Saturday, July 30, 2011

An Education… again

When it comes to the first day of school I always had a problem – I really don’t make good first impressions. At about the fourth go on the impression front people start to take pity on me. Does anybody actually enjoy the first day of anything? Do they relish befriending strangers, making constant small talk and being hit with a barrage of administrative information that won’t make sense for another month?

I have returned to the education pool a good 6 years after graduating from university.

Of course I don’t just give bad first impressions, I also take them in. Orientation Day involved that usual series of two minute judgment calls on whether you can only hope and pray people aren't doing your course. There were chatty people, quiet people, and several bolshie, middle-aged, loud scarf wearing women. There’s the guy using a walking stick/cane which you like to imagine is due to a sporting injury, but in all probability is a prop (Fi informs me canes are quite the men’s Autumnal accessory). Of course, the first person to dodge is the young man who turned out to be a horrendous silence filler via that detestable habit of echoing the last bit of the last premise to be raised before the silence.

Example: a conversation about high school, amongst 4 people who haven't been to high school in a while, runs out of puff. A brief pause followed by Silence Filler slowly uttering "Yeah... high school hey... high school... aaaah high school".

That’s not a contribution Silence Filler, it’s just repetition of the same phrase.

Then there’s all those etiquette issues I’ve completely forgotten about. Putting your hand up before talking, arriving anywhere on time, having to bluff your way through an answer when asked a question about something you were meant to have read but haven’t. And you have to remember to not roll your eyes when people gush about their plans for world domination and the earth-shattering moment when they knew they had found their calling.

It’s my fault I’m so cynical. Earnest people are just so… earnest. It’s like Captain America is going to writing school and the sheer scale of his sincerity is boggling.

Anyway, I’m back in the world of hitting the homework, rocking the readings, and mentally high-fiving my former 16 year old self whenever there’s a class spent doing nothing but watching a movie. No one ever said learning was easy.

Painefull Out

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Farewell Friday Flirtation

Everyone needs a person in their life who is there simply for the purpose of flirtation. I am not positing a theory, this is just a fact. It’s an outlet, a way to stay in practice, and a serving of assurance that, despite the occasional paranoid thought, you don’t actually repel all people with your presence.

Mine was a Friday Flirtation.

He works in a local, independent book store. As someone who has long held the misled belief they should be working in a book store*, I find this rather appealing. It was my way of celebrating the end of a working week – walk in, peruse weekend reading options, flirt with attractive book guy, occasionally buy something.

All chatter was meaningless, all attention fleeting. And then I ruined it.

My taste in reading has always been eclectic. I tend to have several books going at once so there’s always something to suit my mood. I liked Grisham, and then it got repetitive. Same goes for Ludlum, Forsyth and Evanovich. I always find sticking with an author for too long will eventually lead to disappointment, so these days I tend to go for the book itself, rather than who writes it. This does nothing to explain my recent purchase.

The other week, on a bizarre whim, I bought a novel entitled Robopocalypse.

The title was so stupid, I had to buy it. When my Friday Flirtation raised an eyebrow at my choice as I paid, I was probably just as appalled as he was (which is why I forgot to use my failsafe excuse for all embarrassing purchases** – “I hope my little brother likes it!”). I shook all this off by the time I was out the door, assuming he barely noticed I had just chosen a book specifically marketed at male teenage, Dungeons & Dragons fans with posters of Gollum on their walls.

But he did notice. And he’s brought it up in the 2 Fridays following. It’s really hard to flirt when someone begins a conversation with “How’s Robopocalypse going?”. I think that very phrase might have actually rendered me gender-less. How can you hear that sentence and even remotely consider yourself a sexual being for at least 3 hours after the fact? I am allegedly a grown woman. I wanted to back away from me at that point.

So farewell Friday Flirtation. I may visit your store again, but the bloom is definitely off the book. I will remember our witty banter with fondness, especially the exchanges involving word play and references to books I haven’t read, but managed to convincingly imply I had.

I may never need to see him again anyway. The more of Robopocalpyse I read, the more certain I am that all technology will soon bring on our doom (yes, I just said that on a blog, I get the irony, I'm ignoring it).

Painefull Out

* = my desire to work in a book store is derived from the fact that it looks pleasantly mindless, you get to talk about books all day and, as fiction and film has taught me, all book stores are peopled with quirky eccentrics and owned by affectionate incompetents who will come together to provide support and life lessons at the most opportune moments.

** = I can only hope everyone else suffers similar internal terror at being judged over a purchase by shop workers who, if I was really being honest with myself, don’t give a shit about what I buy. Like when I bought a guy’s t-shirt in a clothes store because it looked comfortable and loudly declared to no on in particular “I sure hope my brother-in-law likes this t-shirt!”, or the fact that I still (absurdly) avoid all eye contact when at the check-out with sanitary products, like it’s a friend I’m mortified to admit I came to a party with.