How To… Jump Around

There are times when this is a much simpler propositions than others. For most people, there will be occasions when the phrase ‘very tired’ just doesn’t cut it. I endeavour to get a decent amount of sleep, sometimes my body complies after I’ve thoughtfully put it to bed at a respectable hour. But fatigue that has crept its way into my bones. I’m possibly starting to worry people now, pretend I said one rather than me.

The point is (and sometimes I honestly do have one) that when you’re tired you don’t really feel like doing very much. Your greatest desire is to curl up somewhere warm and comfortable with a snuggly blanket and a book you can pretend to read while you slip into glorious slumber. And then some manic pixie insists on ruining your cuddly fantasy by popping up and spouting various buzz words about endorphins and active movement.

I dislike this aggressively cheerful camp leader as much as the next person but they may actually have something going for them. If you can somehow drag yourself upright and into an activity resembling exercise you may actually feel better. Or you’ll just sleep more easily once you’ve given into the tide of dreams. Either way, let’s get moving.

Running is out, you’d have to leave the house for that sort of nonsense and it’s really pretty cold outside. Sure, there’s some defunct exercise machine in the corner of your living space but dragging it out of exile would be exertion in and of itself. Besides, if you’re going to be forced into this sort of thing shouldn’t you try your best to make it some degree of fun? So bounce. Leap like you’re never leapt before like some kind of majestic gazelle. Jump until you forget why you started to do so in the first place and lose yourself in the momentum. But watch out for that doorframe, it looks a bit low.

Jump around – House of Pain


How To… Return to Sender

I was going to do something petty and mildly satisfying. And then I realised that I simply couldn’t be bothered with the whole enterprise and binned it. To be fair, I was hopping on a bandwagon rather than following through on something of my own ingenious devising. Essentially, UKIP sent some racist bilge through my letterbox and I was going to send it back to them. Without a stamp.

Sure, it wasn’t the most dastardly of schemes, it would have brought about mild inconvenience and bother which is hardly in kind with what that non entity has cost me (sure, they can’t take all the blame for Brexit, I’m more than happy for all the guilty conspirators to share in the accusations). But just imagine if I had gone ahead with it. Someone at their party headquarters would have had to schlep to the post office in order to pay the pittance for getting their own crumpled leaflet back. Or not have bothered and forever had to live with not knowing what that mysterious unpaid for envelope contained.

Of course, unwanted propaganda is not the only reason you might have for wanting to return post to the sender. You might be dissatisfied with a recent purchase. Or, like the previous occupants of my house nearly two years on, you may well have forgotten to inform people that you’ve moved. I cannot tell you how tempting it is to open Christmas cards not addressed to you. There’s no return address on them, there’s no way to return to sender.

At the end of the day, the trickiest portion of the whole enterprise is getting to the post office to carry out that oh so necessary sending step. Business hours are just so restrictive when you have business of your own to do (turns out that actually turning up at your own job makes your employers more likely to pay you). My advice is stuff whatever it is down the side of the sofa until memory obliterates its very existence. Or perhaps just employ a courier.

Return to sender – Elvis Presley

How To… Cancel on Me

There’s a stereotype when it comes to introverts. More than one actually but I suppose I probably didn’t mean to end that first sentence where I did. Most of the time I’m relatively shy and retiring – perfectly acceptable behaviour for a modern demure lady. However, there are occasions where I can be surprisingly loud and even a little brash. I’ve forgotten why on earth I initially thought that my ability to walk the line between total and sometimes introvert was relevant to the overall nature of the piece.

Right, stereotypes. When introverts have plans cancelled on them at the last minute, they are overcome with relief. Now the evening is totally unencumbered in front of them, they can read in isolation without the usual guilt of supposing to socialise with the outside world. This is sometimes true but very definitely not always. There are circumstances where that sort of action can hack a person right off.

For example, if the social engagement was something I was looking forward to, a little sensitivity is going to be needed. Especially if you’re someone I haven’t seen in a while and you suspect I might actually enjoy your company. If you’re simply awful, it probably is for the best we’re not going to meet up.

So, that’s more than enough fannying about for the time being, we need to get down to the nitty gritty business of advice giving. First, if you don’t have a legitimate excuse for cancelling on me then you owe it to the world to come up with something faintly interesting. Give enough notice. If I’ve had to travel somewhere then tip me off before I leave the house. Suggest alternative plans, preferably where you’ll be the one footing the bill. Or just ghost me to the point that I’ll have problems remembering your very existence.

Cancel on me – Bombay Bicycle Club

How To… Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk

Right, the NHS is suffering a massive crisis. Must be Tuesday (or in fact Sunday but you’re detracting from the glibness of my phrasing so I hope you’re happy with yourself). It feels so painfully obvious that the health service is being stretched beyond the limit and has been in such a state for quite some time now. And yet we get fended off with feeble platitudes.

The NHS was given top priority at the last budget or so has been publicly stated. And yet somehow Jeremy Hunt is not only still in charge but has been given additional responsibilities. I don’t work for the NHS and I don’t keep up with the news as much as a savvy adult should so there are far more qualified people than me to comment on the state of the institution in general. But I will kick off and then some if the government starts making actual noises about privatising it.

I’m sure that I kicked this thing off with more of an actual point in mind (but then I went off to write other things including a completely different post. That’s a revealing peek behind the curtain for you). Maybe I was considering that our embattled and embittered staff in the employ of the NHS should trust their guts and head off for greener pastures. Sure, the country in general (that can’t afford to go private) will suffer but there’s only so much you can expect people to put up with before they snap. I mean, I really hope that everyone doesn’t jump ship but you can hardly blame them for wanting to do so.

One day, I’d very much like to reproduce and would be so much happier if there was at least the choice to go to hospital to pop the little one out while drugged out of my tiny mind. And then to return for sorting out all the various cuts and scrapes of childhood. It would be nice if a nasty bout of flu or whatever didn’t have the potential to bankrupt you like it does in certain countries. *Cough* America *Cough*.

How To… Just Like Anyone

There’s a particular TV trope that I really wish had never been pointed out to me because now I see it absolutely everywhere (so naturally, I had to ruin your enjoyment of programming too. Or you could stop right there, but you just have to know, don’t you?). Throw any two women together in a storyline and, depressingly often, it will involve them competing. More often than not (I haven’t done the research, this might not be the case but from my recreational viewing of late it certainly seems so), this rivalry will relate to the attentions of a man.

But I’m going to pluck two entirely random examples out of the air (go ahead and see if you can guess what my partner and I are watching through at the moment. Oh, and spoiler alert for pretty old Star Trek and slightly newer Stranger Things). In one plot, a security officer is kidnapped by a man and taken back to his home planet. The rescue mission goes awry and said character ends up accepting a challenge from the kidnapper’s wife for a fight to the death over the abductor.

And in another, one prepubescent girl comes looking for the boy she likes but is disquieted to see him talking to another girl. That’s literally it. Oh, and she then uses her loosely defined psychic powers to knock the other female character off her skateboard and then runs away. Having just done a modicum of looking up on the internet I can tell you that the majority of the writers for both of these just happened to be men. I know, you’re really shocked.

If I felt like being fair I could point out that men are perfectly capable of competing with one another on the silver screen, many of those instances being for the approval of a lady. But it’s not the default. Female rivalry is a standby and it’s infuriating. Rant over. For now.

Just Like Anyone – Soul Asylum

How To… Go Away Little Girl

As could only have been expected, there’s been a fair bit of commentary in the wake of the Presidents Club expose. Sure, the behaviour was entirely inevitable. A bunch of powerful men had been rounded up, had their inhibitions removed by the way of being plied with alcohol and having watchful eyes on them removed.  They were then presented with a harem of identically dressed hapless examples of quivering female flesh. Everyone knew that gropeage would ensure. They’re only human, why would common decency have occurred to any of the perpetrators?

But something I’ve seen said over and again is that if (and in their heads it seems to be quite a big if) the ladies felt so uncomfortable they could just leave. Of course! It’s so obvious, I can hardly believe that such an idea didn’t present itself to the women in question. Perhaps they didn’t want to cause a fuss or something similarly delicate and feminine. Worry not though, I, as a privileged middle class commentator am here to help.

So, once you’ve decided that batting away predatory hands for the umpteenth time simply isn’t your cup of tea, here is how you get out of that situation. First, resign yourself to the fact that removing yourself from this dangerous environment will mean surrendering any claim on the relatively meagre pay that tempted you in. Now, pretend that you’re in a stealth video game because you’re going to have to dodge past that patrolling enforcement team.

Quickly now, while that one’s banging on the toilet door because someone’s gone over their allotted break time. She can resume her sobbing when she gets home. Dodge around that other besuited bouncer cajoling an adult woman for not smiling enough. Right, so you’re physically out of the building. Of course, you’ve had to leave your own clothes (not the standard issue little black minidress you’re in) and phone inside. But at least you’re away from all those grabby types. Flag down a lift and hope you don’t get assaulted on the way home.

It’s the power imbalance that makes this sort of situation so harmful. It would be better, not acceptable but somewhat closer to it, if the penalties to a woman for turning down sexual advances could be somehow removed. If a woman doesn’t feel like offering up her flesh for the pleasure of some influential man, she definitely shouldn’t have her life, her pay packet, her night or anything else wrecked for doing so. Call me a dreamer.

Go away little girl – Steve Lawrence

How To… Put Your Records On

In days gone by, this would have been a far simpler proposition. But come on, who out there actually has a record player, let alone actual vinyl to play on it? Defunct technologies are slipping out of reality, someone today was amazed that I know what an 8 track is. I have some familiarity with pop culture you know, I’ve even seen how big the old CDs were (spoiler alert: huge).

But perhaps we should drop the tendency to be relentlessly literal about absolutely everything. Records may have dropped out of popularity but the vernacular remains: records, tracks, albums, beats, they all mean largely the same thing if you don’t feel like thinking too much about it. Am I then warming up my best Kirsty Young impression for a half-hearted round of Desert Island discs? Only if you’re prepared to act it out in your head.

Music choices can be a surprisingly difficult thing to share with the world. Headphones have reached a level of ubiquity to the point that no one need know what you’ve been listening to be it a Beethoven concerto, Little Mix or a guilty spot of Coldplay/Nickleback/dross you’d never publicly admit to listening to.

Sharing your tastes with someone else is difficult. When interrogated about my own preferences, I’ll generally try and steer the conversation onto something else. I’m not remotely ashamed of my tastes (First Aid Kit are a current good representation of what I’m into if you’re interested) but I just find it so much easier to discuss books. Or television. Or even current politics, I’m getting surprisingly opinionated on that particular topic.

I suppose when it comes to music, it’s a lot easier just to put the records on. Especially when your conversation partner hasn’t heard of the band you’re currently rhapsodising about. You can bop along together or they’ll clap their hands over their ears in pained horror and you can make a judgement about whether or not you want to hang out with them any more.

Put your records on – Corinne Bailey Rae