All manner of fluidity

I sometimes like to imagine that bread is not a carbohydrate. ‘Oh, I’m low carb/paleo’, I say stuffing another triangle of egg soaked toast into my mouth and then chasing it down with bacon and breakfast tea (The full English is pretty much the best thing the English ever did for the world*… even when viewed on a list that contains luminaries like John Locke and William Shakespeare)

*this is also the pretty much the most heretical thing a German can say (and may be grounds for the cancellation of your citizenship… and in the old days cause for a dark grey Trabant to be parked outside your house)

da8a5b8ba42be065bfd5bde50dd58aae-827x551.jpg

My friends look at me askance, a look that suggests they wouldn’t trust me to babysit their children. ‘Well these days men can be women, and women, men’, I say authoritatively, ‘I think I’m entitled to believe this bread is in fact carb-free’.

‘I don’t think it works like that’, comes a jaundiced retort . ‘Really?’ I say, taking the opportunity to catch my breath. Breakfast of this sort tends to appear, to the uninitiated, akin more to inhalation than ingestion and is usually only interrupted under dire circumstances, like duress… or asphyxiation. ‘Why not?’

I like to be proved wrong. Which happens quite often. But I don’t mind, my ego is (generally) not wrapped up in my assertions. And besides I’m still looking for a good argument as to why gender fluidity should be taken seriously by supposedly rational human beings.

Today is not my day. My fellows that have joined my early morning repast, while borderline progressives, are not ones for solid suppositions to back up their belief system. I don’t really mind. They make up for their deficiencies in discourse with good looks, white teeth and ample bosom. I like to be seen with them (proving how shallow I actually am), and I, in turn, occasionally make them laugh with my contrarian ideas and off beat humor. Although I also sometimes think I’m their charity case… a token of inclusion and that they’re laughing because it would be awkward not to. (I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t of course, I’m quite happy to laugh at my own jokes)

Still, we play nicely because we agree on eighty or ninety percent of everything else. Seems sad to have to harp on the 10% (or 20%) of things we disagree on. Also did I mention they are incredibly good looking?

‘We don’t need no water…’

I am fascinated by ideological hypocrisy. I’m also fascinated by the occasional ingrown leg hair and how wickedly infected they can get when left to their own devices… so really my benchmark for fascination is relatively low

3467992237.jpg

I have however recently (in moments of levity) been wondering why the Taliban and ISIS dynamited ancient statues, destroyed literature and generally took a dim view of anything Western … but hoarded US Dollars and paid the wages of their adherents in the much vaunted and hallowed USD, the currency of their most hated enemy.

Isn’t this ink saturated paper as Western Capitalist as it gets? I realize this is likely quite subjective but  I’m struggling to think of another more representative icon. In any event, surely this particular currency should have been accumulated and then bonfired en masse on the pyre-of -principle™, coupled (obviously) with the ubiquitous chant of ‘Death to America’ and people firing their Ak-Su’s into the air.

Nothing says fuck you, like burning another nations currency. Assuming that countries currency still has some perceived value. Burning Zimbabwean dollars or Venezuelan Bolívar (for any reason other than to keep warm) seems a little silly.

1uuy24.jpg

‘Its not about money, its about sending a message’ – The Joker

 

I live, I die.

I’ve decided work is bad for me. (Joey leads with profundity) This sedentary life style, compounded exponentially by being hunched over a laptop all day… while I work on my carpal tunnel syndrome and bask in the artificial glow of a halogen lamp… this is NOT what the flyer promised! I demand to speak to the manager! Oh. Right. I am the manager. (this actually invalidates a lot of my rage)

Potentially, my commute is doing just as much damage to me, if not more.

getty_529683088_2000133320009280118_326231.jpg

Driving in traffic is harrowing for both brain and body. The blood of people who drive in cities is a high-test stew of stress hormones. The worse the traffic, the more your system is flooded with with adrenaline and cortisol, the fight-or-flight juices that, in the short term, get your heart pumping faster, dilate your air passages and help sharpen your alertness, but in the long term can make you ill. It can take as much as an hour to recover the ability to concentrate after a long urban commute. Researchers for Hewlett-Packard convinced volunteers in England to wear electrode caps during their commute and found that whether they were driving or taking the train, peak-hour travelers suffered worse stress than fighter pilots or riot police facing mobs of angry protesters*

*Commuters’ hearts raced at 145 beats per minute, well over double the normal rate. They experienced a surge in cortisol. And, in what was apparently a coping strategy, their brains underwent a bizarre temporary transformation that psychologist David Lewis dubbed ‘commuter amnesia’. Their brains simply shut out stimulus from the outer world, and they forgot about most of the trip as soon as it was over. 

Montgomery, Charles. Happy City. Random Penguin House, 2013

[Jo]. My biggest concern with my commute was always the ‘Dead-time’. Once I’d remedied that with audio-books and podcasts I thought I could justify this itinerant lifestyle. At least I’m exposing myself to knew ideas I thought… while I’m frying my brain on the way in to work every morning, then caffeinating myself to the point of bare minimum functionality and then frying my brain on the way home again. Five days a week. Totally worth it right?

Nicholas-770x470.jpg

‘I’m the man who grabs the sun, riding to Valhalla!’ ‘I live, I die, I live again!’ – Nux. Fury Road.

I am less confident about my life choices these days. :-/

It was the breast of times…

‘I’d just like to say that most of us begin life suckling on a breast. If we’re lucky we end life suckling on a breast. So anybody who’s against breasts is against life itself’. – Denny Crane

download (1).jpeg

I can’t remember what I was doing exactly… but I was suddenly very aware that I was lacking that something very specific that needed my urgent and undivided attention. A friends of mines wife, sitting across from me, had just whipped out her boob and there was this awkward (for me at least) ten second period where the boob just hung there, exposed, while she fussed with her infant and then maybe another five seconds to get it latched.

I think it was the unexpectedness of it all that took me by surprise. And so… unsure of the protocol that should be followed in this particular situation I forced myself to carry on looking straight ahead, listening intently to what she was saying and ignoring the ginormous mammary gland in my heads-up-display… all while on the inside the hamster mind was falling off its wheel and having a massive foaming apoplexy.

Apparently being exposed (in certain contexts) to a hunk of meat with a nipple on it for ten seconds is enough time to cycle through quite a range of emotions. From feeling lecherous to invoking puritan sensibilities that I didn’t know I had. And everything in between.

Once the baby was on the nipple I relaxed (unclenched my jaw) and stood my brain down from red-alert. Of course I berated myself severely post event for my lack of inner-cool. Outwardly I did okay… I think.

I’m a huge fan of breast feeding. And I often rage about the sexualization of nudity. But forty years of conditioning is hard to break. Especially when it blindsides you. That… and I felt like I was breaking this unspoken commandment that you should never find yourself staring at your friends wife’s unmentionables. (at least not in a public setting)

Of course I have no idea why an errant nipple should wield the power that it does or why it can provoke us in such strange ways. I mean it shouldn’t, and it makes no sense to me. Yet, here is the undeniable evidence.