My Poor Car has Died

So I was driving my poor old car the other day, and it starting making pretty weird noises like this:

*BANG!*  brrm, brrm, brrm *BANG!*

brrm *BANG!* brrm, brrm, brrm *faaark!* *BANG!*

Ok, the last bit was me, not the car, but you get the idea.  Basically it was really disconcerting, especially since it was about 10.30 at night and with every loud *BANG* there was an accompanying jolt to the undercarriage of the car –  kind of like when you accidentally run over the yellow concrete pile-ons when pulling into parking spaces.

like you’ve never done that.

Anyway, all the banging and the jolting and the loss of steering wound the poor, long suffering vehicle into the mechanic shop.  Two days later he called me with the news:

“it’s dead”.

Well, what he actually said was something gear box, blah, blah, difsomething or other, blah blah, $1,000, but what he really meant was,

it’s dead.

It is a sad day.  Piece of shit that it is, it was my piece of shit, and for the last five years it has gritted it’s teeth through it’s peeling paint, bungy cord, leaking door seals, balding tires and my refusal to ever wash it, and driven me anywhere and everywhere, I asked it to every, single time I wanted it to.

I have driven it into the ground, which I always said I would do, and which, in my opinion, is the best way for a car to go.  That little car has much to be proud of.  So rest in piece(s) little car, you were a good friend and will not be forgotten.

so – anyone know where I can get me a sweet new thang that looks more like this?* 

*Note:  Have only $400.  Call me.

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people don’t need guns

In light of the cinema shooting in Colorado over the weekend, I’m finding it difficult to think of a single reason why anyone should be able to walk into a store and buy 6000 rounds of ammunition.  As a Brazillian friend of mine quipped,

‘Wow. America’s gun laws are really working out for them’.

Subsequently, I’ve been reading arguments all over Facebook between my American friends to see why in the hell they don’t smarten up.  

Turns out they make this issue really complicated. People against gun control create complex arguments about their constitutional rights, twisting the meaning of what ‘the right to bear arms’ actually meant in the first place.  They talk about not letting the ‘psychopaths’ of the world ruin the freedom to enjoy guns that the rest of the population have a right to.

Wait.  Let’s just stop there for a second.

The freedom to enjoy guns.

Dude, if you enjoy shooting so much that it would ruin your life to not have a gun in the house, then really, who’s calling who a psychopath?  

Anyway, what was I saying?  Ah yes, the arguments.  The one that annoys me the most is the argument that insists that the problem is not ‘guns’ it is ‘society’ and that society needs to take a good hard look at itself and it’s values. Society has gone awry and needs healing.  This argument is annoying because of course, I absolutely agree.  Of course it does.  Of course this is a society problem.  of course, of course, of course.  But kids, surely it is obvious that if this fucked up society you speak of didn’t have access to 6000 rounds of ammunition, then you’d have less dead bodies lining the streets on your long walk back to Utopia. 

People don’t need guns.

I actually have a further hypothesis. If you took away the guns, then spent 50 years dealing with society’s deeper issues, and then gave the people the right to have their guns back, the thing is,  they’re not gonna want them anymore. 

Why would a healthy, confident, secure society want to have guns in the house?  That’s the whole point really.  It’s not a question of whether there’s a ‘gun problem’ or whether it’s a ‘society problem’ because it’s the same thing.  Being completely nuts about being able to have the right to own a gun is entirely symptomatic of this sick society you’re blaming the massacres on.  

I am reading an abnormal psychology textbook at the moment and if I were to diagnose American society I’d give it Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Evidenced by its citizens constant worry that something bad is going to happen, the paranoia, the feeling that they have no control over their own environment, the idea that they are never safe enough from imminent harm. They have guns to control their symptoms of the disorder.    

Get rid of society’s anxiety and you’ll also rid it of it’s obsession with firearms.  So lets just shortcut and take away the guns first.

People don’t need guns.

 

Cultivating

Today we are going to do something radical.  We are going to cultivate gratitude!  Yes that’s right, I have taken it upon myself to sign us all up for a crash course in dealing with winter blues in a healthy way.  Presently the way I deal with winter blues involves finding things, anything at all really,  to up and feel sorry for myself about.  It’s a game and it’s called, ‘How many things are crap today?’  I can come up with loads of things on the spot.  I am a champion of this game!  How about, I’m 32 and I still have to live with roommates!! Yes, that sux!  How about, all the places to live in Sydney are small, dingy and cost a fortune!  Yes, that sux too!  How about, my car is total bullshit and the front of it is held on by a bungy cord!  Hahaha – you loser! How about, I’ve been studying for four straight years and I still have about a million more to go and it’s all my fault for waiting so long to start!  Yesssiree Bob, that’s a humdinger!  And then on and on until we filter in all the problems with the environment, women’s rights, poverty, inequality, discrimination and TONY ABBOTT and, well, shit – it’s hard to get out of bed.

SO.  They say that one of the ways to ward off depression is to cultivate gratitude.  To be mindful – consciously, purposefully,  about the things in our lives that we have to be thankful for.  All the little things that we take for granted.  They say that this presence of mind about positive  things, will help to form a seal of protection around the part of you that wants to fill it up with negative shit. 

Well, that’s the way I see it anyway.

This makes sense to me because I’ve been thinking about all this ‘taking it for granted’ biz and I think that the problem stems from human’s having too good of an ability to adapt. 

See, human beings are a hugely successful species based largely on their uncanny ability to adapt to their circumstances.  When the shit hits the fan we adjust our way of life to the new set of circumstances and get on with things accordingly.  Without this quality we would not have survived the first  ice age, or, say, highschool.  We adapt or die.  We’re very good at it. 

The problem is, that our ability to adapt does not discern good circumstances from bad ones.  This means that we adapt to the good things that happen to us too.  We adjust quickly, taking on board the new set of circumstances as though they were always that way.  It becomes routine.  And so what happens is….

We end up taking it all for granted. 

It’s our natural way to be.  So in order to stay happy we (read: me) really need to consciously make an effort  to remember that the little good things are not a given, they are not for free and they are not obliged to stick around forever, especially if they’re being ignored.

So let’s see if it works.  Here is my list of 10 things that are not crap:

  1. I am thankful that I get to live in a house that is warm and dry and safe.    I am grateful to live with two very nice people who are supportive and kind and caring.  They also keep all the common areas clean and tidy and take the garbage out without being asked. I am thankful that they give me emergency cigarettes if I have a shitty day. 
  2. I am grateful to have a car that works.  I am also grateful that it is really small which means I can park it anywhere including places that aren’t really parking spots and are more like ‘no stopping zones’ and ‘do not park here’ places.  Sometimes I just stop the car wherever I am and get out and because it’s small, it’s pretty much good enough.
  3. I am extremely grateful that I have enough money to be able to buy a nice coffee everyday.  I can also sit down and luxuriously sip coffee and have eggs with feta and  chorizo and I do this all the time like it ain’t no thing.  Really, this is a total freakin luxury.
  4. I am grateful to live in a country where I can go to school without having to pay for it up front.  This means I am free to study to my heart’s content and I don’t have to pay it back unless I make enough money to be able to do so. 
  5. I am grateful to live in a city where it is only cold for 8 weeks of the year. 
  6. I am thankful that I have a job.  I can pay my bills without being terrified to open them.  And not only do I have a job but I was actually able to change careers from a soul sucking corporate gig to something that I believe in.   This is something that I never thought possible and yet now I take it for granted.
  7. I am thankful that I have friends and family who are all healthy and happy and caring.
  8. I am grateful that I have a bedspread that I really like.
  9. I am grateful to have gas heating which is super cosy.
  10. I am grateful for all the things I have been allowed in this life so far.  The people I have met, the experiences I have had, the freedom to explore and pursue the avenues I wished to take.  This is an extraordinarily lucky life I have been born into.

I am going to try to be grateful for at least one thing per day.  Aside from it helping me to be happy,  I also have a sneaking suspicion it will help to prevent burnout on the job as well.  I figure if I can live life with more gratitude  it will help dispel the anger and hopelessness I feel when faced with all that is wrong with the world. Ie:  Being grateful for what I do have, will allow me the strength and energy to be able to help those that don’t.  

And if that’s not reason enough to give it a go, I don’t know what is.

I am thankful for all of you!!

Today I am Exercising

Well, that’s what I’ve been saying to myself everyday for about the last 6 weeks.  No dice.  Perhaps today will be the day. But then again, probably not.  It’s raining and it’s still winter.  And remember how I generally boycott winter? Yeah well it’s hard to exercise when you’re boycotting.

Oh but I really do need to do it.  My legs get all twitchy at night if they haven’t been taken for a nice long walk and then I don’t sleep properly and then I become an asshole because I’m tired and then because I’m tired I won’t get off my butt and go for a walk.

Vicious cycle peeps.  Vicious.

I have all the best intentions and in the summertime I walk an hour a day no problem. but in the winter this is what happens:

Me: We really need to exercise today. It’ll make us feel better.

Psyche: Yeah! Lets Do it! Today!

[8 hours later, after work]

Me: Okay it’s time to do that exercise we talked about.

Psyche: Oh hell no, you crazy?

Me: Come on, we promised!

Psyche: Not gonna happen. I’m already in my snuggie.

Me: You are? Oh look at that, we are.  Damn, it’s cozy

Me: Oooh, is that “Tom and Katie” you just googled?

Psyche: mmmhmmm………

Me: Move over

Resistance is futile.

On another note, university is back in session. This semester I am doing a full course load (3 subjects) and two of them are statistics related.  Ahahahaha.  Basically what I’m trying to tell you is, things is gonna get a little hairy around here. If I snap at you, I apologise in advance.  It’ll be fun!  Have a great day!

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