Around and About

Monday, October 6th, 2008 | Posted in music, my life

Woman Driving

I haven’t said much on here for a while. I’ve been thinking about this blog and what to do with it. I’ve been struggling with it for months, but I feel like a break from it has given me the space to think about what I want to write about and how I’d like to write it.

In case anyone’s interested, here are a few personal highlights from the last week or so.

Someone offered me a four-figure sum to buy a website I’ve been developing (not this one). I agonised over the offer for a few days (credit card bill), then turned him down. I decided to keep it going, in the belief that I can make more money from it in the long-term. Since I discussed the whole thing with my parents, they haven’t said a thing to me about being on the computer too much. I guess they can see that I’ve been doing something of value on here.

I’ve been offered some other web work by a friend of a friend, which could turn into a regular gig. Looks like this could potentially be my new path. My current goal is to be able to quit the day job and work 100% online.

On Tuesday evening I bumped into my old private French tutor (from 10 years ago) on the way home from work. We decided to go to a nearby pub to have a proper chat. We caught up on each other’s news (he keeps himself very busy as an advocate for all sorts of people in need). I spoke a little bit about my worries about my lack of direction and the way that I often change interests, but he told me not to worry, that he’d been the same in his 20s. He also advised me to take up volunteer work, which is something I’ve considered a few times but haven’t pursued. He’s definitely a force for good.

One of my favourite authors is Valerie Martin. I’ve read several of her novels, but there are a few left for me to discover. A few weeks ago I found 2 of her earlier novels in a discount bookshop near my workplace. I bought them both happily. I started one of them, A Recent Martyr, a few days ago. On the train to work on Friday I reached the end of page 34, which was looking like a really critical scene, and found that the next page was the author’s dedication. After that the novel restarted from page one. I was a bit baffled but just turned to the second “page 34″ again. However the next page was 83, meaning that I’d lost nearly 50 pages! Downcast, I put the book back in my bag and turned to look out of the train window. I’ll go back to the shop with my receipt tomorrow in the hope that they’ll have a normal copy. This reminded me of an art project where this guy left a box marked FREE BOOKS in the street, but anyone taking one of these books would have eventually discovered that the last few pages had been tore out.

I started the second Martin book that I’d bought and discovered that I’d already read it. :roll: I’m still re-reading it now as I’ve forgotten most of it. It’s a constant feeling of déjà lu: I recognise the scenes as I read them.

I bought four tickets to the NKOTB concert in January, but decided to resell two of them on ebay because most of my friends weren’t interested. I made about £20 profit, but I was happy to just cover my initial expenditure. A couple of people asked me to end the auction early, but I declined as I usually make more money as a lot of people (smartly) wait til the end to bid. There are loads of people selling tickets for the concert at crazy prices, but I think I did well because my start price was reasonable and I have great feedback.

I also bought tickets to see Robin Thicke in a couple of weeks. I was really gutted to have missed out on his concerts here last year, but I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing him in person. (Just realised that he’s got a new album, how did I not know that?!)

Over the last few years I’ve been cultivating interests that aren’t compatible with my existing network of friends, so I’ve decided to go solo when appropriate. I’m fed up of missing out on things because I’ve been reluctant to attend on my own. As Henry David Thoreau said: “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”


Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 | Posted in my life

I haven’t been very active on here in the last couple of weeks. I just didn’t feel like blogging, and whatever I wrote felt forced. The lack of comments also bothered me, as I started to feel like I wasn’t connecting with anyone, or that the people who used to come here had lost interest.

At the same time, I’ve had a load of new visitors to the old post that was stumbled, and strangely I felt very uncomfortable with the extra attention. I was also sensitive to the criticism that the post provoked and the feeling that I had to defend myself to people who didn’t give a damn about me. I guess it made me feel vulnerable, and wary of revealing my feelings while all of that was still going on. I guess it wasn’t totally a bad situation, as I’ve picked up a couple of new readers. I’m such a contrary creature, lots of bloggers would kill to have thousands of visitors like that, but perhaps I’m not ready for the masses right now.

So what’s been happening for me? Here’s a quick catchup of the last week or so.

Fri 13 June: Not long after I’d left work at 6pm I saw a guy in his 50s walking down the road. He was shouting obscenities as he walked along, and as he passed me (without actually looking directly at me) he shouted out the N-word. It was the first time that I’ve ever been called that, and though it was a shock I didn’t take it personally as the guy was obviously mental.

Sat 14 June: The house next door to my parent’s home is up for sale, and after seeing the for sale sign I called up the estate agents and got an appointment to view. It was more for curiousity than anything else, as I wouldn’t really want to live next to my parents, wouldn’t want a 3 bedroom house to myself and wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage anyway. The guy who’d lived there died a few months ago of Emphysema, I think he was in his late 50s and seemed like a nice guy. The estate agents had given a price of about £230,000, and said that it needed modernisation, so I wasn’t expecting a palace, but the house was quite dilapidated and looked like nothing had changed in the last 30 years. Though structurally the house was a mirror image of ours, it looked smaller somehow. It would take a lot of work for someone to fix up that house, but it could have a lot of potential for a property developer or a family who didn’t need to move in straight away.

Wednesday 18 June: Had my last session with the counsellor. It was a strange session, and I felt quite ambivalent about the whole thing. One thing I said was that I felt that the eight sessions weren’t really enough, it was like using a plaster to cover a gunshot wound. It wasn’t a total waste of time, and we did discuss some issues that have been affecting me for a long time. One of the things I can keep in mind from the sessions is that sometimes I assume that I know what other people think of me, and sometimes I use those assumptions to push people away.

I also have trust issues, but I feel entitled to them since I always get hurt when I trust people. During one session when I discussed a guy who had betrayed my trust quite recently, she asked me why I was blaming myself when he was the one who’d lied and misled me, and I told her that I was upset with myself for not trusting my instincts, for giving someone the benefit of the doubt when I should have listened to my intuition.

Unless I pay for private therapy I don’t really have many other options. I’ve still got a spare pack of Prozac which I could possibly return to, but I’m not sure that it’s the best option for me. I prefer to feel the way I feel, even if I feel like crap.

Friday 20 June: I went out to get a very late work lunch at 4pm. In the chicken and chips shop this Eastern European man starts talking to me. I looked at him briefly and realised from his reddened face that he was probably drunk. When he whispered something about my breasts I felt sick and ignored him.

After work I took the tube to Oxford Circus and visited Chappells, a music shop, for a particular jazz and blues sax song book. Though the shop has moved from its previous home in New Bond Street to Waldour St, it still felt like visiting a old friend. I was reminded of the old me, the girl who was so taken with her musical dreams.

Later on, a few streets from home, a old geezer tried to sweet-talk me, but I ignored him. Then to top it all off, when I got home and checked my email I saw a bizarre message sent via my contact form: “u are so sexy u no dat. can u send me some of ur pictures naked to my email.” My only response to that lovely message was the delete button.

And in other news: The other day at work I was asked to fax our payroll request to the bank because my colleague had called in sick so that we would all get paid on time. When I saw the sheet I realised that my colleague, Kay, was getting paid nearly £500 more than me after tax, and she only works half a day more than me. Seeing that information has really changed my attitude towards her and my job in general. She often asks me for advice, especially with computing and technical stuff, but since there’s so much difference between our pay (and she’s not my boss) I’m going to concentrate on my work and leave her to get on with hers. It’s becoming more obvious how much this job is just a dead-end for me, though I still haven’t sorted out what to do next.

My boss asked me to help her with a short-term project for the next few weeks in addition to my normal hours. Though the work itself is very tedious and boring, I decided to go ahead with it for the money. The only good thing about it is that I’m working from home. I’ve been finding it really hard to give up my days-off, but I console myself that this arrangement is not forever.

Job Hunting for Introverts

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 | Posted in my life, writing

According to a recent post in the bookofjoe, the ten best paid jobs for introverts are:

1. Astronomer

2. Lawyer

3. Physicist

4. Political Scientist

5. Aerospace engineer

6. Computer software engineer (systems software)

7. Actuary

8. Electronics engineer

9. Computer software engineer (applications)

10. Atmospheric and space scientist

I wouldn’t have thought that being a lawyer was an ideal introvert’s job, but I guess that some lawyers don’t court the limelight (pardon the pun).

Unfortunately I’m not qualified or very interested in any of the above jobs, so we’ll have to keep on looking.

From time to time I look in the newspaper job sections or on some recruitment websites, but there’s nothing that grabs me. As I don’t want to continue with admin work or management in general, I’m feeling a bit stuck.

I thought about working in a casino as I’m a night person, but I’ve never worked in the hospitality industry and don’t know if I’d be much good at it.

I was also thinking about teaching English in Japan, but without a degree it doesn’t look likely.

So what would I like to do? Ideally I’d still like to be a writer. Story of my life, I know. So how does a girl who hasn’t written a full work of fiction in ages become a full-time writer? The spiritual answer would be: one word at a time.

Sick day

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008 | Posted in my life

I should be at work right now, but I can’t face going in, Between my boss dropping a nightmare new project in my lap at the very last minute and my colleague’s constant criticisms I really dread going in. Not only is the actual work a hell of a lot, the emotional side of dealing with the people there is really getting to me.

I feel so isolated there – I’m the only member of the core team who isn’t invited to the team meetings, and my manager never tells me anything unless she absolutely needs to, so I usually have to figure things out from overheard conversations or whatever crumbs my colleagues wish to tell me.

Those flies last Friday were trying to tell me something – it’s time to go.

Dropping Like Flies

Saturday, May 17th, 2008 | Posted in my life

It was like a scene from a horror movie. I looked around the room wondering where the dead body was hidden. It was like the episode of CSI where a room was infested with flies, but the body was well hidden and Grisham’s team had to knock down the walls to find it. I looked in the rubbish bin, and there wasn’t even a mouldy ham sandwich which could have attracted such a following.

The window of room 5 was dotted with hundreds of black dots, and several more were flying around the room nonchalantly, like they owned the place. They had claimed their domain, but it was time for us to reclaim it.

Armed with just a Nippon Fly Killer spray and wet towels around our faces to avoid breathing in too much toxic air, we got to work. The instructions said that for a “knockdown” you should spray in strong bursts then leave the room for 15 minutes. That done we sorted out the lesser gatherings in reception and other rooms.

We had to be ruthless. Not one fly survived our reign of terror. The cowards who tried to escape were also defeated.

The spray didn’t have an immediate effect, it wasn’t just a matter of spraying once and that’s that. A fly might get a whiff of the spray and start to fly at a lower altitude, like it couldn’t control its flight path as much. Another spray or two and it might drop to the ground and wriggle its legs in the eternal death dance.

It was disgusting. We have to show the bodies to the health inspectors next week, so we couldn’t completely destroy all trace of them and had to leave them on the window sills in reception and room 5. Yuck.