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Friday, March 21, 2008

You know when you take a book along to work, in the hope you might find time to read a couple of pages instead of refreshing your inbox a hundredth time? And then people come up to you, and they always do the same thing...they take up a book, randomly open a page (and all the time, your anal-retentive heart is thudding about the spine...are they going to make that white line, which is a scar on the face or back or spine of any book a bibliophile reads, make its appearance? No, no, no, God, no, no, no, no...), and then they look at the front, and then flip to the back, to read the synopsis and blurb (which, again, offends you if you're one of those hard-core psycho booklovers who want to discover the story along with the characters). You try to stop them, of course. I've gone far enough to snatch a book from these Abusers of One's Peace of Mind, saying with a laugh, "no, no, you're not supposed to read the back!" Most AOPMs understand that you are, indeed, a lunatic, and must not be further disturbed. But the more sado-masochistic ones persist with, "how's the book?" Okay, two points.
(1) If you're midway through it, how are you supposed to know?
(2) If it's unbearably horrible, why would you persist with reading it?

Answer you wish you could spit out: "Last time, I checked, s/he was fine; s/he and the other books in my bookshelf were having a bit of an orgy, but now s/he's got those withdrawal symptoms. But s/he does sussuru when I turn over the pages with my fingers."

The second thing, is when people come up to you right after you've attempted suicide/ gone through a break-up/ been fired/ fallen out with one of your friends/ chewed your nails down to their cuticles/ accidentally had a sex change operation/ gone off on a trip thinking about things you could possibly do to attract that particular query and therefore led your readers into losing all sense of what you were saying...all right, let me start again...people come up to you, and learn you've done one of the above. And then, they ask, with that gentle, lowered tone of voice, "what happened?...if you don't mind my asking." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Uhhhhhhhhh... if you need to add that disclaimer, you probably shouldn't be asking. Everyone knows the person they're putting the question to minds. Of course s/he does. Especially when s/he is socially dysfunctional, and likes privacy so much that s/he won't employ a maid because that would add one more person to his or her social circle. (All right, that last one's just me. But I do know people like me.) You sometimes wish people could come right out and say they're curious. Like, "no shit!!!! What happened? Damn, I need to tell everyone we both know, so maybe they can make concerned calls and ask you what happened, so we can all gossip about it later! So, tell me the details, I'm dying of curiosity!" And of all these, the funny thing is they won't believe you if you happen to be fine...which is usually the case, when you think sixty years from now, it won't matter (in the case of the bigger things), or a few days from now (sometimes a few hours from now), your adventures will be great material for politically incorrect jokes. (Case in point: one of my break-ups was put in context by this friend of mine who said - "Shit! You're like Segei Bubka! Remember, he used to break his own record an inch at a time? And each of your relationships lasts just a little longer than the last!" And I still laugh hysterically when I recall that one, and plan to put it in one of the stand-up comedy scripts I will eventually write.) These people want you to do the slow bob of the head, slight shrug, slight pursing of the mouth kind of like you do when you're about to hiccup after one too many glasses of wine, and don't want people to realise you just converted a burp into a hiccup, and say, "yeah, it was hard, but now I'm okay." And then they nod sadly, and do that odd teeth-stuck-against-chin-while-lower-lip-fights-bottom-row-of-teeth-to-get-under-top-row-which-in-turn-is-covered-by-the-fold-of-your-upper-lip thing.

Mental answer you wish you could spit out:
Attempted suicide: "Just checking on the viscosity of blood; my friend and I bet our lives the consistency of blood would in fact be less than water; so it'd be sort of killing two birds with one pun intended, hahaha!"

Break-Up: (Refer Sergei Bubka politically incorrect joke) Expanded version - "oh, it's just part of my research on biological patterns in nature; think Sergei Bubka's record-setting attempts with his pole, and mine with my libido are sort of in tandem."

Fired: "It was all practice for my participation in The Apprentice, once I marry a software engineer based in the USA, get my work permit, finish studying something there, and get selected for the show. I think I should be quite good at getting fired by then."

Fall-out with friend: "I wanted to sleep with her, but turns out her boyfriend is gay and she's not lesbian, so she's a little touchy on the subject" or "I wanted to sleep with him, but turns out I'm a lesbian and he's not, so things are a little compicated."

Accidental Sex Change Operation: "I saw it as a solution to the fall-out with friend problem. was a bit of a confusing time. Not quite sure what I did in there."

Then, there's that other situation. You're standing in office, and someone says something, and you sort of smell a bad joke in the air in response to that. You smell the bad joke because you've been eleven years old, and would have voiced it then, and then wish you hadn't, and two years later, the memory will make you cringe and contribute its little bit to your screwed-up teenage and its complexes. You hope, pray, keep your fingers crossed for people to sniff at it, be repelled and turn away in disgust. But oh no, not so fast...someone, just as it is about to float away, will snatch it and stuff it into his or her mouth and then let the stink loose.


(And no, that is not the name of a petrol pump in Cardiff)


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