What a Slavic Girl Wants

What a Slavic Girl Wants

The Slavic girl in the title of the post is me (Heyou!). I have no clue what I want, so you’d be silly to take the following seriously. On top of it, it’s all plagiarised. How so? I came across a new blog the other day with a wonderful click-bait of a page entitled My Girlfriend. Being a creep who’s curious about other people’s girlfriends, I naturally headed there first. Oops though. It threw Error 404! I mean, it literally threw Girlfriend Not Found. Being a person with a perverted sense of humour, I collapsed in convulsions of laughter. I thought this was so brilliant I had to steal the idea. Therewith I declare an advertisement for a boyfriend.

Here’s a (long) list of my demands. You won’t like them. You don’t have to like them though because it’s all hypothetical! However, I’m hypothetically holding your kitten hostage, so your protocol had better comply. Interested candidates may apply in the comments below and must enclose their CV, cover letter and recent photo (preferably fully dressed). No kidding. This is a serious long-term job interview! As to what’s in it for you, besides the kick out of it, this is not the subject of the current post (ha!). So keep your pants on (also literally).

Gutter to go with my gutter post

The ideal acceptable candidate includes but is not limited to the following features:

  • You gotta be fierce. This is Eastern Europe, and all they say is true (remind me to blog about the cute quirks of local organised crime). No need to wield the sword (so analog), but an ability to use the knife (or a shank) is essential. Your duties will involve, knife-wise, killing, gutting and cooking a carp with your own hands each year at Christmas Eve (that’s what we do here for Christmas, perfectly normal).
  • You gotta know your shit (not to be confused with You gotta know you’re shit). I’ve spent enough time teaching to know that instructing people is a loss of time because they’ll go and do the opposite of what you advise. (People are weird, no? Bonus points if you agree.) Clairvoyance and mind reading skills are not required (because duh, let’s keep it real). Ability to Google is presumed in the successful candidate.
  • Your cat must not hate my cat (my cat hates everyone, so she’s no issue). It is not necessary to own a cat of your own (or be owned by a cat), however, high cat tolerance is crucial. Be advised (which you won’t be because see above for People are weird), anyway, be aware that I’ll probably like my cat better than you (but I like nothing really, so I’m no issue). However, as a gesture of goodwill, I am ready to negotiate and possibly surrender the half of the bed currently used by the cat for the sole use of the successful candidate (the cat must not be harmed in the process).

Okay, I think the above terms and conditions already disqualify about 99% of people (50% of which are already disqualified by virtue of their gender), so let’s call it a day for the first round. Also, as is fashionable to state in a footnote, I’m an equal opportunity employer (I don’t even know what that means, besides declaring not to discriminate openly but shadily instead. Also, are you even allowed to be discriminate in picking a partner these days? I’m concerned it’s not politically correct! Of course, I’m always concerned, so I don’t count).

The main and most important point being: a huge thanks to Shibin for the post inspiration! With hopes you’ll soon get that error fixed, man.

What I Hated (the Least) Today 237/365: Tinder; or, Meet Weirdos in Your Area

What I Hated (the Least) Today 237/365: Tinder; or, Meet Weirdos in Your Area

I use Tinder and I’m duly ashamed of myself. My hypothesis is that there are only losers on Tinder. And me. I mean, including me. I’ve been conducting a practical research of the app for several months and hence I am now able to provide empirical evidence to support my hypothesis concerning losers. Besides proof of losers, I have hilarious stories which must be shared for the sake of general entertainment.

So, I met several guys after chatting with them for a bit—not simultaneously, successively over a period of  some time—each of them once, and even once was too much. Based on my social experiment, my conclusion is that when a guy of my age is single, there exist painfully profound reasons for his singleness, including, but not limited to, him being a complete idiot. Following my findings, suggested measures to take include me getting another cat and embracing being a crazy cat lady.

Weirdo Type One: The Three-Year-Old

Weirdo of type one is a real-life version of Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory), but significantly less cute and funny than Shelley. The version that I met held a doctorate in physics (like Sheldon) and devoted his spare time to gaming, reading children’s fantasy and playing with lego (he proudly showed me a picture of a lego truck he built). He insisted that the bill in the coffee shop be split between us. There must have been some kind of misunderstanding—I’m not looking to adopt a grown-up child. Also, when a guy asks you out and then expects you to pay for your coffee, does that mean that he’s a confused feminist or what?

Weirdo Type Two: The Mommy’s Pet

Weirdo of type two is a natural aberration in whose existence I didn’t believe until I encountered a living sample. Describing the peculiarities of this phenomenon would be too time-consuming and would border on supernatural fiction, therefore I’ll limit myself to two statements I heard from the particular person I met. My personal favourite is his psychiatric evaluation that my depression springs solely from me having crooked teeth. (He messaged me this and I had the best laugh in years.) I certainly have both depression and crooked teeth but I doubt that there’s a causal connection. To improve on his statement, he followed up saying that unlike mine, his looks are perfect. Besides him being a perfect idiot, he also lived with his mom, full service and all.

Weirdo Type Three: The Psychiatric Patient

Weirdo of type three is a chameleon. He looks normal to start with, but you mustn’t spend more than five minutes in his company. He brought me flowers for the first (and last) date, which I thought quite awesome, and paid for all, which I deeply appreciated. It however soon transpired, no kidding, that we’ve been to the same mental hospital. He insisted he had an acute overreaction to stress and was entirely cured, but I didn’t think so. He spent the whole time talking about his achievements in his job, juxtaposed with his deep insecurities concerning his looks (he looked normal), his last name (which was mildly awkward, but nothing too bad) and other things which I forgot. I should’ve taken a book for this date, it was considerably boring to listen to an uninterrupted stream of consciousness for two hours.

Or Is It Me?

I swear I neither invented nor exaggerated any of the above. Also, the idea wasn’t to ridicule anyone (except myself), but to contemplate how weird life and people are. On the dating note, I also discovered a curious thing: it looks like half of the guys won’t approach me because they believe I already have someone, and the other half won’t approach me because they’re intimidated by me. How weird, right.

 

What I Hated the Least Today 230/365: Mean as Hell

What I Hated the Least Today 230/365: Mean as Hell

I was being mean as hell today. And the worst part? I was enjoying myself  while at it.

First of all, I lied shamelessly. I felt so exhausted that I was literally falling asleep in my chair. I couldn’t envision staying awake for several more hours, waiting for my English student to arrive for his lesson. So I called him, inventing an excuse why I need to cancel our class today. Miraculously, the moment I put the phone down, I felt refreshed and not sleepy at all. To see the scheme through though, I did take a nap, and it was probably the most expensive nap I ever had. Because I obviously lost some money by cancelling the private lesson. In terms of expense, today’s nap is closely followed by the nap I once took on the train, which resulted in my missing my stop and having to return by quite complicated manoeuvres.

Even worse, I rejoiced at other people’s misfortune when I woke up from my refreshing nap and was still feeling evil. I got a call from my former thesis supervisor, doctor Emma, who asked me to convert her .odt file into a .pdf file. Doctor Emma is a classic academic who can use the computer on a level akin to using a typewriter. That’s normal in academia. The department’s secretary, who is by far the most tech savvy, still produces class timetables in Word because Excel scares the shit out of her. While converting Emma’s file with one click, I listened to the news from my former department that Emma had to share. Apparently, two academics are being sacked. WTF? Academics are never ever sacked. It’s a weird world, once you get in, you stay at your post until your death (not even until you retire because academics don’t retire).

This causes the awkward condition that while new academics are still being trained, there are no jobs for them. No one tells them, of course, and some of the more naive ones find out only after they graduate with a PhD. Like me. I never quite got over the fact that though I’m excellent at what I do, my department preferred to keep their current and far less competent employees instead of hiring me. It’s a huge source of bitterness and anger for me, as it sort of ruined my life as I knew it. I ended up being an overqualified freelancer struggling and failing to earn her living. So, on hearing the news of not one but two of the least competent academics at my ex-department being let go, I was genuinely delighted. I consider it cosmic justice. God’s mill grinds slow, but sureone would say, but since I don’t believe in God, I call it cosmic justice. The universe is giving me a friendly nod. I nod back with a mean smile.

What I Hated the Least Today 221/365: This Be the Verse

What I Hated the Least Today 221/365: This Be the Verse

Very ugly and totally unrelated

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

—Philip Larkin, “This Be the Verse”

I blame my parents for everything bad that happens to me (when I currently don’t blame myself, which is even more common). The parents are the obvious culprits. After all, they brought me to this world in the first place.

At the moment, a rare family constellation is occurring when I talk both to my father and mother. Not simultaneously, but concurrently; plus, one mustn’t know that I talk to the other (they divorced in an uncivilised manner ages ago but still bear grudge).

However, I don’t talk to my brother, who is my only sibling, and who doesn’t wish to talk. If I had a larger family, I’m perfectly sure there’d be more members with whom I wouldn’t be on speaking terms (or vice versa).

The nice thing about my talks with parents is supposed to be that I’m being a well-behaved offspring and am doing the right thing (or what). The downside is that these communications put a bit too much strain on my clinically depressed nervous system.

Talking to both of my parents, it becomes rather obvious how come I grew up to end up in the hands of psychiatrists. Some kids are naturally resilient, shut up, deal with it and survive their upbringing. Inconveniently, I was apparently a fragile, impressionable child who internalised a gazillion harmful thinking patterns.

On the thinking note, I think I forgot what my point was (if any). In lieu of a point then, let’s make a (supposedly) therapeutic selective list of what I learned from my father during our today’s phone call. (I called him once, after a year of not speaking, to say hello, and now he calls me anytime he’s drunk and feeling frisky – which is often, he is alcoholic.)

Father: How’s your so-called depression? 
Me: Not great, but I’m trying to cope.
Father: Look, it’s a question of will, you just lack the willpower. 

Father: So, are you finally earning enough to support yourself?
Me: No, but business is improving, this month is my best so far.
Father: “Improving” is a shitty business model, I told you you wouldn’t manage.

I probably shouldn’t take my father too seriously, but it’s difficult for me to tell apart what’s my own thinking and what’s a thinking conditioned by my upbringing. Somewhat tragically, I tend to agree with my father: “improving” isn’t good enough and depression isn’t a thing (which doesn’t prevent me from having it).

What I Hated the Least Today 165/365: Meeting

What I Hated the Least Today 165/365: Meeting

Computers and code
Computers and code

I’ve been to a one-to-one to one-to-two meeting today where I was being advised on how to use a marketing software by the company who made it. That’s the short story. The long story follows, starting with disclaimers:

  1. As to the advising part, I read the software manual—that’s what I do, I read manuals—prior to the meeting. Twice. I tried out all functions available and came to the meeting with just a few questions that were not covered by the manual.
  2. As to the one-to-one to one-to-two part, my meeting was with a person who tests and uses the application, but my questions about its functions were so searching that she needed to summon the app programmer for help. Repeatedly.
  3. As to the marketing software, I hate marketing and I find it perverse that I found myself using a marketing application. But apparently, a marketing application has a marketing potential, and I don’t care what I do to pay the bills.

The meeting was taxing for everyone concerned and enjoyable for me in retrospect. Because—a) blogging material and b) it’s amusing to replay the meeting in my mind and see how perfectly socially inadequate I am.

Scarcely had I acted on the invitation to sit down when I asked whether I could get the company’s Wi-Fi password or whether I had to set up a hot spot from my phone’s 4G to get my tablet online. I was granted the password. Good. I didn’t have the presence of mind earlier to save my Excel spreadsheet with my questions offline, so I needed to connect to the cloud.

When my warm-up questions were answered, I moved on to more intricate ones, on which the testing person called in the programming person. I loved the engineer at first sight. He clearly hated me at first sight—because I’m people and he obviously hates people. So do I, which is why I loved the guy. He didn’t talk to me much—once again, because people—and he was obviously relieved when dismissed. So was I.

That I call a meeting of soulmates (provided we put aside that I don’t believe in souls). I mean, I didn’t even look at the person properly (I don’t look at people to avoid the risk of accidental eye contact), but I know a socially awkward fellow when I see him, which establishes a sort of connection in disconnection (provided this even makes sense).

What I Hated the Least Today 160/365: Just Wait Until I Catch You

What I Hated the Least Today 160/365: Just Wait Until I Catch You

Not as cute as it looks
Not as cute as it looks

I was sitting at my (my landlord’s) terrace, enjoying the fresh air (my cigarette), when suddenly a man started yelling with some degree (a great degree) of agitation: Ye little bastard!! Just wait ’til I catch you!!! (The original yelling was in Czech and significantly more vulgar.) As it was dark already, I couldn’t see who was doing the shouting and who was doing the running. All the same, this random incident amused me more than it should have.

I live in a new block of flats which is precariously poised at the edge of a social housing area. While there are worse places, this one is neither particularly safe nor particularly nice. Noise, vandalism and petty crime are perfectly normal—though recently we’ve come to be monitored by motorised police patrols. This also entertains me more than it should because the police cars crawl v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y in and out and the exact purpose of their drive-thrus remains mysterious.

I imagine the upset man was chasing away some street kid. That was very ill-advised of him—the kid is likely to return and take revenge on the guy’s car. I know because that’s what happened to me when I lived in this area earlier. Kids were throwing a ball across the length of parked cars, one of which was mine, so I shouted at them to go play elsewhere. Not much later I found the passenger’s door of my car thoroughly vandalised with random scribbles scratched in the paint. The moral is Don’t own a car. I duly don’t own a car now, so I can smile a wistful smile at other car owners’ misery.

I have no idea who came up with the idea that computers, phones and internet are bad for children. If local kids spent more time online, they would have less time for wreaking havoc on everything in their proximity. We have some kid gangs around, not a real threat but scary looking nonetheless, which I regularly see from the terrace vandalising one thing or another. The last time I observed, they were enthusiastically kicking into an electrical utility box in the street. I had the sense not to say anything. You see, if you see something, say nothing, and you’ll be fine.

What I Hated the Least Today 143/365: Kitty Cat

What I Hated the Least Today 143/365: Kitty Cat

The kitty cat not being annoying (at the moment)
The kitty cat not being annoying (at the moment)

I call my four-year-old cat kitty to suggest with the diminutive that I consistently hate her the least. She’s become a little annoying bugger recently since she can’t cope with me going out in order to earn for her treats, among other things. I imagined she would grow used to it after several months, but she didn’t prove to be very adaptive.

She acquired a new habit of meowing plaintively, not when I leave but, paradoxically, when I come home. She doesn’t seem to have any good reason, and petting and treats only help as long as they last. While I’m very sorry for her discomfort, I’m not particularly enjoying myself either, so I guess we’re even.

She started another, cuter habit, which consists in her routinely checking the bathtub. I’m not sure for what, maybe she expects a fish will materialise in there. She places her paws on the edge of the tub, wags her tail and inspects the perfectly uninteresting bottom of the tub with great interest.

She does this without any regard for whether the tub is being used or not. The only difference is that when I’m having a shower/bath, she tries to tap me with her paw. I certainly admire her persistence—or perhaps it’s lack of sense—because she gets her feet wet every single time and she hates it. I don’t hate it that she amuses me though and I always pet her back (much to her disgust, because water).

What I Hated the Least Today 133/365: Social Events

What I Hated the Least Today 133/365: Social Events

High school reunion: drinks and kids
High school reunion: drinks and kids

I have received invitations for two social events today. As I’m asocial verging on anti-social, I’m likely to graciously decline.

The first event is my graduation ceremony. Finally, half a year later, I’ll be getting my diploma. I’ve had one graduation ceremony already—for my Master’s degree—and I found it boring and pretentious. Serve me right, I should have known that a ceremony would be ceremonious.

It consisted in academic officials parading around in their fancy robes at a pace which they deemed dignified and I deemed ridiculously inefficient. Graduates were dressed in poorly fitting black robes, were required to stand in a goose file all the time and then probably pledged something—I don’t remember it well and I didn’t sign anything, so it doesn’t count.

The doctoral ceremony can’t be much different—perhaps it will be shorter as fewer people have the patience and poor sense to persist in their studies until they get old and die (almost). In fine print at the bottom of my graduation invitation, it said that there was a not insubstantial fee required. That amused me immensely—I’ve paid quite a lot for my education already and have no intention to add to it. I’ll need to inquire about the option of picking up my diploma without the humbug and avoiding the fee.

Another invitation I received was for my secondary school reunion. I wonder why I’ve been sent the invitation because I was the unpopular kid—except when someone needed to copy my English homework. I’ve been to one of these reunions already and while I found my classmates puzzlingly different from how I remembered them, I didn’t particularly enjoy the meetup—possibly because I didn’t dare to talk to anyone and no one dared to talk to me really. I wonder if now, fifteen years or so later, there will be any change (I don’t wonder, I know there will none—because logic).

All in all, it looks like I have just saved two days of my life.

What I Hated the Least Today 128/365: Smiling in Your Lap

What I Hated the Least Today 128/365: Smiling in Your Lap

Phubbing people
Phubbing people

Blogging about first-world-problems (such as when you’re unable to unshuffle your phone playlist, which brings you to the brink of suicide) and about yoga bricks brought to my mind by free association memories of the beginnings of technology for me.

How do bricks come in? It was in the late 1990s and my entrepreneurial father purchased what was probably the first cell phone on local market. This is Eastern Europe, so if you’re in the Western world, you were likely experiencing this stage of development about a decade earlier.

My father’s mobile phone wasn’t very mobile as its battery lasted for about one call. The phone had the design, size and weight of a brick (with an antenna), hence I affectionately called it The Brick. (This is how the brick comes in.) Among its good qualities was its durability—I once dropped it on stone steps and, besides the standby call being interrupted, nothing at all happened. Everyone knows what happens when you drop an iPhone.

Phones came in also when I was teaching class the other day and a student delivered a compulsory presentation on the topic of her choice—which was phubbing, defined as “the habit of snubbing someone in favour of a mobile phone”. I realised neither that this cute quirk had a name nor that it was considered other than standard behaviour. Of course, I’m socially stunted, so I don’t count.

After the presentation and some obligatory teaching, I announced a break. While the students clearly heard me, they didn’t stir and just lifted their phones from their laps, where they inefficiently hide them during class, up to their chests and proceeded to fiddle with them while smiling idiotically. Naturally, I only noticed this mass behaviour when I happened to glance up from my own phone at which I was smiling idiotically.

This cheered me up strangely—I mean, at least we have something to smile about, right?

Status

What I Hated the Least Today 52/365: Tinder

052

A family member has been raving about Tinder, the dating app, for so long and so vehemently that I installed it on my phone too. Apart from being under the influence of four glasses of Scotch (small glasses, I promise), I downloaded Tinder primarily because of aesthetic considerations: there is one lonely gaping space on the homescreen of my phone, begging to be filled with some app icon.

I signed in with a fake Facebook account because I didn’t actually intend to hook up with random guys on the internet. While it did occur to me that my intention somewhat contradicted the purpose of the app, I didn’t let that bother me. The app crunched my phone data (I may or may have not been too drunk to notice what permissions I’m giving to it) and it spat out a gallery of horrors in (semi-)human form.

I must acknowledge the divilish deviousness of the device because by default, all suggested matches were drawn from my area and were of reasonably adequate age. At the same time I was disappointed by the primitivity of the app in that it only offered a person’s picture, age and area. Hardly anyone bothered to fill in any personal details. So, that’s it, apparently. A picture is ridiculously little for me to inspire interest. I need more info when selecting my new desktop wallpaper.

Still, I was indecently amused by the guys’ photos, including one snapped in a public restroom and another showing a guy with his back facing the camera and his bottom bared (is that supposed to be funny and I have no sense of humour?). I swiped about fifty people left as nope (none in the opposite direction) and uninstalled the thing. Then I filled the blank space on my phone homescreen with a better version of swiping, a keyboard that allows you to swipe instead of typing. And it’s a match.