Unexpected Bagging In Life Area

fetus

If the empty Waitrose cup’s 18 grams is just too much for the bagging area to handle, and according to Alejandro González Iñárritu, your soul weighs 21 grams, at what point is one considered to have “excess baggage”?

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

jones

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.

 

Minority Report

gay

Those idiosyncrasies that make people…people? I think we used to call them flaws. Then there was a limbo period where nobody quite knew what to do, photoshop hasn’t been invented yet, so you’d either spend what money you had covering them up or rock up all guns blazing with the unabashed look at all the shits I don’t give that is sitting unshaven in bars in the middle of the afternoon looking up at a world you do not belong to through the bottom of a highball glass with not enough ice.

Fortunately, the years of austerity have ended. Mostly, through the good graces that are the auspices of “acceptance” movements where LGBTQ is king and also, fuck you LGBTQ. Where is LGBTQStraight? Yeah, bitches, I’m all out there with my gender pride.

I am so fucking brave. All my friends tell me so. Look at me, living in this cruel world that doesn’t accept. Discriminates. Segregates. Ostracizes. I should be a beacon of hope, a shining example to all the women out there who aren’t lesbian, aren’t gay. Bi. Trans. Queer, poly, pan, curious and whatever fucked up kind of kink is now just “kink”. Nope. Just heterosexual females with two ovaries, two breasts and really truly genuinely zero interest in spending an evening fooling around with girls in some rainbow-splattered torture chamber that doubles up as an Amazon shipping point for sustainably sourced ball gags.

There should be laws out there to protect us.

For Some Reason, Nicole Scherzinger Comes To Mind. You’ll See…

overload

Wouldn’t life be simpler if we all just had less stuff?

I mean yes, the mass acquisition of hairdryers and just-opened face creams that will even out those fine lines is important; you never know when you might grow an extra head that needs blow-drying and well, void of the creams, our bathroom shelves would take on a sudden abandoned Albanian warehouse feel. Is an empty bathroom cabinet just a new Cold War?

No, I mean stuff. The Suitcases Of Life. The more it weighs, the more you pay.

The mis-matched friends, one always inside out. You found her like that, so like that she will stay. The pamphlet that came with The Manual To Life. You keep it in the top drawer between the Really Important Stuff and the microwave warranty. You’ll never read it. You either know it all already; always did, always will and Don’t Need Instructions.

Or you’ve accepted.

Elements of life will always be pseudo-Swedish. Self-assemble. Break along the way because the bracket that was supposed to be a screw is in fact a really small tumour and helplines are closed on weekends. So you’ll try and put the thing together yourself. Call a friend who’s “good with things”. The manual? Well, it’s there as backup but let’s face it, the only growth it will ever really produce is a fine layer of dust.

It’s like clearing out your bookmarks folders. When was the last time you did that? Never. You don’t. You just create new ones. Because there are job specs and apartments you never visited and amazon urls for good eyeliner- of which, let’s make this clear now, there are none. There are only people good with eyeliner.

There’s useful stuff, though. The extension cord friends. Now they’re good. Totally useless on their own, but hook them up to shit that’s already there and my, doesn’t the room come alive?

The bottom drawer olive branches for the moments you’re as much at a loose end physically as you are metaphorically.

You envy those who don’t need extension cords. You know the kind I mean. Roll out of bed every morning at 7.05am looking like an Oxford shirt press just ran over a Malibu beach barbie in the most choreographed collision ever. They have no loose ties. No loose ends. No split ends. Just split peas in their quinoa, lentil and leaf rocket lunch salad.

Never could figure out how they needed fewer sockets. Then I realised, they need fewer plugs. Three, maybe. Phone, laptop and the worst. Spare. Christ, they even have spare time.

I am highly suspect of people without the need for spare extension cords. That’s why you people wear cable-knit sweaters, isn’t it?

I know you and I hate you. Your printer never runs out of colour ink even though you and everyone else on this fucking planet only prints in black and white. You find your flat immediately. The viewing was on your way home from work and anyway, by the time you’d signed, your girlfriend was just about done with finishing touches of her eyeliner to meet you for dinner. She eats Italian and doesn’t make a mess. She’s a good eyeliner person. I hate her too.

You never had to quit anything; jobs, cigarettes. You don’t even have to Force Quit. You are Control, have Alternatives and you never need to Delete because you never make mistakes.

You have one pitfall, though. It’s not a big one, but it’s explained, for instance, by the fact that I’ve long unfollowed you on Facebook.

You’re boring. I can’t even decide if I you rank higher or lower than the distressed cut-offs. You’re literally so dull, I can’t decide how dull.

If you’re a recruiter who’s somehow landed on this page and made it this far, feel free to add “not dull” to her list of qualities. If you’re unsure as to its being a “marketable” quality, ask yourself this. Is the product you sell more or less interesting than The Comprehensive History Of Drains? If yes, good. because consumers generally like versatility and also congratulations on having avoided an industry where you’re grateful the default wallpaper on your smartphone is primarily a giant clock. If no, you’ve properly lucked out. Because I make drains sound fucking epic.

Egg

th_eggy

The egg may walk or crawl or swim or simply sit, Amoebic shell. It is too soon to tell, What yonder lies beneath the swell. A brownish, Reddish, zygote beige. Too young to show the signs Of age, my eggy man is incognito. Like little man of apple seed, no colour yet or type or creed, Just edges of potential, minus the credentials. What form or frame or shape his yoke will take does not compute, For now he bakes. Cocooned in territories uncharted, His little life has not yet started. Embryonic Oompa Loompa, Floating in your membrane sea. I cannot see or feel or hear your Little cries or shouts of glee. Or sorrow. Perhaps Tomorrow I will know, what lies beneath your mystic glow. If you walk, will you walk tall and saunter down your sunny street, And nod goodday to other eggs who cross your path for you to greet. And if you crawl, will you be quick or slow or, Somewhere in between. Perhaps more hunched than svelte, I hope On others you need not lean. And if you Swim in waters clear, will they turn murky green, or steer Away from others’ tainted touch. Your strength is yours to hold, In hand or palm or chaos, calm. And if your calling simply is to sit amoebic in your shell, Hold high your head when others pass and laugh At your expense and swell your little yellow chest. You’re no more feeble than the rest. While they may climb The highest mountains, save the earth and cure the ill, You are my little fountain, small, exquisite. Yes you will.

© Rebecca Cukier 2009

© Harvard University Press 2009

And This Is Why You Eat Doritos. A Food Pyramid That Is Yellow. Literally.

fruit

My mother’s fridge is so colourful, she could AirBnb it out to gay pride.

I was looking in it earlier and realised. There is only one safe way to consume yogurt. Not at all. In the pot, responsible as fuck.

Take fruit. You can’t trust fruit. It requires fruit receptacle, fruit cover, fruit nappy. Emergency damage control, if you will, should the entire world lose its head, we enter a Groundhog Day of relapse-remission Armageddon and all the raspberries re-group en masse to exert full throttle spite on mankind. We reject your oppressive regime of polyethylene asphyxiation! No more! Unchartered territories they may be, but we will persevere, so just you watch us as we defile your shelf with our festering pollute.

Yogurt plots no such coup. Out the pot though, there’s no saying where that shits ends up. Down shirts, regardless of age, Chernobyl-splattered across counter tops leaving nothing but misery and trails of white culture in its wake- is yogurt the ultimate metaphor for the fate of Western civilisation?

It’s that time of night. I’m escaping escapism.

Sitting here, demanding a refund on life and the main course hasn’t even arrived yet. I’m one of those, aren’t I. Well, the lobster raviolini were all right, but the plate wasn’t warm I was decidedly underwhelmed by the hue of the glaze. Too ochre.

I’m so nouveau-me, it hurts.

 

 

Compartmental Shutdown

space

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 who really need their Arizona Ice Tea 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 universe creations of himself. 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; 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” and charge people a small fortune for the privilege of being guided through a concept most six week-old babies manage with astounding competence right on their own. Lying on the floor and staring into space. They will use phrases like “take this moment” and“appreciate the space”. I assumed, though now know to be erroneous, this to be a possible component of the two day course that constitutes their 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. 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. 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 shit 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 doesn’t make you some kind of freak. It means 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 holiday, hopefully somewhere less generic than the Intercontinental- and no, it doesn’t matter which one, have you ever been anywhere less ‘Continental’ or for that matter less ‘Interesting’? 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 who fall in and out of your bed on a nightly basis. Life is really complicated and the sheets are never changed because you always smell of sex.

 

No, 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 with a hoodie. 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 was not in Bakersfield. I’ve never been. I romanticise it as the least-possibly cultured deadzone 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 best you’ll get is straight-up ice with an impossible to gauge probability of syrup in varying degrees of dilution. The cut-offs are not going to be happy. A disabled gentleman in a scooter knocked over most of the contents of aisle five. The fourth and final college rejection letter awaits at home, along with 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, turns out he’s managed to have roaming switched on. All month.

My entire day had been one jammed Big Gulp. I don’t know anyone in jail, but I had no help and I needed it. Rejection letters- well, no-one gets them anymore. Or emails for that matter. Being a “strong communicator”. Clearly outlined in most job specs. Except, apparently, anything involving recruitment. My inbox hanging in the balance had become a pretty accurate metaphor for my life. I wasn’t wearing cut-offs but felt ripped off. Entire aisles of my nervous system had been knocked over and no-one knew how to restack them so they were just sitting there gathering dust. 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 wifi, shutters that bang in the wind but only at night and a fridge door that closes only sometimes? We regret we were unable to deliver a fully faulty one. We understand the mental warrantee of that might have furnished you with the comfort of fuck it mode but 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 inaptitude. 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 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