The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

The 100% non-religious commandments I try to live by.



1. Always try to make a positive difference.

2. Don't bite the dog, even if he bit you.

3. Question everything. Always check everything, even your most cherished thoughts, against the facts. If they don't hold up, it's time for the dustbin.

4. Enjoy your sex life, and let others enjoy theirs. What people do behind closed doors (and with whom) is none of your business, and doesn't concern you at all.

5. Always do the right thing. Even if you don't benefit from it.

6. Give gifts. It will always make you feel good.

7. Do not tolerate evil, injustice or stupidity.

8. If you have a dream, chase it. Never mind whether you'll achieve it or not.

9. Keep the child in you alive.

10. Never shy away from love, no matter how many times you've been burnt. But don't let your life be defined by love, or whom you love. You are your own master, always.

When I read the title before I heard the song (by Bon Jovi), I thought it would be one weird song, what with a title like that. Who wants a love song that compares you to a parent (of either gender)? But then I heard the song, and it made so much sense. Maybe this isn't why it was written, but I saw it as a love song, sung by someone who was very, very desperate. What touches you is the raw emotion. The frustration a person must feel to say words this desperate - unrequited love is so perfectly captured here (if you haven't been there, you won't understand it). I don't know why it was actually written, but this is my take on it.

I dedicate this song to myself and to one more person who'll read this blog while having his breakfast - I don't have much hope for myself, but I truly hope she comes back to you. Here's to us...


If I Was Your Mother

If I was your mother
Would you let me hold your hand
Would you say you were my baby
Would you always be my friend

If I was your mother
Could I teach you what's right
Could I tell you stories
Maybe tuck you in
And kiss you sweet goodnight

Tell me what I got to do
To make my life mean more to you
I could get so close it's true
If I was your mother

Would you always believe me
'Cause I'd wake up in the middle
Of the night
Just to see if you need me

Tell me there's no mother
To who you're telling your secrets
And would you tell me
'Bout all the boys you been
Bringing home to meet me

Tell me what I got to do
To make my life mean more to you
I could get so close it's true
If I was yours

Mother, mother
If I was your
Mother, mother

When love is blood
You're never on trial
Love don't get deeper
Than a mother & child
Oh baby, I got to get that
Close to you

Tell me what I got to do
To make my life mean more to you
I could get so close it's true
If I was yours

Tell me what I got to be
To make you a part of me
There's no one else you'd ever need
If I was your

Mother, mother
If I was your mother
Mother, mother

Mother, mother
If I was your mother
Mother, mother


- Bon Jovi (Keep the Faith)

I am afraid...of being unsuccessful

I am afraid...of never finding a person who loves me

I am afraid...of always being a failure

I am afraid...of never being good enough

I am afraid...that my dreams are too big for this world

I am afraid...that I will soon lose my strength

I am afraid...that the Christmas spirit is lost

I am afraid...that I'll change into a creature that I don't recognize

I am afraid...of losing the twinkle in the eye forever

I am afraid...that I've already changed

I am afraid...of what hate can do to a person

I am afraid...of it being too late

I am afraid...of caring too much

I am afraid...that I'm taken for granted

I am afraid...of others

Last year was so bad, I thought that it couldn't get any worse. Then it turned out that 2007 served merely as a teaser to 2008, which was the worst year of my life. Unequivocally. And now, as 2008 draws to an end, I find out that 2009 is definitely going to be worse. When I plan my life, it gets royally screwed, and when I don't plan it, I still get screwed. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

What's the point of being alive, when you are unhappy all the time? I really wonder that I don't

take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd.
Again, I put it down to lack of strength. And my ultra-detrimental quality of actually worrying about others.

I thought I had friends; real true friends that I could lean on, but I was sadly mistaken (yeah, I never learn). I keep throwing myself at people who don't want me. It is so apparent that I'm unwanted and unloved, yet I pigheadedly choose to walk down the same blind alley. And then get terribly hurt. Yet, lacking the strength to turn around, I keep wandering down the same lousy road.

I used to think that I'd leave, and then, like it or not, this cycle of misery will end. I'll surround myself with strangers, not get close to a single soul and thereby avoid all the mistakes I've made in my entire existence, and thus get by without this pain or heartache. But looks like I'm not leaving.

And that translates into another year of pain, another year of loneliness, another year of hurt, another year of misery that I don't know how to extricate myself out of.

Ah well, look at the bright side - at least there won't be any surprises. I know exactly what to expect.


Decided to post something mildly (very mildly) amusing, instead of the usual rants. I lived through a cheap '70s horror movie. No, I really did. This incident happened a good month or so ago. Without further ado, here goes...


******************

3rd floor, living room with ceiling-to-floor glass sliding doors, opening out onto the balcony. Early evening, maybe around 6.30 or 7. My friend, the Drifter and I sit around the open doors, him drinking coffee, us talking, having a nice time. I noticed a cockroach behind him, and sealed its fate with the sole of my slipper. Maybe five or six minutes later, his brother met the same fate.

Then we decide to move further indoors, and sit in front of the TV, and continue to talk. Maybe for another 45 minutes, perhaps an hour. One of us decide we were hungry, and I decide to look for food in the kitchen, which adjoins the living room.

But...da da da daaaa...

I couldn't take more than a few steps when I noticed another cockroach. As I killed it, Drifter comes to see what the commotion is about, and spots yet another cockroach.

"Yeah, got him" says I, as I frantically chase the cockroach with a slipper.

But, turns out Drifter was talking about another cockroach, different to the 2nd one I was trying to slay. We got rid of him too, and stood with our hands to our hips, wondering where on earth these creatures were coming from. We couldn't wonder too long, because we spotted another two or three cockroaches, and Drifter had the good sense to close the balcony doors, which is where they were crawling in from.

He felt too icky to kill them, so I had the odious task of running about with a slipper in hand, while he looked for cockroaches, all the while both of us shivering in fright. A chance look onto the balcony assured Drifter that far more cockroaches were armed and ready to enter.

As with any cheap horror movie, we were out of weapons. There was not a single can of Mortein or Baygon in the house and to reach the closest supermarket, you had to exit via the roach-infested balcony. It seriously wasn't funny, and we had never seen so many cockroaches in one place.

The slipper was soon becoming overwhelmed, and Drifter put his fears aside and decided to risk the balcony to get the weapons we so badly needed. He somehow made through the sliding doors, but I know not how he managed it.

In his absence, I valiantly flailed about with the slipper, until stubborn roaches forced me to find a weapon out of desperation - the bleach bottle. While the slipper (and my arm) took much needed rest, the bleach bottle rose to occasion and helped me slay several more horrific roaches.

After what seemed like an eternity (but in fact must have been less than fifteen minutes), Drifter appeared on the balcony, spraying in all directions. A-ha! the hero makes it, and manages to bring the weapon too!

The poor bleach bottle and the even more overused slipper took a backseat while Mortein was sprayed in all directions. Those stubborn roaches kept knocking on the door, and crawling out of hiding places, and for a few minutes I thought the Drifter had done the terrible mistake of buying just one can, which we were soon running short of.

Well, though it was just one can (a mammoth one), we managed to defeat the invasion of the roaches without depleting all the ammo.

The whole house smelled of Mortein but we were waaaay too scared to open the balcony doors. And we just barely managed to order pizza before they stopped taking in orders.

******************

Believe me, it was a real, live, horror movie, complete with the ultra-cheap monster. We were invaded by cockroaches, for heaven's sake! But I kid you not, this story is real, and it happened exactly as I related it. We don't know where the roaches came from (and it was only roaches). It had never happened before, and hasn't happened since. The weapons were cheap, the characters were scared, and the monsters would have been laughable, under any other circumstances. And whoever we tell this story ends up laughing.

But it was real, it was scary, and it really did happen.

Beware, the invasion of the cockroaches...coming soon, to a balcony near you...

Was reading up on suicides. Don't ask me why. Came upon this interesting site. Perhaps the most interesting thing it said was that suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

I found that extremely interesting, and very well put. It went on to say that the best way to avoid suicide is to increase your resources for coping, and some such in the same vein. Anyways. What caught me was the resources for coping bit. It so very well describes the exact situation so many of us find ourselves in. We have so much shit thrown at us, and not only don't we know what to do, we also have no one to turn to.

It also pointed out (quite accurately), how uncomfortable the idea of suicide makes other people. And how that anger or belittlement just adds to your frustrations, as opposed to relieving them.

All in all, I don't think I've ever come across a site/place/person who actually said suicide was ok. Of course, the site gives umpteen ways to prevent it, but it somehow didn't treat suicide has a huge stigma, or taboo topic.

Anyways, feels good to finally come across some honesty, even if it's on a website.

A fool's paradise aptly describes my world. And I, the fool.

When I started out in life, I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, either from this world or the people inhabiting it. But in the recent past, I seem to have done a mighty wonderful job in deceiving myself about all the important things, events and people in my life. I'm supposed to be smart person - in fact, by all accounts, I'm supposed to be smarter than your average Joe. Clearly, I'm not. Makes sense, then, that I eventually pay for my hubris.

I amaze myself by my incredible ability not to see what is right in front of my nose; even after suffering third degree burns, I still seem quite unable to realise the danger of fire.

I cling, like a fool, on to hope when all hope is clearly lost. I make plans when it is futile. I actually have the audacity to think that I can change people, when I do not seem to have the strength to even change myself.

It'll be better tomorrow. Or the day after. Next week. Next month. The month after that. But it never is, is it? And yet, I the fool actually believes the revolving calendar holds hope. A revolving deadline to postpone the eventual unhappy truth, is all it is.

Funny thing is, it isn't even a very nice paradise that I've buried myself in. And yet I refuse to leave. Fear of greater misery making me hold onto this one? I don't know. Whatever the reason, I'm sure it'll end up making me the fool, which sort of fits in perfectly.

It's my birthday next month. Since I'm quite certain that the day will bring nothing but three phone calls and bushels of misery, perhaps it'll give me the push to leave this paradise.

But here I go again, hoping. When I shouldn't even count on myself.

Tact. As always, conspicuous by its absence. From those near and far. And it manages to upset me every time. But it's a good thing that I have time to reflect. Because reflection shows that people, near or far, are not bound by anything under the sun (or moon) to take my feelings under consideration. Why should they? Laugh, joke and go about your own business. In this big wild selfish scary world, we need to be able to take care of ourselves.

Being independent isn't just about being able to pay for oneself (which, incidentally, I barely manage) and taking care of oneself. I think it also means being insular to the world around you. It means not expecting anything from anyone - whether it be big or small, and whether they be near or far. It means getting used to tactlessness, to selfishness; in short, getting used to this world we inhabit. When one doesn't have to rely or expect anything from anyone, isn't that being truly independent?

One day. Someday. Soon. I shall be truly independent.

I was called:

An apologist: For those of you who don't know, an apologist is a person who argues in defense or in justification of something, such as a doctrine, policy, or institution. Of course, uttered by one who didn't know what pedantic meant, the meaning of an apologist was naturally convoluted to mean "one who argues against something merely for the sake of arguing". Given that this rewriting of English was done by a (senior) English copywriter, I have let him stew in his ignorance. One of these days someone is bound to laugh at him, and then his arrogance will be cut to size.

But onto the main point: the idea that I am someone who argues against something merely for the sake of arguing. I would have found it offensive, had I not found the comment, the notion (and at that moment, the person) laughable. The fact that I disagree with most, or all, of what a person says does not make me an apologist (his definition, not the correct one), but only a rare breed of people who are never afraid to speak their mind. Further, I am happy to retain my (very strong) opinions on almost every subject under the sun, even if it is diametrically opposite to what the rest of society believes. I'm not part of the herd, and never do I wish to be.

The fact that he prefers to name call and not argue the point only shows either a rather weak opinion, an insane amount of arrogance (hand in hand with the need to be always right), or just plain childishness. Call me whatever you want; I am what I am, and I'm damn proud of it. (Also proud that my vocabulary is clearly better than so-called English experts).

I was also called:

A woman who doesn't want to have kids: This comment I found particularly offensive. I've never said I don't want kids. So then, Traditional Male Chauvinist (TMC) must have come to this conclusion on his own, right? Why am I a woman who doesn't want to have kids? Could it be because I'm strong, and not a shrinking violet? Because I have, and want, a career, instead of sitting at home and having my personality defined by my husband and 2.5 kids? Because I live in this century and not the last? Because I take care of my own needs without needing to be babysat by a man? Or maybe it's because I can't (he thinks) cook. Hey, wait, maybe it's because I don't go all gooey-eyed over babies and kids (particularly his).

In short, when a woman is strong, and is just like one of the men, the natural assumption is that she is a lesbian who hates men and doesn't want kids. Personally, I have nothing against either lesbians or women who don't want to have kids. But I find it extremely offensive that merely by being a strong modern woman, I've been squeezed into a stereotype that doesn't fit. At all.

I am a woman who always dreamed of adopting a kid (because love should transcend blood, and there are too many orphans who need love and a family), and where I come from, that falls under the category of wanting to have kids. Will I someday have kids of my own? That depends entirely on finding a willing partner, but clearly it hasn't been ruled out.

In essence TMC offended me more than he could possibly imagine, and my barbs at him will continue till something far bigger distracts me each time I see him.

Morons, the whole lot of them.

The shoulder has been killing me for days. Lift a pencil and there starts the pain. I need to find another job. Again. By the end of the month. Wow, so much time, and in such a happening industry. Joy! I need to find money. Again. Before the end of the month. What else is new? Levi's customer service sucks, as do their stock. Again, nothing new. I can't find a single pair of sandals that I like, so I had to 'settle for' something, just to make sure I wasn't going to end up being a barefoot babe. I ended up settling for sandals with soles so smooth that I managed to slip and fall on a bloody escalator at Crescat. Maybe the other shoulder will give way as well. Client cancelled a campaign. Woo hoo! 22 visuals was art class, I suppose. I dropped my phone. Again. For the 50 zillionth time. Now it switches itself off as it pleases. Not very helpful. People are annoying. Usual story. Had someone walk out on me in mid-conversation. An important conversation; I'm a wall flower, here's my card. Class this evening. Much rather be home, curled up on the couch. Forgot to buy lip balm. Again. Endless calls from mother. I suppose I'll wind up picking up tailoring that isn't ready. Again. What a familiar word, that 'again'. Keeps making an appearance. Again and again. This bloody nauseating heat. When will it rain? Sushi. Unaffordable. Again. Manolo Blahniks, then? Apparently, that too is unaffordable. Hmmmm. $24 for a DVD. Dare I indulge? Money, again. Needed. Again, repeated. Soon the sun will set and this day will end. How many from this list will be repeat telecast tomorrow? Raspberry mousse. Not nearly enough to satisfy me. Tummy ache. Still there. Men with BO walking around my room. Or was that the stink of fakeness? Whichever it is, it smells terrible. He said he'll call on Monday, and it's Tuesday now. Men and their lines. Except it's business. Still. Men and their lines. Honesty is such a lost art these days. Homework. Untouched. Due today. Cut work early and hit the library. Don't want to, but must. Life sucks. Again.

With a friend pouring her heart out about her marital issues, I'm compelled to write on the topic. She's newly married, and fairly miserable with her husband, and from the sound of the story, he must be equally miserable, if for different reasons. Clearly, they don't quite gel, and they don't sound like two people who should've got married to begin with.

At which point I'm reminded of what I said few weeks ago about loving and falling in love. She clearly didn't realise the difference between the two when she got married. Love and marriage are so much more than exchanging rings, keeping framed photos of each other, and the usual candy hearts, stuffed toys and flowers. The love buzz is all nice and fine for as long as it's there, but can you really build a future on it?

Reality isn't a white picket fence with 2.5 kids and two cars in the garage. Photo frames and flowers don't help much when you're fighting like cats. People have to realise that to share a life of love, it needs a little more than just being in love.

The sad thing is, pride and fear will keep her from doing what she should. Too proud to say that she made a mistake, and took a wrong turn. Too proud to say that she defied her family for the wrong man. To afraid to face life alone, she'd rather stay with a man she will soon be unable to stand. Pride and fear are two terrible things. I don't understand how people willingly choose unhappiness over chance. I mean, it seems fairly simple to figure out if one is happy or not. And if the person you're in love with isn't making you happy, or is causing unhappiness, doesn't that say something? Is that really love? Would a person who loves you really watch you suffer?

I read on Cosmopolitan that sometimes people delay breaking up (or divorce) by up to two years, though they know that they should do it. How sad is that? But it's probably true. In the case of my friend, it seems spot on. I'm guessing she will unhappily stay in this marriage, becoming more and more unhappy by the day, but unfortunately, not having the required guts to walk away.

Be warned: as bizarre as the following two stories are, they are nevertheless true stories.


True Story 1 - Part 1:


A couple of months ago, I was involved in producing 03 TV commercials featuring Lasith Malinga. Last week, I had the following conversation with a colleague.


Insane Copywriter: Queen, you worked on those commercials with Lasith Malinga, right?

Me: Yes...why?

Insane Copywriter: Can I have his phone number?

Me:??!!!

Insane Copywriter: Can I have his phone number?

Me: What??

Insane Copywriter: Can I have his phone number?

Me: Umm...uh....I don't have it...why?

Insane Copywriter: Well, there was this interview in which he mentioned this doctor who had helped cure his knee problem...I need that doctor's details.

Me: ??!!! I can't just call up Lasith Malinga and ask him for his doctor's details!!

Insane Copywriter: Why not? You worked with him. Why can't you call him?

Me: You can't just call up celebrities and ask them for their doctor's number, especially when you barely know them.

Insane Copywriter: Why not? You did a commercial together. He should understand.

Me: Uh....I don't have his number (then I ran away and hid under someone else's table for the longest time and emerged only in the late afternoon).


True Story 1 - Part 2:

Later that day...

Even Crazier ECD: Queen, can you do me a favour?

Me: Sure...what is it?

Even Crazier ECD: Do you have Lasith Malinga's number?

Me:??!! (thinking 'oh no, not again') No, I don't.

Even Crazier ECD: See, the Insane Copywriter wants his number to get his doctor's details because her husband has a similar leg pain...can't you get Malinga's doctor's details from him? You used to contact him for the shoot, right?

Me: Uhhh...no, I used to call his agent (blatantly lying at this point).

Even Crazier ECD: So can't you get the number from his agent?

Me: Ummm...let me ask client if she can help, ok?

And then I stayed away from the both of them for as long as I possibly could. Honestly, what on earth were they thinking? I can understand one person being crazy enough to think that I could call up Lasith Malinga, but to think that her boss could surpass her in a display of stupidity was incredulous. Next thing you know I'll be asked to find out who his hair dresser is.

**************

True Story 2:

At a brainstorm for a cookery product with a shoestring budget, members of the agency and client were trying to come up with various promotional ideas that could be executed. The brilliant young AE from the agency volunteers this gem of an idea: a sticker that can be pasted on the bottom of a frying pan (or saucepan), so that every time somebody cooks, they are reminded of the product.

A gentle pointer that a sticker cannot be placed in the cooking area of a pan only elicited an even more exceptional idea: how about pasting the sticker on the bottom of the pan? After all, each time the pan is washed, the brand will be seen (never mind the char burned mess it would be after a stint in the fire).

**************

Honestly, what on earth do these people carry on top of their shoulders, because it certainly isn't a head. Common sense is conspicuous by its absence. I shall not say anything ore, because I'm certain that these stories speak for themselves.

"There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
- Frank Zappa

I was thinking about this after reading The Drifter, and am now inspired to write a post on it.

Why do most of us live life, all shackled up in chains, too afraid to reach out to another, too afraid to take risks, too afraid to love, too afraid to love and be hurt by it, to afraid to let go, too afraid to break out of the mould, too afraid to take a leap of faith, too afraid to leave the herd? Why do we act as if we are dead to the world of beauty and colour and joy and excitement that life could be?

Because we've suffered from either the Snow White effect, or the Sleeping Beauty effect. Either, like Snow White, we happily went through life until we came across some psychotic person of evil who tried to put us down. So we ran past the woods, and despite being hurt, made attempts at several new beginnings. But the psychotic person of evil got us in the end, and the spirit we had finally died.

Or we suffer from the Sleeping Beauty effect. We went through life, full of innocence and joy, till some act (which had precious little to do with us) ended up scarring us so badly that our spirit is in permanent cryogenic sleep, practically dead.

If only we could realise that we aren't dead, our spirits aren't dead, and before we actually start to feed the daisies, we have a chance to reach out and touch the sky. Our spirit, or soul if you like, is not dead, but merely asleep.

The only question is, whether like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, are we going to wait for the kiss of life from some elusive entity, perchance risking permanent sleep, or do we have it within us to shake ourselves awake?

Because remember, unlike the princesses, we haven't been cursed. We don't have to stick to the script.

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe that your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

- Savage Garden

The joy that comes from giving, or gifting, is knowing that you have brought joy to someone, brought something special. It is essentially a selfless act, done for the happiness of another. It is an expression of something greater, not a be-all and end-all that has meaning in itself.

You cannot give to a person simply to satisfy oneself. But there are those who do. Those who give gifts every three weeks, like the trimming of a moustache or the rising of the moon, more for the satisfaction of their own inadequacies, than out of any genuine feelings. Or those who buy birthday gifts for every Tom, Dick and Harry to maintain their reputation as opposed to it being a celebration of a genuine relationship of some kind.

You can see it in the gifts, can't you? Coffee cups and candle stands that will (probably) clutter already crowded houses and paper weights and ornaments that are usually senseless even to the person who made it. Flowers, flowers and more flowers that's gone in a week (could we possibly find a gift less permanent?). Books and t-shirts bought from the corner shop (or Odel), checked merely for size, colour and price. Gift vouchers at least shows a touch of practicality, if nothing else. This morning I watched while a colleague bought a dog tag for a 'friend'. Puh-leeaase! A dog tag??!! Who on earth gifts a dog tag to a person? Next thing you know, they'll be buying each other leashes.

Is there anything special about these things? Does it show any foresight, feelings or thoughts that went into the gift buying process? None whatsoever. I plan my gifts weeks in advance, because I want it to be something special and meaningful to the person receiving it. What's the point in giving someone a bouquet of tulips just because it's my favourite flower? As a policy, I buy birthday gifts only to those who are close to me, or to those who are special to me. Isn't a genuine wish from the heart more meaningful than a coffee cup that took exactly two seconds to pick?

Separate incidents, all highlighting just how pathetic the service in this country has come to. In chronological order:


Last week, Wednesday to be precise, I ordered a Mexican Veggie Pizza from Domino's to keep me company while I watched One Tree Hill reruns, along with bread sticks. The pizza that was delivered to me? Mexican Chicken Pizza. Tired as I was, I called to complain. After being kept on hold for a good 8 minutes or so, I'm told that "they are very sorry, but next time, I should take down the name of the person who took the order so that they can follow it up, investigate it and take appropriate action". I (not so politely) informed them that taking down names was not my job, though taking down correct orders was part of theirs. The only offer from Domino's was to send the correct pizza that night, which I refused. After much humming and hawing, the manager says that while it isn't their policy to give remedial action on another day, they shall make my case an 'exception', and I can have my Mexican Veg pizza on another day. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

*****************

The next day, I decided to help out a friend by getting his prescription filled at a pharmacy. But after visiting almost every pharmacy in Colombo only to be told "out of stock", I had pretty much given up hope. Then I happened to wander into the Laugs supermarket opposite D.S. And voila - they had the cough syrup I was desperately looking for! Overjoyed, I was about to pay them when I noticed the expiry date - September 2008. Angry and aghast that they would actually sell medicine that was expired, I pointed it out to the sales clerk that she had given me expired medicine.


She said "Anh, it is expired! (took another bottle) So is this! They are all expired! (looks at me) I'm sorry, we don't have fresh stock."


My fast disappearing lunch hour, along with the rain clouds, compelled me to leave without creating a scene. Honestly - a pharmacy in a leading supermarket in Colombo, selling expired medicine. I'm just glad I had the presence of mind to check.

*****************

Later that week, I visit Barista's down Horton Place with two friends. One of them orders a jumbo hot dog. After taking a bite, she announces that it "tastes funny". My other friend takes a bite, spits it out, and announces that it is past its sell-by date. Knowing my penchant for tantrums, they demand that I remain seated while they sort it out with the manager.


Barista's response to a rotten sausage? "No ma'am, we will replace it with another item if you want, but it isn't bad. Just half cooked." Seriously. They said that. And they were quite unapologetic about it. Half cooked sausages?!?! I'm no meat eater, but there has got to be something wrong with that picture!

*****************

The latest incident? A friend walks into Keells, and buys a pack of cigarettes for Rs.320/=. Since he gave the cashier a 500 rupee note, the cashier decided to be a moron by whining to him "Aneeey, do you have change?". A reply in the negative had her rummage through the cash register, only turn around and tell him "Aneeeey, give me change, will you". His ensuing lecture (read tantrum) on customer service, having spare change et al was put to an end only by the intervention of the manager, who pulled the required change out of his own pocket.

*****************

Wrong orders, expired medicine, half cooked sausages and whiny sales girls. This is what our leading stores have to offer us.

My advice? Look at every item twice before you buy it, and be very, very careful about what you put in your mouth. Oh yeah, and always throw tantrums.

A very interesting article off Cosmopolitan, which I've shamelessly cut, cropped, edited and pasted, because I think there is a lot of truth in it. It was actually written from the perspective of analyzing a man, but I feel that it is equally applicable to a woman.


A person might fall in love, which requires the capacity to idealize. That means thinking and feeling like his/her partner and the relationship are uniquely special, enabling him/her to ignore imperfections (in the other as well as the relationship). This in turn, makes him/her feel valued and special.

Loving, on the other hand, involves connecting with the other person, understanding her/him, and wanting to be with her/him for who s/he is, not who you’d like her/him to be.

While it might be difficult to decipher the difference between the two, one clue is the test of time. Falling in love happens early on in a relationship, when a couple barely knows each other. Once they become more intimate and learn more about each other’s positive and negative traits and the initial love buzz is gone, the problems and fights will start for those who only fell in love. And the inability of either parties (or both) to make a commitment to each other should be a sure sign of a couple who fell in love, without loving.

Another major telltale sign of real love is selflessness and the ability to care. Relationships are all about give and take, but love is more about giving. An inability to make sacrifices and an inability to put his/hers wants and needs before yours is a sure sign of someone who has fallen in love, minus the loving.

Flowers, teddy bears and candy hearts are all about falling in love. I'll take the real thing over candy floss romance any day.

Last night I dreamt of being eaten by a leopard. No, I did not survive the attack (I think). Now, believe me when I tell you this, once you've dreamt of being eaten by a leopard, the fact that leopards don't hunt during the day, or don't hunt humans, or are rare, or aren't found in Sri Lanka is immaterial. It is a big, fearsome animal, and being eaten by it, even in a nightmare, is SCARY. It chills you to the bone, and that feeling stays with you for quite a long time (and since I'm writing this at 3 p.m., I can say that the feeling remains for the better part of the day).

A friend comments that "your writing suggests that you are dying", which I assume is a partial interpretation of the dream. I'm guessing here, because he hasn't offered a detailed theory, and I'm a bit too freaked to analyse my own dream right now. Perhaps I should ask the Sandwich for help here, since I hear this is within her area of expertise.

Anyways. I consider this to be a lousy way to start the weekend. Attempts to remedy it so far have included a healthy dose of cheese cake (whose remedial powers, I'm afraid to say, is largely temporary except on my belly), planning to spend time with others (except that they are spending time other others), working (except I have no work), blogging (would've worked if I wasn't reliving it again)... I think I'll go try shopping now (except that I have no money).

And for the record, my writing does not suggest that I am dying. What it does suggest, is that part of me is already dead.

I don't think I'll be missed when I'm gone.

Well, technically speaking, I will be. For a week or so by some, for a month or so by others. But even in that week or month, it will not be a sad, throbbing loss. It will be a fleeting emotion, a sense of loss that will come up only when they miss the end for which I am the means. A means that can, and will, be easily replaced.

The clock in the hall will not have a sad sort of clanging. Lives go on, and people will move on (rapidly at that). And I will wonder if I actually made a difference to anyone, or meant anything at all. Didn't I leave an impression; didn't I mean anything; is the void that I create so easily filled?

Time-pass, as Indians would say. That is what I am. An entertaining movie, easily replaced by another.

All the world's a stage...it's time I looked for another theatre, another time slot where I'll entertain another audience, until it's time for the next change.

The problem with having Cassandra's gift is that you also inherit her curse.

I keep foreseeing the future, but no one believes (or listens) to what I have to say (including myself). When my predictions come true, all I can do is either console my friends or console myself. Not a nice place to be in, and the foresight is completely wasted.

Why is it that we drive into that brick wall, knowing full well that it's there? Knowing that a crash could only end in disaster? Why are we too arrogant, too proud and too stubborn to turn around, knowing that anything else would be a catastrophe?

Cassandra, your gift is a hard one. I hope Apollo doesn't bless anymore of us with it, because your curse is too painful to bear.

When love awakens your heart, it expands,
Straining to capture, to experience the myriads of emotions
that fill it and invade it,
overwhelming and overpowering it
When unrequited... anguish, despair, longing, love and desire
Clash and collide
filling your senses with excruciating but sweet agony.
All at once you are more alive, more awake.
Sensitive to every sight, every sound,
Every blur of colour
every wave of emotion,
Every strain of thought
Crashing, bursting, turmoil and tempest
And in spite of the fury of emotion battling against will and sense
You secretly delight
Delight in the overwhelmingly painful but exhilarating, vivifying experience
Of being in love and being alive

- By RDM

In a world in which kissing ass and yes ma'aming are hallmarks of a valuable employee as opposed to hard work. A world in which it is more important to look good than be good. A world in which every second decision I make has to guided by bank balance and not by my needs. A world in which selfishness is actually a virtue. A world in which it is a crime to wear your heart on your sleeve. A world in which it is better to be fake and move up instead of being real and thus having to stay at the bottom. A world in which platinum circles not only exist, but are also encouraged and molded. A world in which being a dumb blond entitles you to have the world fall at your feet. A world in which friends are as fickle as the weather. A world in which flowers, stuffed toys and candy hearts are signs of genuine love as opposed to real feelings. A world in which some people always have to pay, and other always get to reap. A world in which a flutter of an eyelid means more than a bleeding heart. A world in which success is measured by the car you drive and your bank balance. A world in which doing right is always wrong. A world in which, if you're pretty enough, you can get away with murder. A world in which, if you're pretty enough, someone else will commit murder on your behalf. A world in which being a strong woman is a personality defect. A world in which a man who cries is an abnormality. A world in which youth becomes an excuse for everything. A world in which thinking is not encouraged. A world in which backstabbing is par for the course. A world in which a pretty girl can have anything and anyone she wants, even if her heart has been replaced with stone, and her head with a golf course. A world in which being part of the herd is preferable to individualism.

In a world in which my greatest fault is being myself.

I don't need to be anything other
Than a prison guard's son
I don't need to be anything other
Than a specialist's son
I don't have to be anyone other
Than the birth of two souls in one
Part of where I'm going, is knowing where I'm coming from

I don't want to be
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me

I'm surrounded by liars everywhere I turn
I'm surrounded by imposters everywhere I turn
I'm surrounded by identity crisis everywhere I turn
Am I the only one who noticed?
I can't be the only one who's learned!

I don't want to be
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me

Can I have everyone's attention please?
If you're not like this and that, you're gonna have to leave
I came from the mountain
The crust of creation
My whole situation-made from clay to stone
And now I'm telling everybody

I don't want to be
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me

- Gavin DeGraw

Then there are those who seek me out only when they need help. I'm sure I've ranted about this before, but since I'm experiencing deja vu, you'll have to bear with me.

"Friends" seem to gravitate towards me whenever their lives hit the doldrums. Last night I played Agony Aunt to one distressed friend (who called me after months to tell me that 'there was no one else he could talk to about his problems'); this morning I found myself consoling yet another. The numbers would just keep piling up if I started counting those from last week.

I notice two things in this pattern. Firstly, I'm not the one who is called when people are looking for a good time, just chilling out, gossiping...you get the drift. I'm the helpline. The go-to person in times of trouble, depression and all things negative.

Secondly (and this is far more annoying), half these people are not available when I need help, a sounding board or just a shoulder to lean on. It is incredibly annoying and extremely hurtful that people I consistently help out, or at least make time for, hardly ever reciprocate.

I know, I know. When we do good unto others, it should be without any expectations. And it isn't...it's just that I'm also human, and when I'm let down by people when I need them, all this just hits you in the face (and not for the first time)...I never seem to learn.

I passed. In spite of all the drama, alcohol, tears, stress, office, money worries... in short, the roller coaster life I lead. Can't say that I passed well, but looking at everyone else, I guess you could say that it's ok. At least I have the relief of knowing that I didn't waste a year, or a hell of a lot of money for nothing.

Unfortunately, I'm not happy. It's rather disappointing to think that I was actually expected to fail. People have an uncanny knack of ruining everything. Anyways. Hopefully, the joy will kick in again in a couple of days.

This might also be a good time to thank all my friends who helped me through it - the one who bought the books for me all the way from England, the one who chose to forgo his own pleasure by forcing me to study, the one who kept reminding me of what my priorities should be, the one who kept encouraging me despite my incessant whining, the one who bought me food when I was happy to starve myself and the three who were just there for me.

Thank you all. There is no way I would've passed without all of you.

"I am HIV positive" read the band on my colleague's table, a relic from a previous ad campaign intended to raise awareness of HIV. I had never taken particular notice of it, and I doubt that even she had. Until a hot-shot senior executive was recruited, and for some reason has ended up sharing our room. He saw the band, and asked her, in all earnest, what it meant. She told him it meant that she was "HIV positive". He stepped back a good 5 feet or so, and declared that he should stay away from her.

The two of us were shocked - not only from his obvious ignorance and blatant discrimination, but also by his tactlessness (what if she had been positive?). While she did the goldfish thing with her mouth, I explained to him that HIV was not an airborne disease, and he wouldn't contract it just by being around someone who was HIV positive. His answer was that "you never know" and "must be careful". At this point my colleague found her voice and quickly stepped into explain matters to him, when she saw the steam coming out of my ears - not that it helped clarify things to him. Grrrrrrrrrr!

Sometime later in the day, I found myself alone with the two of them again, where we patiently explained that though she wasn't HIV positive, his reaction highlighted his ignorance about the illness, and also showed a lot of prejudice. He was completely unmoved, and maintained that his attitude was the safest. Due to the risk of being put away for murder, I declined to argue further, though I made sure he knew exactly what I thought of him.

These are the people who form the so-called "Colombo Crowd"; the know-all and be-all of society, going to all the right schools, hanging out with all the right people, drinking at all the posh places...if this is the level of ignorance manifest in them, I have no hope for the rest of the island.

Loved everything about Japan. The sushi and the kamaboko. The paperdolls and the parks and the fireworks. But most of all, I loved the cartoons and the tv shows that made my childhood special. In the mangas and the animes, I found the friends that I never had at school (or anywhere ele). Plenty of losers I could relate to, who still managed to have cartoons revolve around them. And with all that magic, mystery, mayhem, aliens and saving the world every evening, I found hope, dreams and a goal. Worlds in which I wanted to live. worlds I thought would actually materialise if I wished for them hard enough. They taught me to dream and imagine as nothing else could. Maybe that's why I still go there. To keep the hopes and the dreams still alive.

In honour of that, in random order, here are the anime, movies and shows that defined me, added colour to my childhood...and are simply the best ever!

1. Lupin : A trio of thieves, a dedicated cop and the sexiest woman in anime. The storyline was simple enough I suppose: three thieves out to get anything they could lay their hands on, the cop who's ultimate mission is to catch them, and the woman who played everyone against each other. But the comedy, the action, the antics were all to die for! Completely over the tope, you just can't get enough of it! Of course, the content was meant for a teenage to adult audience, so I have no clue why a 5 year old me was watching this (perhaps it explains why I'm the way I am!). Anyways, still love Lupin, still watch it, and definitely a must see.


2. Doraemon: Every kid's dream. A big blue robotic cat from the 22nd Century lands in '80s Tokyo to help a 10 year old loser better his prospects in life, in hopes that his descendants will then have better lives. His tools? A magical pocket with torches that helps you change size, a door that takes you anywhere, caps that make you invisible, a phonebox that grants your wishes...the ensuing mayhem includes (but not limited to) aliens, robots, demons, dragons, time warps...you haven't lived till you watch a Doraemon.

3. Asarichan: Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but one of my favourites, for obvious reasons. A rather unlucky, not-so-bright girl, always bullied by her perfect elder sister, forever berated by her parents and not a friend in the world. No wonder I loved it! Pathetic in every sense, Asari still managed to be the heroine, and lived to fight another day. She was my hero!


4. Urusei Yatsura: More unusually sexual cartoons for 5 - 8 year old to be watching A story about how an ultra sexy alien girl gets engaged by accident to the most lecherous loser on the planet. The whole town is touched by craziness from that point onwards, with walking, talking ghosts, aliens dropping into earth on almost a weekly basis, teenagers with their own personal armies...very light-hearted, very bizarre, it put a smile on my face every time.


5. Sukeban Deka: More signs that my parents were on some strange type of drug to have let their kids watch this. This one was a TV series (again, quite bizarre), about a delinquent teenage girl who is then roped into doing undercover work for the cops. '80s melodrama notwithstanding, I was addicted to all 3 seasons (and the movie). Perhaps here is where all the kick-ass attitude came from.

6. Touch: Baseball and a love triangle. With my hero dropping dead in the first season, I cannot fathom what compelled me to keep watching Touch (and the ensuing movies a good 3000 times). But it was addictive in its own way...and so true to life. Right guy dies, which sort of turned out well for him because the girl fell for the wrong guy, who then had to emerge from the right guy's shadow. Sounds convoluted? It has to be watched to be believed!

7. Dirty Pair: Sukeban Deka meets Urusei Yatsura. More aliens, more girl power (two girls), more disaster. And lots of fun. Again, lots of skin show and I must wonder where my parents were when I watched all this. At least this serves to explain the length of my skirts nowadays. One more show that proved to me that girls can do anything a guy can.


8. Creamy Mami: Quite unlike everything else here, this was a really girlie series. Still, it caught my fancy - alien pets (those Japs sure loved their aliens!) and a magic wand that transformed an ordinary girl into a 16 year old singing sensation. With the guy of your dreams running circles around you to boot! It was the stuff dreams were made of.


9. Laputa: Not a anime series, but a Hayao Miyazaki movie, I fell in love with it the moment I watched it. I still watch it at least once a month. There is just so much magic and hope in it. Flying airships, pirates, castles floating in the air, mysterious crystals...and how any ordinary person can become special. Everytime I watch it, I find something new in it.

10. Ginga Tetsudo 999: Rather morbid this story was, so clearly, I was a disturbed child from a rather young age. Like almost all the stories here, this one too has a fair share of aliens; in fact, this takes place almost exclusively out of earth, in a futuristic space train that makes stops in various planets. A street kid wants a robotic body, he finds a mysterious woman who'll take him to the planet where he can find it, and till the series ends, I travelled with them from planet to planet, where they usually managed to escape horrific monsters or evil rulers by the skin of their teeth.

How old do you need to be to know the difference between right and wrong? 8? 18? 28? How can anyone take all the wrong turns and then hide behind the label of being 'too young'; of being a 'kid'? 16 year old boys used to go to war. 16 year old girls used to raise families. Lots of them still do. So don't come and tell me that 22 is young, or that at 22 you're still a kid.

You play adult games and make adult choices. That makes you a goddamn adult. You can't suddenly do a U-turn and say 'oops, sorry 'bout that, I'm going to go back to being a kid, so you'll just have to deal with the whole sorry mess on your own'. If you play with fire, you're going to get burnt (and the way you played with it, it's a wonder that the house didn't burn down with everyone still inside). High time you dealt with the mess.

All this crap about being 'too young' and being 'just a kid' is just that - crap. Bullshit. It's just a New Age way of not dealing with the mess you yourself created. A guilt-free way to be supremely selfish.

Grow up, the whole lot of you. And kindly deal with the mess you created.

Last Thursday found me making a dash for my cousin's wedding at the Hilton. Poruwa at 6 p.m. meant that I was in no way going to make it on time, but I dutifully told my mother that I'd be there by 6.30 or 6.45 p.m. I was outside Hilton by 6.45p.m., and happily drove into the car park. Only to be told that I had to drive through to the other side since the function was at the Ballroom. No probs, think I. I soon find myself outside the Ballroom entrance, only to be told that the parking is full, and I must therefore park in the main parking.


So I do a full circle and find myself outside the Hilton main entrance, once again. This time, before I make it into the parking lot, a valet/bellboy/some such person tells me "Ballroom parking other side". To which I replied "Ballroom parking full. Can you valet park this please?". And then I proceeded to lose my temper when they very rudely informed me that they do not valet park at this hour (what, the drivers turn into mice by 7??), and that even if they did, the hotel doors are closed and therefore I cannot enter the hotel. Then the moron simply walked away.


After I sat on the horn for several minutes, another valet/bellboy/some such person comes along and repeats the same lines. So I asked them what to do, and they tell me go park at the Sports Centre, and cross the road, walk, and enter the Ballroom. WTF??!! This is a wedding, for which the couple is paying good money. With all the money they charge, surely Hilton can organise themselves better?


I was saved from exploding on the spot by pure chance, when my uncle's driver who happened to be loitering around came running to my service by driving me to the correct entrance and then parking my car heaven-knows-where. I wonder how many guests were crossing the road after the wedding, looking for their vehicles.


I suppose they're called five-star hotels because we end up seeing seeing stars there (and not just for the bills).

Hey, man I'm alive
I'm takin' each day and night at a time
I'm feelin' like a Monday but someday I'll be Saturday night

Hey, my name is Jim, where did I go wrong
My life's a bargain basement, all the good shit's gone
I just can't hold a job, where do I belong
I'm sleeping in my car, my dreams move on

My name is Billy Jean, my love was bought and sold
I'm only sixteen, I feel a hundred years old
My foster daddy went, took my innocence away
The street life aint much better, but at least I get paid

And Tuesday just might go my way
It can't get worse than yesterday
Thursdays, Fridays ain't been kind
But somehow I'll survive

Hey man I'm alive I'm takin' each day and night at a time
Yeah I'm down, but I know I'll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man gotta live my life
Like I ain't got nothin' but this roll of the dice
I'm feelin' like a Monday, but someday I'll be Saturday night

Now I can't say my name, and tell you where I am
I want to roll myself away, don't know if I can
I wish that I could be in some other time and place
With someone else''s soul, someone elses face

Oh, Tuesday just might go my way
It can't get worse than yesterday
Thursdays, Fridays ain't been kind
But somehow I'll survive
Hey, man I'm alive I'm takin' each day and night at a time
Yeah I'm down, but I know I'll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man gotta live my life
I'm gonna pick up all the pieces and what's left of my pride
I'm feelin' like a Monday, but someday I'll be Saturday night

Saturday night
Here we go
Some day I'll be Saturday night
I'll be back on my feet, I'll be doin' alright
It may not be tomorrow baby, that's OK
I ain't goin' down, gonna find a way, hey hey hey

Hey man I'm alive I'm takin' each day and night at a time
Yeah, I'm down, but I know I'll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man, gotta live my life
Like I ain't got nothin' but this roll of the dice
I'm feelin' like a Monday, but someday I'll be Saturday night
I'm feelin' like a Monday, but someday I'll be Saturday night

- Bon Jovi (Cross Road)

Carpe Diem, they say. I'd sure like to carpe the diem. Carpe it till it's blue in the face and then we won't have any more days left to deal with. Wouldn't it then finally be an ideal world?

There are no white picket fences. There is no such thing as making it on your own. Love does not ever last. People don't send you flowers, only memos. Doing right eternally ends up going wrong.

Why am I ranting so early in the morning? Because I'm tired of life tripping me up every three weeks. I stopped making choices after the last one, hoping that by doing nothing, I could not go wrong further than I already have. Apparently, that option is not available to me, because if I, god forbid, stood around and waited for life to happen to me, I'm the one who'd go blue in the face. It would be nice if my life stopped spinning, and turned instead. At 28, I'm pretty certain that people are supposed to have a better hold on things. At least if I understood the language in which the script was written, perhaps I'd be getting by a bit better.

Oh look, familiar territory. Misery Isle. Perhaps this isn't depression I'm feeling, but nostalgia. Which would be refreshing, because that means I have depression to look forward to (it should be doing the rounds pretty soon).

Hmmmm...I should start playing Pollyanna's Glad Game. I should be glad to get emails and memos instead of flowers, because if I got flowers, I wouldn't have a vase to put them in, whereas I get to improve my language skills with the former. I should be glad white picket fences don't exist, because if they did, can you imagine the cost of painting it brilliant white all the time? Right going wrong all the time? Should be glad about that too. If right went right all the time, my life would either be perfect, or I'd become a saint; either ways, my life would become so boring that I'd die of boredom. The way it is now, I get to set new records by reaching depths beyond the Mariana Trench. Plus, I'm sure I serve as a source of amusement to somebody out there, and as a bad example to others.

So. Some more right going wrong choices will be served soon, another ride on the roller coaster (aka my life), definitely more blog posts from Misery Isle and another round of the glad game.

Carpe Diem!

I saw Lady Divine's post, inspired by Wackster and Drama Queen which prompted me to write my own version of it.

I remember how lonely my childhood was.

I don't want to hurt anyone.

I want to be successful.

I hate being used.

I wonder whether I’ll ever be loved.

I have tasted fear.

I know that I’ll never give up.

I wish I knew where my life is heading .

I love being pampered.

I won't stop trying to change the world.

I think I have a little bit of Pollyanna in me .

I hope that someone will step off the edge of the earth and through the waterfall.

I can be an A grade bitch.

I enjoy armchair moments.

I truly believe that we can all make a difference.

I will go on helping others.

I try to do the right thing.

I demand that people listen to me when I talk.

I desire knowledge.

I choose my own destiny.

I want:

To be appreciated.

Blame to be placed where it's due.

Everyone to be treated equally.

People to mind their own business.

A day at office where only good things happen.

To feel special.

To be smile and be happy by the little things.

Tulips.

Strawberry ice cream.

An extra hour every day.

To go back to Unawatuna.

To be pampered.

Everyone to be honest.

People to stop shooting the messenger.

A pair of boots.

Lobster.

Longer hair.

A new boss.

To play in the rain.

A massage.

Pretty clothes.

To be able to live my life the way I want to, without having to answer to anybody.

A Screwdriver.

The law of averages to start working soon.

Doraemon.

A hug.

On my AE's wall, it says that if you swallow a live toad every morning, nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day. So apt. What could possibly be worse than swallowing a live toad?

Good advise moreover, for days like these. Stress, stress and more stress. The harder I try, the harder I fall. It never ceases to amaze me how my banshee of a boss can only find fault with me (even when I've done no wrong), when everyone else gets off scot free. Practically everyone else here screws up. Is there a neon light above my head that helps her gravitate exclusively towards me? I must be the ugliest woman in office, a seemingly safe bet for the most lecherous client ever, but no. He'll do anything that moves. More trouble for me.

And then we have soggy, foggy, marshy miserable wasteland that is also known as my personal life. All I did was be a good friend. Perhaps a slight lapse in judgement, but all things considered, I don't think it was a major one. Sleeping over at a guy's house is not normally something I do, but given the circumstances, I really didn't think it would catapult me into the 'slut' category (especially since no one even thought of touching each other). But apparently, good intentions is not enough to keep you from getting crucified. Funny how similar life & law is: motive is irrelevant. So I was wrong. Like no one else have ever made mistakes, right? At 28, I'm supposed to be perfect, right?

Back to office. Why is it so hard to find five minutes of solitude? Even after complaining aloud (and by aloud I mean really, really loudly) about the number of (unwanted) people in my room, and the noise pollution, they still can't take the hint. To add insult to injury, every topic discussed only manages to raise my blood pressure. I have to walk out of my own room to look for a moment's peace.

Every evening, as I lay in my bed, I hear the frogs croaking. Usually, I'm terrified of them, and keep thinking of calling someone to chase them away. Tonight, I think I'll just put my fear aside and catch a couple of them. That way, the worst thing that could happen tomorrow would happen in the safety of my own home even before I meet the outside world. How bad then could tomorrow possibly get?


Wonderland, in fact, is not as wondrous as it sounds. A nice, innocent girl, whose tragic flaw is that of initial boredom and curiosity finds herself trapped in a strange land. Much like real life. Too much like real life. And if you thought the story actually progressed, you'd be wrong.

Chapter after chapter follows the same sick format - Alice is eternally the wrong size, she is practically chasing an illusion (in the form of a rabbit), she is constantly surrounded by caterpillars and mad hatters and cards (all of whom vie with each other to be the most obnoxious), she is forever lost and it's always the wrong door. Oh yeah, and food and beverages constantly appear to make a bad situation...equally bad.

Life, I am beginning to think, is much like Alice's Wonderland. I'm surrounded by Mad Hatters and Caterpillars, it's always the wrong door, I'm always the wrong size, I'm most definitely lost...and as for the illusion, I've been chasing it practically forever. And the Cheshire Cat? I guess we all have one or two loony friends who helps us out here and there. I'm as lost and confused now at 28 as I was at 21. Same feeling when I was 24. Things really weren't very different in between either. I suppose sooner or later, the nightmare will cease.

Ah well, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Disorientation is loss of the East. Ask any navigator: the east is what you sail by. Lose the east and you lose your bearings, your certainties, your knowledge of what is and what may be, perhaps even your life. Where was that star you followed to the manger? That's right. The east orients. That's the official version. The language says so, and you should never argue with the language.

But let's just suppose. What if the whole deal - orientation, knowing where you are, and so on - what if it's all a scam? What if all of it - home, kinship, the whole enchilada - is just the biggest, most truly global, and centuries-oldest piece of brainwashing? Suppose that it's only when you dare to let go that your real life begins? When you're whirling free of the mother ship, when you cut your ropes, slip your chain, step off the map, go absent without leave, scram, vamoose, whatever: suppose that it's then, and only then, that you're actually free to act! To lead the life nobody tells you how to live, or when, or why. In which nobody orders you to go forth or die for them, or for god, or comes to get you because you broke one of the rules, or because you're one of those people who are, for reasons which unfortunately you can't be given, simply not allowed. Suppose you've got to go through the feeling of being lost, into the chaos and beyond; you've got to accept the loneliness, the wild panic of losing your moorings, the vertiginous terror of the horizon spinning round and round like the edge of a coin tossed in the air.

You won't do it. Most of you won't do it. The world's head laundry is pretty good at washing brains: Don't jump off that cliff don't walk through that door don't step into that waterfall don't take that chance don't step across that line don't ruffle my sensitivities I'm warning you now don't make me mad you're doing it you are making me mad. You won't have a chance you haven't got a prayer you're finished you're history you're less than nothing, you're dead to me, dead to your whole family your nation your race, everything you ought to love more than life and listen to like your master's voice and follow blindly and bow down before and worship and obey; you're dead, you hear me, forget about it, you stupid bastard, I don't even know your name.

But just imagine you did it. You stepped off the edge of the earth, or through the fatal waterfall, and there it was: the magic valley at the end of the universe, the blessed kingdom of the air. Great music everywhere. You breathe the music, in and out, it's your element now. It feels better than "belonging" in your lungs.

- Salman Rushdie (The Ground Beneath Her Feet)

*********************

Why do we let our fear control us? Why do we let it rule our lives? We are all strong. We can all step up to the challenge; rise to the occasion. So why do we rotate round the same spot while the world passes us by? Especially when we know we aren't even happy doing it. Fear. You've lost not because you couldn't do it, but because you didn't try. Your life is out there waiting for you; but instead, you let your fear sit at the steering wheel. Sitting on a couch and looking into the darkness - is that really better than the unknown? Do any of us really want to have to turn around at 44 and live the next 20 years in regret? Fear and regret - are they the only ones who have the license to drive?

This post is going out to a special friend. A friend who, I hope, will step off the edge of the earth and through the waterfall. Into the magic valley.



I'm watching one of my favourite TV shows all over again, and am amazed by how true to life (at least to my life) the show is. In honour of that, and the fact that it's simply a bloody great show, here's a selection of some of its quirky quotes:


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Ally McBeal: When guys are persistent, it's romantic, they make movies about that. If it's a woman, then they cast Glenn Close.

***************
Ally McBeal: Law and love are the same - romantic in concept but the actual practice can give you a yeast infection.

***************
Ally McBeal: I like being a mess. It's who I am.

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Ally McBeal: I've been dumped before, Renee. This isn't pain I'm feeling, it's nostalgia.

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Judge Jennifer "Whipper" Cone: No, I don't think you're nuts, but I don't think that you have both feet on the ground either.
Ally McBeal: You mean some people do?

***************
Renée Radick: Well, don't get me wrong, Ally...
Ally McBeal: Why does everyone say that to me? Do I get everything wrong?
Renée Radick: No, it's just that what I am about to say may sound like an insult, so I want to buffer it.
Ally McBeal: Oh, okay.
Renée Radick: Emotionally, you're an idiot.

***************
Elaine Vassal: A lot of people forget what they're saying in a fit of rage, so I'll be happy to take the minutes.

***************
[Ally's psychiatrist plays a tape of people laughing]
Dr. Tracy Clark: Sometimes when a patient says something so competely naive, I find that my own laughter just isn't enough.

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Ally McBeal: Remember, when you're with me, it's the only time you're not the strangest person in the room. So go ahead, get weird with me.

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Georgia Thomas: Ally, what makes your problems so much bigger than everybody else's?
Ally McBeal: They're mine.

***************
Ally McBeal: We're women. We have a double standard to live up to.

***************
Rabbi Stern: Are you always such a bitchy little thing?
Ally McBeal: Bitchy?
Rabbi Stern: Coming in here, insulting the Talmud, insulting me!
Ally McBeal: What kind of rabbi calls somebody bitchy?
Rabbi Stern: I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Ally McBeal: 'Cause I'm bitchy? God has no love for the bitchy?
Rabbi Stern: Get out.

***************
Ally McBeal: So how has it come to this? We're smart women, we're fairly attractive...
Renée Radick: I'm even hot.

***************
Richard Fish: She told her that you told her about what she told you. I'm in the middle and clueless. I feel like Elaine.

***************
Elaine Vassal: I'm sure she's quite stupid, and in time, gravity will get her.

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John "The Biscuit" Cage: The world is no longer a romantic place. Some of its people still are however, and therein lies the promise. Don't let the world win, Ally McBeal.

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Ally McBeal: Maybe I'm happy and I just don't know it.

***************
Richard Fish: "Problem" is just a bleak word for challenge.

***************
Ally McBeal: Sometimes... there's no point in the truth if the only thing it will do is cause pain.

***************
Ally McBeal: The idea that when people come together, they stay together. I have to take that with me when I'm going to bed at night, Even if I'm going to bed alone.

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Richard Fish: Everybody's alone. It's just easier to take in a relationship.

***************
Richard Fish: Helping others is never more rewarding than when it's in your own self interest.

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Richard Fish: Let me tell you something. I didn't become a lawyer because I like the law; the law sucks. It's boring, but it can also be used as a weapon. You want to bankrupt somebody? Cost him everything he's worked for? Make his wife leave him, even make his kids cry? Yeah, we can do that.

***************
Ally McBeal: Uh, let the record reflect that the deponent is a fat, arrogant, overweight, bald pig.

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Richard Fish: Make enough money, and everything else will follow. Quote me. That's a Fishism.

***************
Elaine Vassal: Oh, forgive my bluntness. It's a device I use to cope.

***************
Ally McBeal: Whenever I get depressed, I raise my hemlines. If things don't change, I am bound to be arrested.

***************
Ally McBeal: Hi! I'm Ally McBeal, homewrecker. Here's my card.
Georgia Thomas: I already have it, thanks.

***************
[on Elaine]
Ling Woo: This woman drips with sarcasm at my personal expense.
Nelle Porter: Ling, one of the disadvantages of having magnetism is that you bring people out, people that otherwise would go unnoticed. The fact that she can be so annoying is really a tribute to you!

***************
Ling Woo: Nelle is like a sister; when she's in pain, I throw up!

***************
John "The Biscuit" Cage: [to Nelle] I'd sooner puke my intestines and snorkel in them than see you naked.

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Ling Woo: I'm rich. I only go into work to wear my outfits!

***************
John "The Biscuit" Cage: I'm not going through an odd phase, I really am odd.

***************
Richard Fish: Objection! Your Honor, this is boring!

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Ally McBeal: Wow... I have a boyfriend.

***************
[Watches Nelle Porter unpin her bun and shake out her long, beautiful blonde hair]
Ally McBeal: It's official: I HATE her!

***************
Ally McBeal: Love isn't always enough.
Larry: Yeah, it is. You go without it long enough and you realize it's everything.

***************
Renée Radick: A penis is not a share toy.

***************
Ally McBeal: Here I am, the victim of my own choices. And I'm just starting.

***************
Georgia Thomas: At the end of the day, life is just this big wall of reality that we all crash into.

***************
Ally McBeal: Maybe I'll share my life with somebody... maybe not. But the truth is, when I think back of my loneliest moments, there was usually somebody sitting there next to me.

***************
Ling Woo: So Jackson Duper, you don't tell a woman your real name?
Jackson Duper: Hey, for all I knew...
Ling Woo: You knew me well enough to go to bed with me.
Jackson Duper: Look...
Ling Woo: Why the alias? You wanted?
Jackson Duper: No.
Ling Woo: Certainly not by me.
Jackson Duper: Excellent. Do I get to talk?
Ling Woo: Fine. Quick, think up something.
Jackson Duper: Look...
Ling Woo: We're back to look.
Jackson Duper: Hey...
Ling Woo: We're back to hey.
Jackson Duper: Ling...
Ling Woo: How do you know my real name? Oh that's right, I *gave* it to you. What an odd thing to do.

***************
John "The Biscuit" Cage: That's the trouble I suppose in coming at people with honesty, some times they counter with it.

***************
Liza Bump: [to Nelle Porter] Do you talk, or do I have to pull a string?

***************
John "The Biscuit" Cage: Love. We all want it. Don't all get it. I remember telling my mother in high school I wanted to wait for the perfect girl. And she replied, "Idiot! Even if you found her, she might be holding out for the perfect man." She also said I wouldn't recognize love unless it bonked me on the head. And I retorted, "Well, why don't you come along with me, mom, and if you see love, you hit me on the head so I'll know." It was difficult as a young man taking my mother on dates. And then, one night, not a date night, but just one evening, I turned to my mom and, as i looked into her eyes, I could see... she was dead. She'd passed on quietly from an aneurysm, right there at the table. All she said was, "Ip." Sitting in a chair: a quiet little "Ip". It was her request to have her last words put on her tombstone. And I see people at the cemetery snickering when they read: "Joanna Cage. Beloved Mother. Ip." I miss my mother. Even though she's not here... I know she's still with me, smiling down on me... hoping I'll find love.

***************
Renée Radick: Snow White. Cinderella. All about gettin' a guy. Being saved by the guy. Today it's the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas. All about gettin' a guy.
Ally McBeal: So basically we're screwed up because of...
Renée Radick: Disney.

What a weekend. From midnight Friday to midnight Sunday, 5 people (4 friends plus me) winded up in tears at the state our lives were in. Almost everyone I knew (and was with) got depressed on Saturday; much of the crowd remained depressed throughout Sunday.

Common themes ran through all of us: broken hearts, empty lives, the fear of being alone, the fear of not being good enough, dealing with 'other women' (a psychotic Barbie doll and a slut to be precise), rejection, jealousy, casual sex and the ensuing mess...

All this lead to my first nicotine puff. Well, more than puff. Can't say I'm proud of it, though I have a better understanding now of why people smoke. Why good people suffer - and so many of them at that - will always remain a mystery to me. I'm not sure that any of us managed to resolve any issues, but at least we know that we're not alone. And we know that we should be able to find at least two people somewhere out there who genuinely care that we suffer.

It's amazing what a shoulder can do for you during trying times.

I know that tough times are meant to make you stronger, but I'm sick to death of being made stronger and stronger and stronger. I've come so far, and I'm so close to finally seeing my dream come true. Why is it all being taken away from me? Isn't this the time when the law of averages is supposed to catch up? Can the shit please stop happening?

It's when you're going through tough times that you realise exactly how alone you are in this world. People say family is everything, but that is such a whole heap of bull. On a good day, mine has zero understanding, and at times like this, their empathy and understanding have reached negative figures. Is it really so difficult not to nag, and sympathize instead? Is it really so difficult to comprehend that one's children are different to oneself? I know I can't count on them. I don't want to count on them.

Which leaves me with friends. That I can count on one hand, and still have fingers left. In this situ, not much they can do. Except hold me while I cry. Which seems to be happening far, far too often. Of course, a vast majority of them are hell bent on wearing blinders, while paying no attention to the fact that my life has turned into a bonfire.

So. Friends who are helpless, and a family that could easily drive me insane. One really learns what being alone means at times like this. And what it is like to have to start from scratch, for the nth time in life. I keep telling myself that I'm too old for this shit, but unless I kill myself, I have to deal with it, right? Except that I don't know how to anymore. Everything is going wrong simultaneously, and I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm out of ideas, out of options, and most of all, out of strength. I'm bone weary of having to deal with one crisis after another.

I remember Kipling :

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

I don't know that I have it in me anymore. I don't know that I can hold on anymore with sheer will alone. I remember Kipling again. And I feel ashamed. So thoroughly ashamed of myself. But I've almost given up. There is only so much strength that a person has in them. I've been tested too far, too often.

I give up.

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Be true to your heart, and true to your conscience.

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