Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Fucking horrid bastard moth bastards

A British-style ‘heat wave’ has started. That is, three days of semi-humidity, requisite British moaning about the heavy moistness of the air and the little drip of sweat rolling explicitly on the insides of undergarments. The buzz in the air and the romance of the city clothed in glorious sunshine.

I opened up the French windows and decided to make the garden another room; a perceptual shift that made me want to hoover the grass and mow the carpet. Housepride creeps imperceptibly outwards. The doors flung open in Mediterranean, outlandish holiday fashion, the ground reverberates with retained warmth spreading a delicious outdoorsiness onto our prosaic Monday evening.

And now. The doors are shut, the night remains prosaic, but the walls. The walls are alive with little fucking hideous moths, even smaller antsy variants on moths, fluttery intruders and feckless, skimpy daddy-long-legses. Little brown terrorists who’ve come inside to build their communities of pointlessness on my walls.

Yes, yes, moths are barely any different to pretty flutterbys, if only on their antennae blobs or some such, and I’m sure they do something good for the environment. But firstly, I hate butterflies too (the first time I went into a butterfly house with my sister and our friend, we had totally bought into the idea of the delicate, colourful butterfly as an exotic adornment to the fleshy, pregnant species of plant in there. We entered the tropical atmosphere of that glasshouse wide-eyed, expectantly hoping for their mystery and beauty to inspire us, when WHOOSH! The biggest fucking butterfly you’ve ever seen, a giant monster face on a killer eagle’s wings, dived-bombed our heads and from that moment we ran ducking through the butterfly house as fast as we could, screaming our heads off. This story has in no way been exaggerated by the passing of time and the comic potential of hyperbole). And secondly, there is no logic in the world that will ever make me not hate moths, because once when I was about 15 one of those little fuckers thought it would take a magical mystery tour into my ear, attempting to gorge itself on my gooey brain and suck out the lifeforce of my nascent intelligence. Did it see the light coming through the space between my ears? I can still feel it’s cracked little wings scrabbling dryly against my ear canal as I pranced about demonically, banging my temples with the club of my hand.

So now my reflex when I see them flouncing pointlessly towards me is to flail around like a small child, not a fully formed adult in possession of a degree of poise and rationality. And now I am just wondering what little moth bastards are awaiting me in my bedroom and whether one of them will crawl into my mouth when I’m asleep and lay moth eggs on my brain.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Weird dream no 1

Last week I dreamt that me and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters were chasing my sister’s boyfriend’s sister down the road. She was driving a white mini with hair on it made out of rubber. Dave and I were on a quest to find the key to the mysteries of the universe, or perhaps a global conspiracy theory, using two halves of a t-shirt we had each bought separately in H&M in Kingston. The t-shirt was covered in red runes that would unlock the meaning of life, if only we could find a way of deciphering them.

I also dreamt the week before that my sister and I discovered that we had a secret brother who was living in the attic. We followed some arrows that had been biro’d onto the carpet and found him up there doing bench presses and wearing a yellow motorcycle helmet.

Welcome to my warped brain.

Monday, 13 June 2011

An ode to eggs

As many people know, I have a mild obsession with eggs – their perfectly smooth, rotund form, the number of different amazing things you can do with them, and, most of all, the delicious oozing of a perfectly liquid, bright yellow yolk crawling magnificently out of the solid white, preferably onto a crusty English muffin or a wholesome bit of seeded batch.

Mayonnaise is made from them. Cakes are made from them. They top a healthy salad with an air of indulgence, but they’re still healthy. Are they magic?

The ultimate weekend pleasure: poached Burford Browns on their Benedictine mattress – smoked salmon – and topped with yellow, buttery hollandaise (also made from – who’d have thought it – the genius egg). Or scrambled in just butter – not overdone and rubbery, but runny and creamy and rich and exquisite tasting.

Such a small little object, the egg, and yet one that brings me consistent, unadulterated, unambiguous happiness. I love the fact that such a simple, easy phenomenon creates these little pockets of time where all there is in the world is me and my cherished friend the egg, where I am a relaxed yellow yolk and the walls of my house are an agreeable shell cocooning me into a cosy rotunda of contentedness.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

At what age are you the most human?

I’ve been reading about the care homes scandal with horror. People employed to care for vulnerable elderly people have instead been slapping, standing on, kicking, sexually abusing, waterboarding and psychologically torturing them. Is this possible? To take someone fragile and sensitive and unleash this cruelty onto them?

Much of the analysis seems to be political – rightly highlighting the risks of cutting costs and focusing on investment opportunities within healthcare, which only seems set to get worse if the Tories are insistent on letting any willing provider look after us when we most need an expert, trustworthy cushion to settle on.

But is it really true that “Too few badly paid, under-supervised carers will often mean neglect”? Is it being underpaid and poorly trained that prompts multiple individuals to practise inhuman cruelty on the generation above them? We call their stage in life a ‘second childhood’, but would those same individuals really practise the same abuses on small children? Would our reaction be different if they did?

What I see is age being devalued all the time, whilst youth and childhood is revered to the point of ridiculousness. I hear people constantly talking about “being the wrong side of twenty-five” or bemoaning the descent into middle age, which begins at 30 apparently (why on dating websites are blokes of 28 only looking for women between 23 and 29? Do they turn into psychotic, shrivelled banshees as soon as they hit 30, plucking out curly nasal hairs and wailing about their need to be impregnated before 35 creeps up on them?).

And, clich├ęd pet hate as it is, I cannot bloody stand those “Baby on Board” stickers. They symbolise to me the ultimate deification of childhood over humanhood. As if I am going to ram the back of their car if I know they have their granny on board. As if a child or baby deserves to be treated with more respect and kindness than an adult. Because I don’t think they do. A child’s life is not worth more than an adult’s – they are both human. Is it something to do with children’s potential, and the fact that they haven’t yet lived and experienced all the things that adults have and can? If we value this experience so much, why do we value it less in those who have it, or who might be right in the middle of experiencing the wonderful things our mollycoddled kids have such a right to? Enjoying and excelling and contributing much more to society than a semi-cognisant baby drooling on its own drool in the back of a car.

Yes, kids are cute and cuddle-able (apart from newborn babies, who are frankly ugly, writhing little animals). But adults are complex high-achievers – gloriously fucked up, and who knows what unbelievable thing they will create or what hideously inappropriate and amusing thing they will say next?

Perhaps youth is simply revered because it is farthest away from death, which we are supposed to fear so much. But we need to come to terms with ageing, right? Brace ourselves for the changes our faces will undergo, redefine in our imaginations what “I” look like… and then perhaps our culture won’t inflict such loathing on our elderly. Take example from our parents, who cared for their parents tirelessly and with dignity; prepare ourselves to do the same for them, and appreciate this time now, when all of us are physically able – not pushchair or wheelchair bound… talk, gather stories, create memories. This is what will make us all equals in our humanity.

Apparently Carl Jung said: "The afternoon of life must have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage of life's morning." Can we make a car sticker that says that instead?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The reluctant cyclist

What is this thing that prevents me each morning from getting on my bike? My house is a matter of metres from my work, my morals purport to be green and eco and shit, my bike is a pleasingly designed Dutch-bike-reminiscent curvaceous beauty whose gears flip effortlessly as I whir along the suitably maintained tarmac, and it only take seven bloody minutes. But somehow, regardless of what time I manage to drag my reluctant corpse out of bed, I am reliably late every morning and end up making up an errand I need to run so that I have an excuse to drive my little red berry car the short hop up the road.

Instead of my perception of that cycle as an arduous trudge up a shallow but long slope, lactic acid pumping round my leaden legs just in time for a sweaty, red-faced ending (phnah phnah), I need to reimagine the cycle. To think of biking in Oxford as liberating – breezing past beautiful old buildings and people stuck in their cars in traffic. Swooping through the airy streets glowing with spring-morning incandescence and oozing the history of centuries of fellow bikers rolling two-wheeled to their destination, seeking enlightenment and hope. Ahhhhh…

Come on come on come on Parrinder, get off your arse!!