I was sorely tempted to post this on 23/2/23, but that’s not a Wednesday, and Meerkat Muses go out on Wednesdays, no ifs, no buts, no coconuts.
Anyway, welcome back to the Meerkat Muse! Let’s begin with noise…
At work, we recently made the discovery that a number of our tiles on our walls were in danger of falling off. The extent of the problem was also a lot worse than we’d previously believed it to be. This prompted a visit from store fitters, who spent a few days in the showroom, pulling off tiles and rebuilding bays. As you can imagine, this was loud work! The original problem stems from when the building was originally refitted, some three years ago. It seems corners were cut, and that inevitably yields trouble later on down the line. Our store is not alone in undergoing much-needed work, but by the time the hammering and drilling and pounding is done, we will all feel better. Why are you giggling?
The Quest for 365
As regular readers of this blog will be aware, daily Writing Prompt posts have been appearing since January. So far, I have posted every single day in 2023, and my ambition is to post at least once, every day, throughout the entire year. This might yet prove impossible, but I am scheduled to the middle of March. I’m trying to keep the prompts unique, so it will appear that they lurch wildly from one topic to another. Otherwise, I fear things would get too samey. By now, we have discovered the meaning of old words (tittynope!), considered alternate history, and pondered some of the world’s most absurd laws, to name but a few prompts. Where this will lead, and whether there is enough juice in this to cover every day of the year, is not yet known.
I lapsed into a bit of a lull with work on The Awakening’s sequel, but I am now back into a flow of sorts. I’ve cracked the 30K word mark, and moved into what I feel is the story’s middle act. There are some pivotal moments coming up, and scenes I both want to write, and don’t want to write. Make of that what you will.
Other Writing Projects
A lot of my other ideas/projects are sort of on hold. I need to focus on one idea at a time, lest I tangle myself in knots. There are other stories I want to tell, but I need to get this one out first.
The earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria the other week serves as a reminder of how fragile human life is, and how powerful nature is. Thousands of people tragically lost their lives, and one of the store’s regular customers was among those to lose loved ones. Here in Britain, the worst we usually have to contend with is flooding, and that isn’t usually a problem where I live. The prospect of losing absolutely everything to an earthquake is terrifying, and I am eternally grateful that I do not have to face that possibility here.
Love and Loss
The other week, as a family, we bade farewell to one of my aunts. I had dreaded the funeral, and I don’t mind saying it was a deeply emotional experience. It is still a surreal feeling to think she is gone, and my heart aches for her three boys. Tears were shed, but there were also moments to smile, as we recounted a life of fiesty and ferocious passion. My aunt was forthright, and before illness began to take hold, she had a rapier-sharp mind. Her final song? Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. I can think of no song more appropriate for her. She will be sorely missed.
Whilst waiting for a train to take me to London, I witnessed an act of supreme stupidity. Three young women emerged on the opposite platform, only to realise they were on the wrong platform. They had time to go back down stairs and around to the correct platform, and two of them did that. One of them decided it was better to climb down onto the tracks, run across them, and climb up the other side.
This is incredibly dangerous, and even if there was no risk to life, it could have caused numerous delays, and considering two trains had already been cancelled due to trespassers, I wasn’t in the mood for another problem. Given the painful reasons for making the journey in the first place… well, like I said, I wasn’t in the mood.
Thanks to the refurb, work has been pretty bonkers. The store needs a lot of cleaning, among other things, and on top of that, we still have customers to deal with. Consequently, my priorities were focused upon customers in the store. This led to a bit of irritating snark from a customer who called up, regarding a small refund. I didn’t get around to calling her back, and when she called back, she remarked about that failure.
Here’s the thing that any and every customer needs to understand. The universe does not revolve around them. Yes, I should have called her back, but I was wrapped up in designing five bathrooms, prioritising the customers in the showroom who needed help. Giving off attitude won’t make me want to help you faster.
OK, how do I phrase this? Recently, Facebook has been suggesting ways for me to make money. How you may ask? Erm, how do I put this? I can bank certain materials. This is potentially money to make hand over fist. This adverts keep coming. Oh give me strength. They’re ads for a sperm bank!
I’m sure there are many, many more puns I could make, but perhaps I should draw any discussion of a sperm bank to a climax. Maybe all this talk explains the particular type of dream I had the other night!
Eagle-eyed followers of Meerkat Musings will have noticed a change of theme recently. I haven’t definitively settled upon this new theme, but for the moment, I like it. In fact, I say ‘new’, I think I’ve used it before. It looks familiar…
Why the change? I just fancied it. It keeps things fresh. I am still looking around at themes, for as I say, I am not settled on this one, but for now, I am quite happy with it.
So, depending upon who reads this blog, I can’t be too specific here, but lately, a pattern of behaviour has emerged that keeps costing me that most valuable of commodities: time. A lot of this stems from what is, in my view, bad judgement. It is also creating stress for the person exhibiting this behaviour, but getting them to change and move beyond it… I don’t know how that’s going to be achieved.
The news has lately been awash with reports of unknown objects in US and Canadian airspace. Well, in at least one case, there was a Chinese ‘weather’ balloon getting shot down, but the wave of other objects has caused quite the stir. Now, I believe in the existence of alien life. I believe, in the vastness of the universe, that intelligent alien life has to be out there, somewhere. Whether or not they have the means to visit us, is up for debate. There are many, many UFO stories out there, and the vast majority of them have reasonable explanations. There are a few that remain inexplicable, by current evaluation techniques.
If these are indeed alien probes, then they’re not as sophisticated as we’ve imagined, for we’ve been shooting them down quite easily. It could be they are automated probes, akin to the satellites we’ve launched to the furthest reaches of the solar system. They’d lack the means to evade anything coming at them. What some alien race may make of us shooting them all down is anyone’s guess. If they’re not alien probes (and they’re probably not), then I’m wondering if they’re drones, being flown to heights that render them dangerous to civilian aircraft, and in that case, whoever is operating them is taking unreasonable risks with human lives.
Work just keeps offering up stress right now. I have quite a few designs and quotes on the system, and I do not want any more plates to spin and balls to juggle. This naturally means that I end up with more, right when I am already starting to feel overwhelmed. On top of that, cleaning the store in the wake of the refit has… Well, it’s not fallen upon my shoulders exactly, but I’ve done a significant amount of vacuuming over the past few days. On top of that, we were sprung the surprise of training a new starter for another store the other week. It wasn’t a complete surprise, but no one told us when they were coming, and thus, when they turned up, it was at a point where it was pretty damn inconvenient to be training. Still, we couldn’t just turf them away, and guess who’s shoulders took on that mission?
In the wake of all this, hearing the ‘suffering’ from what amounts what I consider to be self-inflicted wounds is… Well, I’m not especially interested.
The whole recent set of ordeals has got me thinking more about what I said earlier, about how time is a valuable commodity. It is perhaps, the single most precious commodity. I do not like having my time occupied unnecessarily, especially in situations where I am tired, or stressed. I don’t like hectic days off from work (the clue is in the name, it’s a day ‘off’). I need some time to chill out and decompress after a long week at work, and my evenings and days off form that time.
I appreciate I can’t dictate what to do every second of every bit of free time. It’s not all about me, and nor should it be. However, equally, I do need some me time. I need that opportunity.
‘Illogical and Irrational’
That’s the title of a recent post by a particularly irrational and illogical religious fundamentalist. There are many pronouncements of love and kindness to be found within the Bible’s pages, but this particular fundie appears to be completely unaware of them. I do not believe there is any kindness or love to be found in his heart. There is certainly no compassion.
It is tempting to issue a full rebuke of his spurious and dishonest claims, but there is no point. The capacity of the fundie to reason is simply not there. He twists, distorts, and does not understand how to make logical arguments. He deliberately overlooks facts and quotes from articles that contradict him. There is no reasoning with such people, and that’s why I no longer respond to him. Hate has hardened him, and I do not want it to harden me.
I don’t know what it is about the fundamentalists. It seems irrespective of religion or belief system, those who claim to be the most pious believers of these ‘good’ belief systems are the most angry, callous, and cruel followers of their faiths. They almost never practice what they so loudly preach. Hypocrisy, thy name is fundamentalist.
I dare say ‘sideways’ describes how I feel lately. There are a lot of thoughts rattling around in my brain, and I don’t know how – or even if – I should give them a voice. I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as melancholy, but it’s been a long two weeks, filled with various irritants, and I am bored of it all now. I am ready for the bad weather to be over, I am ready for the sun to rise, literally and metaphorically.
Some of this is down to having a cold, which I always despise. This latest one is a direct consequence of my daughter passing a cold on to my wife, who passed it to me. Cue me getting moaned at for snoring. Well, I didn’t choose to have a cold, or to struggle to sleep for ages in the first place. I’ve still had to go to work, even when I could have easily curled up and gone back to sleep when the alarm went off. I’m tired, I’m feeling lethargic, bunged up, and I have a few sources of stress on my plate, and I feel like I need to shove all of that to one side, for the benefit of everyone else. So I do.
Is that healthy? No, but I am too old to fundamentally change who I am. At least, I feel like I’m too old. I’m probably not, I’m just making a rod for my own back. I’m very good at that.
Do I neglect myself? I don’t know. I have a few aches and pains that I need to get checked out, and I have delayed that more than once, in part due to the cold (I don’t think it’s fair to visit a doctor whilst I have a cold, a doctor’s surgery is also the last place to visit with a weakened immune system). I can be my own worst critic, and maybe I don’t always let myself relax in the right way. The past couple of weeks – pretty much all of February really – have been riddled with stress, anxiety, frustration and fatigue. Maybe when the weather starts to improve, my emotional state will pick up too.
With that thought, I bid adieu to this Muse, and I look forward to recapping what will hopefully be a more fruitful next two weeks.