Being Called A C*nt By A Stranger

Writing

It’s not everyday that you can indulge in the luxury of having off-the-cuff profanities spat at you on a public street whilst on your daily commute home from work.

So given that exactly this unfolded this very evening makes me really want to count my lucky stars and thank God for all of the socially defunct individuals who scuttle through our streets, waiting to pounce unannounced on the unprepared passerby a.k.a. moi.

No matter who you are or where you are, rest assured, an ill-mannered, pale and stale son of a b*tch will force their way into your life if only for a moment to p*ss on your parade. What kind of world do we live in where you can’t even walk down a residential street without being told you’re a c*nt by a stranger? Cat calls are bad enough but to say something so vulgar such as the C-word is a total disrespect and disregard for me as a human being.

If the world p*sses you off, don’t take it out on me. Mental-illness gets a bypass, but if you are not mentally-ill and instead you are someone who quite bluntly gets a kick out of straight-up verbally insulting someone you know nothing about then  you’re someone we should feel sorry for. For your life must be in a seriously dire state for you to be so cruel.

As the hooded man in his late-thirties stared into my soul while simultaneously slating it as he spewed the expletive with such conviction, I felt a tremor of shock ripple through my body. I turned my head to ensure he wasn’t going to step up his verbal assault with a physical one.

I stopped momentarily, struck by confusion as to why someone who doesn’t know me felt so compelled to say such a thing. As I watched him fade into the darkness of the Winter evening, my thoughts of confusion followed and faded alongside him too. In exchange came one clear intrinsic thought – ‘why be an enemy to yourself when you have plenty of enemies in this world’, not to say that every stranger I encounter is an enemy but moreso it’s this idea that we are all so hard on ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies, we look at self-love as something which is either mushy or big-headed. But those who see it in these lights fail to understand the true meaning of love. Perhaps love means different things to different people, to me it is an unconditional kindness and care for someone/something. Absent of harm, and full of compassion. It’s funny how we can apply all of these to another human being yet can struggle so much to apply them to ourselves. I am notoriously hard on myself, and I’m sure there has been times in your life where you have been so too. When you reflect on the ‘stick over carrot’ model this, do you think it has led to better or worse outcomes? Better or worse moods?

Perhaps I really should be thankful for the stranger who called me the c-word. For he made me realise that self-love is more important than I may have believed previously. I’m not saying that we need to put our guards up to strangers and repeat affirmation after affirmation to ourselves in the bathroom mirror before blowing ourselves a big kiss each morning. But I do believe if we were to even pause for a moment each day and reflect on how we are feeling, how well we are looking after ourselves then really all of us would be in a better place. Maybe even the man who swore at me today, he needs some self-reflection! Some self-care.

I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself, and if you are then don’t be! Because someone may just call you a c*nt for being so!

 

neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

The Wacky Walking Race

Writing

Have you ever had a silent race on a footpath with a stranger? Where you both take it turns  to overtake one another. Steadily and surely picking up the pace in a desperate attempt to outmaneuver your opponent.

I’ve had this too, but what I haven’t had is an argument with an old lady who is desperately trying to outrun me on a  residential road on my walk home from work. Well, atleast that was the case until yesterday.

Yesterday evening it was dark, 5.30pm was fast approaching and my legs were making a speedy getaway from the workplace. On my usual route home I walk through quite a nice middle-class neighbourhood which, to my finding, can act as a quite the backdrop to some not so nice characters. As I trot down this residential road, as I do every other day, I try to overtake  a fellow commuter – a short elderly woman, who was walking at a slow pace and had a grocery bag full of red wine.  This was a maneuver I should have never attempted, no sooner am I inches ahead of her than can I see out of the corner of my eye her grey haired head bobbing straight passed me as she jogs with vigor to get ahead of me. I found this peculiar but thought nothing of it and so attempted to get passed granny once again. Yet this time, before I even had the chance to get parallel to her, she spins her head round like The Exorcist to glare at me before 1, 2 3, going at full throttle running the street to get away from me.

In shock at her antics I held back out of fear that had I somehow managed to outpace the geriatric then she’d have taken it upon herself to do me in in such classy style with a bottle of red wine to the back of the skull. And with that image quickly flashing into my head I decided to detour up a side road to avoid that rather inconvenient yet very probably possibility. And in doing so, the old doll, now an ant-like size in the distance, shouts back –  ‘good riddance, piss off’!

Now, bearing in mind I don’t know this woman from Adam or Eve, I have not bumped off her first born, taken the last red wine bottle in the supermarket or told her she’s a coffin dodger, so what is her problem? Can I not walk own the street without being hurled abuse at?

But I guess this is nothing compared to getting your hair spray painted red by an absolute stranger as you wait for bus no.24 at your local bus stop. Later do you come to realise through the city news rags that your newfound hairdresser is actually an escapee of a local London asylum. But I guess that’s a story for another time…..;)

Happy New Year To You, Not I

Writing

I hope you’re having a pleasant start to the new year, if not then I hope revelling in my misfortunes will have you grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat. 

 

Having just about set foot inside my grotty London flat on the 1st Jan after a rather heart-palpitation inducing flight from Northern Ireland to visit the fam over the holidays, I’m greeted by a bold red-fronted letter of pure threat. Who could it be? My stalker’s love letters normally arrive for me on a Friday, it’s several days too early I pondered. Ripping it open in a fashion much similar to the scenes in Alien vs Predator where the Predator thrusts its hand into the victims stomach and then rips his spine out through his……we’ll not go there. Simply put, I open the letter with a hard swallow and what meets my eyes is the unwelcome invitation of a £1,000 fine coming my way if I so choose to abstain from paying for a TV license. Do you think I could get away with saying I don’t watch TV or is that a bit weak? I double blink in the hope that I just had a moment of utter delusion, as if the more I blinked the more zeroes would disappear from the fine. Just to be clear this is a warning – I’m yet to be fined, and have infact bought a TV License to cover my back for my endless bingeing of Botched, Louis Theroux and Sugar Rush (wait this is Netflix)? Anyhow it was just a miscommunication, I’m not keeping tabs on what channels charge me my hard earned money to become transfixed on the latest terrestrially televised topic. Why should I be? I have better things to do, like spend my wads of cash on the important things in life, such as scratchcards and Cuban cigars. 

 

As if this wasn’t enough, I also had a letter grace me from a magistrates court summoning me to appear infront of a judge for……..

 

I shouldn’t be divulging this information, for you’ll probably think I’m some sort of conman, it’s not like I intentionally forget to pay these bills, I just DO forget sometimes. Anyhow it’s all paid up now, besides it’s not like I’m tax evading millions (give it time). 

 

I’m off to buy a shredder for my letters, Happy New Year to you! 

Ghost Stories – Continued

Writing

So I’ve made it, with a sustained pulse so fast it almost flatlined and enough buckets of sweat to fill the oceans twiceover, it’s safe to say ‘Ghost Stories’ did it’s job of being terrifically terrifying last night at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London.

 

Not to give the plot away too much, but it basically follows the narrator on a journey through 3 individual ghost encounters, executing a jumpscare once every couple of minutes it felt like. It got me thinking, what causes us to ‘jump’ when we’re scared, surely the little skip in your seat wouldn’t serve you much of a purpose, or would it?

 

What Is A ‘Jumpscare’

 

A  technique bringing about an abrupt change in audio or image in order to frighten the audience.

 

What Happens When We Are Scared By A Jumpscare:

 

The sudden change of stimulus causes a series of chemical reactions in the brain to facilitate the ‘fight or flight’ mode. Specifically a part of the brain called the ‘hypothalamus’ activates two systems in the body which prep you for that survival instinct on whether to run for the hills or fight it out. These are the 1)sympathetic nervous system and 2) the adrenal cortical system.These systems work to transfer stress hormones throughout the body to cause the symptoms we know of including an increased heart rate, tense muscles and dilated pupils. Increased heart rate = more blood can flow to the muscles energising them to run or fight and to the brain for quickfire decision making in the face of danger. Muscles tense energized by glucose and adrenaline. Dilated pupils allow as much light in as possible so the perceived threat can be seen clearly.

 

So now that you know a little about what happens inside of you when you’re scared, will any of the below trigger the physiological effects above in you?

 

 

Courtesy of Bros Top 11 (not my material)

 

Did it work on you? If not, would you pay money with the intention of getting scared out of your mind like I did?

 

The Newbie In The Workplace

Writing

Let’s face it, noone likes being the newbie at work. You know the second you walk in the door you’re being judged by every single person’s beady little eyes. Small talk about the weather at the coffee maker only gets you so far as you fast realise you need to step up your conversation game.

 

The Dress Code & Awkward Intros

 

We’ve all been there, worrying about what to wear on the first day, dress code – ‘smart casual’ so we wreck our brains the night before questioning whether that’s code for casually smart or smartly casual?! The worst part isn’t even the fact that you decided to don the stained off white shirt with clashing suit trousers, instead it  has to be when your line manager decides to raise your blood pressure before lunchtime by briefly and awkwardly introducing you to everybody in the department. You smile and nod, pretending to remember each individual’s name only to find yourself forgetting your own in the midst of internally being an absolute nervous wreck.

 

Newbie 4 Life

 

Another question I ask is for how long do we ride the newbie train for? Are you still the new guy 2 months down the line or 12 months until the newest recruit trots through the door?Are you then jealous that or you are no longer the freshest face on the floor or relieved that you’ve now bedded into the background?

 

Probation Problems

 

I ask these questions as I’m currently the newbie on my floor, I’ve been in my job as a music coordinator for 3 months now and perhaps you still feel new even to yourself until you pass the ever dreaded judgment period of performance known as probation.

 

I’m quite bad with names in general and I think joining quite a large department doesn’t help the matter yet instead dooms me into referring to almost every person as ‘that lady with the red top or man with the mullet….’Yeah, please pray for me in making it through probation. By the sounds of things I’ll need it.

 

If you’re new to your job do you feel the same way or do I just have a serious bout of bad luck?