The first book I read in 2020 was Religion and Nothingness by Keiji Nishitani, and it was excellent. Definitely one for my ‘Non-fiction books of the year’ list in December. But for now, just a great way to start the year. (more…)
We define ourselves so much by what we have.
Some people feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses”, buying bigger fridges and sports cars and filling their houses with the latest tech. Others buck current trends, preferring to demonstrate their allegiance to counter-culture with objects that the Joneses wouldn’t consider worthwhile.
And even if the decision to buy specific stuff isn’t as considered as those examples, we still define ourselves by our surroundings, especially if we’ve chosen them.
A couple of weeks ago, two of my friends came over for dinner. One is a committed atheist, the other a vague Christian. And me, a… well, a scar.
The conversation turned to religion at one point, and my atheist friend said that she didn’t understand how anyone intelligent could possibly believe in a god. How she is stunned to see scientists and people like them expressing beliefs in entities whose existence can’t be empirically proven.
The week began with me drinking a cup-a-soup straight from the kettle and then holding my arm over the spout when I leaned over to turn it off, giving me second degree burns on both my throat and my arm. Intelligent, Scar.
And then I got a phone call that made me smile.
Lady: “Hi, is this Scarlett?”
Me: “Yes, how can I help you?”
Lady: “The Mayor gave me your number, apparently you did a really good Tarot reading for him at the weekend and he’s recommended you to me. Can you do mine this week?”
We made a date for Wednesday and I hung up with that ‘my life is weird but good’ feeling. The rest of Monday was mainly spent panicking about what I’m doing with my life, and clearing my house of all evidence of guilty or weird things in preparation for my mother’s arrival the next day. And then in the evening I got a call from a digital PR company who I’ve just started working with; they wanted me to go in for a week and a half to get an idea of how they work. I agreed. They asked if I could start on Wednesday. I told them I’d just arranged a load of meetings for that day. They asked if I could go in on Tuesday instead. I said yes.
On Tuesday morning I got up at 6am for probably the first time since I left my old job, and headed into their office for the day. Spent the day doing digital consultancy stuff for them, and then went home to find my mother sitting in the garden, holding a large pair of garden shears and looking scarily pleased with herself.
“I’ve chopped it all off.”
“The garden. Look. All gone.”
We went inside, had a cup of tea, caught up. Watched a girly movie. This became a theme throughout the week.
And then Hippy Poppins sent me a picture of the project she’s currently working on:
Me: “It looks like a massive gold penis filled with little gold vaginas. Ooo, you could make a giant eight-pronged octopus dildo!”
HP: “They already exist in the world… tentacle dildo… seriously, google it.”
Me: “I don’t think I want to.”
HP: “As does a tentacle rape costume. That’s actually a thing, and what I’m making.”
Me: “What is a tentacle rape costume? Do I want to know?”
HP: “It’s based on this story.”
Seriously, it is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read. But also hilarious. Especially the dialogue:
LARGE OCTOPUS: My wish comes true at last, this day of days; finally I have you in my grasp! Your “bobo” is ripe and full, how wonderful! Superior to all others! To suck and suck and suck some more. After we do it masterfully, I’ll guide you to the Dragon Palace of the Sea God and envelop you. “Zuu sufu sufu chyu chyu chyu tsu zuu fufufuuu…”
MAIDEN: You hateful octopus! Your sucking at the mouth of my womb makes me gasp for breath! Aah! yes… it’s…there!!! With the sucker, the sucker!! Inside, squiggle, squiggle, oooh! Oooh, good, oooh good! There, there! Theeeeere! Goood! Whew! Aah! Good, good, aaaaaaaaaah! Not yet! Until now it was I that men called an octopus! An octopus! Ooh! Whew! How are you able…!? Ooh! “yoyoyooh, saa… hicha hicha gucha gucha, yuchyuu chyu guzu guzu suu suuu….”
LARGE OCTOPUS: All eight limbs to intertwine with!! How do you like it this way? Ah, look! The inside has swollen, moistened by the warm waters of lust. “Nura nura doku doku doku…”
MAIDEN: Yes, it tingles now; soon there will be no sensation at all left in my hips. Ooooooh! Boundaries and borders gone! I’ve vanished….!!!!!!
SMALL OCTOPUS: After daddy finishes, I too want to rub and rub my suckers at the ridge of your furry place until you disappear and then I’ll suck some more. “chyu chyu..”
Immensely creepy. I felt simultaneously enlightened and horrified.
Hippy Poppins also makes other cool stuff, by the way. Like feather earrings and bottle necklaces and flower headdresses. It’s not all golden genitalia and tentacle rape. She has an Etsy shop, which you should definitely check out.
I also took a look at the latest search terms for this blog, which is always amusing:
1. is it illegal to throw aborted fetus at people?
2. penis up against someone’s ear
3. ear big enough for a penis
4. sick joke about elizabeth taylor
5. pictures of naked women taken by myself
6. if i suspect i might have poisoned myself with insect granules
7. how to describe a plantain
8. liz taylor sick jokes
9. is it illegal to throw away a miscarried fetus?
10. diamonds don’t shine they reflect
11. is it ok to throw an aborted foetus?
…which shows that (a) lots of people want to throw their unborn children at other people, and (b) this is an international problem.
On Wednesday morning I got down to work, mainly meeting with people on Skype and planning stuff I have to do. There’s a lot of it, and I seem to have less and less time to fit it all in. And also less money to spend on it. Doing things costs. Which is annoying. But I’m sure it’ll be fine.
I threw my mother out for the afternoon and turned the house into a Tarot-friendly area. I then dressed up in my full Gypsy gear and spent an hour reading the cards for the mayor’s friend. She left at 3.20, and I’d booked a Skype call with the CEO of an ad agency ten minutes later. I raced around hiding all evidence of the Tarot reading to render the house acceptable for my mother when she got back, pulled out my big gold hoop earrings, yanked my diklo off my head, threw my shawl into the wardrobe and replaced it with a black top, brushed my hair straight again as opposed to the crazy Gypsy curls, and was Ready For Business within seven minutes.
By halfway through Thursday I’d come up with a couple of business ideas that might actually be viable. So far I’ve been focusing on just selling myself (no, not like that…), but I realised that there seem to be one or two things specifically that businesses want from me, and that these things could easily be a company in their own right. I need to run it past some sensible people first, and do some cost analysis, and chat to some potential clients on the phone, but once that’s done I may well start something new. Alongside all the current stuff, naturally. Watch this space.
Leaving work on Thursday evening, I really wasn’t in the mood to be sociable. I find that I need to recharge significantly when I’ve spent time with humans. But I’d promised my friend that I’d go and see her, which I did, and which was actually fun. She tried to teach me how to strum a ukulele. It didn’t go very well, but I told her I’d practise. I also dropped in to see my granddad, who sheepishly ushered me into his living room and glanced guiltily towards the new piles of crap that had built up on the chairs. He’s an obsessive collector. It’s now impossible to have a conversation with anyone in his house: there are two chairs in the living room, sitting on either side of a stove that looks like this one, but there’s now a huge pile of stuff in front of the stove as well as the one that’s been spreading gradually since he moved in there fifty years ago. So now if you want to speak to the person in the other chair, you have to lean forward and crane your neck around the pile of Meccano boxes, Mercedes gear and nodding Churchill dogs. Anyway, it was good to see him.
On Friday Umit asked how work was going. “OK,” I replied, “but they’ve put me with the fashion team. I’m wearing girl clothes.”
Umit: “Now I’m imagining you dressed like a woman.”
Me: “Well, I am wearing a Marc Jacobs necklace and a Prada bag.”
Umit: “I have known you for two years and you continue to shock me every day.”
Working with the fashion team was one of those exercises in self-discovery: that feeling of this is not me which pervades everything you’re doing and ultimately leads you to remember who you are. I think it’s fair to say that fashion isn’t generally top of my list of pastimes. I usually own two outfits, which I buy only when I absolutely have to go clothes shopping, and I alternate them until one or both of them fall apart. In fact, when I still worked at my old job, Umit challenged me to come in ‘dressed as a woman’ for April Fools’ Day. So working with the fashion team has been an interesting experience. It also prompted some panic borrowing of my mother’s clothes, which she eventually just left in my wardrobe so I’ll have something to wear for the second week of the contract now that she’s left. Google seems to know me well, though; I started searching for A Daisy Chain Dream blog for one of the briefs, and Google responded with: “Did you mean ‘A daisy chain for Satan’?”
On Friday night Umit drank wine and played piano, and sent me an excellent video of this, but I’m not allowed to share it on here on pain of death. It was very cool though. One day I’ll make one with him and we’ll upload it and you can all see how awesome we are.
By Saturday I was very much up for just sitting down and doing nothing, but my mother needed new bras so we went to M&S. She got herself measured and found a couple she liked, then took them over to the till to pay. The woman who’d measured her followed her over, and the following ridiculous conversation ensued:
M&S Lady (talking to her colleague, gesturing towards my mother): “That is a great breast.”
(She turns to me)
M&S Lady: “Those are great breasts.”
My mother and me: “Um… thanks?”
M&S Lady (turning to colleague): “Don’t you think those are great breasts?”
It was a bit weird. But I kinda want to make myself a sticker: ‘These breasts are officially approved by M&S.’ That’d be awesome.
We spent the afternoon gardening, packing my mother’s car with stuff she wanted to take away with her, and drinking wine. I also read over the final version of my paper, which the journal sent me prior to publication. I told them it looks fine, so hopefully it’ll be published soon. In the evening we flopped on the sofabed to watch a movie and went to bed early, because we’re both incredibly exciting people.
She woke me up at five this morning and I helped her pack the remainder of the stuff into her car, stood on the wall and waved her off. Her sat nav seems to have switched left and right around, so it might take her a while to get back to her house, which is 300 miles away.
I cleaned, got my house back to normal, and then went into town to meet Umit & Caitlin. We wandered around, mainly into cafes, ate a lot of food and caught up on life. Lots of hilarious things happened, mainly along the lines of us being inadvertently stupid. By the time I got home I’d decided that wine would be a good idea, so I opened a bottle and left it to breathe in the kitchen while I did some forensics work. And then I settled down with my guilty pleasure and did nothing for a while.
Anonymous friend’s quote of the week: “I just went to change the track on my iPod, then realised the music was playing in my head.”
This week I read: Start Your Business In Seven Days by James Caan, How To Start A Business Without Any Money by Rachel Bridge. Sensing a theme here at all? 😉
This week I watched: The Proposal, Crossroads, Material Girls. Yup, that’s right. My mother has even worse taste in movies than I do. We also started watching The Net and The Education of Little Tree, but she didn’t like either of them; The Net was “too intellectual” and the other one “has spirits in it”
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