourself (and by virtue of sharing it, me) down.

In short then, no I’m really not ‘just becoming old’. Do I understand the fashion, music and minutiae of 15 year olds? No. Because I’m not fifteen. I don’t know any fifteen year olds. I don’t interact with any fifteen year olds. Why the fuck would I understand the intricacies of their culture?

Funnily enough, the world is not split into ‘I’m a teen’ and ‘I’m not a teen anymore, waaaah everything is over forever’. So get the everloving shit over yourself, you are dragging our whole generation down into your pit of self-pitying wank.

To get back on point then, if it’s not that I’m too old, what is it?

I think age has little to do with it, I think boredom has a lot. But I don’t think I have a concrete answer.

[Preface: So this was written round-about the start of September, I think. I didn’t date this one, but from the surrounding dates, it sounds reasonable. While it is undoubtedly diary-style, I think it’s worth putting here. Partially because it’s a damn sight more coherant that much of my private-style writing, and partially because I no longer work in this job. After 8 months of pretty much daily scream-worthy frustration and beauracratic fuckery, I got fired. This post therefore, marks a very nice snapshot into why this job was the passive-aggressive pressure cooker that it was.]

As those (un)lucky few who both personally know me and read some of the things I write will know, I’m not much for consistancy.

You’ve almost certainly come across ‘the zone’. Flow is just another, rather more zen-like term for that. It’s a state of active immersion. I use the word active there because plain ol’ immersion can be a very passive thing. If I watch a film, and it’s a good film, and I’m paying attention, then I may well be fully immersed in the events on screen. But I don’t actually interact with them. They happen, and I pay attention. To be ‘in the zone’ has to mean there is some chance for you to have meaningful input.

Let’s paint an example. At the place I work, every morning there is a 15 minute morning meeting. For some horribly corporate reason it’s referred to as a ‘huddle’. Why is that horribly corporate? Well because you’re not allowed to call it anything except ‘the huddle’. It’s one of those things you come across quite frequently, where someone – very soullessly – tries to force something to have soul. Like a 50 year old middle manager trying do a fun, 30 page presentation to The Board on ‘how to be down with the kids’. With clipart. I’d laugh, if it wasn’t for the fact that this kind of thing, very obviously, happens all the time. But hey. We have this huddle.

This huddle follows the same formula. I don’t think it’s a corporate-mandated formula, although I don’t know for certain, but in my branch, there is this formula. First, 3-4 minutes will be filled with stupid small talk. Sometimes it’s someone’s wedding. Usually it’s the traffic. Importantly, only half of the room will actively participate in this, because only half the room is allowed to. So, inevitably, the three male members of the room stand in silence, waiting for it to finish (very importantly, we still have to be there, and in fact we will be called over from our actually-job-necessary morning tasks if it’s past 9 o clock.) The huddle doesn’t start until all are present. And then 3-4 minutes are wasted. Very importantly at this point I will interject that the small talk does not happen inherently because the people doing it are women, and the small talk is not inherently passive for the men just because they are men. This is the dynamic of my branch – a branch in which the three males are all under thirty, the three most senior females are over forty five. This is how it is here.

In what stands as a microcosm for the entire huddle experience, and the branch experience above that, we still have to pay attention during this time. We can’t tune out. At any time, a question might be thrown my way – and if I don’t answer suitably, then my lack-of-attention-about-the-fucking-traffic-for-the-fourth-time-this-week will be taken as rudeness. I will be publicly shown to be someone who just doesn’t care about the branch, and by extension, my job. This is not an exaggeration, this is a thing that has been said. So I stand, rooted in my purgatory. Eventually, after all stars have gone out, after all beings have breathed their last, and the universe itself has folded down to rest, the small talk finishes.

Then our advisor will be given the stage. She inevitably says one of two things. Option A: I’m having a good week, so I need you guys to do it more for me. Or more often option B: I’m not having such a good week, so you guys really need to do more for me.

Some background at this point. The branch advisor is a slightly odd position. They take care of a lot of the more nuanced and time consuming things. If you’ve ever had an appointment in a bank, chances are the first one you had was with an advisor. Now, their job is different from mine. They get some different training, and probably a slightly higher pay. But importantly, their job is not senior to mine. I can’t do their job, it’s true, but they can’t do mine. I can’t open a new account (at least, not correctly according to legal standards), they can’t get £10,000 in cash for customers. But there is a degree of interdependency. Obviously, I see a lot of customers. Obviously then, people wanting appointments will often come to me. So I will book them in with the advisor. Actually there isn’t a degree of interdependency. When I think about it, anything that I need the advisor for (usually some more specific nuance of what-is-allowed) is only actually done in order that I might book the customer in to see the advisor. So I help them. And they help me to help them.

But the advisor relies on me and my colleagues – at least in our branch. As I mentioned before, I have never worked in another branch. I have no context. So it was several months before I met staff from other branches, and got to really talk to them. And one of the biggest things I found? It’s not my fucking job to book appointments. Well, it is, but only for my benefit. I book appointments in order to ‘help customers’. It is not my job to book appointments because our advisor’s diary is empty. Because it’s her damn job to fill her diary. Her job literally is her diary. If she has nothing booked in, she can’t do her job (or more accurately, can’t get her stats up).

All of the above background is actually important, because now you might understand why both option A and B (remember those?) are fundamentally wrong. Option A would be good, if the bottom line wasn’t ‘because I need you guys to make me look good’. Option B would be okay if there was some form of interaction. Give and take. Something.

But there isn’t. As I realised above, the reason the oft paraded ‘give’ of asking-for-help has always felt so hollow from our advisor is that it isn’t what it appears to be. I’m not doing it to help me, and nor is she.

All of the above comes with one huge caveat: regardless of if it’s option A or option B being said, it will take ten minutes. Ten minutes. Every day. Of the same, entirely self interested thing. Being said to me by someone who isn’t my boss, but who is given the power to act like it by my boss. My manager genuinely seems to think this 10 minutes of time is useful. More than that, she thinks it is ‘good for the team’.

So we’re 14 minutes into our morning huddle. 1 minute left. What’s to take care of? Oh right: All the security/audit questions, all the internal business news updates, all the special notifications that might be happening in branch that day, all product updates, all service updates, any suggestions/thoughts staff might have to help the branch, and pretty much anything else that needs to be covered.

And that is my morning huddle. Every day.

Now, I haven’t worked in my job for all that long, only six months or so. I’ve never worked in an environment like it. And I’ve never worked in any other branch. So my experience of these morning meetings is extremely limited; I have no context, aside from my own general-worldly experiences. I say this because I’m willing to believe that it’s possible for these huddles to be useful. Hell, I’ll concede they could sometimes even be good. But during the last six months I have sat there every day, mug of tea in hand, trying to pay attention to information I’ve heard before and will hear again, and I have proceeded to lose a sliver of my soul and a shaving of my patience.

My point being (eventually) that those morning huddles, they are not actively immersive. For me, they literally cannot be. I have to pay attention at all times – because you never know if a fragment of something very important is going to be thrown in with the swill (this happens about once a month, but the important thing is often very important in order for me to do my job). So my attention needs to be right there, in the room. But I can’t do anything. Anything I say will be ignored, mitigated, explained away, or otherwise sidelined in some way. This is demonstrably true. In a horribly self-feeding loop of pure idiocy, I have already established myself as someone who ‘speaks up’ – something I am constantly told to do. During my time in the job, one of the most consistent observations/criticisms I get is that I don’t ask enough questions (this being the main way I am supposed to learn my job. Six days of basic training, and then ask questions. Oh, did I mention the place I work is in a bank?) So I am constantly told to ask more questions. But if ever I have a suggestion (i.e. an interaction that is not purely passive) then I am marked as trouble. Not openly of course (oh no, that would be unprofessional). Instead, I will get a response. Just not a relevant one. Here is an example:

Manager: …and so we will all be out front in the hall, greeting customers.

Me: Okay, that sounds good. I can see what the bank is going for here, I think it could be really good. One thing though – and I’m really not being negative here Manager, I just think it’s something to think about – if we’re all out front, and having to walk back and forth through the security airlock, is it possible there might be delays? Because if someone is coming out, no one can go in and so on. I’m just wondering what we might be able to do about that.

Manager: (immediately) So it’s really important that we’re not just negative about this, and throwing up problems and saying we’re not going to do it, we have to give it a go.

Me: (slight pause) Okay Manager, I’m not saying I’m not going to do it. I’m absolutely going to do it. But I thought it was worth pointing out as something to consider, otherwise when we do it, if this happens, it’ll cause quite a lot of confusion and stress for us – in front of the customers.

Manager: Okay, but bear in mind it’s really important that we’re not just negative about this, and throwing up problems and saying we’re not going to do it, we have to give it a go. We all have to pitch in on this, and do our best.

Me: (genuinely a bit dumbstruck, although fuck knows why, I should be used to this) Yes, I get that, I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it. What I’m saying, maybe, is that this could be a problem, and you know how busy we get, so my worry is that if this happens, it’s gonna cause fairly big delays, and it’s gonna make us even more stressed. So I was just wondering if we could think about it in the next couple of days, maybe come up with a solution? Then we can avoid any problems. D’you get what I mean?

Manager: (slight pause) Well if it happens we’ll just have to deal with it as it comes up – so moving on…

The above is not overly-dramatised by the way. That is a genuine interaction that happened, and near verbatim. This is what happens when I try to be not passive.

Untitled #1

[Preface: so this was apparently written on 25/09/16. I remember nothing about that particular day, or for that matter, that week as a whole. It was…a week that happened. Probably. But on reading, I do remember writing this. It was a direct effort to uncensor my own expectation. (In short, my base state is that I dislike writing badly so much, that I write nothing. I am aware this is entirely stupid, and counterproductive). So this entire thing was written almost as stream-of-conciousness-fiction. An attempt to conjure up a snippet of…something, developing it as it came, without editing or allowing my own sense of ‘norm’. Much like trying to sprint with numb legs – you technically know how to do it, but you have limited sensory feedback so you aim yourself forward and hope that if you just tank that fucker, you’ll manage to constantly collapse yourself forward without actually going over.

Looking back, it went pretty well.

As a technical note, I wrote the entire thing with my eyes closed, and then went back an spell-corrected it (which was pretty hard to do without actually reading/understanding what I was correcting. On the whole I managed it. For your enjoyement (possibly), the last few paragraphs are written as they originally were, with a translation beneath.]

rutting rotting triptych of agony and noise that takes and gives nothing to no one and leaves all that is gone where it is, nothing but chocolate and lemon acid dripped on the tongue, bleeding through the gums and lungs until the air is all encompassing noise and mist, left sitting alone in the clouds you exhale. The tyrant rules on high atop the hills of bone and crushed cars, the forges neverending in their hunger and rage. We sit in the foothills and wait for judgement, or blessing. The saints walk among us and give communion. The rust is gritty between my teeth, the oil is choking. We accept this gracefully, as we should. The lone madwoman stands a the cliff, keeping her council, refusing her evening rust. She wears no clothes but the jagged chains she has fashioned. She does not sleep. Merely gazes at the imaginary speck that could be the tyrant on high.. Night falls. The howling begins and we take our turns. A mockery of pain to end the day, it pleases the tyrant, we are told. In the pitch of night, a tremor is felt. The tyrant is coming. The madwoman is gone, and no one saw her depart. Her chains remain, half fused to the panels and rooftops she stood upon. Her defiance has been tamed, the saints say. I do not sleep again.

The ground is shifting. Not the tremor of the tyrant, no cause for celebration this. A deep shifting. Like glass, piled into a a heap like the children do, but on a slope of slow collapse. The sound grows and is unbearable. The screech reaches into the stomach and spleen and tears them apart, constricting them open and shut and open again. It does away. Something is wrong. The saints say all is well. In a quiet moment I see one waste water from their eyes, and she does not pick it up. I am afraid. The saints are uncertain. And we cannot see the tyrant.

The howl is slow at dusk.not a thing of terror and pain as should be, but uncertain. Frail. Old. We dp pir dity/ Bit we cammpt see tjetyramt/ Je wo;; retirm. Saomts sau. Je wo;; retirm/ O s;ee[ bad;y. Amd we;;/ Dee[ om the [otcj O cam sto;; taste the po; om ,y tjrpat. Ot tastes pf berroes amd ;eaf/ Pf salt amd old stone. I must be asleep. But drea,inmg os not a time for fancy, there is work to be done.

In the night, the ground tears again. We cling together, subsumed by the wash and wail. The floor tils and is gone. Or no. It is there, and we are no longer. O awale om the ,prmomg, face presed to the steel of mmy favourite chevrolet. The hills are different / Tje eartj jas ,pved/ A cru goes uup, the tyrant is there! The imagined speck of half-sight is againamong us. To the est now. A new throne! The saints are excstatinc.

End.

[The howl is slow at dusk not a thing of terror and pain as should be, but uncertain. Frail. Old. We do our duty. But we cannot see the tyrant. He will return, saints say. He will return. I sleep badly. And well. Deep in the pitch I can still taste the oil on my tongue. It tastes of berries and lead. Of salt and old stone. I must be asleep. But dreaming is not a time for fancy, there is work to be done.

In the night, the ground tears again. We cling together, subsumed by the wash and wail. The floor tilts and is gone. Or no. It is there, and we are no longer. I awake in the morning, face pressed to the steel of my favourite Chevrolet. The hills are different. The earth has moved. A cry goes up, the tyrant is there! The imagined speck of half-sight is again among us. To the east now. A new throne! The saints are ecstatic.]

Distance

Writing (kind of) about distance a few days ago, along with reformatting how I write for myself, seems to have done a fair amount for my ability to read my own words. Which is to say that, for the first time in about a year, I’ve actually done so (yeah, it’s kind of weird).

Digging through your old self is alway interesting, if slightly horrible. Doing so in public eye is significantly more horrible. But it is unarguably fascinating as an experience. It’s a constant re-remembering of previous action, often with a pastel-washed glimpse of a previous state of mind. In many cases it turns out I don’t really remember writing what I wrote, or rather I do, but I /only/ remember that I wrote it. Not why. It’s like amateur archeology; see these walls, buried for…about two weeks…what were these half-broken items used for? We’ve restored them here, but can still only ponder the intricacies of this long forgotten culture.

But in the interests of airing my brain out, I thought it might be worth trying to see if there is anything with (external) value. Which is to say, anything that I’m willing to share. The self-referential diary-rants are less likely to be considered so. Unless I feel like it. It has occurred to me several times that I embed by doing, so reading this stuff (and consequently posting some of it, maybe, possibly, you don’t know) is essentially an excersize in rememberance. So this is essentially me doing things here, publically, in order to help me, personally.

I said it was weird, right?