I Just Had a Hilarious Anxiety/Panic Attack

I Just Had a Hilarious Anxiety/Panic Attack

Hilarious is probably not the first word that comes in mind in connection with mental episodes. Especially if you’re the sufferer. But when you look at it with the eyes of the observer, it is really the best word to describe it. Hilarious.

I just had an acute mental episode over nothing. What happened? Like I say, nothing. All I did was walking over to sit at the computer and get some work done. And whoosh. Out of the blue I can’t breathe and feel a pressing urge to peel my skin off in one piece like a snake because there’s a weird sensation all over it.

I totally get that some of my fellow nutcases bang their heads against the wall or cut themselves. Clear-cut physical discomfort is a breeze. Weird mental discomfort is—weird. Also, maddening; though I’m not sure how it applies when you are already mad.

So, doing my best to perform the breathing exercise designed for panic/anxiety attacks, I hop (limp shakily) on the yoga mat and go for a classic guided breathing meditation that I have bookmarked on my phone. Now I not only want to peel my skin off but also want to rip the headphones off my head and toss the shit out of the window because it feels crazy weird against the ears too.

As the meditation progresses, so does my panic because the exercise isn’t working. However, successfully overcoming the temptation to grab the phone and toss it the same way as the headphones, I complete the meditation, put the stuff out of the reach of crazy people, remove my shorts because they feel weird and move on to administer a Lexaurin pill.

Ten minutes later, I can breathe normally. Well, not really, I could breathe normally but I can’t at the moment because I’m having a fit of hysterical laughter at myself. As I’m putting my shorts back on because they are perfectly legit, totally comfortable and don’t feel weird at all, I’m wondering what the fuck that was.

Apparently, I had a panic attack over absolutely nothing.

Well, okay, so maybe there is a workload I’m freaking about, which might have triggered the reaction. But come on, tell me something that’s new or, even better, tell me one rational reason why I should be entitled to panic over work. It’s not like my life depends on it.

Well, okay, so maybe my life does depend on my ability to work my workload. But, so what, let’s not try to reinvent the wheel here. Same old, same old: I’m a means of production owned by the capitalist society blah blah; also, exploitation, inequity, overwork, underpay blah blah, so everything is as it should be.

Well, okay, so maybe everything isn’t as it should be. However, who is to say what should be? Not me. Not anyone, as far as I’m concerned. (I wonder if that makes me an anarchist? And is that a bad thing? — I’m glad I don’t subscribe to the good/bad dichotomy, looks like it’s complicated as fuck.) My point is: what is there to panic about when there is no point anyway? I wish my panicky brain finally got it. Duh.

My First-Time Muffin

My First-Time Muffin

Do you remember the first time you ate a muffin? I do. I remember it like it was yesterday. Incidentally, it was yesterday. How come I’ve got so far and so old without ever chancing to eat a muffin? Dunno. I wish I had a profound explanation. I have no anti-muffin agenda though, it just never occurred to me to eat one.

I’m currently watching one of the most idiotic TV shows ever done, Scrubs, and leaving aside my poor judgement and taste, there is one character who is always eating muffins. We all know how persistent advertising works, so it’s no surprise that I soon became obsessed with muffins. My obsession culminated to the point when I actively desired to eat one and, the advertiser’s dream, I took action to procure it.

Please note that we’re not talking euphemisms here. By muffin, I mean muffin. I got myself one in Tesco. It was unreasonably expensive, for a muffin, though I wouldn’t know, having never noticed that they even sell this shit before. I carried my muffin home, asphyxiating it tightly wrapped in one of those anti-nature plastic bags.

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Not a muffin

There, I set my muffin on a plate and commenced examining it visually. It was labelled as a chocolate muffin, hence it was nicely dark brown, but you never know whether it’s brown because it’s chocolate or because it’s artificial colouring and flavouring. I was pretty puzzled by the muffin sitting with its bottom stuck in whatyoumaycallit, baking cup? Another of these anti-nature wrappings, but paper, not plastic.

I got so many questions. Why is it called muffin in the first place? Because it muffles whatever you’re saying when you have your mouth stuffed full of it? But then it would be mufflin, I guess. Also, is it soft or hard? Some things are indeed better hard, like Oreos, but I’d prefer this one soft. And is there something in the centre of this misshapen ball? Like, uhm, cream filling? And will it explode on my face? On this note of practical considerations, how the fuck are you supposed to eat this thing??

I dug an exploratory finger in the top of the muffin and behold, it’s soft and crumbly! It’s so soft and crumbly that I got crumbs in my keyboard. Damnit. It’s nice though. Very nice. Very chocolatey. Also, now that I’m observing the remains of a muffin which has just undergone a lobotomy, have you ever noticed that the muffin looks like a nuclear mushroom cloud? No? It totally does! Look at that shit properly the next time you eat a muffin. And for your information, the muffin was as empty inside as me.

What You Should(n’t) Do to Sleep

What You Should(n’t) Do to Sleep

I’ve decided to explore a new blogging niche. That of writing anti-blogs. Is anyone even doing it yet or have I finally stumbled upon something original? What I have in mind are specifically anti-manuals, anti-instructions and anti-advice. Since I suck at pretty much everything, particularly life, I thought I’d share my wisdom for the benefit of those whom I might serve as a cautionary story.

I quite enjoy the irony of this idea: I can’t save myself, yet I’m proposing to save the world. Okay, not to save the world, I’m more modest than that, hence I only seek to make the world a better place. Do you believe me? You shouldn’t! For fuck’s sake, you’re reading an anti-blog! Also, do I give the impression that I give a shit? I hope not. Scratch that. I don’t have hopes.

I’ve been sleep-deprived for quite a while now. Which may explain the preceding and the following. A bar recently opened right under my flat and I think my sleeplessness might be related to this fact. It’s not just a bar. It’s a rock music bar. A non-stop music bar, to be absolutely precise. I have their fucking jukebox right under my bed. No kidding. Let’s just say that the constant noise of varying quality and quantity doesn’t exactly facilitate sleep.

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Screw this shit

Which is where I’m getting down to my anti-advice. Aka, what you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to sleep. All the methods detailed below have been tested on myself and have been found inefficient, cumbersome and likely unsafe. While not recommended for human use, these methods seem to be safe for cats. Mine is not only not insomniac but appears perfectly at peace, especially in contrast to yours truly. My truly. Me.

The first method I tried consisted in listening to a meditation for sleep on the phone. This trick was actually nice and is comparatively safe. At least so I thought, until I talked to a friend, who happens to be a firefighter and who is obsessed with the idea that unattended phones in beds may spontaneously combust. Even when they are not Samsung. Do Samsung phones still explode? Just asking. I have a low-end phone and what it does is to freeze, so I assume no fireworks are happening here, literally or figuratively.

The second method I tried was purchasing a set of earplugs. I was very pleased with them because they looked cute and came in a pretty pod. They didn’t come with a manual, which displeased me, since I’m obsessed with manuals. So I googled. I was terrified, applying earplugs is basically nuclear science. However, apply them I did. Semi-successfully. They even worked, sort of, except my ears are still hurting from that foam shit. I must’ve misread the manual or something.

The third method I tried was to block the noise with even more noise. I was hoping one noise would cancel the other noise. Well, it doesn’t work like this. I selected an ambient ocean sound and played it in endless loop on the laptop. The roaring ocean was terrifying rather than relaxing. Though it did balance the noise nicely: there were drum beats coming from below and ocean screams coming from the left, where my laptop was sitting on the table. I didn’t dare to put it in the bed in case my firefighter friend would disapprove.

That much to my anti-manual so far. Excuse typos and general shit, I haven’t slept well. Like forever. Also, I’m writing this with my headphones on, listening to the roaring ocean. It sounds apocalyptic. I think it goes well with my life.

I Went to a Party (No, Really!)

I Went to a Party (No, Really!)

I’m like Thomas Pynchon. People know me by name but no one has really seen me. I’m also not like Thomas Pynchon because there’s no mystery to my invisibility: I hardly ever go out and I let no one in. So, duh. Probably also unlike Thomas Pynchon, I recognise that social isolation causes craziness in sane people and boosts craziness in already insane people. The latter being my case, I sensibly decided that I shall bravely go where I have never gone before and will attend a party to which my acquaintance inexplicably invited me, probably acting in a fit of crazies.

After double-checking that the invite wasn’t a drunk misclick (I’m sure it was, but the party person took pity and assured me of his undying friendship acquaintance and his being okay with me coming), I dressed up and ventured out. I assumed that my acquaintance, like me, had no friends and that the party wouldn’t be a big deal. Feel free to imagine in unflattering visuals my surprise (like eyes popping out and tongue lolling from the open mouth) when I arrived to find half the village at the spot. I knew next to no one there, so after presenting my strikingly original present of a bottle of wine to the party leader, I sat down next to the nearest random person.

I had asked for water to start with, so I set my plastic cup in front of me and proceeded to introduce myself to my neighbour. The neighbour probably told me his name, which I didn’t forget—because I didn’t even hear it to start with. I wonder whether it’s a sign of egoism that I never listen to people when they’re introducing themselves. If it is indeed the case, consider me sufficiently punished because the longer you’ve known a person, the more awkward it gets to ask their name. My conversation with the random unknown party goer was more than disastrous.

The stranger showed me a wound on his leg, which was bleeding through the bandage. I spontaneously attempted to summon a deity in which I don’t believe (“OMG!”) and inquired what had happened. “It was at work,” he says. “Oh,” I say, more or less successfully feigning interest in the bloody blotch, “what were you doing?” He says, “Working.” I see. I don’t see, of course, but I don’t want to pry. So I try something different: “And what do you do?” He looks at me and says, “Same as everyone else.” Oh. I’m puzzled but choose to assume that I’m doing it wrong.

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The party took place at the yellow river

After a while, the stranger bends over and unties my shoe lace. Somewhat taken aback, I’m waiting for what it’s gonna be. The stranger resumes his seat and does absolutely nothing. So I say, “Okay, that’s it?” He confirms. That explains everything. Not. I tentatively express my disappointment, “You know, I was waiting for a point to it…” He says nothing. After a bit, I go on, “That was a token of affection or an act of hostility?” The former, he says. Instead of yelling, What the fuck are you, four or what?, I practise the Buddhist teachings of acceptance, honour and respect, and say, if somewhat insincerely, “Oh, that’s nice.”

Because I didn’t have the balls to tell the stranger that I was worried that idiocy was infectious, I said, though quite frankly, that I needed a drink and moved on. I didn’t grab a drink until much later and went on carrying around my cup of water, causing many eyebrows to raise. The ultimate havoc I wreaked was however when I politely refused the pot that was being passed around, laughing that I was a bit too grown-up for that crap. I should’ve kept my trap shut. Though I’ve meanwhile become a village legend (the village equivalent of the urban legend) because I genuinely can’t speak the colloquial variant of my mother tongue, which raised major suspicions.

Against my better judgement, I eventually had a few shots, but managed to stay the most sober person around, second only to the dogs and kids present. I recently decided I was too grown-up to get stupid drunk. Shrug. I tried my hand (tongue) at some more conversations. I was the most successful with someone’s mother, who was twice my age and apparently found herself at the party by mistake, like me. I totally killed it (in the bad way) when someone was explaining that they sought to be awarded invalidity pension and I thought they were joking, so I joined in, “Haha, a good one, who’d want a pension, right?” Except they weren’t joking. They thought I was joking when I attempted to explain my view that it takes an exceptional person not to get uselessly wasted away once they’re on pension and don’t have to do anything.

When it got dark, cold and people started slurring beyond comprehension, I took the liberty to leave. I went depressed and despondent. How do I never fit anywhere? Like, it’s probably me, right? How do I literally and figuratively, on all planes, don’t speak the same language as everyone else? And, are there people who do speak my tongue? If so, where the fuck are the suckers hiding? I do wonder what the other party goers’ interpretation of my presence at the party would be. Provided they’d remember anything of it or bothered to care about it in the first place. I’m sure it’d be totally different from mine. I’m stumped.

WordPress’s Daily Post Quits—Now What?

WordPress’s Daily Post Quits—Now What?

In case you haven’t heard yet, the Daily Post is a goner. It bothers me more than it should. As we say in the second world, it’s not like bread is gonna be cheaper for that, so why care. As I hear is legit in the first world, though, one has the privilege to rant about things. Let’s do this!

Stages of Grief

I’ve gone through the five stages of grief regarding the Daily Post’s demise.

  1. Denial (“What? Nooo—!!!”)
  2. Anger (“Losers! Quitters! Traitors! Class enemies!” — Please note that “class enemy” is a cultural thing and it’s a bad thing to be. The worst, actually.)
  3. Bargaining (“How hard is it to keep the thing running, huh? As Ben admits in his post on the Daily Post, WordPress servers shall be chugging along for the next 14,320,078 years, so come on!”)
  4. Depression (“Can’t even…”)
  5. Acceptance (“As you wish.” — That means I strongly disagree with you but currently can’t think of any means to bring you to senses.)

I even added an extra stage, just for the fun of grieving.

  1. Resistance (“You won’t take responsibility? Fine. I’ll take it myself. In yer face.”)
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Random picture

Stages of Feelings

I notoriously suck at connecting with my feelings because I read on Freud’s virtues of repression in an impressionable age and it stuck. I perfected the art of not admitting to feeling anything to the point of actually not feeling anything. That is, besides a single uniform formless emotion, whose name I don’t know but which is dull and depressing. I think it’s a constant lack of will to live. Is that an emotion? I need to practise naming emotions, so let’s identify how I feel about the Daily Post’s decease.

  1. Disappointment — I was dumb enough to form some expectations and to believe that at least over at WordPress, everything will be as it should be. That’s disappointing on so many levels. (Which I’m too lazy to describe, so trust me—and you shall be betrayed! See below.)
  2. Betrayal — Well, I didn’t sign up for this. For WordPress quitting on me.
  3. Guilt — I should have had more sense than to be trustful and end up cheated, so serve me just right.
  4. Anger — I was totally triggered by the mention of the discontinuation of the Daily Post being “a hard decision” in the post bringing this news. Saying “a hard decision” means avoiding telling the real reason.
  5. Loss of faith in humanity — See above. I wonder what the real reason for this “hard decision” was. Kidding, I don’t wonder, we live in a capitalist society (even me), so it’s an easy guess.
  6. Affirmation — The Daily Post challenges kept me blogging and connected with the world when I was too depressed and/or busy to even—  But we’re ultimately all alone, so it’s up to me to do shit. You know, like to blog about it. Incidentally, I just did that.
It’s Weirdly Quiet

It’s Weirdly Quiet

When it’s quiet
I think I’m deaf or dead
But—
How do I tell?

So, I say (quiet)
Hey—
Anybody out there?

Sometimes
The cat comes (quiet)
But all remains—
Quiet

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Quiet out there

 

Wait, That’s Not Even a Poem

Wait, That’s Not Even a Poem

In my past life
When I dropped myself on the bed
Overworked, exhausted & sleep-deprived
After studying English poetry all night
There were snippets of rhymed lines
Waging a war of verses in my mind

Warning me

I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

What a heap of shit
How did I think
Any of that matters

It doesn’t pay the bills

So, flashforward to now
When I drop myself on the bed
Still overworked, exhausted & sleep-deprived
After translating a company website all night
There’s a war of visions going on in my head

A clash of clichés making me wish for brain death
I laugh at the line The extrusion line strikes back
Though there’s nothing funny about that
It’s pathetic, really, just like me

I still don’t pay the bills

But, at least, I’m not buying this shit
Maybe I’m brain-dead already
As I wish
That would be—a happy ending
I think

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Not going gentle into that night
I Hate Being the Janitor

I Hate Being the Janitor

I present a new instalment in my Janitor from in Hell Series, which starts with my installation in the concierge function, continues with an epic flood, and I wish I could say it ends here, but the tragic story goes on.

I don’t hate being the janitor. I fucking hate being the janitor. I’m exceptionally unsuited for the execution of this post. I know next to nothing about maintenance, I’m not passionate about the vision of making the tenement a better place and, most of all, I panic in emergencies.

The other day my janitorship struck back at 10:30 PM, while I was sitting at my office-slash-kitchen table, watching people pretending to be surgeons dissecting a tumour on Grey’s Anatomy, and munching Oreos. On which the power went off. My mother would observe that it was surely a divine strike punishing me for eating Oreos for dinner. On which I’d retort that I’m Buddhist and fully confident that the universe doesn’t give a shit about my eating habits.

I finished my Oreos while the buffered video was still running on the laptop and then went to explore. I didn’t get farther than the corridor when I realised that the power was off, hear, hear, and since there is no god in this godless building, there was no light. The flashlight function on my phone didn’t turn out to be exactly powerful, but I managed to stalk my way in the street and confirm the worst.

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And there was (no) light

No, there was no zombie apocalypse, that wouldn’t have been so bad since I’m already half-dead and why not take it to the next level, right? The worst thing was that the outage was in my building only. Which is where the janitorial hero comes in and saves the light and WiFi. I’m kidding, of course. This was when I picked the phone and called the landlord to ask where the fuck were fuse boxes in this forsaken building.

The operation was much more complex than it sounds. Apparently, you can either be conducting a call or flashing the flashlight on the phone, not both simultaneously. Don’t tell me that I should’ve grabbed a regular flashlight. I couldn’t find it because there was no light, see? If you don’t see, nevermind, neither did I. So I grabbed a lighter and kept the flame on while operating on the fuse box, which I probably deemed a good idea. It’s not like it’s the main gas shutoff valve. Is it?

Neither the landlord’s instructions nor my description of the situation proved particularly productive. I spent an hour haunting the building and hunting fuse boxes, while burning my fingers on the lighter and exchanging profanities with the landlord. Then I decided that I.WASN’T.FUCKING.DOING.IT, gave up and returned to my flat to die of exposure, since the heating doesn’t work when there’s no power. Before settling down to die, it occurred to me that I had a candle, which I duly lit, because I needed to pee and didn’t want to miss the bowl. Yes, I know I’m a girl, but it was dark enough to miss the bathroom entirely.

I retired in the bed, wearing all I have. I googled generators, in case I survive, because the next time this happens, I want to be able to boil some bloody water at least. Then I decided I’d go the medieval way and prepared to start burning books. Then I fell asleep and dreamt of an electrician alighting from a white unicorn with a rainbow horn, chanting Let there be light and resurrecting me and the electricity alike.

In the morning, the summoned electrician arrived in a yellowish van, presumably originally white, which was in the final phase of entropy. He asked what happened. Dunno, I chattered my teeth. Life, I guess. The torch-bearer worked his magic on one of the switches, which was in the off position, though I swear it was in the on position when I left it. Okay, I don’t swear, I don’t know what I was doing. On which the power went on.

An Instagram Week

An Instagram Week

So, I’m still on Instagram and still doing this 365 challenge—though I’m vehemently denying both that I’m doing it and that it’s an all-year-round challenge—when I’m taking and posting a photo a day on Instagram and then taking a week’s worth of snaps over to the blog because—well, I have no idea why. Here’s this week’s batch, if you can live with not knowing why I’m (not) doing this.

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5 March: See the question mark on the bin? This existentially inclined bin has no idea why it’s taking your crap.
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6 March: I went out and it was raining. End of story, if a story it was.
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7 March: I deeply regret this photo. It’s what is marketed as silky smooth tofu, but it looked like frozen sperm to me and tasted like—well, suffice to say that I threw it out, though I never throw food out.
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8 March: It was a sunny day. I haven’t seen the sun for so long that I struggled to figure out what that blazing light was about. I shot this through the bathroom window. The window glass is wrinkled like this so people can’t stare at me showering. 
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9 March: I went out and met potted flowers. They left me wondering who on earth would waste so much money on flowers that will promptly die anyway. Says a person who bought her cat potted grass for chewing.
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10 March: I maintain a colouring routine. Its purposes are mysterious because it’s neither useful nor relaxing. It’s just something I do.
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11 March: The flu/angina/cold I brought home from my trip to England is persistent as fuck. A week later, it’s not going anywhere. So here’s my current bestie, the tissue box.
Second-World Alternatives to First-World Products

Second-World Alternatives to First-World Products

I have the dubious (dis)advantage of living betwixt the first and the second worlds. My ass is sitting on a second-world chair, but the first world is at my fingertips, literally, through the internet. If you haven’t heard yet, what I define as second world are primarily post-communist countries in eastern Europe, which are, just like me, sitting uneasily between world one and world three, thus logically constituting world two. Makes sense, right?

Living in the second world entails having mostly second-world problems, which are pretty down-to-earth and typically revolve around the overarching question of how the fuck do I pay the bills. Assorted first-world problems do creep in, such as, what the fuck do I do with myself when the wifi is down, but mostly, first-world problems remain the source of endless hilariousness for me. You know, most first-world problems are not a thing here. Yep, they’re virtually nonexistent. Don’t everyone move in here.

In the unlikely scenario, though, that you’re a first-worlder looking to live in the second world (whatever crimes you committed to deserve that), here’s a helpful list of how to go about it. Among other things, your strategy must cover procuring alternatives for first-world products, which are here either entirely unavailable or are no way affordable. My insider advice is based specifically on Czechia, but should be applicable elsewhere too. Here you go. Take notes.

Item to substitute: iPhone, iPad and other iStuff
Get instead: normal stuff, huh

I suspect it’s not common knowledge in the first world, but when you want a smartphone, you don’t have to buy an iPhone. (Shocking, I know, but indulge me for a bit.) Just Google cheap smartphone in the local language and you shall be surprised to see that there are plentiful non-i-items in terms of phones, tablets, computers and laptops.

Be advised, however, that a tablet is not allowed. I can spare you the waste of money and tell you right away that a tablet doesn’t do anything that a phone or a laptop wouldn’t do. See, you’re already spending less!

Item to substitute: coffee machine
Get instead: kettle

Let’s make it clear straight away. You’re not drinking fancy coffee, and even if you wanted to, too bad, there are no more than two or three cities in this country where there’s a Starbucks. Take-away coffee, obviously, isn’t admissible anyway, so get used to making your own sooner rather than later.

What you do drink is called Turkish Coffee and has nothing to do with real Turkish coffee. For a recipe, see my earlier post. It’s pretty simple, wholesome, and all you need is a tin mug (if you want to go authentic), generic brand coffee and a means to boil water. If you really want to cut spending, you don’t even need a kettle, an oven will do; and if you don’t have an oven, use the fireplace in the middle of your room.

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Congrats! There’s a railway in your place!

Item to substitute: car
Get instead: bus ticket

This is another outrageous concept, but sorry not sorry, that’s what it is: you don’t need a car. Here, I said it. It’s good news really because you can’t afford a car, obviously. You used the money you saved up to pay for your driving licence already, which is good, you might need it in case you ever need to drive a get-away car.

Look around. It might be that there are buses, trams and trains around. See them? Good. You just got yourself a means of transport. Can’t see anything? Too bad. It looks like you live in the middle of nowhere, where there is no public transport. Never mind though, you can still walk. So put those silly stilettos away in the closet, you won’t be using them here.

Item to substitute: TV and/or Netflix subscription
Get instead: nothing

I’ll let you in to a secret: if you have a computer or laptop, you have zero need for a TV. Actually, TV ownership is here associated with the lower-class (euphemism for dumb people in this case), so if you’re keen on making it (i.e., making it until the next rent is due), you won’t bee needing this crap.

As to Netflix, don’t worry about it too much, it’s probably not available in your new region anyway. Despite globalism, don’t think that you could subscribe to an US version of Netflix or anything really. You can’t, you’re now in the wrong place. The main point is, however: you don’t pay for watching anything. If you find yourself doing it, you’re doing it wrong.

There is obviously so much more, so much more that you couldn’t wrap your mind around it, which is the reason why I’ll leave you to it for now. I might bring more advice later. Or not. In case I do, watch this space. (Instead of Netflix.)