The Meerkat Muse – 5th April 2023

We are into Spring, but has it sprung?!

red and white number board
Photo by Polina Kovaleva on

The Weather

There’s been an undeniable, steady improvement in the climate, with warmer temperatures gracing us, though we are far from the glory of a hot summer. I had hoped this would be the trend, but the end of March and early April rewarded us with only rain and grey skies.

The Brain Fog

Of late, I have struggled to find focus. I will start a game (Cities Skylines for example), and make a half-hearted attempt to develop something, and the moment it appears to be a lot of work, I’ll stop. I know I shouldn’t berate myself too much (we’re talking about a friggin’ game here), but by the same token, I feel I need to show a bit more of a hunger for starting something and seeing it through. Perhaps the next time I start such a game or task, I will do exactly that.

This focus problem extends even to reading books. I have some of the Expanse series to catch up on, but I can’t find the motivation to get back into them (then again, I found the first few books to be a slog, rather than enjoyable, so perhaps that’s more down to a lack of entertainment value than personal focus).

The Liar

Right at the end of the previous Muse period, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was called to speak before a committee, on the subject of whether or not he intentionally misled Parliament regarding illicit parties at No.10 Downing Street. Johnson insists he did not deliberately mislead Parliament, but lying is as natural as breathing for him. Johnson has twice been sacked for lying, so why would it be a surprise for him to be lying yet again?

The Dream

One of the most eagerly anticipated video games of the near future is Grand Theft Auto VI. The studio, Rockstar Games, have not revealed a great deal about the upcoming title, but they have confirmed they are working on it. My subconscious must have drifted in that direction (I have imagined how the game might take shape, especially in context of how Red Dead Redemption lore might fit in), because I had a dream where I was reading the game’s manual (ha, a paper manual, that’s proper old-school), and some missions were being described. One of them involved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they had to help F1 driver Esteban Ocon win a race. This race involved fast cars whizzing around the streets of one of GTA’s fictional cities.

Once again my nocturnal mind has headed into strange and unusual territory. This has got me thinking of the possibilities of lucid dreaming, and I might look into that.

The 30-Year Itch

So, a few days after this Muse goes live, a movie comes out that I have waited 30 years for. The long-awaited Super Mario Bros movie hits cinemas over Easter, and this meerkat cannot wait!

There was a Mario movie 30 years ago, but it’s largely not spoken of within the fandom. Whether the strange and surreal live-action movie could have worked as a standalone film is subject to debate, but as a Mario movie, the original film failed. It was a disaster from Nintendo’s point of view, and it put the venerable gaming studio off making any TV shows or films, until now. The new movie looks every bit as it should, and turns to the source material for inspiration. Illumination Studios have worked closely with Nintendo to ensure the movie will be good, and I am confident it will be. The 11 year-old who saw the original and was left thinking ‘ehhhhhh?’ will rejoice with delight.

The Glasses

So, in the last Muse, I spoke of seeing a doctor over some headaches, but first, it was advised I get an eye test, as sometimes new glasses can make a difference. It turns out I do need new glasses, and these will make a difference (to my eyes, and also to my bank balance, sigh). I’ve had my current pair since 2019, so it makes sense to get new ones, I just wish they weren’t so pricey!

The Lump

A few weeks back, I noticed a lump in my chest. Having little lumps is not unusual, and I’ve had them before. They are clumps of fatty tissue, and this latest one is no exception. I’ll admit that my mind did wander to sinister places, but following an ultrasound, I received word from the doctor that it is nothing to worry about. Because it’s nothing to worry about, it’s also going to remain a part of me, barring a sudden influx of cash. The NHS isn’t going to devote time and money to removing a benign lump, so that’s that. Obviously if it should start to cause me problems, it’ll get dealt with, but it’s not causing any woe, aside from being there. It’s not even visible, but I know it’s there, and it’s a tad irritating. Ah well, it could have been far worse, so let’s be thankful for little miracles eh?

The Sniffles

There is often a delicate balancing act to be performed when someone at work gets a cold. For one, you seek to give that person a wide berth (unfortunately, they don’t always give you that berth, and when you have to share a kitchen and toilet, you can’t always get away from exposure anyway). Two, you selfishly want that person to go home. Sometimes that’s not practical. Sick pay isn’t great, so it’s somewhat unreasonable to expect someone to take a hit on their wages, just to avoid a cold. Plus, in some circumstances, you wind up working alone if that’s the case. Lone working is not a tremendous problem for me, though if the store were to get remotely busy, it would be awkward.

The flip side is that as a small team, if a cold (or worse) sweeps through us, it can put the store in a difficult place. Coming to work with a cold is a selfish necessity, due to a society that values money and profit over health and well-being. During my covid bout at the end of last year, I had to work, or face less pay, a pretty stupid set of circumstances, but such is UK culture right now.

I don’t want to work when I’m sick. I don’t feel up to it. Dragging myself out of bed with a heavy head, snotty nose and sore throat is an unpleasant experience. I run the risk of infecting my colleagues, and all for what? So I can make a buck? Scrambling around for work whilst ill won’t help you recover faster. UK society has painted us into a position where taking a day to get better (or at least not feel as rough) is a sign of weakness, and worse, we get financially punished for it.

The other problem is that upon getting a cold from a colleague, you go home, and run the risk of spreading it to your family. If you have kids of school age, they then go and spread the cold around at school. Whilst I am loathe to return to masks and the like, these policies did much to reduce the spread of coughs and colds. A general willingness to be more hygienic wouldn’t hurt either.

The Anti-social Scroats

The other Saturday marked the start of a two-week break for schoolkids, thanks to Easter. I experienced a little bit of what can be best described as heckling from the influx of kids who were out and about, but these days it’s water off a duck’s back. What one of my colleagues experienced was altogether more serious, and frightening. Some (presumably) kids were throwing bottles filled with liquid out of a window in a building in town, and they nearly hit him. I can only guess that he wasn’t alone in having stuff chucked at him, and I have no idea why anyone would treat this as a reasonable way to pass time.

The Awakening Sequel

Work is proceeding slowly on the follow-up to The Awakening, but it’s happening. If the sequel is to be of a similar length to the first book, then I am approximately halfway through. I have a cold at the time of writing this, but once I’ve shaken it off, I have a bit of inspiration for where to go next with it.

The… What?

I didn’t expect a sort of row to erupt over silicone, but work treated me to such an event a couple of days ago. A bloke came into the store with a heavily-used, tatty tube of silicone. The guy had reached the bottom of the tube, and the silicone had congealed into a semi-solid, semi-gooey mess. He said someone on his behalf (his missus I think) had bought some at the weekend, and it had gone bad.

I went through some details, but the only orders under his business name were placed ages ago, and the one for silicone? That was placed back in November. The bloke kept insisting his other half had bought some at the weekend, but I was in at the weekend, and knew for a fact we took no money (in fact, the only transaction of any kind was an £80 refund!). Either this guy’s other half went to a different store (though if she ordered in the business name, I could see that from my branch), ordered under a different name (maybe she used her details, rather than the business details), or she ordered from a different retailer completely. In any event, no orders for silicone were placed in my store over the weekend.

The guy got a bit arsy over it, but he had no proof of purchase, and so either he was pulling a fast one (which over a tube of silicone was very odd indeed), or he was confused. He bought another tube, but not before grumbling that he’d never come back, and that he would slate our service. I’m quaking in my boots…

I think I have provided enough rambles for now, so in the meantime, watch out for more of the daily Writing Prompts, and I look forward to Musing again in two weeks!

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