Friday, 30 September 2011

Guaranteed Happiness and Fulfillment For £9.99

In honour of my attempt to turn my blog into a slightly funnier and slightly less mundane book (since getting my degree I am going to try a new career every so often, starting with this), I ventured into Waterstones in order to find some kind of writing aid to give me a kick start. What I found instead, however, was an obviously put-out Paul sat on the floor in front of the self-help section with his head buried in I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. Apparently, his last date didn't go too well as his new potential mate waited roughly 30 seconds before blatantly ignoring any kind of social norms and demanding to know how much Paul weighed, declaring anything over 9 stone to be "disgusting". He himself was obviously no bigger than a new-born goat, and the runt of the litter at that. (I just took a writing break to Google whether or not goats actually have litters - apparently they give birth in a relatively similar way to humans, apart from the fact that the ending result is obviously a goat and not a baby. I would've preferred this information without the graphic photograph, but that's the internet for you). Anyway, back to the original point, how do people like this actually exist in the world? They're probably the sole reason for the sale of most self-help books, with the obvious exception of I Can Make You Thin, which, quite frankly, sells itself (seriously, he can make you thin!).  I joined Paul on the floor and was amazed at the sheer amount of help, and life altering help at that, one can get for the small sum of £9.99. If you think life is hard, I suggest you take a stroll through the aisles of Waterstones and realise just how wrong you are. In the space of just a week, you can transform yourself into a successful, thin, self-assured organic vegetable grower with "joyous and honest relationships that serve the deepest life purposes of each partner". And you get a free Indian head massager. What more can you ask for? (Although, personally, I wouldn't recommend the head massager for people with big hair - once when I was younger I spent an entire day trying to de-tangle a toothed headband from my mane, the remnants of which are probably still there today). There are even books on child rearing, one in particular that caught my eye called How Not to Fuck Them Up. If I ever reproduce, this is probably exactly the type of book I will be seeking out, although I sincerely hope that this is no time in the near future.

I imagine pregnancy to be somewhat akin to that feeling you get during your first roller coaster ride, sat in the seat as the safety bar goes down, feeling pretty nervous but excited at the same time. Then suddenly, it starts clicking up the tracks and you realise that you have just made the biggest mistake of your life and you need to get off now. You try and explain your situation to those around you, only to be greeted by smiles and congratulations on your bravery as the peak of the hill looms closer and the people below get smaller and smaller; and then you are suddenly thrown forward at about 400mph as your body flies downwards, your stomach stays at the top and you basically wish you were dead. Pregnancy, right?

Even worse than pregnancy (I imagine), is the actual process of having and raising a child. I won't go into detail about how I imagine actual childbirth to be (I don't want my blog turning up in those kind of searches) but I feel that raising a child is a feat somewhat underrated. I always thought that having a baby wold basically consist of feeding it, putting it to sleep (not in the animal sense), and hoping it doesn't shit all over you - rinse, lather and repeat until school age. However, after spending not even and entire day with my cousin's two-year-old, I have realised that this is not the case. They need entertaining every minute of the day. Literally, every minute, and in exchange for a moment's silence you are required to sacrifice something of your own. In my case, it was the entire contents of my phone. I don't even know how he did it, he is the most tech savvy (/only) two-year-old I know. Despite being only two, however, he still managed (like the rest of the general population) to humiliate me by running his thumb up and down the screen of my phone until I was forced to explain that it wasn't an iPhone but a historical Nokia, very popular in the late 90s. Even toddlers can sense that I am uncool. However, unlike the two-year-olds that come into my work and scream obscenities, he does not make my ovaries recoil in horror and drive me to overdose on birth control pills just in case. (I did accidentally do this the other week - I was overly emotional for about a week but a least I didn't grow an extra womb. Or have a child.).

Obviously, I imagine that once you get to know your child, you probably like it a bit more. My mum obviously quite likes us because she took me, Kezia and Kezia's boyfriend Chris all the way to Leeds last Saturday to go to the pictures. We got lost and didn't end up actually seeing the film we had planned to, but the thought was there none the less. We somehow ended up spending twenty minutes circling The Light with no thanks to the SatNav, who was obviously having an off-day and was just being a complete bitch (a word to the wise, never choose "Sheila" as your guide or you will seriously regret it). Chris was slightly more helpful by finding out when the other showings were on his phone, although none of us were really up for another two hours of circling so we went to The Odeon and saw something different. Given that, as a trio, my mother, Kezia and I are relatively well-travelled, we do end up getting lost quite a lot. My favourite time was during a road trip through America when we somehow ended up in a US military training camp. At twelve years old, there's not much else more amusing than watching your mother try and explain that she is not a spy and, somehow, in the middle of the Nevada desert, after not passing another car for about 4 hours, she has simply managed to take a 'wrong turn'...

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I Say Mrs. Aqua-Marine Hat!

Every Monday, without fail, I psych myself up and tell myself that this will be the week that goes right. This will be the week that I get through without embarrassing myself, without dropping an entire joint of roast ham on a customer's foot and then refusing to let her husband haggle the price of a pork pie, and without pulling down an entire ancient stone wall in the Yorkshire Dales whilst running away from a herd of rams. Unfortunately, all these things have happened within the past fortnight and I fear this week will be no different.

Despite the occasional projectile roast ham, my last week of work was even more boring than average and I thus spent the majority of my time thinking up ways to amuse myself; for example, putting on a Jeremy Paxman (of University Challenge fame) voice and insisting to contemplating customers that I am "going to have to rush them". I am also contemplating pretending to be a Bingo caller and practicing my new found profession when calling out ticket numbers: "It's two fat ladies, 88!" - of course, this could easily backfire if ticket number 88 was actually two fat ladies, but I like to think this adds a real sense of danger and adrenaline to the sport. Thinking about it, I'm not sure my adrenaline could actually take much more after my dad let me drive his ginormous car the other week. If you've ever driven either a tank or a bus, you'll know where I'm coming from. I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall for that car journey, watching my dad scream, "REVS! REV IT! YOU NEED MORE REVS!" and me screaming back, "I'M REVVING!" and then proceeding to stall in front of a huge line of traffic. To be fair, you can understand my hesitation as just before we set off he explained, in detail, what would happen if I crashed, thus making driving the car somewhat akin to surfing on a feather. If I didn't have heart problems before, I definitely do now. We calmed ourselves down when we got home by having a curry, only to then set the microwave aflame after accidentally putting tinfoil in it. After telling ourselves we had just imagined the flash that came from it, we turned around to see basically this in the middle of the kitchen:

Ok, so maybe it wasn't that extreme, but I'd had a long day and this was just the flames on top of the Christmas pudding. (See what I did there?). The last half of the week was substantially happier as I went camping in the Dales with Belinda (although we did almost have a repeat of the kitchen inferno after an incident involving a gas camping stove and a lit cigarette). It was good to get away from Bradford for a bit, even if it was only to Austwick. That's Austwick, by the way, not Auschwitz, a mistake at least two of my friends have made after Sally went, "ooh, that's a bit morbid, who'd want to camp there?". Thankfully, we were not in a concentration camp, although it did seem at one point that God was planning on another plague after it not only rained but hailstoned on the tent. I should have guessed the weather was going to be shit when I went into work the day before and a child was walking around in a snowsuit... Belinda wasn't too happy when I told her I was just going for a wee and could she please just pop the tent up? No such luck, unfortunately. We did manage to get it up in record time though, although my well deserved cup of tea afterwards was not as satisfactory after I realised I'd forgotten to bring a mug and instead had to down a bottle of beer and then shove a tea bag in the top to create a makeshift cuppa. This was soon rectified after going into Settle and purchasing a new one, despite the lack of selection - in the end the cheapest one I could find had World's Greatest Mum painted on the side... It did the job though, and now it can double up as a Christmas present for my mum. How thoughtful I am.

In other news, my secondary school has burnt down. After emitting small bursts of hope every time the fire alarm went off during the six years I spent there, I can't believe I've missed it. Still, I'm keeping the spirit alive by continuing to play childish games whenever I get the chance. I got Rebecca at work the other day with the old If-Your-Hand-Is-Bigger-Than-Your-Face trick. If you don't know this, it's basically a playground game that renders the slapping of another human being in the face acceptable and one I think should be used much more commonly in the workplace. In fact, I think most playground games should be introduced in the workplace - especially The Priest of the Parish Has Lost His Hat. (Can you tell I went to a Catholic primary school?) I always got really carried away with that one though and forever refused to be the normal 'Mrs. Red Hat' or 'Mrs. Blue Hat'. No no, I insisted on being 'Mrs. Aqua-Marine Hat'... Ever the unconventional.