Nature, the ultimate accessory

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I don’t even need to wait for Monday to do this, this is ongoing.

I was weeding the garden today – hard as a bone – when I heard someone say ‘excuse me?’ Often I’ll have a chat with the neighbours whose garden is next to mine, but the other side has a gap, a big fence and then flats. Although I see the various occupants sometimes, we’ve never talked. Anyway, a head was poking over the top of this big fence. I turned around and the guy chuckled smugly at my sweaty self, which I didn’t like.

‘Hello,’ he said, still smug, ‘do you pick your apples?’

Now our apple tree has many bright red apples on it, but most can’t be reached and those that can aren’t that nice and often have maggots. So we pick what we need and let the rest fall. I figure they serve as food for the birds and insects, and since they’re more endangered than me, I feel good about it. Occasionally visitors get uppity about it, ‘Don’t let them just fall! Why don’t you bake a pie?’ they say. But when I suggest they go collect some, they last about three minutes before giving up, complaining about inaccessibility and maggots.

‘Sometimes,’ I say.

‘Do you eat them yourself then?’ he asked, and I could hear the lecture about wasted apples desperate to get out of him. I’m aware I sound unreasonable, but he was oozing smug.

‘Sometimes,’ I said, ‘but they have a lot of maggots.’

‘Ah. Perhaps I could try some?’

‘Ok,’ I said, found a maggotless one, picked it and climbed the fence to hand it over.

‘Thanks!’ he said, with a cheeky grin. ‘I thought I should ask before just taking one.’

‘How would you take one?’ I asked looking at the high fence and the metre gap and my fence, he wouldn’t be able to reach.

‘Well, I’d climb over the fences!’ he said proudly.

‘Yeah, I’d rather you didn’t break into my garden,’ I replied, trying to not get too indignant.

‘Hmm, yes, I thought I should ask, so you didn’t turn round and see me right behind you!’ he said chirpily, as if he was doing me a favour and wasn’t acting creepy. ‘It’s good to eat things from the garden, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘More natural.’ Again, smugness abounded. Because, yes obviously it is, so saying it with a patronising tilt of the head isn’t necessary. I was making assumptions, but he struck me like the kind who’s never grown anything, but buys all his fruit and veg at the farmer’s market and thinks that makes him an expert on nature. The kind who believes because he’s watched Bear Grylls he’s a survivalist. In gardening I’ve met a few of these types, they like to stand about lecturing me while I’m working. A Nature Poseur.

Anyway, I went inside and told Hamoudi about it.

‘Oh,’ he said, ‘is he the one with the sword?’

‘Er what?’ I said.

‘The white guy who poses in the garden with the sword? He stands on his own doing stances.’ Hamoudi did a couple of sample man-with-sword poses.

‘I’ll bet that’s him!’ I said. Hamoudi showed me the garden he poses in, and since there aren’t many white guys in the neighbourhood, I’m thinking that yes! He’s the guy that poses with the fucking sword. Like I said, a survivalist!

 

Angry strangers

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A woman on the tube today had a high vis vest on, she wasn’t acting oddly at all, just standing by the window at the end of the carriage looking out so that her back was turned towards me. Written in huge letters across the back of the high vis was

I’m straight, get it? Yes, I’m a woman and an engineer so keep your prejudices to yourself. Even in a high vis I’m straight.

Then on the front

Straight hetero engineer

I’m undecided what I think of this. On the one hand I’m sympathetic to the hassle women get for working in what are traditionally men’s roles, because I’ve had plenty over the years. It isn’t upsetting, but it’s irritating and it wears you down. On the other, writing it in huge letters on your clothes is somewhat stroppy and attention seeking, since 99% of people wouldn’t give a crap either way, and the only reason people were staring at her was because they were trying to work out what her high-vis said. On the other hand (I have three hands now) what’s the stress about being gay or straight? Does it matter if someone assumes she’s gay? On the other hand (now I have four hands, I’m a mutant!) I don’t know the circumstances surrounding this, maybe she didn’t even write the words herself.

Any other hands people can help me with?

Word of the day: paralipsis – fixing attention subject by pretending to neglect it

More AI rules for life

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“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”
― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Word of the day: Galeanthropy – belief that one is a cat

Today I saw a kestrel. That’s it.

Walk never-ending

 

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Wise words

“Well you know what they say, put five hundred monkeys in a room and they’ll come up with Shakespeare”

The guy chatting to his friend on the train, I don’t think he thought this one through

There’s a young man who lives down my road. I often see him on my way into work and one my walk home. On the odd occasion I’ve been walking that bit of road in the middle of the day, I’ve seen him then too. He walks with his head hung low, slowly plodding one foot then the other, up and down towards the station and back again. I figure he must live in the halfway house on my road and they kick him out during the day. I always want to talk to him because it seems like a lonely life, but since he’s staring down at the floor I can’t catch his eye.

Anyway, today he was sitting in front of a house, in the driveway, on his knees, facing the building. His head hung low as always. Just kneeling there, long enough for me to walk up the road and past him without moving. It was worrying.

Word of the day – Eremiomania – abnormal interest in stillness

Zombies again? Or something new?

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Found some writing on the pavement near where I live, written in (I hope) paint.

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Was wondering if this could tie into the zombie response vehicle and bone I came across a while ago. Is there something dangerous lurking out here on the edge of London? I tend to walk around listening to music, so if I need to hear them to find them, I’m probably missing them altogether. On the other hand, I’m not being fooled by the fake sounds.

Word of the day: Secretary – one who is privy to a secret

Wisdom, trolls and mud

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Now this is almost like a real inspirational poster, although I’d say exercise and doctors are also useful in the pursuit of health.

London today was soggy. It was ok, I have waterproofs, but the biggest problem was trying to not to destroy the squeaky cleanness of the messroom when I was coated in mud. And the toilets in the new block are too small, which means just getting past the concertina door meant I painted the wall with a layer of mud from my coat. Then I’d turn around to clean it up and decorate the other wall behind me. And everything I touched, from bog roll to door to sink taps became streaked with brown, I felt like a shitty Midas.

When we were getting ready to go home, Mike said to Dan, now you need to find an umbrella you can hold over me so I don’t get wet. I looked at him quizzically and he said,

‘You wouldn’t understand. It’s a man thing.’

Yes, he’s definitely trolling me.

Word of the day: limicolous – living in mud

It’s a man-thing

 

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Today I was in the kitchen with Dan and Mike walked in and began to excitedly punch him on the shoulder, saying, ‘Good night then, was it? Eh?’

And Dan started laughing as if they shared some exciting secret.

I’m nosy as all fuck, so I started whining, ‘What? What are you talking about?’ (I have an older brother, growing up I spent a lot of time left out, I don’t like it).

‘You’re not allowed to know. Me and Dan talk about things, secret things,’ said Mike, with that expression kids get when they’ve found something, but it’s theirs and they don’t want you to see it.

‘What things? Why don’t you tell me?’ I asked, because I have no real dignity.

‘Man things,’ said Mike smugly.

We all went outside and sat in our new bench area, but Mike hadn’t finished gloating, he wanted to make sure Jessica (who was sitting out there, happily smoking a cigarette) understood too.

‘See, you think that the communication ends at four when we all go home, but me and Dan, we carry on, that’s just the beginning.’

‘Carry on what?’ said Jessica, politely feigning interest.

‘Man things,’ said Mike, again, proudly.

‘Uh huh,’ said Jessica (she’s so much cooler than me)

‘But what are man things?’ I asked.

‘You know, manly,’ said Mike.

‘Tell me!’ I wailed.

‘Well, for a start we talk on WhatsApp,’ said Mike.

‘WhatsApp?’ I said, this wasn’t quite the wrestling-pigs-and-smashing-cars manly thing I’d imagined. ‘What about?’

‘We send each other selfies!’ said Mike.

‘Selfies,’ I repeat.

‘Yeah, Dan will tell me he’s going out, and then he’ll send me a picture of the shirt he’s wearing and ask me if it looks good.’

‘So you WhatsApp each other pictures of your outfits?’ I ask. ‘That’s your manly thing?’

‘And Mike sends me back pictures of his clothes too,’ added Dan, who’d been chuckling quite a bit, ‘look!’ and held up his phone that showed Mike in a flower patterned shirt and an inept duck face.

‘See?’ said Mike. ‘Man things!’

I think he may be trolling me.

Word of the day: phallocrat – one who assumes the naturality of male dominance