I didn't plan this move. The writing has been on the wall for some time (by which I don't mean everybody moved to Facebook instead), but I hung on far longer than sensible until the Terms & Conditions suddenly became actually untenable. Sometimes it feels as though everything in my life is merely a clumsy metaphor for something else.
I don't have a Plan for doing something Different with this journal. Life won't wait while I sit around trying to think of a way to reinvent myself.
Is anybody even reading this? Does anybody want a recap of the story so far, or at least the latest significant plot points? Or shall we all just keep on keeping on?
I am basically declaring LJ bankruptcy: I haven't read my friends feed for so long that there's just no way I can catch up, so I'm not going to try. If enough people are still around here, though, I might start reading & posting again. I miss conversations that aren't just retweets and soundbites and outrage; I miss social media that isn't centred on advertising, news, or 'news'; I miss you guys, individually and collectively.
If you want a very quick update on the state of the j4: I am typing this from underneath a sleeping 8-week-old. The rest of my life is a mess, but she is the Best Baby. <3
Seriously, though, I feel like I literally don't remember how to write anything longer-form than a tweet. A series of tweets, maybe. "(1/3)". Like trying to make a speech while struggling to keep your head above water, shouting it out in gulps of air. It feels like the internet's all broken and polluted now anyway, no air between things; we didn't used to have a word for "content" when it was all content. Not that I was, of course. I guess in some ways I'm more content now, more settled -- or set -- in my ways, less inclined to stand for certain brands of bullshit. Oh god though listen to me, puffing out hot air like a pompous great wheezing walrus, "I am this, I am that", words, words, and do you see what I did there, and besides. Is any one of us not basically just wandering around in the dark? Maybe running our hands over the outlines of something half-perceived, or maybe just petulantly kicking something and hoping it isn't a wasps' nest?
I had a voice in here somewhere.
Memory goes, but not memories. I can't always remember the name of the thing any more. (It was all there, only the names were not.) Things I thought I had stored in my head turn out to be broken links, digital husks; but the fingertips of past relationships come reaching out of the mist, too too solid (oh, for goodness' sake, stop that, you are not Lord Hamlet (no, stop that, too)), and the old music gets louder, the needle returns to the -- no, don't force it, you can hear it if you just listen.
The bits that make sense are decoupling like a slow-motion explosion. Blow the bloody doors off and see all the people.
The things in my life I want to write about have too much backstory, they're compromised by context, they're anchored to things I can't say. They're shot through with the threads of other people's secrets, and untangling my own loose weave will mean unravelling other people's hidden seams. Everything is tied to someone else; sometimes it feels like every thing in the world is a place where something, a thing I was doing when. The smell of his aftershave, 10 years later, still makes me turn my head. The arms of his jumper around my shoulders. Hooks in my flesh.
Maybe if I stack up enough half-sentences they'll start becoming.
I also don't know who's reading this any more. I'm terrible at keeping up with reading LJ myself, so I feel I can't really ask other people to read/comment on what I write; and while I sit there chewing my fingernails in that particular dark cave of fail, lots of beautiful friendships melt away. Who's reading this? Who's out there? Have you all gone to Dreamwidth? Should I follow you, or are we all just slowly dispersing into adulthood or beyond?
I don't know where I am. Or rather, I know where I am, but I don't know where anything else is. Either way, it's a bit cloud-tangled and mapless in here. Perhaps if someone shouts or shines a torch I'll be able to figure out where the voice or light is coming from.
Yes, literally everything I bought is plastic-wrapped. :-( But hey, I only said I was going to try this, not succeed.
Yoghurt and cream are, as far as I can tell, basically impossible to buy plastic-free. I bought the biggest pot I could get, i.e. the best yoghurt-to-plastic ratio. (Img particularly asked for the little Peppa Pig yoghurts.)
Potatoes: now this one was annoying. I specifically wanted big potatoes for doing jacket potatoes, and normally I don't need a plastic bag for those: I only buy 3 at a time (one for each of us), they're not squishy or wet or falling-apart-ish, there doesn't seem any reason to pack them. The Co-op had some loose potatoes, but these were the only baking potatoes in the shop. I could have just bought something different, but I was relying on getting these for dinner! (Although in fact in the end we had the quiche which I'd forgotten we still had in, and that came in a cardboard box, so the potatoes were not only unnecessary plastic but the cause of an unnecessary shopping trip. FAIL.)
The fish cakes were super-cheap (67p!) because they're nearly at their best-before date (I'll stash them in the freezer). I buy a lot of stuff that's nearly at the end of its shelf life because a) it's cheap, and b) I feel as though I'm saving it from getting thrown away. This is probably a bit irrational. (The strawberries were also reduced.)
Naan bread always comes plastic-wrapped. Even in our local shop which sells about 20 different varieties of naan, they're all wrapped in plastic so they last longer.
Now for the things I didn't buy. I had a long list of fruit and veg to buy but just couldn't bear to buy it all plastic-wrapped since I didn't need it right then; I'll try to go to the market tomorrow on the way home from work or at lunchtime. I was going to buy some bread but the Co-op only sells plastic-wrapped bread (and most of it is a bit plastic-tasting too, to be honest) so again I decided to wait. They didn't have any Coke in cardboard boxes, or any Shloer (glass bottles and bonus 80s nostalgia!), or in fact any non-alcoholic drinks I could see anywhere in the shop that weren't in plastic bottles or tetrapaks (apart from a few individual cans).
So what are the answers?
- don't buy any dairy products
- don't buy naan bread
- be more organised about planning meals
- don't give in to pestering (and/or don't take Img to the shops)
I guess nobody said it was going to be easy...
Last year I thought "oh yes, that sounds like a good idea, I'll try to do that," and then July caught me a bit by surprise, and on the first day I bought a packet of crisps (having apparently completely forgotten that the PLASTIC BAG counted as plastic) and was so fed up with my inability to remember a) what month it was or b) what things were made of that I gave up. To be honest I think that says more about my sticking power than about the all-pervasiveness of plastic.
This year July still caught me by surprise; I guess I've only had 36 years to figure out what comes after June. However I was working from home today so I was in a slightly better position to avoid accidentally buying plastic-wrapped food; in fact I managed not to buy anything plastic today because I didn't buy anything.
Of course, that doesn't mean I didn't use any plastic... far from it. Since I didn't buy anything, I tried just to keep an eye on everything I used, and make a note of it all here.
( Very very long rambling account of all the plastic )
I think the take-home lesson here is "don't buy anything, ever; but even then you will be full of fail in some other way". But that's a rather depressing conclusion.
Also, now I've written all this it's probably too late at night for me to have a bath. My shampoo, of course, is in a plastic bottle. :-/
I think this is the last day I can legitimately get away with using my fruithat icon, even though ACTUALLY twelfth night is INTERESTINGLY not today but last night and we are already courting BAD LUCK by having taken the decorations down tonight. Anyway. It's 2014! There are a lot of 'review of the year' things going round but I already can't remember anything that happened last year. I spent the last 3 months of it with a hideous cough and the previous 3 months feeling faily about work and before that I have no idea, though I definitely read some books somewhere along the line.
I didn't really make any new year's resolutions this year either, which doesn't mean that I don't feel the need to improve anything in my life, but is more an indication of my current level of confidence in actually achieving anything, viz.: approximately zero. I made vague resolutions to go running more often and to have more fun, but have no idea how to go about achieving the latter and feel too apathetic to do the former (also at the moment it would be more like swimming anyway). In the meantime I guess I will read some more books and try to stop Img falling off anything particularly high.
I have had enough of today and I have had enough of this cough and I am totally devoid of inspiration for anything to blog about so instead in a brief nod to Clovember here's an awkward & badly-lit selfie of me in a badger hat:
If even a badger hat WITH SEQUINS doesn't help then something is definitely Not Right.
ETA: image now resized, sorry about that, blame the iPhone LJ app!
(Is there a way to make only posts after a certain date friends-only? Or only posts with a certain tag? There are a few posts I want to keep public. Maybe I should just put them somewhere else. And then I think oh really who cares, only 12 people read this anyway. 12 people and Google and the NSA.)
It's been fun to watch people unfriending me as I post stuff though (I'm guessing it's not so much the content as "oh I forgot she was on my friends list but now she's started posting again, can't remember who she is anyway"). Ah, the drama llamas of yesteryear. To be honest the friendslist angst all seems pretty trivial now compared with the real feeling that my actual friends (some of whom are also my LJ friends, of course) are slipping further and further away from me in time and place and connectedness and it's not some kind of big drama, it's just that people sort of softly and suddenly vanish away. I am very bad at taking people off 'friends lists' but it's starting to feel like the people-I-sorta-like-but-basically-never-
Yesterday we also learned a new word, "argycue", as in:
Img: "Imi and Iris had an argycue."
Me [trying not to laugh]: "Oh dear, what were you arguing about?"
I like the idea of it being a cross between an argument and a barbecue, I guess where one of the participants gets roasted.
( happy talking, talking happy talk )
( a busy few days, recounted at tedious length )
The thing is... I've pretty much always lived like this. The only difference is that now there's a child in the mix as well. I have always ended up cycling frantically to and from home, work, meetings, pubs, the station, choir rehearsals/concerts, orchestra rehearsals/concerts, whatever. It's always been an endless game of fox/goose/grain with different modes of transport and assorted instruments/laptops/luggage/shoes/
(I have a separate rant about the phrase "work/life balance" and the implied idea that your work is not ACTUALLY PART OF YOUR LIFE, but that will have to wait for another time.)
"Those legs are getting pretty hairy."
"So? That's fine."
"Well it doesn't look too good."
"IT LOOKS FINE."
"Actually you know what I really don't like the way it looks."
"Oh well then you're a slave to the beauty myth. Call yourself a feminist etc etc."
"OK so I'm not allowed to prefer smooth legs?"
"Well in theory you're allowed to, in an ideal world you'd be allowed to, but as things stand you can't have that thought without it being caused by oppressive heteronormative gender stereotyping."
"Right, so I'm not allowed to like what the patriarchy likes? Isn't that just a different sort of lack of freedom of choice?"
"Um... no! It's different. Because you get to choose the better option, not the one that makes women do painful stuff in the name of beauty."
"But shaving my legs isn't painful."
"No but that's not the point. It's mutilating your body just for the sake of -"
"It isn't 'mutilating' anything, any more than cutting my fingernails is. It grows back, you know."
"- and anyway by not shaving your legs you're supporting other women."
"It shows women that they're allowed to have hairy legs."
"So I have to do things I don't like to show other women that they're allowed to resist doing things they don't like?"
"Yeah! ... No, wait, no! Gah, the point is you're not supposed to like smooth legs. Hair is natural, yada yada."
"OK shitting in the woods is natural but you know what I really prefer using an actual toilet and not having to use leaves to wipe and so do you, you hypocrite."
"Is not. PROVE THAT I LIE."
"Ahahaha I see what you did there. Bet nobody else will pick up on it though."
"This is getting a bit meta, isn't it?"
"Always a risk when talking to oneself."
"Was that the fourth wall?"
"I wasn't counting."
"OK, so ... back to the conversation. Hairy legs look scruffy at work. Shaving your legs when you're going to be showing them off at work is just like wearing a tie or something. Hairy legs look scruffy on men too, but men don't tend to wear shorts when they're trying to look smart."
"You're trying to change the subject."
"You're trying to evade my point."
"Ah but anyway you shouldn't be trying to conform by wearing skirts. Especially not short skirts. What are you trying to cash in on your 'erotic capital' or some such bullshit?"
"No, it's just, you know, it's AUGUST."
"Even in August, you shouldn't be focusing on trying to conform. If you were really serious about staying cool you'd wear like a kaftan or something but I don't see you trying that."
"OK, so maybe I'm conforming, but look, I have to conform to some social norms to be taken seriously in my job."
"Which means you're PART OF THE PROBLEM! You shouldn't cave in to that sort of pressure!"
"But I like my job and I like being able to help pay the mortgage and feed my family. Also I actually think it's totally reasonable to expect people to look tidy at work: it's about avoiding foregrounding the clothes so you can get on with concentrating on the important stuff."
"That's unreasonable! People should be able to see past all that surface stuff to the real person underneath."
"Yeah well people should be able to see past fonts and pictures to basic functionality when looking at prototype websites but actually they generally can't. So we work with what we've got and what they can do."
"You mean you're an enabler for being wrong and stupid?"
"No! I mean I'm conservative in what I generate & liberal in what I accept."
"Oh hark at you. Anyway your job should be the same. If it won't accept you with scruffy clothes and hairy legs, then it's a bad job and it's CRUSHING YOUR SOUL."
"I don't have a soul. Aren't you supposed to be an atheist too?"
"Figure of speech. Anyway. BAD JOB. Crushing your something-or-other-that-atheists-have. Get a better one."
"But I like this job. And I don't mind having to wear normal clothes and look like a normal person."
"Well you should! You are SELLING OUT and facilitating oppression!"
"Also I want to wear skirts occasionally. OK usually when all my nice trousers are in the wash, but still. Some skirts are nice."
"You don't really want to wear skirts, you're just - "
"Hang on, you can't play 'false consciousness' twice in the same argument. Penalty card."
"But that's the patriarchy."
"YES BUT -"
"No buts. Anyway it's not only work, I like to look smarter for parties and things as well."
"THAT IS ALSO THE PATRIARCHY! You are trying to conform to what men will like!"
"I am totally not. Firstly nobody has ever turned me down for being too hairy (and nor have I turned anybody else down for being too hairy even though all other things being equal I prefer non-hairy to hairy, but all other things never are equal). Secondly - "
"Are you nearly done?"
"- No. Secondly: I am married, so I already succeeded in attracting someone if that was what I was trying to do, and anyway I am currently too exhausted to be interested in trying to attract anybody, and besides if I was thinking about trying to attract people I'd be thinking about what women would like too - "
"Which is the same, because blah blah male gaze - "
"- shush. Anyway, I am not doing what you say I am doing."
"Look anyway if you must wear a skirt then just wear it with hairy legs."
"But it looks scruffy. I don't like the way it looks."
"Nobody will notice!"
"I'll notice. They're my legs. I am closer to them than anybody else."
"But you shouldn't care if - "
"I hope you're not trying to do that again."
"I will feel scruffy. And then I will feel less confident in what I'm doing. Maybe that's stupid but there it is. Think of it as a placebo."
"So anyway I am totally going to shave my legs because I am a free person."
"But... not right now. Right now I will just cover them up with these trousers that probably should have gone in the wash yesterday. Because that's what I feel like wearing. Not because I now feel even more guilty and conflicted about shaving my legs."
"Right on, sister!"
I first saw this phenomenon in Switzerland, with cows, and Wikipedia confirms that it was the originally-Swiss (now international) Cow Parade that started this trend off. It seems to be getting a bit silly, but I guess it's a fairly harmless silly. The idea of 'collecting' (photographing/visiting) the whole set of $animal in $town appeals to my nerdy side, though realistically I'm not likely to do it while it would involve dragging a recalcitrant toddler around with me. Perhaps I should just 'collect' similar projects and add them to the list in the Wikipedia article, because I can do that after bedtime without leaving the house.
Sadly nowhere yet seems to have filled its streets with giant fibreglass badgers.