Hug Me

Several months ago, I ended up at a coffee…hmm…date? The person is an acquaintance of mine. We met, by accident, he said let’s do coffee and we did coffee, call it what you will. At the time, I found the conversation stimulating and refreshing. We discussed companies and bailing out companies with cash flow problems. Afterwards, he walked me to my car, I don’t know why he did this, because I knew where I had parked it, and wasn’t so intoxicated on caffeine to warrant an escort, but I assume it’s one of those things people do, so whatever.

As we got to my car and we said our final goodbyes, he pulled me in for a hug.

It was one of those moments that destroyed a perfectly good evening. Like a fighter jet whose engine failed and was left hurtling down to earth at terrifying speeds, only to go up in ball of flame and smoke. He’s about 5’9″ – 5’10″, where I’m 5’3-5’4″. As he pulled me in, he pulled too tight, so I was squished into his chest in a manner that is strangely and disturbingly reminiscent of a bad romance novel. His arm must have been locked around my shoulders, so I couldn’t wriggle out. It was awkward for me. I don’t like feeling physically awkward. And then, the coup de grace, as he lets me go, he says, “I can feel your heart beating – is it beating for me?” and I’m all kinds of, “what in the actual fuck? I’m going to need to bathe for a month after that comment.” It was a slimy situation.

Skip forward several months to a separate incident. I met another human, this time, someone I don’t know, he’s a friend of an acquaintance. We spoke for ages about… a lot of things, cartoons, relationships, music probably, goals, personal history in a vague way that revealed nothing. At the end of the night, he hugged me, shoulder hug, drawn in, so I was pressed against his chest, but I could wiggle out if I wanted to. He also kissed my cheek, in a friendly-ish, maybe one too many whiskeys, kinda way. But, it wasn’t creepy. It was, nice, the context made sense.

As someone who generally doesn’t hug humans, I’ll hug suitably friendly dogs, I don’t necessarily deal with the nuances of hugs. But so much is conveyed in hugs. I am not a large person, I find people being in my personal space to be somewhat intrusive unless I know them well or trust them. I suspect on a purely instinctive level, I don’t want to be in a physically compromising situation that I can’t get out of because my size prevents me from tossing a grown male off of me. But besides that, I read into hugs. If it’s too light, I think it superficial and fake. If it’s too hard, I think there’s something in the hugger’s personality that is obsessive and/or possessive. Coffee-guy’s hug just struck me as being an excuse to cop a feel, even though his hands didn’t stray. It was a strange precursor to something sexual in a context, which to me, was anything but sexual. Whiskey-dude went the extra step and kissed my cheek, but there was nothing overtly sexual in his conduct, it came across as being friendly if a little alcohol-informed.

Coffee-guy cannot for the life of him understand why I’ve gone cold on him. Whiskey-dude doesn’t fully understand the brownie points he earned with that hug.

The Arrival of 2014

Happy New Year!

2014 has arrived, and…

Those three little dots sum up how I feel about 2014. I am not really a big fan of New Years, and the hype surrounding any New Year. I don’t think today is really any different from the day before, I do not think the marking of a calendar, the changing of a page really makes that big of a difference. I am not a particular fan of New Years Resolutions, either. Personally, I think having a list of New Year’s Resolutions ultimately sets me up to fail and feel disappointed if/when I don’t meet those resolutions. I would rather have a list of things I want to achieve, and then achieve them.

I do, however, firmly believe in celebrating New Years Eve. This particular New Years Eve was much more of a dinner dance, than the dance party of last year, there was also significantly less alcohol – no hangover this year.

The highlights of my New Years Eve:

  • Dancing, dancing and more dancing. Random strange fact – I can dance. I spent 4 hours, with only bathroom breaks, on a dance floor.
  • I danced to a lot of songs I would not normally have the chance to dance to. This also made me realize that I am a bit of an old soul, musically, when the songs I knew were from the 80s and prior, and the modern songs I was a total blank. Songs included:  Simply The Best – Tina Turner, Staying Alive – The Bee Gees,  Knowing Me, Knowing You – Abba (yeah, I know…), Weekend Special – Brenda Fassie, Celebrate Good Times – Kool and the Gang, Living Next Door to Alice – Smokie, I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner (I have no idea why this was played at a New Years Eve party…),
  • I had my first slow dance, with a grandmother. Ok, so I have had no chance or need to learn how to slow dance, it just hasn’t ever come up. I was taught on New Year’s Eve the basics of the slow dance, from an older lady, who has recently become a grandmother, and who really knows how to get down. I also got to do a very very basic cha cha with her. We paired up for several of the songs no one else wanted to dance to, and had the dance floor to ourselves, and I wasn’t half bad.
  • I ate far too much sushi. Oh wow, let us not talk about raw fish for a while, please. Also, there were what appeared to be deep fat friend Yorkshire puddings.
  • I got to wish different people in different time zones, a Happy New Year. This matters to me, it makes me warm and fuzzy inside to know that I can wish people that I personally know and care for, a happy new year.

It was a good New Years Eve party, nowhere near as wild as last year, but I don’t think I mind that, all that much.

I wish you all a very happy new year, and also a happy tomorrow, and day after that, and day after that, because I don’t think I need a new year, to wish you well.

The Value of Planning

Adequate preparation and planning are essential to the success of any mission. There must always be a plan. Leaving things to chance, and ‘playing it by ear,’  are things that should only be employed in the most minor of instances, where the outcome does not materially impact the overall game plan.

EXAMPLE

I was at a bar on Friday night, having an Irish Coffee, and surfing the internet. I was sitting alone, towards the fringes of the bar, allowing me a panoramic view of the patrons. I was the sole occupant of the square four-seater table. I had roughly a third of the Irish Coffee left, when a man came over to me. He was holding a drink in his hand, and I like to think that he had a degree of charm granted by the Gods of Libation.

I labour under the illusion that once you reach 35, you should have something vaguely resembling ‘game.’ The ability to speak to a member of the sex you are attracted to, and strike up a conversation of some sort with an eventual end game of hooking up, or some other measure of ‘success’. I like to think that, barring exceptional circumstances, by the mid-thirties, the trials and tribulations of nerves and uncertainty have become manageable obstacles, and people are able to speak to strangers in a civil and non caveman like way.

He started off with the cautious, but tried and tested opener of; “Hi, how are you? Do you mind if I join you?” I gestured with an open palm to the seat to my right. He asked me again, “May I join you?” once more, I gestured. He remained standing.

I understand that sometimes my accent can be difficult for people to understand, especially when they don’t know me. Hence, I rely on body-language. As for this? Did he not understand body? Isn’t Body a fairly universally spoken language? Open palm gesture, sweeping towards the empty seat. What did he think I was doing, herding mosquitoes?

“What are you doing here tonight?””I’m just having my drink, and then I’m going,” I replied,
“Going where?”
“Home.”

In my own mind, I did not say this in a curt manner. It was a question, that I answered matter-of-factly. But granted, this may have been seen as me shooting him down.

“Oh, is there no way I can persuade you to stay?”
“Nope. I have this much time *I gestured to the contents of the drink* left.”
“Do you have a business card on you?”
“Hahaha, not on a Friday night.”
“I wanted to talk to you a little, but it seems like you’re leaving,”
During this conversation, I haven’t had any more of my drink. Mostly due to the fact that I find it necessary to be completely aware of where this person is, in terms of my personal space, which would be compromised if I was to be distracted by my Irish Coffee. I’m paranoid like that.

“Well, I’m here until I finish my drink. When it’s done, I’m done.”
Personally, if I were on the receiving end of a line like this, I would see it as a challenge. I have a fixed period of time within which to make a positive impression. As long as my drink is not drunk, I’m still around. Apparently, not everyone thinks like me…

“I don’t know…” he said.

“I DON’T KNOW”?! You don’t know what? What? How? Wait, rewind, quick reassessment of dialogue. I don’t know? I felt the muscles in my face slump and assume the deadpan expression that has made meme history.

Shortly thereafter, he returned to his table, his parting line that I should say goodbye before I left. I didn’t.

Assessment:

This man saw me at a bar, and thought he would approach. Evidently, he did not have a game plan, or an indication of where he wanted it to go, seeing as he was unable to take it beyond the most banal of small talk. So what was he doing? Surely it makes sense to have a goal in mind when you see someone you don’t know and wish to approach them. Perhaps, he was sprouting an old adage that is quite appropriate here; I don’t know.

Oh, the value of planning…Also, a good argument for headphones and antisocial behaviour.

Animals

I’m taking it slow with getting back into the groove of regular posting.

In October the smaller of my two new puppies past away, after what looked like accidental consumption of poison. The remaining puppy, Diana, was very unhappy alone and took to barking all night to the other dogs on the street, or maybe she was still looking for him.

So, we went back to the SPCA, and got a puppy of similar age and size as her. We have named him, Harry. The two seem to be getting along swimmingly, which either means they click, or she was really depressed and sad and would have taken the companionship of a hamster.

Harry is turning out to be quite the rascal, very charming, sharp claws and a propensity to bruise me so much, I’m starting to resemble a multi-coloured Dalmatian. Harry is … yellow. No seriously, my dog’s face is a shade of yellow. He has floppy ears and a tail so long it thwacks his stomach on both sides like a booming drum. He has a good bark, too. And he’s liable to eat me out of house and home.

While still on the topic of animals, here’s a video by Crabstickz from youtube, doing animal impersonations. I watch these videos, there are three in the series of Animal Impressions, when I’m sad and want to laugh. Enjoy.

 

Community and Fangirling

Apathy

Apathy (Photo credit: Toban B.)

I have been remiss in my blogging. It isn’t so much that I don’t have anything to share, the sheer volume of letters that I have addressed, (and now that I have stamps, the sheer volume of letters I can now send,) is a testament to the stories bubbling in my head.

However, it seems that I am reluctant to post them here. I am apathetic with my blogging. I lack purpose and a particular audience that I want to write to. I am not my normal snarky self.  I am neither poignant, nor raw with unbridled emotions that can flood over time and space and overwhelm my readers into understanding my reality. I am not particularly charming, I don’t necessarily attempt to ingratiate myself to you, which would be an exercise in futility, given that I don’t know you.

Whilst the desire is there, the desire does not want to take form, as words, pictures, poems, and ultimately posts, and that upsets me.

And so, being apathetic about blogging as a whole, I went over to youtube. Ok, that isn’t entirely true, I went over to youtube to see Miley Cyrus ‘twerking,’ since it has been flooding my timeline on twitter, and it seemed like a big deal. Besides one youtube comment on one of the twerking videos about how women have taken feminism as an excuse to dress like bacon in front of a dog, and then get upset when men comment, ogle or otherwise treat them poorly, there really wasn’t much to this story. (Please note that I am paraphrasing the comment made, and stating what I understood the comment to mean.)

Though, while we’re on the topic of men being dogs, and scantily dressed women are bacon, does that mean that men are incapable of controlling their urges? That by extension, the failure on the part of men to control their baser instincts, you know, because men can be acceptably compared to dogs, is something that women must now ‘control,’ by dressing more moderately? There is a rant budding on this topic, and it will most likely reference Laura Bates.

Charlie

Charlie (Photo credit: trekker308) You horny dog

Having been unable to find a decent quality video of the allegedly offensive twerking, though seriously, world hunger, AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, can we move away from a young woman twerking as being  relevant? Yes, no decent video quality, but still able to generally have a feel for what the furor is about, I went over to Charlie McDonnell’s youtube channel. Charlie McDonnell’s videos go a little way to restoring my faith in ordinary humanity, and they cheer me up some.

I have mentioned Charlie McDonnell of charlieissocoollike fame, before. Quick recap, he’s a youtuber (amongst other things,) who seems to be, for all intents and purposes, a genuinely nice, affable, friendly, charming, geeky-in-a-good way kinda guy. I like to think that it’s because he has consistently been these things, and possessed these seemingly ordinary but lovely traits, that he is exceptional. It may be too late to mention this, but I’m fangirling now. Run away! Run away before it’s too late!

Charlie McDonnell [charlieissocoollike]

Charlie McDonnell [charlieissocoollike] (Photo credit: SarahKristin) because what is fangirling without artwork?

It is difficult for me to divorce the feelings of genuine affection I have for an online personality, who is edited, chopped and cropped for mass consumption and be objective, so bear with me.

Charlie has done a lot of videos now, covering a fairly broad spectrum of topics, from vlogs, Challenge Charlie vids, pleas in relation to worthy causes, science videos, music videos, and now short films. So there is a lot of material out there by him. However, in pretty much all of his videos, there is a common thread, a common Charlieness, if you will.  Charlie comes across as being sincere and earnest in what he does. There is no pretentiousness in him; he is quirky and a trifle awkward, but he is also endearing, because he is the nice guy, and you’re glad when things work out for him.

Back in November 2012, he posted a video about being scared and even did a blog post about it. The article and original video post are here. Now, what I found interesting, and why I’m bringing all of this up in the first place, isn’t so much about the original video and blog post, it’s the video responses. At the end of the blog post is a selection of 9 of the video responses to Charlie’s original video.

The responses range from being soul-baringly poignant from people he is friends with, or knows, to just honest videos from people who subscribe to his channel, right through to an analysis of creating material, and by extension, oneself and why that’s terrifying. – Seriously, the last of the nine videos is very thought provoking.

What impressed me was the sense of community in it all. For the most part, we live continents apart from each other, each of us within out own little realities and our own little worlds, all interpreting the human experience a little differently. And yet, when push comes to shove, we can still band together and pick someone up, half a world away.

I blame this wave of optimism on Charlie McDonnell and his subscribers.

Coffee. Twitch. Edge.

My desk was made of two parts, joined together to form an L-shape in the centre of the room.

Western Saloon

Western Saloon (Photo credit: monsoon_wind_dhaka)

About a month ago, the accountant came back from maternity leave, and the accounts office became the setting for a Western Show Down. The office now housed the interim accountant, the returning accountant, and the Third Party. The office, which in reality does have the space to seat three people, but has been set up in a way that it will only comfortably hold two, was no longer big enough for the both of them.

The Third Party was now deskless and in need of a new work space. The obvious work space was opposite the downstairs secretary. However, this workspace borders on the toilet door, which is not always the best ambiance to work in, for obvious reasons.

Downstairs there are two other offices, mine, which is smaller than accounts, but has fewer pieces of furniture, and the corner office, which is twice the size of the accounts office.

At this point, I feel the urge to rant and rave about how selfish and self centred I think my colleague was in refusing to share his office. I know the arguments he would have for denying her access to his office, and to a degree they’re valid. However, at the end of the day, in my view it boils down to him seeing it as a demotion to have to share an office, which wounds his pride. There’s also the issue of him feeling like he would be spied on, and his space would be invaded. I’m going to walk away from the laptop now, before I let loose a rant about this.

Moving along, the Third Party then had to take up residence in my office, which meant having to divide the tables. One table is small but has the drawers and cabinet space. The other is larger with more tabletop space, but with no cabinets or storage space whatsoever.

I took the table with the drawers, because I have more things in my desk that I need to store and would otherwise get misappropriated. – Yes, stapler wars are still alive and well.

The problem for me now, is that I’m at a cramped desk, with more files than there is space for them, and the chair is backed against the wall, so there’s virtually no room to move.

Like most people, I have days where I am very productive and days when I’m not. For the most part, it doesn’t matter when I’m not productive, because there are ways to mask these things. The issue is when I’m feeling productive, and I want to have my alone space to spread things out over a larger surface area and want to speak to myself, I now can’t. If I want to play music I have to use headphones now, but with headphones on, I don’t hear the phone ring.

By nature, I’m private, and view my space with pretty much animalistic territorialism. Having someone new in my space on a daily basis, making and receiving calls, grates on my nerves.  It isn’t that I have a problem with the Third Party, I have a problem with someone being in my space all the damn time.

Telephone

Telephone (Photo credit: plenty.r.)

Currently, I’m not in the best of mental spaces. I’m edgy and tense, and I’m due for a large blow up, it’s just a matter of time. Since I’m no longer alone in my office, I can’t even take the time to compose myself for the next mini-battle.

I wish to bang my head against the table.