Squidward is my Spirit Animal

I have the kind of face where people are always asking me what’s wrong. I have a perpetual sadness that is so ingrained into my face what whenever I have to leave a room, people always make an extra effort to say goodbye to me in case that’s the last chance they’ll ever get to say it.

squidward 1

But then they always seem to be slightly disappointed when I show up again.

I know that look because it’s the same one that I give to my grandma every time she leaves. She wants me to teach her how to use Skype soon, but there’s only so many nice ways of saying that there’s no point, because she’ll probably be dead soon. She asked Lizzie once to help her out with sorting out her clothes, and Lizzie said, “Well, how long were you planning on being around?”

Having depression is kind of like that, because it’s impending. All the lights go out in your brain and you’re left shamelessly groping around in the dark. It feels like everybody is staring at you like you don’t have eyes, they’re just black holes which show that everything through them doesn’t have any light anymore.

It doesn’t get light again until you find the fuse switch, which can take months, depending on how hard you look for it and how much you really want to look for it.

squidward 2

I did a couple of lines the other week and about half an hour later when it started to kick in, my friend goes “so, how do you feel?” I analyse my body internally and conclude, “Yep, I feel okay”.

She looked at me with sudden pity and goes “wow, you must be really sad”.

It’s ugly. It’s very difficult to describe. The closest feeling I can align it to is guilt, it’s that kind of consuming emotional dread. In my final year, dappling with antidepressants, I got myself down to a size 6, and terrified a boy I was sleeping with when he ran his hand up my thigh and felt the cuts.

That’s what depression is. It’s not changing your underwear for days, to the point where they probably don’t need the elastic to stay on your body anymore. It’s not eating, even though that’s literally your favourite thing to do. It’s waking up, then shutting your eyes tight again so nothing becomes real yet. It’s going into public toilets and standing with your face against the bathroom door, trying to make yourself want to breathe, whilst a demon consumes every internal part of your body.

It’s listening to Damien Rice and thinking he ‘gets’ you. (what the actual fuck?)

I did my first five minutes in a London club last night, and I died. I literally spoke for five minutes to silence. There were 20 acts in the night, they get pulled randomly to perform, and I was 18th. By the time I actually went on stage, I didn’t want to hear myself do comedy.

I was so nervous, and my opening line didn’t go well, so then I got thrown off and half-heartedly tried to carry on to an audience of tipsy men with furrowed eyebrows, who definitely didn’t want to hear about my vagina.

squidward 3

Everyone’s got to die once in a while though, and as we all know from Batman Begins- notoriously the climactic triumph of the Batman trilogy- we fall to pick ourselves back up again.

squidward 4

And I will pick myself back up. But first, I need to get into bed, and not get out for a really long time.

 

 

The Impending Doom of The Hamster Trade

As long as the pet trade has existed, there has been hamsters. And as long as there has been hamsters, there has been Syria.

Syria- what does it make you think of? No, not their firm family favourite type of curd cheese served with cookies called Ka’ak. Or their traditional sword dance. It’s hamsters, probably.

How it used to be:

You (going into your local pet store): Hello sir, I would like to buy a hamster please.

Pet store owner: Hello nice lady, of course you can. May I recommend a Syrian hamster, or as they are more commonly known, the ‘golden hamster’? Their name in the local Arabic dialect where they were found roughly translates to “mister saddlebags” They are very active with great personalities. Let me show you to the exercise wheels. For the hamster, I mean. You actually look very trim.

How it will be now:

You (going into your local pet store): Hello sir, I would like to buy a hamster please.

Pet store owner: Djungarian or Roborovski?

You (a bit hard of hearing): Ovski?

Pet store owner: No, Roborovski.

You: What about Syrian?

Pet store owner: No chance mate.

 

Do you see? In the wild, these hamsters are now considered vulnerable.

 

Why should I care?

1) They are just like humans.

“Hamsters are very territorial and intolerant of each other, with attacks against each other being ubiquitous”

sound familiar?

 

“the female may attack the male after mating.”

God, don’t they bloody all? Bloody women.

 

“they may kill and eat healthy young”

And the list goes on.

 

2) They are used lots in scientific research.

This is a whole different kettle of fish. Which, interestingly, are not usually tested on, nor is their frequent counterpart; the kettle.

 

The sickening facts:

In 2014, there were 400,000 hamsters as pets across the UK. In 2013, there were half a million. What happened to 100,000 hamsters in that time, did they die? Will more die because of the actions that took place in parliament yesterday? What will happen to the otherwise roaring sawdust trade? I don’t know, but I’m worried, and so should you be.

*

Obviously, this is written in jest. I’m upset and scared about the decisions made last night. Please give anything you can to help.

http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/syria-appeal?sourcecode=A12022054&utm_campaign=syria&utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=pss1&sissr=1

“Toughen Up, Princess.”

“Well, that depends. How big is it?”

I’m standing in the Apple store, cradling my dying laptop, asking a genius which external memory hard drive I should buy.

“I think its about seventeen inches” I say back.

I have never seen a man more erect with laughter. He laughed so hard he had to bring his co-worker over to carry out the purchase.  I realise now he was asking about the capacity of my laptop, not its physical size.

The next day, I waited for four hours alone in Westfield for an emergency appointment in Apple.

“So there’s a hardware problem?” He asks. It’s the same guy.

I yank my laptop it out of its Hello Kitty case, along with several stale Frazzles and a tampon that’s come out of its packet. He puts his finger in the charger socket and pulls out a piece of pencil lead that was lodged inside.

There are no words.

I’m wet.

“I’m just going to do a restart on your laptop to make sure everything works now”

We wait a few minutes. I tell him he’s really good at technology. Several times.

“Sorry, these models keep freezing” He says.

“That’s ironic because of all the overheating they do” I say, excited for what potentially might have been the most cleverest collection words that have ever connected as an impulse inside my brain and then shortly afterwards ejaculated from my mouth.

“There are people waiting” He says.

It’s been 135 days since I graduated from university, and I’m starting to think that maybe unemployment might just be my “thing”. Everybody has to have “a thing”, and unfortunately “having a job” was already taken by, it seems, every other graduate.

arthur matt damon

Me, trying to fit in with other, more capable graduates

What’s your secret, graduates? Are you all saying no when they offer you a glass of water? Is that what you’re all doing? Is that some kind of test? If you say yes when they offer you water are you suggesting you’re not thirsty for a career with their company?

Every job application I do is like the start of a Tinder relationship. You start to get your hopes up, and then they decide to send you a picture of a massive, turgid, veiny penis. I start out with promise, get maybe a little overconfident, feel ready to send them my CV, and end up violating another human being. I have yet to entice one single employer with my dick pic of a CV.

How many stand up gigs have I done in those 135 days? One. Were the executives of the NBC sitting in the audience? Maybe, I don’t know what they look like.

I get up at about 10, ferment a teabag in a cup of sugar water, watch three episodes of Bojack Horseman, make another cup of sugar, open up a word document harbouring a number of shitty sitcom ideas that I’ll never pursue far enough to actually write, and bash my hairy forehead against the keys. If I’m feeling particularly brave, I’ll open Outlook and have a look at my emails. And then the junk folder. And then I check my drafts just in case I forgot to send any of my applications. And then my sent folder, just to check the applications did actually did send.

If my life were a movie, right about now the montage sequence would start.

legally blonde edited

I didn’t write a 5000 word essay on Battleship Potemkin for this shit. What the hell, Eistenstein?

I’m going stir crazy.  I’m starting to have inside jokes with my cat. And I think he’s a little too into it.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif

Naturally, I turn to the comments section of my blog for encouragement.

david horne comment

Thank you, kind sir. I feel much better for your warm, nurturing words. You see, if you take the time to actually decode the multiple layers of his encrypted message, what he actually means to say is:

“Life is not yet begun its up. Even you, princess toughen; hard to fuck in the arse”

He’s right. Maybe I should be less frigid. But also, life might seem pretty shitty right now, but it will get better. Soon, it will begin its up. Maybe.

Goodbye Jekyll

Our cat died yesterday and it’s been pretty sad for my family, so naturally I’ve been trying to get some material out of it. The situation, I mean, not the carcass of my cat.

I’ve turned to literature to console me through the pain, so I’ve started off with classic children’s horror and traumatisation fest Goodbye Mog. It’s a book designed to give to kids to warn them about pet’s death. It’s a bit like The Fault in Our Stars, but instead of cancer it’s euthanasia, and instead of love-struck teenagers, its Debbie and Nicky; two children who manage to milk the death of their pet into over ten pages of literature. Milking the death, I mean, not their cat.

She was so lovely Mog

This was a bit like what happened to us, except my cat died at the vets under heavy sedatives, and not because he was quite nice. Also we don’t have a basket because he preferred to sleep in my dressing gown, usually after having vigorous, juicy sex with it.

goodbye mog 2

Here, Judith Kerr is portraying Mog as a spirit hovering above the dead Mog, to further illustrate the inevitability of death looming over each and every one of us. Good one, Judith.

Mog 3

The book is about Mog’s spirit watching over the family, making sure they can cope without her now that she has gone. When she is satisfied that they will be alright, she then returns to space, like the little furry dead astronaut she always was.

MOG 4

I’m sure all these thoughts occurred to Jekyll at some point, but probably not before a massive blood clot dislodged itself in his spine and paralysed his back legs.

MOG 6                                                         I have a pre-existing blood clot

We are all gutted, particularly George, who, in a grief-stricken state, hastily consumed a whole sachet of As Good as it Looks before almost immediately vomiting it back up again in Jekyll’s favourite spot on mum’s bed.

MOG 7

Much like most other cats, George actively chooses not to believe in the concept of an afterlife, as he feels that the idea of heaven is futile if man is predetermined to live their lives a certain way before finding out that way was potentially wrong and thus is forced to spend an eternity in hell.

You were more than just a cat, you were a puma.

A big, snuggly puma.

2008-2015

MOG 8

Taking Waterstock

I went into the office at Waterstones yesterday morning, with a view to hand in my notice. I remember sitting in my student living room with Joanne, prophesising that this bit of life, the bit where it actually starts, was going to terrible.

“It’s going to be terrible” – said Joanne, thinking it is going to be terrible.

“Yeah”- me, agreeing, but secretly thinking it maybe won’t be, because I’ll be famous by then.

What do I have to celebrate at the end of this month? Well, I’m not pregnant. I guess that’s something I can celebrate about. I think my pants had a party about it anyway, if you pretend that confetti looks quite a lot like blood. I bought a pregnancy test anyway, just to make extra sure I could celebrate.*

Grasping at straws like a hungry teenage mother in McDonalds, I have fallen into a depression that has left me crying every day.** Unlike the dog-eared pages of the books I am forcing back into random areas on shelves, I am dog eyed. Everything is grey. And like the books that undergo my shelving technique, I am equally as identity confused.

In the heavy rain yesterday morning, my mother and I decided in the car to make the final decision to hand in my notice at work. Actually I think it was raining, but it might have just been the fact that my eyeballs were clogged with tears.

I sprung it on the manager I like yesterday. Handing me a tissue, she said that I need to think long and hard about whether I want to quit. So let me explain to you a bit about why I want to quit Waterstones.

I’m not good at my job.  

I’m just not. I’ll compare myself to my co-worker, and high school friend who got me the job in the first place; Bronwen. Bronwen is really good at customer service. Also, she is incredibly intelligent, and can suggest any book under the sun if someone asked, particularly something really hard, like a book on post war minimalism or something. I can’t seem to recommend anything more complicated than Flat Stanley. Which, by the way, is an excellent read if you’re into protagonists like you’re into coffee- flat and white.

Bronwen has a charm about her which means she can talk to anybody at the till, even the cunts. Believe me, there are some, pardon my French, cunts, who seem to come into Waterstones with a personal vendetta against literature, me, the shop, Wimbledon as a general area, growing old, waiting in a queue that they’ve joined at the moment that someone else has gotten in the queue, and the fact I am the only person on the till, struggling with a refund on a receipt that expired several months ago for an elderly woman with a face that harbours the arthritic verve of someone applying mascara on Nemesis Inferno.

Meanwhile, I’m writing poorly crafted jokes into my phone about how Donna Tartt sounds like the name of a slutty kebab. Bronwen knows she can rise through the ranks and become a manager one day. I’m hiding books behind each other and mixing Sardinia in with Sudan because I don’t know where the fuck Sardinia is on a map- because it’s an island, is it its own country? I don’t know, which is why I probably shouldn’t be working at Waterstones.

And all the while I’ve been left with one harrowing realisation:

Nobody wants to hear my jokes.

There was a spider in my bedroom about two weeks ago, and Mark asked me to go and find something heavy to kill it with, and I must have scrabbled around for about two minutes desperately trying to find Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, the flavour of a hilarious prop joke on the tip of my moistened tongue. He’s going to laugh at me being all witty, oh god it’s going to feel so good, and I then I’m going to laugh because he’s laughing but mostly because I’m so funny, and then we’ll both laugh so hard the spider will start laughing, laughing his little eight socks off. Except it won’t be an actual laugh, he’ll just sort of wiggle his pincers around, as is commonly accepted amongst spiders as a physical representation of the human act of laughter.

We’ll all laugh so hard tears will stream down our faces, well maybe just mine, because what am I like, honestly***, you couldn’t write it, and can you see the spider anymore no okay we’ll just sleep in the garden tonight

*Also, on that note, I’m beginning to assume hymens grow back, like that filmy layer you get on stale gravy. I’m not even sure if mine actually is still there or not anyway, or whether every time I have sex, it’s like someone poking their finger into one of those plastic packets with cling film used to cover raw chicken in tesco- like not actively piercing it but leaving a severe indentation?

**I realise this bit is quite sad, sorry about that. Perhaps some comedy might help you out here. I was mulling this over lunch and thought that you might like to hear some tweets that never made the cut for the twitter I don’t actually have:

-Do you like these buns? They’re like me; hot and cross.

-Brits aren’t really fans of ventriloquism, on account of being so tight lipped.

-Keep your cards close to your chest, unless its your community chest, and if so then place them back at the bottom of the pile.

-Donna Tartt? More like DONNA KEBAB (somewhere a spider excitedly flaps its pincers)

***Sad again, sorry. See above tweets for comedy relief.

Am I tired? Yes. A latte.

So here’s a quick update on my first week working full time.

I am tired. I am really, really tired. I have friends in the real world who talk about how tired they are but I sort of only half believed them, thinking that a full time job can only be so draining. Is a 9-5 job really that tiring?

YES.

I get up at about 6am because I’m too tired to work out how the trains function to get to work. I just don’t know which one I need to take. Time is really hard to tell. My brain is to time as what Dali is to clocks; all melty and fucked up. Often, when I think about time, I feel like I’m still in year six as little ten year old me, equipped buckteeth like grapple hooks, desperately fumbling around for a remote foothold of comprehension. A frustrated tutor looming over me whilst a little bit of pee runs down my leg as I gaze blankly at the page, a melty mushy mess of numbers slowly rotating, mocking. Even time’s embarrassed about being time, coyly covering its face with its hands BE BRAVE TIME SHOW US WHO YOU ARE.

Anyway, so I end up several hours early for work. Obviously I don’t go in early like a fucking nark (I’m not a keen pleb, get a grip) so I’m in Starbucks, every morning, when it opens, ordering a full fat latte.

Also, things have gone downhill with Jennifer and Vince. They moved in together a few months ago when things were getting pretty serious. They were still quite cautious about the prospect, tentatively rubbing along together. But now they’ve begun to suffocate each other, and they’re desperately trying to push the other one out. There’s a part of me that feels trapped in the middle, that can’t breathe. Jennifer’s even thinking about moving back in with her parents, to get a healthy distance. Is there such thing as couples counselling for thighs?

No, I’m only kidding, my body has never looked better, spackled with reptile-like scales and white confetti cellulite, like an internal piñata exploded inside me, in celebration of the stress carnival I have every morning. My jeans barely aid in constricting even the suggestion of a leg-like shape, like little conjoined overstuffed cocktail sausages. My legs look like two desperate snakes, eating parallel swollen cacti, slowly dragging their engorged carcasses into work.

I’m thinking about linking this blog to my Tinder profile.

I think that if I were to die right now, they would be able to tell how much weight I’ve gained through the curvature of my belly button piercing; slowly bending under the pressure of my stomach, being forced out of my body and over my jeans. If that doesn’t make sense, its because I don’t know how belly button piercings work- I just know its infected.

My skin is really great at the moment too, kindly adopting the texture of all the muffins I’m eating.

muffin

(Sugar packets for scale)

It’s shit. Everything is absolute shit. I’m not even funny anymore, really, I’m just annoying. Annoying with a big stupid face and a silly voice and a tubby tummy and a unibrow because I cant even afford the £5 to get them threaded by a woman in Nike Airmax.

HOW CAN SHE AFFORD AIRMAX SHE PLUCKS HUMAN HAIRS FROM A FACE FOR A LIVING

Anyway, if I’ve gained anything aside from weight this week, it’s an immense respect for people who work in retail. The general human population has a profound absence of this. I get people come up to me and ask stuff like:

“Hi can you help me find a book? I don’t know the author. Or the name of the book. But I just know its got like a bunny that fights crime maybe or is it a goat I’m really not sure”

And I have to be like yeah, of course, let me just flip through the internal rolodex inside my brain to the section on small mammals, then to the employed civil service sector, and then combine the two to find the subsection about vigilante rabbits and maybe look in the kids section for twenty minutes before you suggest that it might have actually been Claude the Movie Star Dog.

I had one very small little girl come up to my till with her father to buy a miniature pony figurine (£5.96). She didn’t say ‘please’ when she handed it to me, and to be honest I wasn’t too fussed on the matter, but her father was furious and made me put the horse back. The little girl then threw the biggest tantrum I have ever seen in the store, at ME, screaming. I can’t describe it without getting a bit shaky but it was almost exactly like that moment in American Beauty when the mother tries to sell the house and then screams because she doesn’t like the blinds or something. But this little girl was filled with a real, crushing, trauma-fuelled suburban existential hysteria, because of me.

I would have fucking bought that pony right there if I could have done to make her stop; other employees are looking at me like I’ve just kicked a six year old girl in the vagina. But that pony is the same price as a pair of well-shaped eyebrows. Her father drags her out, and then returns to the shop ten minutes later with the little girl, in his arms, snot and tears streaming down her face. Holds her up so she’s face to face with me and she squeaks out a sorry. I tried to smile at her, but it was very difficult to, considering I had just spent the last ten minutes in the employee toilets, hysterically crying that I had ruined a little girl’s life and I am probably going to be a terrible mother and it’s probably because I’m stupid and fat and I can’t tell the time and I lied earlier and it was more like year nine.

In a job interview I had last week I actually used the phrase “I’m used to rejection” and I think it’s really working out well for me so far.

Can I borrow your pot? Also, do you mind if I piss in it?

I’m going to level with you guys. I still haven’t found a job yet. Accessorize got back to me, offering a four-hour contract. Four hours a week. That earns me about £26. What can I do with £26? Good question I hear you ask. The possibilities are endless, including:

– Nothing.

Right now, I am dirt poor. If I changed my name to Penny, I would have one penny to my name. But being poor has helped me gain a few skills. Writing this post, I have mastered how to make a small Americano last three hours in Café Nero. God, let me tell you how to make an Americano last in the bedroom. (Am I right ladies? I have very little sex.)

What the actual fuck can I do with £26? Even If you times that by 1000 that still doesn’t make up the cost of my student loan. I’d have to work for the next millennia. ALL I WANT IS A PAIR OF STAN SMITHS FOR MY POOR-PERSON FEET TO FEEL A SENSE OF WORTH FOR FIVE MINUTES. I would have to work for three days over three consecutive weeks to earn enough money. How long did Jesus work in the desert for? I don’t know but HE PROBABLY HAD NICE SHOES.

So, I went on two more interviews yesterday*. The first interview was in Jack Wills. I got up ten minutes beforehand to give the website a quick Google to learn their ethos regarding Britishness, which ironically mostly involves relying on other countries for their merchandise (Post-colonialism***)

The interview involved going into a tiny room and being asked questions like if I was a fan of the Jack Wills aesthetic. I said yes and commended their great job on pink and blue, one of the rare combinations a superhero hasn’t already trademarked. One question I always look forward to is “how would your friends describe you in three words?” because it relies on the kind assumption I have more than one friend. Sadly, the answer is not “hire her now”.

I then headed to my second interview. This took place in a bookshop that I won’t name. This interview, by the way, was absolutely and needlessly terrifying for no apparent reason. I felt like I was interviewing for Oxford. It was like being Waterstones boarded for information, which if I had known, would have willingly given up faster than a graduate gives up dreams. What if she asks me to list the main themes of The Master and the Margarita**?

I thought Margarita was a type of cheese.

Also, The Master and the Margarita? what’s next, Tequila Mockingbird? Hahahahahahahaha we’re all having fun aren’t we

She really grilled me hard on what books were big at the moment, to which I had very little to respond with because I don’t have the money to go into a bookshop right now, and even if I did have the money, I wouldn’t be spending it buying all along the watchtower by Harper fucking Lee in a bloody bookshop that’s for goddamn certain. I’ve spent my entire student life avoiding buying literature. I’ll be damned if I’m going to be spending it on something I can’t display proudly like a ripe red baboons arse in mating season. That season, coincidentally, occurs in my world between the months always and having sex.

How absolutely fucking gutting that three years at university has taught me that although I can talk a 2,1 about books in a seminar that probably cost me about £200 to attend, if a customer actually asked me my opinion on Pilgrims Progress, I’m probably not good enough to talk £6.50 an hour about them.

I have heard back from neither interview, and I will be in Accessorise from 12-4 in Sutton on Saturday earning the half of one half of a pair of shoes.

—————————————————————————————————

*To any potential employers are reading this; I have put this in for character purposes only. I’ve only been to one interview: yours. Also, I absolutely probably did spend three years at W H Smiths leaning absolutely top notch customer service skills, seriously, just ask any one of my references, including my aunt and/or Bronwen’s mum.

**The Master and The Margarita is interestingly, not the tipsy, reluctant, nervous prequel to 50 shades of grey, as it sounds like it should be.

*** Look this is clever isn’t it aren’t I clever

Can I have a bowel please, Rachel

I’ll begin with today, because that’s what day it is. Today, I had an interview for Accessorize. Accessorize is basically Claire’s but for people who can afford to have shame. Accessorize mostly sells little charms for £6.95 and backpacks for transvestites.

Half way through the walk to the interview, I remember thinking, I’m not nervous at all. Like I was a little bit sweaty, but when you’re as consistently, cripplingly socially inept and dread human interaction as much as I do, that’s normal. Right in the middle of being impressed with myself, it happened.

I got diarrhoea.

And not the kind you can just clench and try to desperately hold inside, like a leaky moon cup. The kind that you have to follow through with right now, and I wasn’t about to do that because I was wearing a pair of expensive work trousers I had stolen from my mother, and I didn’t want to have to explain the reason as to why her leggings were in the wash was because I had shit myself.

So I ran home as fast as my wide fit (comfy on the bunion) Primark flats could carry me. Afterwards, I had this conversation:

“Pleasecanyoudropmeattheinterviewitsintenminutes”

“Alright. Hang on, are those my leggings?”

I’m late to an interview in which the woman interviewing paused and looked up from writing notes to check with me whether she had spelt literature correctly.

I’m supposed to find out if I have the job by next week, and I’d let myself get excited if I didn’t fear the implications on my bowels.

If only companies were as eager to hire graduates as they are with branding images of unnecessary Minions on things.

I am about a month into unemployment now and let me tell you about how much fun it is. It’s great. It’s really really really great. I would use more adjectives but unfortunately I can’t afford to, because I’m too busy being in denial.

My moods, my esteem, my expectations, my famous perky personality. I feel like where Far East Movement keeps their bass. I’m like Kylie Minogue’s song Slow, only minus the S.

At the moment I’m not even sure if I am actually depressed, or just bored. Or whether being bored is making me depressed. Or whether I’m choosing to be depressed because it qualifies the amount of time I’ve spent crying in my underwear. There’s only so much time my brain can take watching reruns of Friends and saying the funny lines a couple of seconds before the characters say them, to the amusement of no one.

The only thing actually high right now is the amount of time I’ve spent masturbating, which is shocking. I think it’s like a way I’ve developed to self soothe. It’s gotten to the point now where I’m becoming increasingly concerned about whether it’s just me who pays 100% undivided attention to the girl in porn. And then there’s the subsequent musings due to the implications of this, such whether I am actually gay, or if I’m just trying to convince myself I am so I might have an edge in job interviews.

I’m excusing myself from plans with friends to go home, strip down to my pants and critically analyse whether some of the darker hairs spackled on the upper parts of my thighs are simply ambitious pubes.

I’ve exhausted outlets for self-harming so much that it’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to start getting creative. Like systematically going through the profile pictures of the girl my ex-boyfriend is seeing whilst playing Chilli Pepper’s Don’t Forget Me. Or wrapping hair bands around my fat so they look like little pale diglets popping out of my skin. Or taking a selfie and then relentlessly zooming in on my face until I look like the weasel love child of Mr Bean and Sid the Sloth.

I’m considering volunteering. Some real fucked up shit.

Honestly though I’m thinking I might take over the family business. And by the family business I mean do what my dad did and disappear.

Is Turkey really in Europe because it sounds like one of those countries that should be in Europe but actually isn’t, like how Egypt’s apparently in Africa

At 21, going on holiday with family takes courage. You might be convinced by the multiple perks of a family holiday, including

  • Its free
  • It doesn’t cost you any money

We went away to Turkey, which is a land that lives in perpetual fear that cheese might one day become a finite resource, and thus feels obligated to garnish every conceivable dish with it.

Here are some highlights of the trip:

  • The invention of a game called Spaghetti Polo where you get those long float pieces and have to use them to hit a ball from one side of the water to the other. This was mainly just an excuse for us all to hit each other. Hit each other really hard in our stupid faces and savour the mutual sensation of the chlorine water burning each other’s retinas until we felt better.
  • I went white water rafting. In which you pay what you could have spent on travel insurance wedging yourself into a little donut and lumbering down a fast flowing canyon. The rocks were I can assume, enthusiastically matched by our stony faces as our bodies bombarded their way through assortment obstacles, whilst a Turkish man who belonged in Battleship Potemkin shouts useful advice at you such as “stay away from the rocks”.

When a pregnant cow is having a difficult labour, a farmer must forcibly drag the calf out of the womb using his bare hands, methodically negotiating its limp, gangly legs out of the cow, heaving, until eventually the calf is out, and writhing on the ground, soaking and exhausted. This is how it feels to be hoisted out of the Dalaman River by your lifejacket.

We got out of the boats and the attendant told us to take off all of our clothes and get on the ground. He broke up some of the mud from the ground with his foot and told us to rub the mud on our bodies, as apparently mud is meant to rehydrate the skin. Kindly, he spent most of his time helping me get every crevice of my body covered. I had no idea my tits were so dry.

Here are some snippets of conversation that really sum up the trip for me:

“You could do it in less than a day probably. What, weeks? No. Definitely not. Well, maybe. I guess there are a lot of hills. And there were some windy roads.”

– Lizzie, on the logistics of driving to Turkey

“You know, you look down and see all of this land, like all those fields and shit and it’s just like, where the fuck is that? You know what I mean?”

– Lizzie, The Plane, location unchartered.

“Alex, do you think people have a difficult time understand you’re my son because I’m white and you’re black?”

– My aunt, in the swimming pool, with a glass of wine.

“Ah you’re the older sister, are you the boss then?”

“No.”

– A salesman, exploiting my insecurities.

“Say hi to James Brown for me!”

The rafting instructor, to Alex, before laughing hysterically.

“Is that the same guy?”

-My mother, attempting to subtly whisper into her hat, as a previous taxi driver we had approaches us.

“Yes, I am the same guy.”

– An offended Turkish taxi driver, solemnly confirming the above.

“Look Alex, there’s you!”

– My aunt, excitedly pointing at another black person.

“So do you guys get a lot of trouble over here with ISIS then or what?”

– My aunt, before nonchalantly ordering drinks off a Turkish waiter.

Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ probably isn’t about my waitressing trial shift, but also it might have been, I don’t know because I haven’t read it

 Yesterday, I had a trial work shift at a fancy restaurant on the high street. I have never worked before. I arrived ten minutes early in a waistcoat and and a sense of spirit that was shattered faster than a femur at Alton Towers.

The manager gives me the tour. She points at different butters and relishes, saying words that sound attractive in French, but probably translates to English as something boring like horseradish or semen. Also, there are different kinds of mustards. In my family, we have ketchup. Even then, this comes with the terrifying commitment of having to precisely calculate how much ketchup you will be using with dinner. If you overestimate, my mother, sporting a thrifty clothes peg in her hair instead of a hairpin, will say something like “that tomato sauce costs more than my wine!” and then you have to scrape what you don’t use back into the bottle, whilst she solemnly sips Lidl Pinot out of a wine glass also fashioned out of clothes pegs.

The manager then takes me into the kitchen and tells me to start by drying a bunch of plates and knives and forks. Oh boy, they’ll be dry. You bet. Dryer than Oscar Wilde’s wit, just you wait, madam! There is a sad man washing up behind me. I start to ask him where things go and he doesn’t answer. Pablo The Chef explains that the man only speaks Portuguese, which confuses me because I thought Portuguese and Spanish were the same thing.

“Do you speak Portuguese?”- Pablo The Chef

“…no” – Me (the ellipses referring to me remembering a funny toy that my dad once brought back from Portugal, where if you bang it really hard on the floor it says “hasta la vista, baby”)

I dry things once, and then dry again, and then Man Who Only Speaks Portuguese hands me another tray of cutlery to do, but also inside the tray is a chicken leg and a bit of Oyster trails, and I begin to doubt his proficiency in the field of cleanliness. Pablo The Chef comes over and we have the following exchange

“Can I get you anything?” – Me, look at me go! I’m talking to someone, a person who works in the real world! Look at me! What repartee can I respond to the words that next come out of his mouth, get ready, brain! Here we go! Get thinking of stuff to say when its our turn, its coming up! Get warmed up neurons, we’ll need your services soon! Fuck me I’m glad I took my Omega Three tablets today!! Maybe we could ask where they come from, is it in Europe! I hope it is!!

“Yes. Do you have a gun?” – Pablo The Chef, perhaps practicing lines for one of the more serious youth crime focussed episodes of Dora the Explorer

“Hahaha! Ha?” – Me, wondering whether my £27k piece of paper BA would go to better use flossing bits of oyster out of cutlery.