When 2016 Posts Are Still Getting Hits, It’s Throwback Time– Compartmental Shutdown.

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My long-delayed career as a NASA astronomer began yesterday.

It came quite out of the blue. Like the spiritual awakenings of 7-11 clerks from Bakersfield named Dylan, whose life calling was forever stuck in traffic by the need to restock aisle five and serve an endless soda-stream of distressed Abercrombie cut-offs. They really need their Arizona Ice Tea. Life is hard because they couldn’t get gas and their Victoria’s Secret loyalty card just got declined. Twice.

Dylan isn’t pretentious enough to phantom up parallel universes. Or anything for that matter. He cleans out the filters for the Big Gulp, cashes the register, and enters compartmental shutdown.

Compartmental shutdown is a mechanical process. The systematic shut-down, if you will, of everything currently processed by the brain as [RFA]. Really Fucking Awful. N.B. not to be confused with, although not entirely removed from [RNA]– in that both can border on the acidic and, if pushed, enter realms of the nucleic.

The textbook will around this point direct you to fig.1; human of indiscriminate gender or race displaying anger on a par with wanting to detonate a nuclear bomb.

Humanity has, as it does most things, exploited this concept. Mostly in the kinds of scum who employ the title of “mindfulness practitioner” or “life coach”.  They remain equally mindful in charging people a small fortune for the privilege of being guided through a concept that most six-week-old babies manage–  with astounding competence, right on their own. Lying on the floor and staring into space. “Take this moment” appears to rank highly. As does “appreciate the space”.  Possible components of the two-day course that constitutes the life coach diploma.

Have you ever noticed how the people claiming to lead the richest lives are always the most emotionally impoverished? There must be a certain buoyancy to being as equally aerated as you are full of shit.

They have to say something as you lie there. I mean, you can’t just lie there. God, no. For fuck’s sake, you’re paying them. For shits and giggles: what if they actually just let you lie in total silence for five minutes; actually “take this moment”, actually “appreciate the space”? Will you think you’re being ripped off? Are you? Of course you are! You’re an absolute joke for lying there in the first place!  Those things people use as receptacles for steaming hot beverages? THEY NAMED THEM AFTER YOU.

I hit compartmental shutdown on these fuckers years ago. They don’t even register on my radar. Which clears my diary. For all the other shit I have to shut down. That’s the problem with compartmental shutdown.

Unlike conventional operating systems, which shut down a finite number of files, caches… remnants of whatever genie dust makes the little Apple glow, the parameters of compartmental shutdown are limitless.

For all the shit you successfully eliminate in a day, fresh crap will have replaced it by the time the sun rises.

I think that’s why we eat.

Dylan’s shutdown used to begin at Abercrombie in general. Fuck that. You wanna do this properly? You get efficient. Start at the feet and work your way up. If you’re manning the 7/11 in Bakersfield, that’s a lot of feet. Being female in the US and not having painted toenails, for the record, doesn’t make you some kind of freak– you’re flat-out not human. Then come the legs. The tanned legs.

Nothing wrong with them per se, just the way they’re tanned. A tan, in theory, displays some form of character. Depth. Either you’ve been on vacation. Hopefully, somewhere less generic than the Intercontinental- and no, it doesn’t matter which one. Have you ever been anywhere less “Continental”? Well, perhaps Bakersfield. Or you’re Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. You chain-smoke. Not out of any abject loneliness or compartmental destitution. But because the cigarette is an extension of your hand. If you’re escaping anything, it’s the exhausting stream of men falling in and out of your bed. Life is really complicated because the sheets are never changed and you always smell of sex.

The distressed cut-offs have a tan BECAUSE they lack character. They lack everything. Even proper shoes. They wear flip flops. Pay seventy dollars for denim that’s already ripped and don’t question it. Need ice tea for the heat, but can only advertise their attendance at Arizona State University with a hoodie. They wear bug-eyed shades. Facetime. Have names like Ashlee. Chew gum.

I’ve somewhat grown to admire the ease and dexterity with which Dylan can systematically shut them down. Head to toe, or vice versa.  Just like that. He’d probably come up with far simpler and more systematic solutions for how long that just fucking took me to type out.

I discovered compartmental shutdown by accident. Maybe one day, a small plaque will honour me for it: Ok, it wasn’t quite penicillin, but it’s fairly useful so here, have a mention and Rest In Piece(s)- Compartment by Compartment.

I’ve never been to Bakersfield. I romanticise it as the least possibly cultured dead zone of California that still falls within the realms of civilisation. The kind of vapid grid splatter that really pushes real estate when it comes to plugging the place as “unique”.

I wasn’t there, but I might as well have been. Dylan on a bad day.

Enrico was supposed to clock on at nine but it turns out he never made bail, so it’s Dylan; Fort Solo. Except today, the filters in the Big Gulp are jammed, so it’s diluted syrup. With fizz. The cut-offs are not going to be happy. Someone in a scooter knocked over most of the contents of aisle five. The fourth and final college rejection letter awaits at home. Nicely accompanied by some jackass delivery van blocking the drive, a fog light that never switches off, an online girl who never logs on, and to top it off, he’s had roaming switched on. All month.

My entire day had been one jammed Big Gulp. That was before it became a pretty accurate metaphor for my life. I wasn’t wearing cut-offs but I felt ripped off. Entire aisles of my nervous system had been knocked over and no-one knew how to restack them. The Delivery Van Of Life was parked outside with the hazard lights off. Its contents unknown, unmarked, mislabelled and whoever was supposed to man the tracking device had decided to go jump off a cliff or something.

It’s only once you’ve got the major setbacks in life well and truly established, that the really stupid minor ones start to surface. Oh, hi. Yeah. We’re here for the late shift? I believe you ordered:

  • a phone charger whose fibres only loosen during international travel
  • intermittent Wi-Fi
  • shutters that bang in the wind (but only at night)
  • a fridge door that closes (only sometimes)

We regret we were unable to deliver a fully faulty one. We understand the mental warranty of that might have furnished you with the comfort of fuck it mode. Regretfully, it is equally our understanding that to deliver the best possible service, all products must comply with The Uncertainty Act, 1999, sub-clause 3.

As such, our only available model is the Disappointment XL4. It really is a gem. Please, see for yourself. The manual outlines it clearly. Could I….? Here. Open. Close. Open. Close. Now open it. See? Doesn’t close! Isn’t it just great? Also, don’t worry, we’ve got everything covered our end. We’ve ensured occurrence is maintained at totally random and for your ease of use, don’t trouble yourself conjuring up any logical reasons for its ineptitude. The contents of the door can be of negative mass– we still guarantee occasional prolapse.

Feel free to browse the returns policy online, although please enable your cookies. Since your milk may spoil, we recommend doing so now. Have a great day!

Then my phone imploded.

Then I imploded.

It was sometime later that evening, giving the fuck up and lying on a deckchair gazing at the stars, that I began compartmental shutdown.

© Rebecca Cukier, 2016

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This Would Be More Glamorous If I Lived In New York City.

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I have a friend who is incredibly astute.

“That’s the problem with being female in a big city,” she said recently. “You’re always either hunting for an apartment, a job, or a guy”.

Living in London is like living in the worst video game ever. You can’t pause, you don’t get a second chance, and you never die. Just you, and eight million other freaks, aimlessly wandering this damp shitfest of a conurbation, where the default setting is autonomic hyperactivity so high, there’s no way a discreet smile can be interpreted as anything other than life-menacing.

I didn’t realise they decorate the hamster wheel of compartmental destitution for Christmas. They do. In the really fucked up way that makes a rodent really excited, because the bars of his cage got a fresh lick of paint. Hey! You! Don’t be hoodwinked into toying with notions that your pathetic existence is meaningless and vapid. Look at all the things we have to offer! You can pay for your ride through tunnels of dust contactlessly. You get nectar points. Everything you drink is about to taste a hundred times better, because WE JUST STARTED POURING STUFF INTO CUPS THAT ARE RED!

The world also just got infinitely more exciting because Samsung have brought out a “notebook” that spontaneously combusts as its way of telling you it’s fully charged. I can’t sue for identity theft here, but dude.

I’m a writer.

We have two tools we can exclusively call our own. Notebooks and pens. We’ve been around for thousands of years. Ten minutes, you’ve been on the scene, and you’ve already violated the very elements that constitute us. Just behind “photographer”, everyone is (of course) now also a “writer”. I see them, polluting my headspace with their toffee nut proletariat, while I cling mercilessly on to my one remaining pleasure. Writing on 22×7 squared Clairefontaine notebooks with a brushed vellum paper weight of 90g/m².

Now I’m both angry and sad, because the fancy pink grapefruit I bought to cheer myself up was rubbish, and the £500 Waitrose are promising I can win in return for feedback is a sad lie. My postcode is too bourgeois.

 

If the 80’s are in again, does that mean cringing is acceptable?

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I’ve decided to write a book on bravery in the chicken pen.

Mr Cluck Doesn’t Give A Fuck.

If you feel it infringes on animal rights, you’ll probably want additional ammo with which to load your hate gun.

Which I can take.

And you can suck.

I’ve already written cages and cages.

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/strut/”>Strut</a&gt;

Next Stop, Deutsche Bank.

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If recent posts are doing a poor job sequestering my love for all things infantile, fine. This is my pram, these are my toys, and I’ll throw them how I choose.

In a world where little boys sit in glass-wrapped offices and rest their Helmut Lang elbows on mahogany desks, I’m calling bullshit. Why?

Because I am a lady who rides the bus. And when some clown freezes the Jubilee Line because retrieving his smartphone from the tracks seemed a “better idea between trains”, Canary Wharf also rides the bus.

The bus is an interesting place. Seat margins replace profits, Tartine et Chocolat gives Tom Ford the middle finger, and there is no UberSelect. It’s called “I put my coat there first”. For all the billions these heavyweights net in their high-rises, I’ve yet to see one of these fuckers come up with a counter-argument for the twelve year-old who was “sitting there first”.

And that is because the bus is the rail replacement service to childhood.

Everyone pushes to get on.

Everyone wants to sit by the window/at the back/on the convex bit that’s cool because it’s above the wheel.

No-one argues with the driver.

Shoving? He’ll call you on it. Press the bell when the sign clearly says someone already did? He’ll call you on it. And just like at school, if you’re the victim of bullying, eyes on the road, didn’t see a damn thing.

Food gets more interesting here, too. Fast food joints on the street won’t even register on your radar. But when that nurse pulls out a congealed tray of cold noodles? Noodles are the greatest thing CREATED EVER.

The older get priority seating.

They should get priority boarding, but no-one gives a shit.

Nobody should be littering. Everyone still does.

Someone always misses their stop. There is one acceptable reaction to this. Man the fuck up, and shrug it off.

If you’re on your way to an interview and on a bus, you’re probably not going to make it. To the interview, and you know, in life, generally. Still, retain what Google told you. Look like you’ve got it together. Sound like you’ve got it together.  Make eye contact.

Except on the bus.

If you happen to be on the phone (which I believe these gargantuan office transactions at some point require), make sure everyone can hear you. No, louder. We like having our own little world hijacked by why you will or won’t be turning up to dinner, broken down into microscopic detail, then blasted through a megaphone. Make sure to repeat yourself. They might not have heard you the first time.

Make sure to begin your call with “hi, it’s me”.

No. Better. Leave it in a voicemail.

My popularity-guaranteed life coach services are available seven days a week. Except when I’m on the phone.

via Daily Prompt: Honk

France never issued me with a birth certificate, so here is an approximate version of mine.

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I dislike how large corporations have ruined my ability to ever name my child Helvetica. That, and gentle nudges by friends who get I come titrated with just the right amount of quirk but on the whole remain sensationally dumb. It also appears naming your child after a font could prove problematic, regardless of the high yield it might generate.

And because names have connotations, but mostly because children use playgrounds as hosting venues for showing character being mean, we (the small population that think ahead) have to adjust to this ever-evolving carousel that claims to have tackled everything from gender to body shaming and yet, when I ask my friend’s six year-old why everyone hates Augustus Gloop, it’s still mostly because he’s fat.

Now I have a solidly starved child on the agenda, I still don’t have a name for it. And the more enter my head, the more I veto.

It feels noteworthy to mention attempting to alphabetise this list is literally the most technologically advanced task I’ve performed in a while. But stretching it to sub-categories seemed too much effort, so congratulations, baby.  You don’t know it yet, but your mother is both judgemental and lazy although that could well work in your favour as once she’s deemed you too pudgy, turns out she also can’t be fucked to feed you.

Also, knowing I’m too middle class to ever have enough children to fill this list makes me kind of sad.

Since a vanity license plate of A5HHLEY just drove past me, no. Ashley leaves a trail of drama and frappuccinos in her wake which now also rules out Martha because goddamnit, I will not raise a child whose destiny is clearing up milkshake splatter for £8.20 an hour. Also, Martha is always somewhere around fifty and I’m not ageist but.

Megan is a slut. As is Bree. Roxanne. Holly. Heather. Victoria. Shannon. Kristen. Sherri. Shelly. Amy and your baby face isn’t fooling anyone.

Jessica manipulates. That’s my thing.

Natasha has nice eyebrows but is a bully.

Christina is a non-sentient ectomorph ice queen who hides her parasitic persona by signing her name with hearts over every possible letter. Amanda is cute but dumb. Or both. Alison is a fucking riot but deep down I’d be proud of her because she can hold her liquor and I feel she’d make a good power lifter. Kylie will be a patented name within the next six months and every Connie I know is Chinese.

Sarah is boring. Sara is a bitch. All Joys are sad and all Hopes are failures. I’ll never have a grandchild with an Irene because she lacks sufficient body fat to produce her own offspring and Portia is a toss-up; the grandchild will be happy but not a guaranteed biological relative.

Very little about me is cute so cutesy would fail to be representative of family values. So no Claire. Lucy. Camilla (if I want pot pourri, I can buy it). Cecily (this isn’t 1812). Chloe. Ella. Hazel. Heidi. Lily. Madeleine. Adelaide. Anywhere on a map. Amelie. Annabelle. Avery. Bonnie. Daniella. Emily.

Grace is a fucking whore and Oona isn’t a name, it’s a goddamn emoji.

Every Stephanie I’ve ever met has some kind of personality disorder.

I’m not trashy enough for Skyler but not soignée enough for Agnès. Can’t vouch for what being a MILF is actually like, but being Stacy’s Mom is out and if you didn’t get the reference, fuck you and your new-gen shit. Anything that starts with a z is risky business. Impatience might be hereditary and I had a hard enough time at school waiting for them to get to r.

I remain equally unimpressed with google results on what millenials are calling their kids and further unimpressed that they even have kids at all. Only vaguely acceptable one I see is Milo, but mostly because The Phantom Tollbooth may well be the greatest book ever written and Milo is the perfect amount of inquisitive and normal.

Also, Milo is a boy. Which I hadn’t considered.

I could just have a boy.

Oh, please. Who am I kidding.

Little Girls In Pretty Boxes

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Camden Council wants to reward me for recycling; a law which is already punishable with a penalty fine. For recycling all my cardboard and paper, they’re going to give me vouchers. For local cafes. That sell coffee. In paper cups with cardboard sleeves.

I particularly like that their little scheme involves sending “bin spies”, which is cool because I’ve never been to Russia.

Royally gutted finding out the whole recycling process actually consumes more energy than is efficient or good for the planet. The one thing that made me feel really good. And tangibly, not distant, yeah, someone, somewhere down the line now finds their twice-daily 20k hike for water 0.4% less taxing (but I’ll only remember I even agreed to it when I check my bank statement).

Actually good.

I don’t donate money to Africa. I haven’t inspected the quality personally, but I get the feeling Sierra Leone’s warlords have enough platinum plating on their M16s to be getting on with. I like to think my vaping adds moisture to flowering plants and also, it helps educate children on how trains used to work. I can’t measure my carbon footprint, because carbon isn’t visible and I mostly wear socks.

So I’d recycle, which made me feel good (N.B. Camden Council, still do).  Newsflash. When I do shit, I don’t do it by half.

Tins are for amateurs. The real pros can spend a solid five minutes evaluating which parts of the soup container are really, truly recyclable, and which are purely there to fuck with your head because yes, it’s plastic- but not that kind of plastic. Thought you were gonna hoodwink me, there? THINK AGAIN, MY FRIEND!

I know your lids like the back of my expert, goddamn hands. I see your semi-permeable membranes of witchery and I will not be fooled. And though there are so very many other things I could be doing with my five minutes, I’m happy to be your green bin bitch because not only did I get soup, I got dopamine for being such a good girl.

I think they also offer vouchers for independent stores. Who probably sell soup.

This will never end.

Oh. Right.

I couldn’t find a picture of a recycling bin that wasn’t either weeping with McDonald’s overflow or so achingly patronising, it made Lucky’s cumulative 40k water trek seem comparatively dignified, so here’s a picture of mummy and baby elephant. They have a forthright march, because they’re off to the sustainably sourced dump.

 

#wrecked

blessed

What a pity. #blessed has to birth its ugly head just as humanity completely loses the concept of what is proportionate to consider as blessed. From what I gather, once upon a time, lives were generally so-so. Minor ups and downs like job acquisition vs. divorce and then, you know, truly major ones like finally getting to redeem your nectar points vs. stepping on a leaf only to find it wasn’t crunchy.

Now women grab the last Chanel Rouge before next season’s limited edition. Get to meet the girl whose second cousin’s next door neighbour’s fish shared spawn with a part of the carbon cycle that may have made its way into a plate of lentils eaten by someone on the same latitude as Kylie Jenner.

The sun rose.

Again.

Badly.

Here’s a picture of a leaf barely able to photosynthesise in its mediocrity. I am so very #blessed to be a part of this.

This is just the kind of thing that makes me want to check into Facebook.

feeling#blessed.

At the National Convention For Atheism.