Saturday, 14 March 2009

Cliche, but for a reason

This didn't happen to me.
So I'm posting it here for two reasons:
a.) I feel sufficiently annoyed nonetheless
b.) It's happened to us all at some point and will again.

Overheard at 19:00 in a computer lab at the university:

Boy: *leaning in to kiss girl sitting at next computer. Come here, baby...
Girl: *half-protesting squeal.
Boy: What's wrong?
Girl: Nothing I was trying to save the essay.
Boy: Awww it doesn't matter... come here.... *more pulling of girl until her chair physically moves closer to his. He then smothers her with cuddles.
Girl: Ok I'll be done soon.... maybe I go home now and order some food later?
Boy: No stay here.
Girl: Uh but I have to shower and stuff.
Boy: So? Do it later! I'll be done soon.

Same couple at 20:00:
Girl: You done babe?
Boy: Uuuuggghhh *grunt uhhhh noooooooooooo!!! Haha Peter's girlfriend barfed and he put it on facebook! Loook!!
Girl: I don't wanna

Boy: Pulling chair over. Look.

Same couple, at 22:30.
Girl: You done yet?
Boy: No.
Girl: How long will you be?
Boy: I don't know. Half an hour?
Girl: You said that at 7:30.
Boy: SO!!? What's your problem! Let me do my essay!
Girl: You're watching a football match! And doing Scots' stats!!
Boy: SO?!
Girl: Well.... nothing... I .... It's just that I'm a bit hungry and I've been done for ages.
Boy: SO?!
Girl: You told me to wait with you.
Boy: SO?!
Girl: I... welll... eeeerrrr... ah... I dunno.... you said you wanted to order food together and I'm a bit bored now.
Boy: SO?! You should've just gone.
Girl: But you stopped me twice!!
*boys eyes glaze over - someone's just done something interesting on his screen perhaps.
Girl: Ok so then I'll head off... if you need some food later you can come to mine.

No response.

5 minutes later --
Girl: Did you hear me?

No response.

5 minutes later --
Girl: *nudges boy.
*pushes boy
Boy: WHAT THE HELL!! DON'T BE A BITCH!! Just let me do my stuff!!! I don't want your food or whatever! Just go!

*Girl gets up and walks away. Boys eyes are still glazed over.


Comic Relief for Development Studies.

"How to make out on scarce resources."
I swear to God, that is part of a chapter title for part of a book that is on my reading list.

Let me solve it for you buddy:
Making out on scare resources is a breeeze.

You need a dark room (no 'lecy bills). Two consenting horny adults (no shortage of those, we have a world population of...of... oooh I just had a fix on the number but it got away from me...) No phone (more saving on bills). No clothes (no fibre cultivation --> back to growing millets on hardly any water and marginal land. The savings there are too immense to even count off as a list here!). A glass of water for parched throats (This isn't asking too much, just one glass...). And severely rationed food supplies (since sex is perhaps the only way a starving populace could forget about its gnawing hunger for long enough to you know, actually ration available food; and we have enough grub to just-about-sort-of keep everybody going).

This combination of factors wasn't proposed by the UN and you won't find it an IIED report. But it's something people all over the world do everyday, successfully, and discover the elixir of youth and happiness in the process.
You see, this magical formula is nothing but what's otherwise known as Student Life. Visit any campus accommodation anywhere in this country and you'll see we already live like this. So it's tried and tested and hey we all look good and young and excessively becoming. Because well, we're coming... tra lah lah lah (*insert gormless guffaw here.) So it should be well on it's way to becoming official Policy. And being Upscaled.

How to make out on scare resources?
Is that a question for a serious academic tome?
Undergraduates up and down this soggy island can answer that one.
And by the time they're impoverished PhD students, they can write the fucking book!!
Bah. Bigwigs concern themselves with too trivial questions nowadays.

*** Not that anyone is seriously reading this as a development studies blog, but if you are (God damn! Are you nuts?! How on earth did you get here?!), then puhlease, all disclaimers about this being Comic Relief apply. It's not and was not intended as a prescription for sub-Saharan famine relief. Duh.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

I do not understand

I'm saying that not in the spirit of a lost soul in the forest, plaintive and pathetic. But as concession to the fact that it's the first step on the journey to understand.

I do not understand how:
I can have a fight with the Man, over something so stupid and idiotic and utterly pointless (utterly pointless because we both know that we will never agree on this, but instead of just agreeing to disagree we have a tacit understanding that we will scream each other's brains out and then slam each and every door in the world before going into a sulk with each other for a week).

And then.

I go out and have a lonely but lovely day.
And then.
Meet a friend and have a GORGEOUS evening with her, full of giggles and much mutual understanding and hand holding and spontaneous, loving, utterly enchanting adventures.

And then.
I can walk home in the dark feeling uplifted and smelling the sweet spring air and having a bounce in my step and looking at my own shadow and admiring the beauty of my own legs (:P) and feeling that all is alright with the world.

And then.
I walk into the door and I know he's home and I expect him to mirror that feeling.

There's a black cloud in the room and, suddenly, and, again,
a black cloud around my heart.

I do not understand how this can happen.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Airkissing is awful

Somebody explain the ritual of air kissing around the cheeks.
We all know it:
Airkisser: "Daahling, helllo, how ARE you... *SMMACK."
Airkissee: "Oh I'm fabulous.... *SMMMACK.. and you? *SMMMACK."
What I really want to say, is:
If there's one thing the Indians should spread like propaganda all over the world it's the art of Namaste.

And the worst thing? It's a FAKE kiss! A pretend kiss!
You know how fabulous things turn deadly disgusting when they're 'imitation'?
Like the difference between burnished gold and 'gold plated, madam, yexport quality.'
Kisses in general - the genuine ones that you really mean from the bottom of your bottom are FABULOUS things. They're right up there with singing angels and starlight.
But this sort of kiss?
This kiss is a gold plated, yexport quality windbag.
It's not a real smack or a slurp or anything of that ilk. It's a chewing-gum sound directed at the air around your face. In no other social interaction would we smile tolerantly while someone lied so blatantly. And to lie with a kiss? That's just bad form. The gentlemen who actively do this are called rude names starting with B.

I know I have an aura. And in some social situations, I suppose it's positively STICKY with charm and magnetic radiance.
But PLEASE. If you're not good friends enough to KISS MY FACE (there's no acne there anymore, so that is not an excuse) - like mouth to skin action,- then you have no business kissing the air around it. After all, the aura is even more sacred than the actual physical entity. At least in my book. So you can't go kissing it randomly, with no emotion other than 'Fuck, where's the bar and what perfume is she wearing?'

Besides, in England at least, it's downright criminal to pass on your viral load of flu. I'm already dealing with my own. My monocytes don't want your critters as well, thanks.

So please.
When we meet, give my shoulder a warm squeeze, reach for my hand, smile. Say hi. Give me a hug. In fact, that's a good indicator. Can you give your airkissee a sincere hug?
If yes, KISS their cheek. Or do something warm, welcoming and show them you're happy to see them.
If not, say hi, how are you and proceed straight to the bar.

*Disclaimer -
Circumstances under which air kissing might be allowed:
a.) You're Mediterranean - preferably honey coloured and Italian, and this is a general ciao bella thing that denotes how much you love everyone you encounter (it also allows the airkissee to get close enough to you to smell your Italian scent. Mummmeeeeee);
b.) The airkissee is someone you're meant to actually hug and kiss but they've got a big green gunk filled spot on the corner of their mouth. In this case, air kiss from six feet away at least;
c.) Airkissee and airkisser both have a tacit understanding that they will, in about two minutes time, be outta this stuffy party for fucks' sake and back in either of their appartments, throwing a party for two of their own. In which case the air kissing keeps up social appearances of hahn there's nothing going on with the two of them, while allowing you to disappear and fuck each other's brains out.
Today was the day when a spanner was thrown into every best laid plan.
I'd planned to see Kundun with a friend. It rained cats and dogs - hell - it rained donkeys and the girl who was supposed to bring the DVD never showed and the screening was cancelled.

But then. We decided to have late lunch instead. And we spent a very pleasant hour demolishing a meal and giggling hysterically over the bullshit each of us sometimes encounters during fieldwork.

We bussed it back to town, and I got off at the Odeon bus stop, only to see that the Man had called me. His phone was off, so I couldn't return his call. He wasn't answering the house phone.
Dang it, I thought. He's out. I turned a corner and thought: I'll just nip to Cafe Nero and see if he's there. If not, too bad, I'll have to be alone this evening. I looked up right that minute and saw him standing outside Cafe Nero, just about to go call me again. I'm thinking of the tiny wheels and levers in some great big machine of time and coordination and coincidence that allowed that to happen. We had a very nice coffee, read AA Gill's HILARIOUS piece in today's Times and stepped out of the cafe, into..
a hailstorm that lasted for EXACTLY the amount of time it took for us to walk home.
As soon as we got to the front door, there was transluscent sunshine and elfin light.

This evening we were meant to watch the Vagina Monologues on campus.
We missed the bus. We looked at each other and said "Dinner!!" at once. Noodle bar had a treasure trove of dry noodles and lemonade and crackers and a warm corner to sit in. And both us finally got down to learning to eat with chopsticks! Somehow I ate my entire dinner with them! And he ate rice! And we totally couldn't do that before! Not to sound too Nike, but we literally Just Did It!

So. I had three outings today, each utterly by chance, each the result of something else not happening. I BET if I'd planned to meet Ambra for lunch, have coffee with the man and a dinner date later, none of the three would've happened. Also, today was the first day EVER that I've seen the moon from my bedroom window in this house. It was just after the rain/hail/sleet/disgusting-but-beautifully-lit thingy that drenched us on our way home from the cafe. I was sitting on the window sill (it's a wide sill) and talking to the man / kissing the back of his neck and I saw it set amongst the blue of a freshly washed sky and the russet of freshly washed tiled roofs.
Like a chip of ice. And tonight, after dinner, I noticed that it was shining DIRECTLY onto our front door.

Am I over-seeing or was today totally CRAMMED with unexpected joy? Startling, fresh, spontaneous, destined. Gorgeous day. Thank you universe.

(Though really, could you also arrange for Kundun and The Vagina Monologues to happen some time please? Was really looking forward to them both.)