Navigating through the complicated web that is human behaviour can be tricky. Particularly when the persons involved are "going through some stuff" as they say... I don't quite remember my 20's, but I remember that they were pretty much about the ME issue. Why is this happening to ME? Why is everyone against ME? Can't they take ME into consideration? Looking back, all that time spent navel-gazing made that decade not such a happy one.
As experience shows, we're much happier when we reach out, share with others, see both sides of the story. Over time, our ego takes such a beating that it forces us to re-assess what happiness truly means and it is in the form of an open and positive individual.
I've been flatsharing for a good decade now and I've shared with all sorts or interesting, but also highly disturbed individuals.
One false move...
From the authoritarian landlady who used to call relatives at midnight while screaming at the top of her lungs to the drunk (and randy!) flatmate who used to call my mobile phone/knock on my door at 5am, hoping to get lucky, but overall it has been a happy one - thank goodness.
I love my current home. I share with two others, the flat is spacious and I have my own bathroom. I've lived there for three years and it has been bliss. We have swapped flatmates twice and it has been fine - until now.
We've just had a new flatmate move in. She seemed really nice - on paper, but she is "going through some stuff"... Basically, it is pretty much "tantrum central" when she's around. One day she's fine, the next not so much.
Oops here we go again!
For the first time in three years, I am apparently too loud for her. Basically when I walk, I make the floorboard creek and it is preventing her from sleeping. That and my music. I listen to light music when I'm working on my computer, but we have agreed that she would let me know when she needs to sleep and I would switch my music off. Two days ago, I had to retire to bed at 9.20pm. Yesterday, I heard a loud bang at 9.50pm.
I thought a wardrobe had crashed or something similar. She knocked on the door to ask me to be quiet and I replied "I didn't make that noise. What was that?" She replied upset, but a little sheepish "oh, it was my door. It's just because I couldn't sleep"-- so you slammed the door so loud that the whole house shook to its core?
Yes, she was having a tantrum. So I promised to switch my (light music) off. And so I did, working on my computer in complete silence doing my utmost to move as little as possible tiptoeing once or twice during that time. But I was apparently still too loud. There followed a lot of door slamming and loud telephone conversations to show her annoyance. Came 11.30 pm I was off to bed.
Next morning, doors were slammed loudly and she switched her music on, VERY LOUDLY and guess what was playing? ERASURE - give a little respect to me--- hahaha -- That'll teach YOU!
I woke up laughing.
Thou shalt not breathe!
People who have tantrums are hilarious to me. I don't know what it is is; the crazed look, the behaviour, the irrational thinking.
Gad Elmaleh, a very successful French comedian banked on that very hilarious side of tantrums for his show "Papa est en haut" (Dad's upstairs). There is an incredibly funny sketch where he shows his Dad in a full blown diva tantrum against his children where he makes preposterous threats such as: Dad (fuming)"I'll put you into box"... (a box?)....(bright red) "Yeah, yeah and I'll lock you there" (lock us in a box?).... Until, until... (a pause, then LOUDER)... "You're.... 65!!!!".
My niece who is 5 years of age was having a pretty impressive one the other day. Apparently we (her sister and I) had been mishandling her Disney princesses when we were playing the game she had suggested. Out of nowhere she gathered her princesses and stalked to the other side of the room in a fury. Her hands were shaking and she was getting redder and redder by the minute.... "No one.... NO ONE..." she started to scream... "will touch my princesses... EVER again!!..." Looking even redder, slightly drooling at the mouth..."particularly, particularly"... She shot a bitter, infuriated look at her sister... "MY SISTER!!". She slumped to the floor in hysterics.
Her mother sashayed into the room then calmly said to her:
"And you'll live very lonely ever after"
Give a lil' respect tooo meeee!!!
Last Wednesday, a friend of mine called me and said "you like the Wright Stuff, don't you?" I do -actually it is probably one of the only programmes I like on day time TV. You've got Jeremy "Vile" on ITV (no comment!), kiddy TV, re-runs of American sitcoms or a (fake) dose of the "real" housewives of Beverly hills, yawn, yawn... You can actually watch the Wright
(Me, above trying to pretend that there Stuff and feel that no one is trying to
wasn't a big camera shoved in my face) drain your brain of its precious neurons. So
yes, I like the Wright stuff, "Why?", I
"I've got a spare seat for tomorrow's show" she said. "Would you like to come?"-- Would I like to come? Sure I would. I've never been on a TV set and what's more, wouldn't it be great to see how they make TV shows? What's more I do like Matthew Wright, he seems genuine and nice anyway so yes, I was sold. I arrived at Whiteley's Shopping Centre in Queensway where the Wright Stuff studio is randomly situated. There, we were told to meet at Starbucks, this already set the tone; this was going to be a very laid back affair.
There, we were greeted by Eric (right) and we had to fill in a disclosure form. I have no idea what that form said, hopefully I'm allowed to write this post - oh well. Anyway, Eric behaved as if we had met many times before. Turns out that this was partially true as quite a few of the participants were regulars. They all greeted each other enthusiastically then complimented each other on the amount of screen time they each had received that week . I felt like I was being introduced to a strange new world.
Prior to coming, I had been warned that those shows were running like clockwork and that I would not be allowed to excuse myself to go to the loo for the duration of the programme, nor take pictures. "Four hours and no break?" - I asked Eric and he responded: (re: loo break) "when you gotta go, you gotta go" (Nuff said, turns out I didn't need a loo break. I do not have a weak bladder but I do have a feeble mind so knowing that I could go did the trick!) - (re: camera) "sure, bring it in". Wow, this was great!! So in we came and the studio pretty much looked like it does on TV. This is a small production team with a very welcoming, "family type" feel.
There were not that many of us in the audience and we we were close to Matthew and his guests which was nice. Matthew was not feeling very well that day. Clearly he had barely made it in and yet as soon as the cameras were on, he was his usual bright and cheery self. I was amazed by his professionalism. Like Eric and the crew, he was also incredibly nice and gracious, chatting to us between breaks etc.
It has been a long running theory of mine that a boss defines his/her team. Ie: a horrible boss makes horrible/miserable employees and a nice boss makes very happy/open/successful employees. Nowhere more than the Wright Stuff, was I proven right. Everyone on the set was a happy, welcoming soul and so was their boss.
As a matter of fact, despite feeling rundown and poorly, Matthew graciously agreed to have his picture taken (left) with a nice laugh and chat to boot. Weird to say this, but when we left, we felt like we were part of the family. It was brilliant and I would go back in a heartbeat, beats a "live" Jeremy Vile any day, that's for sure (although to be fair, I'm only guessing).
I had the wonderful opportunity to spend Christmas in Brittany and New Year's eve in the Alps. Living in a city all year round, I can surf the urban jungle that is London with my eyes closed (well, almost). I can walk for miles in the city that I have learned to love and feel totally at home.
(La Baule beach, left and above - © Damien Juge )
We city people see the countryside as "relaxing", but it was a much more humbling experience that awaited me. Winter in Brittany is an ocean's waves crashing into the shore like an orchestra playing an ode to its awesomeness. It is all the might of mother nature facing you head on, the battered winds keeping us dangerously close to the cliff's edge. My head was spinning from the unadulterated breath of oxygen, yet the city
(La cote sauvage © Damien Juge)
girl in me kept wondering whether the cold sea spray could double as a free facial. Old habits die hard. Once home though, with my hair all over the place and mascara smeared around my eyes, what I had achieved was more the "crazy woman" look than a dewy one. I wasn't being beautified, I was detoxing.
Once in the Alps, a different sensation took over. It was high up, there was snow everywhere and it was a crisp, wonderful cold, but one that stripped away any leftover city scum that I might have left behind. I couldn't wait to get going, yet I was a lot slower and not as fit as usual. Turns out that the altitude was getting the best of me. I had to wait for my body to start producing enough red blood cells to cope with it all. By day 2, I was myself again and buzzing.
Serre Chevalier, right, above and below © Damien Juge
I did feel about 10 years older walking with snow racket shoes, but I managed to cross this winter wonderland. As I was carving footsteps into the virgin snow, I could not help but feel that this is truly how human beings were meant to live. There were so many instances when my city mind was on high alerts. Upon seeing the free running water pouring out of the village fountain, I couldn't help but feel that someone should really turn the tap off as this was wasting. And again when the hot spring offered warm running water from another fountain, I couldn't help but feel that someone's bill was going to go sky high. Nothing here is manufactured or produced, this is all courtesy of the earth's core or the mighty surrounding mountains. All that we need is out there in the world, literally.
The green (part-time) warrior in me, kept thinking that we could redirect the hot spring to provide free hot running water for the surrounding houses. However, one trip to the local baths spa where the hot spring was supposedly free flowing and after an hour soaking in the (not so natural anymore) heavily chlorinated swimming waters, it occurred to me that we, human beings when we're not busy manufacturing fake water, we're hard at work trying to sanitize what comes naturally. My skin was ruined from being soaked in chemicals. Crazy world. I am just thankful that we haven't quite managed to destroy it all yet. As far as I am concerned, I will still try to live as organically as possible in 2013; giving the green finger to the system! :)