Tag Archives: books

15 Struggles of People Who are Pathologically Early for Everything

Hello, lovely reader!  Long time no see!  How have you been?

I recently came across this article on Buzzfeed about how it feels to be perpetually running late.  I have a few friends who belong to this happy clan of tardiness, and I can’t say that I love them any less for their constant cries of “sorry, I thought we were meeting at twelve/my alarm didn’t go off/the dog ate my Oyster card”.  However, on behalf of those of us who are so paranoid that we turn up obscenely early for everything, I would like to submit my own list of thoughts and problems.  Here it is:

1) You must always, always have a bag that’s big enough to contain whichever book you’ve selected to keep you company while you wait for people.

2) Finishing your book (or – horror of horrors – forgetting one altogether) can completely ruin your day.

3) You get so involved in the plot of your book that when other people turn up, you get a bit annoyed with them for interrupting you.

4) You tend to look a bit too eager on first dates.

5) Ditto job interviews.

6) It is ALWAYS left to you to get the party started, because an invitation that says 7pm means 6.45 to you and 9pm to everyone else.

7) By the time everyone else turns up to the party you are at least three drinks ahead, which never bodes well.

8) You are often left to the mercy of the weather.

9) Thoughtless people assume that you have nothing better to do, whereas actually you are very busy but you hate the idea of letting people down.  Consequently…

10) …Arriving somewhere on time rather than early makes you feel like an abject failure.

11) People who usually arrive late think that you secretly judge them.

12) You secretly judge people who always turn up late, and have to hide it from them.

13) You don’t understand how anyone could possibly be so laid back as to not mind being three seconds late for something.

14) You feel like a lone pioneer of good manners in an increasingly disrespectful and inconsiderate world of lateness.

15) You’re aware that there are more important things in life than being obsessively prompt, but you’re buggered if you can break the habit.

The Death Tag

download (10)

Happy Hallowe’en, dear reader!  Have you got enough Haribo in for the trick or treaters?

Flying in the face of my Catholic upbringing (just for a change), it turns out that I quite like Hallowe’en.  It was inevitable, if I’m honest: the combination of dressing up, sweets and silliness is a drama graduate’s DREAM.  I also quite like introspection and morbid scheming, so I have decided to use today’s post as an opportunity to do “the death tag”, which my dear friend Ash alerted me to (and covered in this vlog).

1) How do you want to die?
I suppose most people want to die in their sleep, surrounded by loved ones, when they’re old and ready for death etc.  I would like that, but if I’m completely honest I would prefer a more dramatic departure, like the end of Thelma and Louise or Moulin Rouge.  (It’s the drama graduate thing again.)  What I would like more than anything is to die in a really stupid and/or amusing way, so that my demise would make a good story.  E.g. I want my last words to be “Oh look, a tiger.  Here, kitty kitty!”

2) What will happen to your WordPress?
It will serve as a reference point for my friends when they argue about what I would have said/wanted in a certain situation.  For example: “Vicki would NEVER wear pink shoes.”  “Uh, I refer you to blog #347, where she states in paragraph 12 that she would absolutely love some cerise flip flops.  BOOM.”  (FYI I would absolutely love a pair of cerise flip flops, so that solves that one.)

3) Who will you leave your money to?
If I may answer your question with a question: what the hell is ‘money’?!

Seriously though, if this question is about what you want to happen to your most valuable assets, then the items in question will be my books.   Their combined value is probably hovering somewhere near the 37p mark, but they are my favourite possessions.  They will go to my lovely friend Louise, who is the only person I’ve ever met who is as obsessive about books as I am.  If Louise pre-deceases me (horrendous thought), then I give my brother permission to turn my books into a fort.

4) What will happen to your body?
This Friends clip sums up EXACTLY how I feel about this question.

5) What do you want your funeral to be like?
A day at the seaside.  Probably Brighton.  Rounders on the beach and arcade games on the pier will be compulsory.

6) What will you miss the most that will exist after your death?
Well, I hate to be pernickety, but being dead will sort of preclude me from missing anything at all, won’t it?  But ok, I get the point of the question.  I think that teleporting will probably be a thing one day (my ignorance of the science behind it notwithstanding), and I would hate to miss out on that.  Can you imagine?  “Tuscany’s supposed to be lovely at this time of year.”  “Oh, really?  Shall we go?”  “Why not?  Let me just grab my sunglasses.”  ZAP.  Fantastic.

7) How will you want to be remembered?
This is the big one, isn’t it?  How we are remembered seems much more important than where, when or how gently we go into that good night, I suppose because it’s the factor that we can most easily affect while we’re alive.
I want what we all want: to be thought of with love by people who knew us and respect by people who didn’t.  I want my loved ones to grieve but eventually move on, and I want an obituary that makes me sound like a saint.  I also (slightly less realistically) want the world to say that my death heralds a great loss for the theatrical world.  I want my tombstone to say something heartfelt and meaningful, like a quotation from The IT Crowd.
Most of all I want people to tell anecdotes about the dumbass things I did while I was alive, because Lord knows there are plenty of those.  I want my friends to say things like “oh God, do you remember when Vicki locked herself in the porch?” and laugh about it.  I might not leave much money or fame behind, but I can at least leave a mildly ludicrous legacy.

Have a suitably spooky Friday!

A Bath is Not A Photo Booth

Good morning!  How the devil are you?

It’s been – crikey, a whole week!  Whoops – since I last wrote a blog post.  Sorry about that.  I moved house this week, which has taken up a fair amount of time.  The upshot is that I am writing to you now from the kitchen of my lovely new flat.  Isn’t the garden pretty?  Ignore the boxes of books and saucepans.  I’ll finish unpacking later.

Moving house is incredibly stressful, but it also has a lot of perks.  Here are a few that I’ve experienced over the past few days:

  • Rediscovery – Ash and I packed up our possessions and vacated Bag End almost a month ago.  Getting my stuff back out of storage was quite good fun, because I’d half-forgotten about some of the nice things we have, including an owl cushion called Archimedes:
    005
    Hands down the most important thing I’ve unpacked so far.
  • Wonderland – I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this area of London before, but now that I live here I am finding out all sorts of things about what the area has to offer.  My favourite pub in the entire city is a ten minute walk away, the coffee shops look amazing and there are charity book shops all over the place.  It’s opposite a massive park AND an indoor climbing centre.  Bring on the adventures.
  • Team Work – my lovely, kind and wonderful friends are a very helpful bunch, and moving house has been a lot easier because of them.  It has also been a lot funnier because of them.  Spending time putting furniture together has given us the chance to reminisce, with some surprising stories – “Have I not told you this story before?!” – and a lot of nostalgia.
  • Bizarre Rules – my friends and I have also decided that the first time someone visits my new house, they have to sit in the bathtub (not filled, obviously) and have their photo taken.  That sound weird, doesn’t it?  I know.  I have no defence, except that the bathtub is weirdly small and we all found it hilarious.  I’m not explaining this very well…
  • Bear Grylls Complex – when you’ve only had time to unpack a fraction of your possessions, you have to sort of make do with whatever comes to hand.  It might just be me, but the whole experience makes me feel like a scavenger living on the fringes of society.  For example, when we left Bag End Ash and I threw the kettle away, because it was a bit old and scummy.  I forgot about this when I moved in to the new flat.  I assumed the kettle was hiding in a box somewhere.  I have coffee, sugar, milk and teabags, but no kettle.  If you’ve ever met me, you will know that this is a Very Bad Situation.  We dispatched someone to buy a kettle yesterday afternoon, with no success.  This morning’s coffee has therefore come from water boiled in a saucepan.  I feel so primitive.  I feel like I’ve EARNED my coffee.
  • Building Blocks – last but not least, a new house means a new start.  Distributing your books and belongings around a new space is a very exciting thing to do, and it’s how we build somewhere up from being a house/flat into a home/hobbit hole.  There is, as Dorothy Gale would tell you if she weren’t fictional, no place like home.

Have a glorious Monday.  I’m going to go and buy a kettle.

Moving Mountains (of Books)

l35bfc5500001_1_3377

Hello, dear reader!  How are things?

Just in case I haven’t complained about this loudly or frequently enough yet, I absolutely loathe and detest moving house, mainly because of the packing.  Packing for a holiday is great, and even packing for the Edinburgh Fringe is ok (as long as someone remembers the props), but packing up an entire house is just ridiculous.  Here are some modern moving woes which I think we can all relate to (and some nice bits as well):

  • “Whose is this?”
    It doesn’t matter whether you only live with one other person, or you put your name in all of your books, or you have an excellent memory: there is always at least one household item which has disputed ownership.  For example, I cannot remember for the life of me who owns the cheese grater, and that’s a very serious concern in our house.
  • “No, seriously, whose is this?”
    Ash and I reconciled ourselves a long time ago to the fact that our friends see us as an elderly married couple, despite (or potentially because of) our best efforts to behave like normal girls in their mid twenties.  However, it has resulted in the other ownership issue that arises when you move house: what do you do with presents that were given to you jointly? Is it fair to call dibs on something that you both have an attachment to?  Ash has already said that I can have the beautiful cheese board our friend gave us for Christmas, so that’s ok.  And yes, everything in this household really does come down to cheese.  It would be sort-of funny if it weren’t so very true.
  • Furniture Tetris
    During the last twelve months, Ash and I have both tried to move the furniture in our bedrooms.  I say “tried”, because one of us got stuck between a wardrobe and a bed, and the other got halfway through before realising that it was past midnight and the neighbours might complain.  Trying to move furniture around and have somewhere to keep your clothes, books etc. and clean as you go is like playing four different levels of Tetris at the same flipping time.  I’m genuinely worried about how we’re going to get all of our furniture out of the front door and into the van.
  • Boxing Days
    You can never have enough boxes.  Every time we’ve left the house in the past week, we’ve stopped at our local Asda to ask the lovely produce staff for cardboard boxes that used to house melons and cabbages.  We now have approximately seven crates of books each and no floor space to move around in.  My main regret about this is that we didn’t even make a fort before we filled them.
  • Sweet Charity
    Moving house is a great time to have a bit of a clear out, whether you swap possessions or do a massive charity shop run.  This aspect of moving is characterised by questions like “Do you want these shoes?”  “This belt doesn’t fit me, do you want to take it?” and even “Do you know you look like one of the seven dwarves with that bin bag over your shoulder?” (Answer: yes.  Yes I do.  And I’m ok with it.  Cue singing “Hi ho” all the way down to the Cancer Research shop.)
  • Hostesses with the Mostest
    By the time we have our house cooling party tomorrow night, the flat will basically be empty apart from emergency coffee-making equipment and the magic internet box (which I think proper grown-ups refer to as a modem).  This is going to make hosting a party a bit of a challenge, but with a bit of luck and a lot of plastic cups, I think we’ll be ok.  

Right.  I’m going to go and tackle the kitchen.  Wish me luck, and have an exceedingly joyful Tuesday.

Get Off the Roundabout

Magic_roundabout

Hello, you lovely thing. How’s your Wednesday treating you so far?

Today is a sad day. Today I have decided to give up on a book, which never happens.  The book in questions is Howards End, and I’m having to give up because so far I hate pretty much all of the characters. Also, E.M. Forster’s writing style is incredibly long-winded and patronising. The story might actually be quite interesting, but I wouldn’t know because the narrative is sending me to sleep.

Anyway, giving up on a book made me question my personality, my priorities and the inner workings of my very soul (or perhaps something a little bit less melodramatic). I’m being silly, but the truth is that when we choose to give up on something that we consider a big part of who we are, it does tend to make us stop and think.

A friend of mine who loves cheer leading is having to give it up due to health problems, which is a huge shame. When we are forced by circumstance to give up on something we love, there can be an element of resentment and feeling hard done by.  Is it better, then, to be able to choose to give up?  Is there more dignity in a decision than there is in obligation?

Yes and no.  Making the decision to give up something – a vice, a pastime, an unhealthy relationship – gives us a feeling of control and self-discipline, which can be very good for us.  Having said that, we are only making the decisions now because we know that later on the decision will be taken away from us, and it will become a case of necessity rather than independent action.

The other thing to consider is that you are not defined by the sort of things that you might find yourself giving up, even if it was a potential (or current) career.  I am not defined by the fact that I read a lot, any more than you are defined by your typical Saturday afternoon activities or your preference of hot beverage.

Besides, people change all of the time.  You are not who you were a couple of years ago, and you are not who you will be next week.  You never know what life is going to give you, and if you have to give something else up in order to move forward, so be it.  You might spend years thinking of yourself in one way, and then find that you’ve been going round and round and getting nowhere.  Get off the roundabout and find something new.

Have a stupendously enjoyable Wednesday.  May your lunch be truly worthy of Instagramming.

The Smaug Complex

3545320-7140595685-hobbi

Good morning, dear reader.  How’s your Tuesday so far?

Today I’d like to talk about hoarding.  It’s on my mind because I’m visiting my parents today, where all the childhood things are.  All five of us kids insist that we don’t have that much stuff here, and that we’ve moved most of our possessions into our grown-up homes.  We have not.  We own a lot of tat, and a good chunk of it is being hoarded here.

There are many types of hoarding, and the one that my siblings and I are guilty of is downplayed hoarding: we are actually holding on to all sorts of books, toys and knick knacks accumulated over years of childhood, but we deliberately downplay it to ourselves because throwing our Year 2 exercise books away is harder than we thought it would be.  I don’t know why exactly (Year 2 was not all that, let’s be honest), but it is.

One of my best friends has a garage which she uses for storing all manner of things, including some practical items like furniture that she’s going to put on eBay.  So far so sensible.  Until a couple of months ago, she was also using it to store pretty much every item of clothing she’s owned since she was sixteen, and a veritable avalanche of shoes.  (She also had my A Level Philosophy & Ethics folder and text book in there, which was a pleasant surprise.)

Her hoarding type is cover-all-bases hoarding: you never know when you might need a dress you wore to your Year 11 prom.  I’m being a bit flippant about it, but her hoarding drive comes from a very good place: she likes to be prepared, and being the lovely person that she is, she wouldn’t want to get rid of something that might be of use to someone one day.  Having said that, she and I spent a day clearing out her garage a couple of months ago, and like a hero she willingly sacrificed a lot of her old shoes to the charity shop gods.

Every hoarder is different, and the drive to keep hold of stuff can come from all sorts of areas of our lives.  We might be prone to nostalgia, or be afraid of letting things go.  We might just like having lots of bits and pieces to decorate our homes.  Whatever our reasoning, I think that hoarding can actually be a good thing.  Not in itself necessarily, but because letting go of something when you’re ready can be incredibly cathartic.

Unless of course you’re an angry, thieving dragon who is sitting on a bunch of dwarf gold.  Have a stupendous Tuesday.

Bookworm Woes

Toc9t

Good morning, and welcome to what I hope will be the most marvellous Thursday of your life so far!

Today I would like to talk about a subject very close to my heart: reading.  Specifically, reading in public.  Here are some of the most irritating and troublesome aspects of being a public bookworm:

  • Who are you looking at?  Sometimes when you’ve been reading for a while, you look up from the page to go over a moment in your head or work something out about the storyline.  If you are sitting in public and you look up to make accidental eye contact with a stranger, they tend to look a bit confused.  Unfortunately, it’s not socially acceptable to say “I’m not looking at you, I’m reading.  Go back to your life.”
  • Unnecessary baggage: If you’re about to leave the house and you’ve only got a few pages left in a book, you have to take a spare one with you, don’t you?  It doesn’t really matter where we’re going:  we must always, always have a good chunk of book available to read.  If this means that we sometimes end up taking large handbags to nightclubs, so be it.
  • Anti-social issues: When meeting friends, we tend to arrive a bit early so that we can get some extra reading in.  Woe betide the friend who turns up in the middle of a chapter, and God help the poor soul who arrives expecting conversation from us when we’ve only got two pages of a thriller novel left.
  • What the heck is going on?  This one is especially true if you’re on public transport: reading can be an all-consuming activity, and if you’re not careful you can miss your bus stop without even noticing.  If you’re sitting on a park bench it can start to get dark or rain without you realising, and in some cases it takes physical prodding from a loved one to bring you back to reality.
  • I’m not crazy; I’m a bookworm.  Sometimes you are reading a book that is so surprising and engaging that you genuinely have to react verbally (potentially by swearing), or so funny that you laugh out loud.  Apparently in public situations this kind of behaviour is a little disconcerting for strangers.  Well, strangers, you’ll just have to deal with it.  I’m reading an awesome story over here.

Well, I’m off to finish The Subtle Knife.  Have a glorious day.

 

Couch Caterpillar

Screen-Shot-2013-03-07-at-9.18.51-AM

Hello, dear reader!  How are you doing?  Are you making the most of the sunshine?

I’m not, to be perfectly honest with you.  I’m sitting on my sofa under three blankets, watching Friends and talking to you, you lovely thing.  I’m not ill or upset or anything, I’m just really, really tired.  I’m also a big fan of blankets, because I can wrap myself up in them and pretend to be in a cocoon.  Soon I will emerge as a BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY!  MWAHAHAHA!  Sorry.  Anyway…

The other appealing thing about how I’m spending my morning is that it allows me to be a bit childish in a way that doesn’t affect anyone else.  Obviously when you behave childishly around other people, e.g. having tantrums, that sort of ruins their day.  But being a grown-up is difficult, so sometimes we need to be childish, and it’s best to do it in the safety of our own homes/with people who will humour us.  Here are some excellent ways to do this:

  • Building a fort – most things work for this, including furniture, cardboard boxes, books and on one memorable occasion, handbags.
  • Eating a picnic – are we too old for Babybels?  Probably.  Never mind, they still taste good.
  • Pyjama days – spending the entire day in your favourite pjs just for the hell of it is bizarrely empowering.  It’s your way of saying “screw you, reality!  I shun you in favour of comfortable clothes and bad television!”
  • Playground games – true story: I stayed up ’til 3am the night before my graduation playing Sardines with my friends.  Terrible decision, excellent evening.
  • Dressing up – have you ever been to the theatre section of the V & A Museum?  They have a flipping dressing up box.  It’s amazing.  Go there now.  Go.
  • Arts and crafts – I’m terrible at art, but sometimes making a picture type-thing with glitter and so forth is really, really fun.  You can stick it on the fridge, too.
  • Silly jokes – even though they’re incredibly childish they are also absolutely joyous.  For example, my favourite cheese joke: what did the cheese say when it saw itself in the mirror?  Halloumi!
  • Watching Disney films – that’s just common sense.  Nobody grows out of Disney.

Have a lovely Sunday.