Only God Knows Why


My (at this point, not-so) secret battle
February 20, 2014, 8:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Around about two years ago, I moved home to pursue my dreams of studying a Masters Degree in the field of my dreams.  I would get to help people, and learn exciting new things.  I was pretty stoked.  A blog entry which I began and never finished has only this to say, just two weeks before I decided to move home from Melbourne:

“For the last week or so.  I have been coughing.  I’ve been coughing like I was a ‘cough’ on old McDonald’s farm.  I don’t know how to describe the kind of lung explosions that I have been subjected to, except to say that they were epic.  Not in strength, or auditory delight but just their sheer perseverance.”

I was stoked, I was creative and I was happy.  Except, I was none of those things.  Little did I know, that the next two years would be characterised by something far more serious than just a cough.

At first, I found myself just crying in my lunch breaks at work out of exhaustion, anxiety I couldn’t understand and a feeling that I wasn’t sure where I was going.  By the time I was ready to go home, I was feeling so low that I found it difficult to sleep.  I was so happy to see my Dad at the arrivals gate that I dropped by bags in the glass hallway of no-return, and ran into his arms.
My best friend and house mate, who had been mates with me through countless parties, adventures, home-cooked meals, last minute IT repairs, even admitted, “I think you’ll be better when you go home.”  And I agreed.  Something definitely wasn’t right.  I was generally spirited and cheeky.  I was starting to feel not so great.  Better to go home.

Truthfully, I had been here before.  I suffered what is known as a “Depressive Episode” (ie.  a period of having depression) when I was 17.  Now that I am in mental health, I look back and feel grieved that nobody took me for treatment or intervened properly.  It really does make me very sad, because early intervention can mean that you never go through another episode.  But I didn’t get intervention, and I did go through another episode.

While I don’t even begin to pretend, that even going through this that my life is more terrible than anybody else’s – this is the single most difficult thing I have ever had to cope with.  Going through depression for the last 1.5-2 years has been an absolute nightmare. For someone who hasn’t ever suffered in this way, it can be really difficult to understand.  Try to think back to the worst grief and hopelessness you have ever felt – really the bottom of the pit.  Now imagine, rather than that feeling going away with time – it hangs around.  And it hangs around for no reason.  Add to that, the worst anxiety you can imagine – something like just before taking an exam, or asking out someone really attractive – except there’s nothing around to be anxious about.  You wake up in the morning, already feeling depleted, utter hopeless, deep in grief over nothing, and anxious with the knowledge that something unknown – but terrible, is probably going to happen to you.

I think what other people can forget, is that they only see you occasionally, they don’t see or hear about the burden every day.  But when you’re depressed, it’s a burden that rolls around you mind, hour after hour, day after day, and has the power to ruin anything that you put your hand to – work, relationships, fun, spirituality.  You live every single moment – waking to sleeping, with extreme emotional pain, and indescribable fear.

Depression can manifest in people in different negative “core” beliefs – generally about worth, loveability, or being a failure.  For me, it’s the certainty that nobody really cares about me, even if I was the best person in the world.  I can’t shake it.  Evidence can’t move it.  It’s the never-ending GPS that constantly tells me that no matter how much I achieve, how good I feel about my personal qualities, no matter what I do to work on my relationships – that nobody cares about me, and they are all going to leave me, and I’d better work extremely hard to be absolutely no trouble, so I can keep them around.  Imagine you were going about your day, when occasionally, a good friend of yours would tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t forget – all these people?  They don’t care about you.  They’re going to abandon you one day, and you’ll be all alone. There’s just something fundamentally unloveable about you.”  Except, instead of occasionally, it’s all the time, it’s coming from within and you BELIEVE it.  I feel like I’m on one side of a glass wall, and no matter how hard I wave, the people on the other side won’t notice me or care about while I’m drowning on this side.  Imagine how hopeless and anxious you would feel!  Try to imagine how you would react to others when you don’t take a few seconds to try to be more rational.

There are common misconceptions about depression as well.  Depression, generally speaking, is reactive.  I can feel quite okay in some social circumstances, or even feel happy when I get good news.  But, before long – that feeling gets overwhelmed again by severe, uncontrollable and unexplainable fear and despair.  It’s not always the person you’d expect either – its very common for people with depression to function well, and even seem happy around other people.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because of precisely what I wrote above.  Relationships, as mentioned above, can be a lifeline for those trying to recover from depression.  And don’t lose hope if there is someone around you going through this – recovery is possible.  I know it – I’m on my way there, and I have longer and longer periods lately where I don’t feel this way.  Eventually, I hope this will resolve to the point that I never feel this way again, and I will have completely recovered, never to return.

I’m writing this is the hope that people struggling with this feel less alone, and those around them have a bit more understanding of what it’s like.  For the longest time, I thought I was just being “weak.”  I would blame my ‘flatness’ on certain recent events, or just being tired (which I was, anyway, exhausted.)  I continued to push myself to the point of exhaustion trying to “get over” my bad feelings by socialising, studying, taking up hobbies – whatever I could to try to “fix” the funk I was in.  It was my responsibility to fix it, and if I wasn’t getting better then it was my fault, dammit, for not trying hard enough.

But that didn’t work.  Not only did I feel the anxiety and grief of what I was going through but I felt weak and guilty as well.  Weak that I wasn’t able to fix my mood, even though I was working, studying, volunteering and had a bunch of hobbies, and guilty that I just wasn’t “trying hard enough.”

I felt terrible that I wasn’t able to give enough to others, because all I wanted to do was help other people.  When it became clear I had depression, I felt terrified that people would find out and not trust my judgement any more.  Having depression doesn’t mean I don’t have good judgement, or I’m not intelligent.  It just means I feel sad all the time, for a reason I can’t really pinpoint.  Its terrifying that people might take away what you know is your rationality, by simply discounting your opinion because you have depression.

Relationships can be very difficult for people with depression – I can often feel blamed for feeling flat, guilty because I’m not able to give anything, afraid that I’m a burden to other people… the list goes on.  I try my best to be the best kind of me I can be despite the way I feel, but sometimes it can be really difficult not to ‘give in’ to the negativity.  It can be really hard for those around you to care for you and be there for you when you consistently just feel stuck in your problems.  It can look selfish, pitiful, embarrassing or lazy.  And even if you’re not giving off these vibes around someone who is depressed, it can be easy for people with depression to misconstrue things in a negative way.  Remember the example above?  If you truly believed you were not of worth to others, try to imagine how you would feel others thought about you.

But trust me – nobody.  nobody.  would choose to be depressed.  I would give all my worldly goods and 50 years off my life if I knew with certainty it would go away tomorrow.  If someone is consistently low, or tells you what they’re going through – try to remember that they don’t want to feel that way either.  They wish they didn’t just as much (more!) than you do.  They feel trapped and hopeless and worthless.  They want to get better, its just not always easy.  What they need is to hear you care, to have you stick around and to not feel like a nuisance when they’re low.  Because as much as it can feel annoying when someone’s low all the time – try to remember – they’re low all the time. Life’s a struggle – but they haven’t given up.  If they’re socializing, working or getting out of bed – they’re either having a good stretch or they are fighting back against the beast with all their might.

I dont know why I got depression – given the nature of my symptoms, and the history in my family, its strongly genetic.  There’s also life factors – trauma, bullying, financial difficulties, health issues.  But I do know this – there is hope for everyone going through this.  I am getting better, and if I can do it – you can too.  I may wake up tomorrow and find that one of my physical health issues has been causing this – and a medical intervention will help.  Or, I may find, that I take a slower way out – with ups and downs (as I already am) through therapy, trying to correct my beliefs about myself and others, and finding a medication to iron out my biological flaws.  There is a way out, and you will find it.  I know it, because I’m on my way.

My main take home message to those who suffer from depression, and those who are around those with depression is this: They (You) didn’t choose this. It could just as easily have happened to you (them). They (You) will get better. They (You) are trying their best to fight back – trust me, nobody wants this for themselves – and they need as much support as you can give.

Battling against depression for 2 years has been the biggest nightmare I have ever, ever known.  And that gives me a strength of character I didn’t have before – to know that despite all appearances to the contrary, I have worked my ass off to kick this, and I can do it.  And you can, too.

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Corporate Restructuring

As  a kindergarten teacher, I’m frequently asked to make the professional personal:  How would you like YOUR own child to develop, what would you hope that your own child would learn at kindergarten, how would you protect these children from danger if they were your own.

 

“So….what you’re saying is…DON’T use real lava in the paper mache volcano?”

So lately I’ve been daydreaming a lot (not while watching the kids, I swear!) about how I would treat the personal if it were professional.  Basically, how would I restructure my life is it were a company.

Firstly, I’d severely reprimand the CEO for mismanagement of funds and strip her of her responsibilities as CFO.  These responsibilities would be handed over to someone who had several vicious Alsatians and an aversion to someone singing ‘Come on Eileen’ as a negotiation tactic.

 

I usually stop if they’re not convinced by the kickline, but sometimes I’ve gotten so into it I’ve forgotten why I started.

 

The CEO would also be reprimanded for seeing this as a valid negotiation tactic.

You spent HOW MUCH on novelty hair ties?

 

So while upper management is receiving strict retraining (not dissimilar to Cesar Milan’s click dog training)

Okay, okay!  I promise no more using my credit card while intoxicated, just take off the leash!

 

Long suffering middle management would receive bonuses and a retroactive pay increase for years of supporting what can only be described as the CEOs ‘schemes’ and emotional outbursts.

 

 

The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to save money by not replacing the car where you have to get in and out by climbing through the boot.

 

Some sort of holiday benefits or ADO would have to be implemented.  Overtime would be disallowed.

IT in particular would be rewarded for going over and above by teaching the CEO to use microwaves, stoves, VCRs, DVD players and taking the blame for upper management’s user errors.

They would also be allowed to retire after being kept on forced tenure for many years.

I would write a witty related caption here, but since I let IT go, I really don’t get this.

 

 

The position of Managing Director would remain vacant until someone with the skill equal to or greater than middle management was found.  To this end,
HR would be rewarded for it’s excellent middle management hiring practices and savagely rebuked for frequently contravening company policy in hiring new Managing Directors.

“I don’t CARE if he says Catch 22 is one of his favourite books too, he is not suitable.”

 

A slap dash morally ambiguous marketing team would be called in to reinvent the company’s image and enact a big coverup campaign of the CEOs past mistakes the likes of which could have gotten Watergate to blow over.

“Okay, so, hear me out on this one:  how about a ‘Scamper’ speech?’

 

 

Waste management would be left alone to do their thing, because nobody should mess with that shit.

Internet department would also be left as is, given that the internet is being used frequently and therefore I can only guess that they are doing their job.

Relocation close to one of the parent companies would be considered for the purposes of resource sharing, and the company would be asked to permanently select one country as a home base for it’s operations.

The Panda Acquisition Scheme team would be immediately disbanded.



Staying in Tokyo
March 16, 2011, 5:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hi Everybody,

 I dont usually use this blog to get information out to people I actually know, but I thought that I would just write a quick post to try and calm some of the fears that my decision to stay in Tokyo for the time being has created. 

I have decided to stay in Tokyo because this is the place that I feel the most comfortable, psychologically speaking, and given the initial terror, drawn out fear and indescribable sadness for those in North, that is something that is a great drawcard for me.  I have made a lot of friends here, and if I were to evacuated, given that I have no family in the country, I would most likely be by myself, a state that I have never really warmed too.  Considering I also have the new nuance of being terrified of being on the train (who knew I could get MORE highly strung) staying where I am is very favourable to me right now.

The following is an email from my brother, a Physics PHD candidate, that should help dispel some of the fear around me staying in Tokyo.

“As I understand it, the troubled power plants are quite some distance to the north of Tokyo (a hundred km or more) (ED: They are around 250kms away) , you shouldn’t be within range of any ‘direct’ exposure, even if the containment systems fail.

The only way you are going to get exposed to significant radiation is if 2 things occur together.

(1) The containment systems fail at the plant (IE. a full meltdown)
(2) The prevailing winds are blowing toward Tokyo and carry some light radioactive particles in that direction (The winds in the region are primarily westerlies at this time of year, carrying the particles out into the pacific, but sometimes there are othres which would blow particles toward Tokyo.

If these 2 things do occur, yes, being inside will make a substantial difference, because what you are trying to do is avoid the small radioactive particles from passing into your body (ie, inhaling them, getting them on your skin, eating them etc). So what you would want to achieve is to get inside and seal yourself off from the outside as much as possible (turn off air conditioning if you can as well as that often draws in outside air).

These are all big “If’s” right now, its not even clear if a full meltdown or a breach is going to occur. These are just things to keep in mind if the situation deteriorates further towards a worst case scenario.

As of right now, you will not have been exposed to any significant radiation, and the risk that you will be is very low. I read that story about ‘increased radiation’ in Tokyo. Yes, there was an increase over the normal amount by about 10 fold, but even at the highest it was still only 1/20 of the radiation you would get from a single X-ray. To put it in perspective, you would have got a far higher dose of radiation on the flight to Japan than you did from the hour or so when the radiation levels in Tokyo were raised. (Being at higher altitude exposes you to significantly more radiation from cosmic rays, long distance flights is how most average people get their highest radiation doses).

The media makes such a mess of this because they report every little thing that happens without putting it in perspective, making hard to figure out what stories are meaningful and which aren’t. 

A Nuclear Meltdown is a very serious event, but the distance from the plant, and your location relative to what are usually the prevailing weather conditions means that even in the worst case scenario the risk to you is very low.

You shouldn’t be too worried. Be alert, not alarmed, as Mr Howard would say (Ha!).

I am following the stories fairly closely, I’d let you know if I truly felt that you should get out of there. Is there still plenty of basic commodities (food, water etc) on the shelves in Tokyo?

 
My personal opinion is that if you are still comfortable to stay there, you should stay. You may get the opportunity to help a country in its darkest period, and from an existential perspective, this is a once in a lifetime event that you will experience directly. If the plants do in fact go into a full meltdown, you may want to reconsider that, but as of right now, I would really want to stay, if it were me.
 
In the Chernobyl accident, where the worst case actually happened, the subsequent cloud of particles was blown right over sweden, finland and norway and they were only a few hundred kilometres away. Still like your friend said, she turned out fine, (Ed: A friend from Finland wrote on my wall, saying that she was in Finland during the Chernobyl incident and that she was fine)  there may have been a small increase in the incidence of some cancers over a long period, but thats it. And thats for people who lived there for months/years. If that happened there, I’d be telling you to leave so that even if radioactive particles did begin passing through or falling on Tokyo, you’d be long gone before having accumulated enough dosage to cause damage.”
 
 
The mood in Tokyo currently is panicky, but it’s where Im most familiar with.  I haven’t been in Japan for long and this is the only place I’ve managed to put down comfortable roots.  I know the areas well.  My Japanese sucks, but I know people that can help me with that.  The familiarity calms me down.   If I were to evacuate, I would be alone and it would take a lot of preparation, mentally and physically.  I wouldn’t know where to go, how to get there etc.  If I come back to Australia, that would void my visa, and I would like to stay in Japan for the time I commited to, until next March.
 
I would like to stay here as a calming and stabilizing influence on a city in a tailspin.   Not that I have any overinflated idea of my own importance to Japan but I want to try and keep things as normal as possible, and hopefully, in the future, get the opportunity to help those worse affected in the north, something that is really important to me.  I guess I’m just trying to say that it feels right to try to stick to a routine, and help others do the same, as much as possible.
 
Although I have only lived here for 3 months, and I will only be here for 18 months total, I chose this place.  I chose Japan for it’s culture and its people.  It is my home, even if it’s just for a short time.  I have a lot of friends here, both foreigners and Japanese and I want to be here for them as much as possible.
 
The decision to stay or go is obviously a personal one that each person has to make when faced with such a disaster, and my decision is to stay for now.  As my friends and family, you have all taught me to trust myself, my intelligence and my instincts.  I don’t think it would come as any surprise to most of you to hear that my self confidence is something that I have struggled with.  But you have all told me enough times to rely on myself that I know that from the information I have gathered, my interpretation of it, and my feelings that I am making the right decision to stay for now.  Please don’t worry.  The people that really need your thoughts right now are those that have been completely devastated in the North.  The coverage here really is heartbreaking.  Please consider making a donation to the aid efforts if you have the means.
 
For those of you who are staying too, I have a spare room at my house if you get jack of the power cuts or train disruptions, I’m right on the Yamanote so I doubt my power will be cut and most places are in walking distance.  Please take care of yourselves.
 
Much love, Vicki x


Sayings I Like
December 28, 2010, 10:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Unmitigated disaster:  This was a complete and utter screw-up.  At no point in the entire thing did we accidentally snatch any sort of unexpected benefit or lesson from this complete turd of a situation.  We started out by fucking up,  in the middle we continued along by fucking up and at the end, well, it was just one complete fuck up.

I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about:  What you just said was the perfect murder.  We, the comprehension police, are at the scene of the crime, and there’s not even a hair left here for us to begin an investigation of what you might have fucking meant.  You got in, murdered the English language, and frolicked away – scott free.   Not a spec of your original meaning remains.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea:   This sounds like a much better dilemma than most of the ones that it’s used to describe.  Choose the sea, idiot.  Fuck.  You can learn to swim, you probably can’t learn to Devil.

The cheese stands alone:  I may be alone on this one, but that’s okay – because cheese is a food you can eat by itself.  Sure, I have a weirdo opinion, but at least I’m not a dry saltine, waiting for the excitement of a piece of cheese to get someone to think about consuming me.  Pick up a toothpick and eat me, I’m done.  Fuck you all, crackers. YOU need ME!

You look tired:  You look like crap, but that would be a nasty thing to say.

I’m not really sure: I am completely certain, but I can’t be bothered explaining or I’d like to avoid a fight.

As much use as a handbrake on a canoe:     Apparently means the same thing as “You’re about as useful as a chocolate kettle to me,” which is hilarious.   The only problem I have with this saying is that a handbrake would be really fucking useful on a canoe!  Can you imagine if you were like “Oh, this rapid is moving so quickly, I’d really like to stop and slam down a Solo.” (Cross promotion opportunity?) and then just popped on your handbrake?  In fact, this saying almost perfectly sums me up, and that’s the reason why I love it:  I’m fantastic, if you can figure out how to make me work.  But otherwise, almost completely useless.

Like trying to herd a pack of kittens:  Why is it a great idea to put your ducks in a row, but you get laughed at for trying to herd your kittens?  Fuck off, ornithologists, you judgemental bastards.

You totally lucked out: Accused of being overly vague.  Is it for situations when something good happens or something bad?  You say vague, I say versatile.  It’s always appropriate to say!  You’re okay by me.

Sticky Wicket: Completely misused. Absolutely fantastic luck, less likely to fall if the ball hits it.  Or I accidentally hit it with my own bat.

It’s a dogs life : Again completely misused.  A life of leisure.  So long as you don’t bite the hand that feeds you apparently.

Barking up the wrong tree:  I don’t really have a beef with this saying, except that it makes me think “WOOF WOOF! …..  ah, fuck!”  but I did read the most entertaining explanation in an English colloquialisms textbook:   “The police are barking up the wrong tree if they think Johnny stole the car.  He can’t drive!”  Well police, that is an unmitigated disaster, you guys don’t have a clue.



My Life: The Indie Dramedy
December 3, 2010, 2:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Apparently 75% of Americans believe that their life is interesting enough to feature in a reality television show. At first glance, you’d think that 75% of Americans are really quite up themselves, but the more I think about it, the more I realise how life is crazy (Candy, baby).

I’m quite often late to work, I’m complaining that I’m tired, or that I’m feeling a little behind the eight ball. I think if you have an employee showing up late every week, it’s hard to go on believing that stuff is continuously happening. But it really is.

 I know that I really do live an incredibly privileged, perfect life, but sometimes it really does seem ridiculous.  And it never hurt anyone to have a little sook.  So if I were a baseballer, here would be the stats of the last week in my life:

1. My beautiful, waist-high vintage pinstripe skirt unravels at the seam up to my waist while I’m on the train. I have to walk, pantless, through Melbourne Central Train station at peak hour to buy a new one so I can go to work.

 As my skirt slowly unravels, I send a series of more desperate sounding text messages to my manager (fortunately, this work is on a volunteer basis):

 “Do we have any safety pins at work?”

 “Umm..do we have a sewing kit at work?”

“It was either going to be show up to work late or naked, and I chose late. You’ll thank me later.”

All my father had to say about this occurence was, “It pays to advertise.”

2. A very good friend of mine ends up in hospital incredibly unwell.

That’s all I have to say about that. She’s fantastic, and she’s not well, and it’s horrible.

 3. While staying the night with said friend at the hospital, I pass out. When I come to, they spinal board me down to the emergency department with possible spinal injuries from the fall.

 And then I need to pee. Which, they tell me, will take 5 people rolling me on and off a bed pan. I decide to hold it. For four hours, during which time, all I can do is stare at the ceiling. Ladies and Gentlemen, for my next invention, I plan a book that can be projected onto hospital rooves.

4. I meet (the day of aforementioned spinal boarding) and receive a lovely rejection text (four days later) from a boy

5. The weather is so that I concurrently have a sunburn, and my house floods.

6. My mother returns from New Zealand, complains about all the work I didn’t do around the house (where I don’t actually live, but have been dropping by to do my Grandma’s grocery shopping) and finds my ipod which was lost a year ago.  She calls to ask me if she can keep it, the first time I have heard from her since she left, a month ago.

7. My phone gets stolen on the train.

8. I get a new phone and drop it on the road.  Then a car hits it.

9.  My shoe falls apart while I’m waiting for a train.  Which isn’t coming, because all of the trains on my line have been suspended indefinitely for the rest of the evening.

If I then expand the time frame to two weeks, I can include:

10. My car billowing smoke, and then refusing to ever start again.

11. My final ever honours university exams

12. Finding out a boy from my work has thought, for the past six months, that I’ve been in love with him.

This is quite hilarious, really, as I do like to think of all the times we’ve talked where I’ve felt fine, and he’s felt incredibly awkward.

13. I see someone at a party who I used to be quite good friends with, and they don’t speak to me.

14.  In the space of 14 days, I attend 8 parties.  Go to one of three  jobs (one of which they pay me for, two of which are volunteer) 10 times and drink 16 coffees.  I go to the beach twice, attend concert orchestra twice, go to a protest and watch an entire season of Gossip Girl.

Tell me about your crazy weeks. What are the ridiculous things that happen to you?



The Canine Face Of Evil
November 13, 2010, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have always thought that I was relatively good with dogs.  I’ve always considered myself a “dog person.”  And I don’t mean that I prefer dogs to cats (what a cheap false dichotomy!), I mean that I am a dogperson.  In any given situation, its is almost always possible to predict with 100 per cent certainty, what I am going to do by asking yourself  “What would a puppy do in this situation?”  For instance, I was recently told that I need to, “Seriously rethink how friendly you are,” after I jumped out of a moving car to say hello to people because I was so excited that I saw someone I knew on the street in the middle of nowhere unexpectedly.  And I know I’m not the only one.   I have friend who, when delayed from something fun, dances about akin to Homer’s “We’re missing the chili cookoff” dance. 

Speaking of the whole W(hat) W(ould) franchise, I really think that we could make our fortunes, and the greater community a better place, by selling WWBGD bracelets.  WWBGD obviously standing for What Would Bear Grylls do.  Although, I would politely ask you to remove these bracelets when naming your children (for your own safety).

Anyway, I have always been relatively able to get on well with dogs (within reason.  I’m looking at you, primary school best friend’s dog who bit me on the thumb unprovoked.  You:  Warm, hairy, friendly looking and cute.  Likes: affection.  Me:  Has opposable thumbs for purpose of patting…  What went wrong?), to the extent that I used to work in a Kennel and Cattery as my first job.  (Incidentally, how hard is it to worm a cat against it’s will?  Furthermore, how hard is it to convince a cat that it should will to be wormed?) 

And we used to have the BEST DOG EVER.  Now, I know everybody says that about their dog, but my dog was like the Sea Biscuit of house pets.  He was great at all the usual dog stuff (accounting, calculus, documentary film making.  His grammar was average though, having to start every word with an “R” and all) as well as being an excellent referee in sockbacksetball (a game where you sticky tape a wastepaper basket to each players back, and the aim is to get a pair of rolled up socks in the other person’s bin.  If you’ve ever wondered what your housemate/partner might look like if they were to suddenly have to move around the world using only the movements available to crustaceans, this might give you some idea.  Also, it’s pretty fun.  While we’re on the subject of sockbacksetball and dogs, they are both fantastic ways to tell if you should be dating someone.  First of all, ask yourself, “Can I imagine this person walking a puppy?”  Secondly, “Would this person play sockbacksetball with me?”  For two reasons, this is an excellent question.  1.  Are they fun?  2.  You may as well be single if they won’t play sockbacksetball because it’s a two player game, so where the advantage in having a non-sockbacksetball playing boyfriend?

Anyway, it’s all a bit, “I’m a puppy, you’re a puppy, we’re all in this together plus I’m not even covered in fur so do what I say or I’ll do that to you as well.”

 But not today.  I have been asked to look after two dogs while a friend of mine is away.  One is fantastic, and the other is SATAN.

I will document the movements of the doggy-antichrist in the desperate phonecalls I made to my dog expert, my Father.

Phone Call #1:

“Hey Vicki, What’s up?”  (This is actually not the very first line of the conversation.  My father answers every single phone call with his full name.  Every single time.  Every time.  You might be thinking, “Oh nah, he probably forgot once.”  Then you’d be thinking wrong.  Every time.  Got it?  Even though my name comes up on the caller id.)

“Oh nothing much.”

“How was last night?”

“Oh good.  We went out to Taco Bills for Mexican food for my friend’s birthday.”

“How was it?”

“Well, you know how Mum always told me not to eat anything bigger than my head?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, she never said anything about drinking…”

“What?”

“They had fishbowl Margheritas! ”

“The size of your head?”

“Bigger.”

“How do you know that?”

“Well, we played, “How big is your head?” at the dinner table and we measured everyone’s heads.”

“That sounds fun.”

“Yeah, there’s even a theme song.  It’s “How Big Is Your Head,” to the tune of “How Deep is Your Love.”

<< Astute readers may notice that this post was meant to be about a weirdly nasty dog and that so far everything seems to be going fine.  I’m just trying to lull you all into the same sense of security I was lulled into, heady with, well, heads.  Also, you’re not that astute because this dog isn’t weirdly nasty, it’s SATAN.>>

“How’s the dog?”

“A bit naughty.  He keeps going into the places where he’s not meant to go, and I find it really hard to get him to go into the places where he’s meant to go, because he knows I’m going to shut him in there and makes me go in first.”

“Try walking in there with him and then quickly running out.”

Phone call #2
“HELP!!!  Now every time  I walk somewhere, the dog bites me on the Achilles!”

(Ever the pragmatist) “Stop walking around then.”

“Okay, I’ll try that.”

Phone call #3

“EVERY TIME I STAND STILL THE DOG TRIES TO PEE ON ME!!”

“Take him outside, maybe he needs to pee.”

“The door’s open!  I don’t want to walk there because he’ll bite me again.”

“Try going outside with him.”

“Okay.”

Phone call #4

Whispering: “I’m calling you from the house landline.”

“Why?”

“Because the dog has my phone, and he’s taken it outside in the rain and he’s playing with it, by throwing it up in the air and dropping it in the wet grass.”

“Go get it!”

Yes, that’s right folks.  The dog STOLE my means of getting access to help with him while I was just about to take a shower, meaning that I had to run out into the backyard in my underwear and chase him around in the rain in full view of the neighbours.

Dog.  Satan.



If You Build It, They Will come
October 4, 2010, 12:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve always had a soft spot for people who go on believing things long after everybody else has started thinking they’re mad.    For those of you who have seen ‘Under the Tuscan Sun,’ you might remember them talking about the Semmering Pass, that was built before there were powerful enough steam trains to complete the journey, with the belief that one would obviously be built.  

My father also displays this belief in the text message conversations that we have.   

Me:  “Do you think it will be possible for me to go to uni in Bundoora from Sorrento?  How long would it take?”  

Dad: “That would depend on how you’re planning to do it.”  

Me: “Well, this is a plan for two years in the future.”  

Dad:  “Check the hovercraft timetable closer to the date.”  

  

I’m COMING bitches!!  You BETTER believe it, Papa Vicki.  

  

   

Whenever I’m unhappy, I read archaeology and international relations magazines.  And also The Australian Book Review.  

It’s just one of those things.   

Actually, people always ask me what made me want to be an archaeologist (which I am not yet, but I will be.  I AM going to study a Graduate Diploma in Archaeology upon my triumphant return from Japan.  This is the only thing of which I am certain.)  Most people I know who are interested in Ancient History tend to credit some amazingly cool adventurous story of either Indiana Jones or Cairo Jim.  I have basically tried to keep the beginnings of my obsession with Ancient Egypt under wraps as long as possible.  When I was a child I wanted to be a anthropologist because of the unbelievably knowledgable and cool Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1.   I try not to tell that story too much.  CRAP! Where is the delete key?!  

  

I’m sorry, did you call me?  I couldn’t hear you over all the loads of stuff that I know.  

 

Sometimes people ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend.  I can only suggest that it’s either because of this embarrassing truth, or that I squeeze from the top of the toothpaste tube.  Either/or.  

             

What the fuck?  How tight is your toothpaste budget?  

 

But, since I have made this embarrassing admission, before turning to the topic I attempted to start earlier, I would like to take a few moments to defend my choice of childhood love.  He wasn’t my first crush (most probably Hawkeye from M*A*S*H, what a dude) nor did he unconsciously guide my later dating choices (there was a while there that I was only romantically interested in people who bore a resemblance to Neil Finn.  EXCEPT for Neil Finn.)  

First of all, Daniel Jackson is a total dude.  Sure, he doesn’t have the sex appeal of Richard Dean Anderson, nor is he the token girl.  He didn’t have the effortless cool of Teal’c, which comes from being of an alien race.   

He just knows a whole lot of shit.  Like, a whole lot.  They’d find something and be all “WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?”  and he’d tell them.  It’d be kind of like:  

Rest of SG1:  Please Daniel, we need some exposition in the plot and we’re not sure how else to explain the facts to viewers.  

Daniel Jackson (DJ): Don’t worry, I got this.  

And he was really quite diplomatic and peaceful.   Jack always just wanted to kill loads of people, but Daniel wasn’t cool with that.  No way!   

   

Did you say, “Kill loads of people?”  “No, no, I said, put twill on that Beagle.” “That’s okay then, I’ll put my serious face away for now.”  

And he knew so much stuff about the Goa’uld even though they were an alien race.  Incidentally, what a cool alien race they were.  They had genetic memory implanted in them for the entirety of what their species knew.  Kind of like:  

You: Hey Grandma, do you want me to show you how to operate your iPad?  

Glassy-eyed Grandma : No…I’m already genetically programmed to know how.  

   

  Now step into my sarcophagus, dear.  

 

 His only downside was that he wore a REALLY STUPID FUCKING HAT!!  Everyone else in the team wore those ordinary baseball caps, but no, Daniel Jackson had to wear a stupid legionnaires hat! ARGH, I HATE THAT DAMN HAT.  

     

Boy, do I feel silly.  And I don’t think you were telling the truth about that Beagle thing.  

   

   

And then there was this episode I LOVED with Hathor (the Egyptian fertility god, but in this case, a Goa’uld) and she had this purple breath that made all the men in the base fall in love with her.  She’s basically this amazing Sex Goddess, and who did she choose as the most genetically fit to carry on her Goa’uld children?  What sort of man would be fit for a sexy goddess who could have any man she wanted?  

Yeah, that’s right.  Fucking Daniel Jackson.  Boy, was I jealous.  

   

 

  

Don’t forget that time I ascended and became omniscient!  

 

Anyway, what the hell was I talking about?  Oh yeah – people who belief stuff against the odds.  

 In my most recent reading of the Australian magazine ‘Archaeological Diggings’  I came across one of these amazing belief stories that, according to the text, is ignored even by the museum that displays the findings.  A quick search of google found it was a difficult topic to research, but I have managed to glean what appears to be the correct story (however, I am open to corrections.)  

(Once upon a time) There was an Israeli archaeologist named Yigael Yadin who headed an excavation of the biblical city of Hazor, following his military career.  The story of Hazor is that it is one the Canaanite towns that Joshua (following the Exodus from Egypt) went to and demanded ownership of.  When they refused, he quite reasonably burnt the entire city to the ground.  (So the story goes.)  

So during this dig of Hazor led by Yadin, in the 1950s, a basalt lion was uncovered.  

   

   

  

 40 years of wandering in the desert, and nothin’ but stone cat.  

 

 

 

   

After discovering this stone cat, Yadin was convinced that it was part of a set of two.  He wrote this in his research reports on the area and continued to dig for another 4 expeditions searching for it.  He consistently claimed, throughout his career, that there was another stone lion identical to this one, buried nearby.

After 4 expeditions, nothing was found and the dig site was closed.  The idea that there was a second stone lion still waiting to be discovered was abandoned.   

Except by Yadin, who, based on his knowledge of the area and his examination of the one lion, maintained that there there was no other reasonable explanation except that there were two cats.

 

 

   

  

“You can haz second stone lion to save your reputation?”  “Shut up.”  

   

 

 

 

I can’t find much (any) information on how Yadin took this abandonment of his speculation.  I know how I would have taken it. 

Vicki-Yadin would have wasted away slowly, my face becoming similarly ashen and grey as my eyes sank into my hollow face.  I  would spew gravel from my own mouth.  I’d eat, sleep, live and love dead, cold basalt. I’d see that cat in my dreams, it’s little stone mouth turned up in a smirk, amused at it’s own unattainability.

“I know there’s another lion, I just know it!” I’d say, my eyes glassy and distant.  I’d verbally chase my tale, telling anyone who came near the reasons why it must be so.  I would drive myself crazy searching for another explanation,  dreaming of letting it go.   I’d send myself to financial ruin looking for this second fucking lion.   I would beg the people who knew me to make me let it go, tie me down and flush the stone from my veins.

When I died, they’d find my body replaced by a silent, smirking sphinx-like stone lion with a smiling tomb-like mouth, covered in my tattered clothes that had no answers to give.

It reminds me of a quote from a book named The Stone Carvers, from  Walter Allward, who found the stone for, and sculpted the Vimy Memorial to the lost Canadian soldiers in France: “I’ve been eating and sleeping stone for so long it’s become an obsession with me.  And, incidentally, a nightmare.”

Yadin went on to become a politician.  I don’t know how he did.  I don’t know how he managed to walk away from a hole in the ground.

But a dog that sits and waits for a master that never comes is not a story.  Wasted obsession is never where the best stories end.

In 1990, Yadin’s former student A Ben-Tor went back to the site to begin another dig.

   

Six years after Yadin’s death in 1984, a second basalt lion was pulled from the ground in Hazor.  

Yeah boi.