Helpful Rachel Is Helpful

Last night, I was chatting to Flatmate about life. Work, routine, boredom – you know the drill. He’s got a job that he can do, and do well, without actually ever needing to think. So he’s got a hell of a lot of untapped brain-space, and is in consequence going out of his tiny little mind with boredom.

Because I’m helpful that way, I decided unsolicited suggestions were the order of the day. Plus, you know, I like to think that if I had the balance of money/free time that he does, I’d be doing So! Much! Stuff!! Really, this is probably a lie, like the way new mothers think that they’re totally going to be able to do everything perfectly, and also their new offspring will only shit rainbows. And then they discover what infant poo smells and feels like. The equivalent of this will be me starting to work full time again around this time next year, and then going “I am a work zombie. Aaaaaaaaaah. No art galleries for me until I find an antidote, or possibly gnaw somebody’s head off!”

Anyway, anyway. So we were looking through the helpful leaflets I keep getting (this is a character trait of my mother. It’s only a matter of time before we become one being) and guess what? I’ve found sod all that Flatmate is interested in, which is a shame, but what I have found is… something that I want to do! For free! Hooray!

So today (and every Friday until 27 August) I can walk 15 minutes up the road, learn how to paint with watercolours, be sociable for 3 hours, and not pay anything for the privilege! If I remember, I shall blog again to tell the internet just how well I’ve done at pretending to be a sociable person!

Things Not To Do When Ill

When you have the lurgy, and want to relax quietly in a semi-darkened room, don’t try to read Sexing The Body. You will end up with the book on top of your head when you fall asleep. This does not make you look or feel clever.

Also, although it is interesting, there was a whole chapter on cutting up brains. In my weakened state, I decided that Anne Fausto-Sterling must have some connexion with zombies.

Also also, although it was published in 2000, it presumably took some time to write, because she refers to “something called a listserve…. The comments are read by a group of people hooked together via electronic mail.” Perhaps because I was growing up when the internet prettified itself, and so never participated in forums like that, both the idea and the explanation seem terribly quaint to me. In much the same way that my brother finds it amazing that I existed before DVDs.

At some stage, when I am less ill, I might try to review this in a way that approaches sensible writing. Right now, the only other thing I have to say is that it’s a very dense book. I am only halfway through. And the bloody thing’s a short-term loan from the university library, which means I should be giving it back on Thursday. I’ve already renewed it once, and I only got it out yesterday!

Things You Shouldn’t Do

You should not read the archives of Nee Naw (although it is a very good blog)  if you’re likely to feel at all distressed at the thought of elderly men dying. Like I was, because it reminded me that not only is my grandfather very dead, he’s also very cremated now and so even if there is a zombie uprising, he will not be coming back.

On the other hand, reading about the people who take phone calls for ambulances reminds me of the time my sister tried to open a packet of blue dye with her teeth. Which also ranks quite high in the list of things you shouldn’t do. It was a bright blue, powder dye, and, not surprisingly, the packet exploded into her mouth. So she came to me, dribbling blue, to get my advice. I told her to spit out all the dye she could, and rinse out her mouth with cold water, thinking that this would remove it. Unfortunately, it was cold-water dye, and just made her tongue even bluer. So, both of us very shamefaced, we went downstairs to tell Mum. She took one look at my sister and got on the phone to the Poisons people (I think they live in Guy’s Hospital, but who knows….).

Except, of course, my sister thought that Mum was calling an ambulance, and that she was going to die. So she started screaming. And it was a couple of seconds after that that Mum’s call got transferred to the people that could tell her whether the dye was poisonous or not. Luckily enough, it turned out that the dye was only deadly if you inhaled it. And my sister had a heavy cold. So that was one death averted by an intrepid cold virus. Who’d have thought a small child would ever be so happy that they were all bunged up?

Remembering that story, I have to wonder how many parents would’ve phoned the ambulance people instead…